Has it occurred to anyone else that society has become a voyeuristic nightmare? What is the first thing most people do in the morning? Grab their phone to check social media, turn on the morning news cast? Both have become Mr. Capro’s routine. Although he, does occasionally break it to spy on the neighborhood.
As a retired school administrator, Mr. Capro starts his day promptly at 5am, fills his first three hours of the day consuming all forms of social media followed by network news programming. At 10 o’clock he walks his beagle down one side of the street and back up the other where he crosses the street to his house. Along the way, Sparky, the beagle does his business on the lawn of the fourth house down the end. Upon returning home he makes his lunch and sits on his porch listening to talk radio, usually some political idiot pitching whatever rhetoric is hot for the day. After lunch Mr. Capro returns to his social media for status updates.
On occasion Mr. Capro spends extra time at dinner, also on his porch, watching the comings and goings of the neighbors on the street. He even watches from his second floor windows in the evening before bed for a better vantage point. He believes it helps hide the fact he is spying on everyone. This is his routine, it seldom deviates in any significant way.
There was a car accident a week ago in front of his house. Did he rush out to help the victims? No, and he did not even bother to call the police. He did however, grab his phone so he could record the incident. His neighbors called to him for help which he was reluctant to give. The news vans pulled up a full ten minutes before the first responders. “Tragic accident in suburban neighborhood ” the headline read on the evening news. Mr. Capro made an appearance on television describing the whole thing, sensationalizing all the key points. Drama does get the ratings.
There have been several incidents over the past year involving Mr. Capro and a few youths. He is fond of yelling at the neighborhood kids to stay off his property. The kids have taken it as a challenge to do what they can to provoke Mr. Capro. Jake Newton, a teen from five houses down, smashed Mr. Capro’s mailbox last summer, placed a burning sack of manure on his porch, and most recently managed to affix saran wrap over the front door. Needless to say Mr. Capro had almost lost his mind trying to get out of that mess. This is where I enter the story. It was this incident that led me to Mr. Capro’s side as I cut him from the snare of plastic wrap. It is also the incident that would ultimately end his life.
Before that meeting, I had no reason to interact with Mr.Capro. Now that he has seen my face, insulted me, and threatened to call the police, he has to be dealt with.
To what degree does a man change when faced with certain circumstances? When challenged physically, he defends himself. When challenged emotionally, he defends himself. How does he respond when faced with a psychological dilemma? You guessed it, he defends himself. Fight or flight is often stated as the natural response to such adversities and ordinarily I would agree. I do believe that it is more complicated than that, however. I watched Mr.Capro change over the course of several years or maybe he just decided to start defending himself.
Mr.Capro was the kind of guy who would open his home to a complete stranger, offer them food, a shower, fresh clothes if needed. He had had a good heart full of generosity and love. He was kind to most people. There was a deep love for his wife most people don’t experience these days. They would garden together, walk together, sit on the porch and wave to neighbors as they passed. Mrs. Capro was everything to her husband. The sun rose and set with her and it was obvious to anyone willing to look. All that change when she died.
Mr.Capro spent the last days of his wife’s life in the hospital. Between the room, the chapel, and the cafeteria Mr.Capro made round after round. The nurses accused him of wearing a groove in the floor on more than one occasion. He had taken a leave of absence from work so he could stay by her side. His entire stay with his wife lasted a total of five months. That’s all it took for the cancer to consume her life. She had been diagnosed on a Thursday, admitted immediately for surgery, she endured one round of chemo and one round of another more aggressive treatment. She died on a Monday, Mr. Capro only left the hospital long enough to get fresh clothes the entire time.
After she passed, Mr. Capro asked if there was anything that could have been done differently or why it wasn’t caught at her last check-up. He began to blame the hospital and its staff, threatening lawsuits and violence. The hospital staff just blew it off as grief and nothing more. Then he finally did file a suit. It cost Mr. Capro his savings and half of his retirement. There was nothing that the hospital could have done better.
