Dana Rollins awoke every morning at exactly 3:45 AM. By 4:00 Am, her coffee was brewing, and she was in the shower. At 4:12, her shower was completed, and she was drying off her five-foot six-inch one hundred and thirty-five-pound body. 4:19, with a towel wrapped around her midsection, she would stand in front of the mirror and run the brush fifty times through her sandy-blonde hair on each side, always starting with the right side. After combing her hair, she would take three minutes to brush her teeth and then head for her cheap hotel-sized bedroom, which had been painted a warm yellow that always made her smile, to put on the clothes she had laid out the night before on the dresser top.
By now, it was going on 4:45, so she would enter the kitchen; remove her single coffee mug that had a picture of Charlie Brown flipping through the air as Lucy once again pulled the football away just before ol Chuck could kick it. Opening her laptop as she sat down on her barstool, she would place her mug to the right on a napkin and wait as the machine spun to life.
For the next forty-five minutes, she browsed the local news sites to see if any of her latest know-hows were making headlines. Some days she would find a short blurb buried deep within the website but today WFTS channel 59 news had a front-page article describing what they referred to as ‘another mystery baffles local police.’ They even had a video clip of Tom Daniels standing in a familiar part of town recounting the mystery.
Dana looked up at her kitchen clock and shut down her computer. She then rinsed her mug out, returned it to the cabinet on the left of the sink, and then calmly laced her shoes and put on her coat. 5:54, and she was out the door, sure to lock the two deadbolts, and then walked to her car parked in the short gravel driveway. By 6:00 AM the vehicle was warmed and ready to be pointed in the direction of United Electrical Industries where she sat in a five by five-foot security booth for eight hours; 7:00 Am to 3:00 Pm every week from Monday to Friday.
Dana Rollins hated her job, but at least it gave her time to think, and Dana loved to think and plot and plan. Going over the same idea from every possible angle, she could imagine.
Every Friday between 2:52 and 2:58 her replacement Karl, an older man she guessed was in his mid-fifties would enter the booth and ask her the same question: “So, what’s a pretty young thing like you going to do this weekend?”
Coming to her feet, she would smile and say, “Well, Karl. I’ll probably get lost in another book or just watch some television until I get tired and then fall asleep.”
Shuffling to his left, Karl would give her some room to exit and without exception, finish their weekly conversation with a regular, “You know, if I were pretty young thing like you I’d be out having some fun.”
“I’ll do my best, Karl,” she would say as she swiped her badge in front of the time clock and walked toward her car.
Once home, she would change into her Friday evening attire and wait until 8:00 PM to arrive, those few hours, were always the longest hours of the week. By 8:05, Dana was sitting at the stoplight at the end of her street, waiting to turn right and head for Wicker Park to get her newest toy.
9:00 PM, pulling up along the sidewalk on Keller Street, she would stop and roll down the passenger side window. A few girls always hurried up to the car and in their best effort at seductiveness would ask, “Watcha’ lookn’ for honey?” Without hesitation, Dana would ask the first girl who reached her car what her name was and then tell her to get in.
“So, what’s the plan, sweetheart?”
“I figured we would go back to my place and have some fun for a few hours,” Dana would say as her mind was spinning with anticipation.
At 10:15 PM, they would turn into Dana’s driveway and enter the house. By 10:27, the girl was unconscious and then dragged to the bathroom, placed in the bathtub, and then methodically dismembered. First, the right arm, then the left, after that the right leg below the knee would come off. She repeated that step on the left leg, with the body now much more manageable she would remove what was left of the legs and then for the prize in the cracker-jack box she would remove the head and place it on the corner of the tub so she could look into the motionless eyes. Eyes that could tell a horrifying story if only the life hadn’t been ripped away from them.
After filleting some meat off the left thigh, she would put it on the awaiting plate and enter the kitchen where the stovetop had been heating up a medium-sized frying pan.
Finally, 11:15 PM, Dana sat at her kitchen table, cutting her first bite and then placing it in her mouth. Savoring every bite, she glanced up at the clock and realized she had only one more hour to finish eating. Then, she had to clean up before bedtime, all the while thinking how predictable, routine, and most of all, mundane her life was.
Someday I’ll get out there and enjoy this life she promised herself.