I had already killed three when I read the prompt “Bad Traditions” and thought of submitting. It seemed appropriate that I should consider myself a follower of bad traditions rather than a serial killer. Indeed, bad traditions had been responsible for a lot of my criminal development. First off, my family had bad traditions. One was called my father and he was a Marxist and a political fanatic. The second bad tradition was my sister and she was a global feminist with very bad traditions – one being to write boring academic texts about famous nineteenth-century women writers. There were many other bad traditions in my family. For instance, regular holidays to Dublin and to St. Malo, so regular that their repetitive nature became a major pain in the ass. Drinking too much beer was a bad tradition I must hang round my own neck like a frothy, mad albatross.
And it was this last-mentioned tradition that got me killing the fourth.
It was a summer night and I made for a couple humping in the sand dunes up above the nudist stretch of the Ostia beach outside Rome. It was nine-thirty and I possessed two long, pretty sharp blades. Why two? Well, I wanted a fourth and a fifth. As luck would have it, he thumped me on the head and ran away…but only after twisting off her, seeing her dying there under the Italian moonshine, pushing himself inside his downed trunks, and moaning off. That knock on the head led to other bad stuff, traditions, really, like the self-confessional writing up of murders I’m doing now.
As I watched that bastard who’d hit me and avoided the second blade running or scampering away from me, blubbering and wailing, I knew I’d made a big mistake. The bad tradition had been broken and he’d got away.
I’m sure there will come a knock at my door one of these days. They’ll come and want to know what I was doing on those Ostia sands, why a girl was found dead, why a panicked guy had turned up at the carabinieris, blabbing about a maniac with two blades, slicing down on his naked bird. It’ll happen….that other bad tradition that gets killers caught.
By Jonathan Finch