Without his wife, Mr. Capro slide into a free fall of bad decisions. At first, he tried to keep up with the garden, but he had never been as good at it as his wife. A month had passed and the garden had returned to nothing more than a bare patch of earth. He tried returning to work only a few short weeks after he laid Mrs.Capro to rest. This proved ultimately to be his undoing. Walking through the halls one day he had been confronted by a couple of insensitive delinquents. They made wisecracks about him killing his wife. Mr.Capro was taken aback at first, he made to leave when they teased how it was a shame cause she had been hot, rage overwhelmed him. Mr. Capro’s lawyer managed to get the charges of assault dropped but the school board let him go anyway for fear there would be more of this behavior. He tried volunteering at a shelter. He tried going back to church. Without his wife, no job, and nothing to really look forward to Mr. Capro slipped further into anguish.
Eventually Mr. Capro began his journey into the land of self medication. His drug of choice, alcohol. This at least was a reprieve for him and for a couple hours a night the numbness eased his sorrow. Only this small window of time was pleasant for him, the time between buzzed and blackout drunk. It was this time when absolutely nothing mattered. It was during these periods of time when he picked up the hobby of social media stalking. To Mr. Capro’s credit, he managed to not become a full-blown alcoholic. It was the time before the buzz kicked in that were the hardest. A few times he had altercations with neighbors and neighborhood kids. Shouting matches mostly, although he did chase the kids and more than one parent off his property and down the road.
I always found it interesting to witness the moment when someone’s life ends. It rarely, if ever, happens at death. For some it happens months even years before. That precious spark of life that lights the eyes dims, it is purposely or systematically extinguished. Once that spark is gone it almost never comes back and that is when a person’s life ends. For Mr. Capro, his life ended the day he and his wife received her diagnosis.
Jake Newton’s family moved to the neighborhood a few years before Mrs. Capro was diagnosed with cancer. At a glance they portrayed the typical middle income American family. Both parents worked to make ends meet while Jake and his kid sister subjected themselves to school and subsequent activities afterwards. The weekends became work at home days for mom and dad. Sadly, Jake used this time to act out.
It started innocent enough. An up-ended garbage can here, a midnight run through the neighborhood spraying paint there, smashed mailboxes everywhere. Jake’s imagination grew more elaborate after talking to several other kids. Through clever research Jake discovered a particular news story involving Mr. Capro and missing school funds. Jake digested this information for days, when he ran into me at the local hardware store.
Jake seemed locked in an internal struggle. I noticed his indecision and thought, “I would go with the cut resistant gloves and the 10lb test”. He stood there looking at me blank faced. I pointed at the gear in his hands and reflected on a time long past, “that way you don’t accidentally leave your DNA on the line when cut”. Jake nervously asked “what did you say?” not sure he heard me right. I turned to face him and said, ” so you plan to some fishing, huh?” “Oh, huh, yeah”, Jake stammered, “me and some friends are going to do some fishing.” I strolled past him calling back over my shoulder, “make sure you use the right bait”.
The next day Mr. Capro left his house headed to work and ran face first into the news article Jake dug up. He had suspended it using the fishing line. Taring at it only got Mr. Capro’s hand tangled in the line when it snapped. Mr. Capro then saw a much greater scheme at play. Jake took the time to dangle multiple pages throughout the yard seeming random at first sight. The anamorphic image transformed into the word “thief”. The next week Jake put a copy of the article, edited to include a picture of his handy work, in every mailbox spanning a six block radius.
I have to admit Jake’s efficient use of time in the prank department borders on genius. I thought it would take more effort on my part to convince him to do these things. It continued like this for several more months, then the Capro’s received that fateful diagnosis. Jake heard through several friends the Capro’s situation and thus called a truce for a time. This break allowed him to plan and stock up on supplies. He wanted to have a big welcome back to “Pranksville” once the Capro’s came home. When Jake found out Mrs. Capro never made it home, he offered to take care of the lawn and weed the garden. Mr. Capro exhausted from little sleep and overwhelmed with grief snapped at Jake. “I know it was you, you little fu…” Jake didn’t wait around for Mr. Capro to finish. It wasn’t long after that, Mr. Capro found himself face to face with me as I tried gently slicing him out of plastic wrap. I thought this might be the cruelest thing Jake had done until Mr. Capro found Sparky, his beagle, velcroed to the hood of his car like an ornament.
I have no qualms taking life, I am not particularly cruel when I do. Usually a swift method is best, however there is the rare occasion I must set an example. Jake’s life was not taken quickly nor was it cruel. On his eighteenth birthday Jake was speeding through the neighborhood re-enacting a car chase scene from his favorite movie as he slammed head long into another car. The two cars seemed to unify themselves upon impact. It was the sudden explosion in the dead silence that brought out Mr. Capro. He did two things after leaving his house. First he called the media alerting them of the accident and second he began filming the heap of metal. One other thing he did was laugh to himself at Jake’s misfortune. The hospital pronounced Jake D.O.A.
There are few things in this world I like less, than taking a life so young. Jake Newton’s death was the unfortunate result of him having been in the hardware store on the wrong day. It just so happened I was there for someone else that day. Scouting several subjects at a time, picking out a dozen or so places where they may interact with each other is just more effective. I have been taking lives for quite some time and found it to be the easiest method of getting away with it. I follow a simple set of rules. Leave no trace, leave no witnesses, don’t upset the balance of society.
Jake’s Last Day
Jake woke up on his eighteenth birthday much like any other day, hearing his mom and dad arguing. Usually it was about money or lack of communication or some other issue Jake cared little about. There was a slight difference he noted to the tones being used, they seemed to be hushed. “Bill, let him sleep” his mom said. “Karen, he is an adult now and it is time he started to act like one” his dad replied. “Jake, son get down here we need to talk” Bill shouted up the stairs. “JAKE!”
Opening the door Jake called down “alright give me a minute”. He dressed as slowly as he could manage without arousing the ire of his dad. With heavy thudding steps Jake descended to the main floor of the house where he was met by his extended family. “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” they yelled in unison. Each family member took a turn hugging him, grandma took a bit longer as she kissed his cheeks. Birthday signs hung throughout the main living room, several balloon bouquets were placed about as well. In the center of the coffee table lay a set of keys tied to a single balloon which read “Happy 18th”. The jubilation that exuding from Jake at that moment would soon be forgotten.
Breakfast was filled with stories and laughter as family member after family member told tales of Jake’s early years. Bill and Karen could not stand his fidgeting any longer so with several warnings about being a responsible adult, let Jake take his one and only birthday gift out for a spin. The well-used vehicle had been bought at auction for next to nothing. Bill and his brother, Wilard, took turns restoring the Chevrolet Camero IROC-Z28. It took them the better part of a year to collect all the parts. The news headlines for the morning read “multiple break-ins at across the county”, ” stolen animals from several shelters”, and ” animals were not the only thing taken from shelters, drugs missing as well”. Jake’s grandma said “what’s this world coming to when people just take helpless animals.” Jake said with a half smirk, ” don’t worry grandma, I am sure they will turn up eventually”.
He spent the next few hours driving around with his friends who encouraged him to go faster and making envious jokes about how many girls he was going to get now. They made several plans for that weekend which included getting supplies for a mass prank on the town as well as renting a cabin near a lake. Jake returned home several times that day, he spent no more than ten minutes at a time then quickly drove off again. Each trip home Jake packed a few things into his car trying not to alert his parents that he was up to something. All through the day Jake and his friends set plans in motion that would have lasting consequences beyond their short years.
The Plan: One Week Ago
While Mr. Capro was out walking his dog Jake hopped his back fence, broke in through the back door, and planted several items through-out the house. He took nothing as he knew Mr. Capro would call the police as soon as he saw the busted rear door. It was important that nothing look out of place. He was just scaling the fence as Mr. Capro was entering his front door. An hour later the cops were in the living room asking if anything was stolen. At this same time, Steve, one of Jake’s friends was recording the whole transaction between the police and Mr. Capro. This video would prove two things, one; someone did indeed break in, second; it implicates Mr. Capro’s involvement in Jake’s death. The following day Jake knocked on Mr. Capro’s door. “Mr. Capro sir…” was all Jake could say when the door opened. Immediately he was chased from the porch, insults were not the only thing being thrown at Jake. This took place several more times during the day.
The rest of the week Jake and his friends took turns playing ding-dong ditch with Mr.Capro. Prank calls were made to Mr. Capro and since he was old-fashioned enough to have an answering machine, there were several raunchy messages left. Each day Jake and his friends would ride around the neighborhood in Steve’s dads truck. Periodically they would stop and coax a cat into getting close enough for them to grab. Once caught, the felines would be thrown in cages. A couple of days before Jake’s birthday the neighborhood stared putting fliers up for the missing cats. I thought this odd at first only because I would have gone to the animal shelter to “rescue” the hundred or so cats they take care of there.
With a bit of research Steve was able to find the right dose of sedative to give each animal to keep them under for several hours. “This is key” he said, “as it will give time for the set-up, after that it’s sit back and watch.”
The end to Mr. Capro did not come swiftly. Although the light of his life left years ago, his body remained empty and hollow. Some might say killing him was a kindness. A decent thing done to end his suffering. I say it was neither merciful nor kind, my place is not question why only do-or-die. I will let you be the judge on these matters.
When Jake velroed Sparky to the hood of Mr. Capro’s car, a plan was set into motion to end his life. It just happens that I was able to fulfill my contract concerning Mr. Capro’s death at the same time. I believe in efficiency, so being able to tidy things up without much collateral damage is kind of like a bonus. Allow me to elaborate.
When I received the contract to take Mr. Capro’s life, there was no time limit or “end by” date, these are the best kind and I take them every chance I get. I moved in across the street and few doors down from the Capro’s. Studying my targets has become somewhat of a pastime for me. Watching someone who has no idea they are being watched is the only way to truly know someone. The guarded walls thrown up in defense of emotions come down immediately when you think no one is watching. I try to get a good sense of whom I am sent to kill, sometimes it makes perfect sense and other times I do what is required of me.
Not long after moving in I made contact with the Capro’s, Mrs. Capro made a pie and brought it over bringing Mr. Capro with her for a welcome to the neighborhood introduction. Thinking back they looked so young. I have to say that the love they showed each other was genuine. That kind of love can’t be faked. When you have been around for as long as I have and watched as many people as I have you come to know these simple truths. One: real genuine love is not glamorous nor boastful. Two: most people will never know real genuine love because they are too selfish. Three: the majority of people have no idea what love really is. This was the only time I spoke with Capro’s together. After the long conversation, I took a few other contracts that were more pressing. Not being there for a time dissuaded the Capro’s from any further contact.
I would watch them when I was in town. See how they have changed then leave again. This went on for years, I have been told I am a bit to laxed when I carry out my assignments, but I must say in my defense the contracts I usually take don’t state a time frame for completion so I feel no urgency to rush. It wasn’t until Mrs. Capro ran into me and recognized who I was that I was forced to speed things up a bit. I could have taken her then and there but thought that there might be a better way to reach the end goal. “Mrs. Capro… June” I started, “now that you know who I am I simply can not let you walk away”. She stood there frozen at first not even daring to breath. I continued “I have a proposition for you however, think carefully before you answer. I will spare your life, and you will live a long life, in return you must kill your husband. I don’t care how you do it but it must be done. If you don’t, your days have come to an end.” “You’re a liar” she spat out, although something deep inside her could not help but believe the opposite. I simply looked at her and she knew the truth of my words. “I understand you’re a bit emotional right now and certainly scared, but I am going to need a yes or a no on this. Will you kill your husband?” I let the woman have exactly five minutes to contemplate her options. She took all of it too. In the end she said, “no, I will not kill my husband. I will not do your work for you. Take my life if you must but my answer is no.” I leaned down and whispered in her ear, “June Capro your life is hereby forfeit, you will live for exactly five more months. It will be the worst time of your life as your insides rot, your body will reject any treatment you receive. You may one day call out my name but I will not listen.” Touching her ever so lightly at the nape of the neck I left her where she stood. I hold Mrs. Capro in high regard, few have stood their ground the way she did. I almost relented and let her live anyway if not for her last words. To her husband and any nurses close by it sounded garbled, but her last words were clear to me. With her last breath she said, “I’m ready.”
Jake’s antics could have been overlooked but even he was becoming more trouble than he was worth. I talked to one of his friends who had just had his life’s contract canceled. I told him his life was about to end, that he only had a matter of months to live. Naturally he laughed at me. The young have desensitized and therefore are less believing. I whispered a few things to him. “Jasper, you will do my biding. You will follow all my instructions to the letter. I will spare you sister whom I know you love more than you should and in a way that is not healthy. When I say spare, I mean I will take her away from that living nightmare that you call a family. What do you say?” It took Jasper all of two seconds to say yes. By the time he had returned home, his sister had been placed in foster care. True to my word she was placed with a good family.
“Jasper you are going to work with Jake and Steve to torment Mr. Capro. I will give you instructions once in a while do not deviate from them. Do not let anyone else deviate from them.” I said as I laid his role out. In the end he performed well enough. All the pranks pulled on Mr. Capro were suggestions I gave to Jasper to feed Jake, except for the last one which was executed masterfully by the boys.
On Jake’s birthday, the friends drove around and enjoyed the freedom they had. Unfortunately they would not live long enough to see the fruits of their labor from that day. They split up in the early evening going their separate ways. I placed a call to each saying that they needed to meet up ASAP. Jasper stopped to get Steve and Jake came rushing from the delivery service where he had just mailed several hundred packages. It just so happened that as they neared Mr. Capro’s house, Jake lost control of his car as it blew the drivers’ side front tire causing it to enter into oncoming traffic. Jasper and Steve were caught right in its path, the two cars became one.
Mr. Capro called the news station immediately, which is why they arrived first. He gave them his version of what happened taking them through all the dramatic points. The neighbors screamed for help, the police and paramedics were called and Mr. Capro relented to the cries. There was nothing to be done for the boys however, so he began to film the scene. This is only the first time the police were called out that night. Not long after the cars were taken away, after the street was opened back up, the paramedics were called back out. Mr. Capro had called them complaining of chest pain. He died while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. The time was 10 p.m. when he hit the floor, that was also when a timer tripped opening several hundred boxes that had been delivered to Mr. Capro’s basement. Slowly the cats made they’re way upstairs. Some of them having been starved they began eating the only thing they could find.
There were sirens blaring and lights flashing when I arrived home. A little yellow ribbon stretched out from one side of the street to the other, informing anyone who looked at it that there was a crime scene. I calmly exited my car making no effort to look towards the area that was swarmed by police and reporters as well as looky-loos. They were like ants lined up in a column. Steadily they entered and exited Mr. Capro’s home removing all manner of evidence for further study. Upon placing my briefcase next to the end table I opened the curtains so I could watch. I turned the volume up on the stereo as a fittingly sorrowful tune played. The stage was set and the actors played through their discourse oblivious to me. An outsider might have thought I orchestrated the whole thing, and they would be right. I killed Mr. Capro, I killed him for no other reason than I could. In time I will kill this host as well. As a demon the rules are simple, leave no trace, leave no witnesses, don’t upset the balance of society.