I buried him near the old maple tree outside of town. It’s not like this was the plan all along, but that’s how it turned out. At first, all I wanted was to scare him a little, you know? Make him look over his shoulder and maybe think twice about the things he did. And it worked, didn’t it? I got a confession. I could have spent hours working on him at the branch and he wouldn’t have said a word. This badge used to mean something; it used to scare crooks straight. Now, you need to go outside of the law to get justice. No one else down at the branch seems to care. They tell me I work too hard, or tell me to lighten up. They don’t care about justice. Not like I do. They aren’t willing to do what’s necessary.
He wasn’t much different from my usual cases. In fact, he was just like any other perp I’ve dealt with. They follow the same pattern: good guy, family man, good job. But there’s just something there, under the surface. The kind of thing that shows itself only if you know what to look for. And I know what to look for. I can smell it on them, these crooks. They practically wear it on their sleeves.
I tailed him for a few days before I ever approached him. That’s what I always do. I want to get a feel for him. The way he says goodbye to his wife and his kids in the morning. The car he drives. The brand of cigarettes he smokes. How he takes his coffee. What he reads before bed. Hell, I want to know what brand and size of underwear he wears before I ever approach him. I follow him wherever he goes: to work, to the store, to the coffeeshop, to lunch, to dinner. I am him by the time I make contact.
They’re always shocked when I do. Always claiming innocence and trying to get away. It’s ridiculous that they think they could fool me. I tell them, every time, that I know exactly what they’ve done, and that if they don’t come clean, I’ll personally make them pay for their crimes down at the branch. That’s always enough to turn them white. It’s usually enough to send them running to the branch to confess. But this time, it wasn’t.
I stopped him in the parking lot outside his office. I was posted up on the hood of his tin can, smoking a cig. He was spooked, like he didn’t know why I was there. I gave him a warning: confess, or deal with me. He wouldn’t budge. I grabbed him by the collar and picked him up off his hocks. I told him I knew everything.All the little nooks where he’d stash his victims, crammed together on a shelf. I knew he was guilty. He kept protesting and arguing, so I laid it all out for him. Told him, in detail, every aspect of his crimes, and you know what? This punk, this sicko, he laughed in my face. He admitted it. Said he didn’t care. He laughed about the marks he’d leave on them. He had no remorse. Just saying it now makes me sick. I’ve dealt with all kinds of monsters on my beat, but this was something else. This wasn’t human. He just kept on laughing. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I jammed my gat right under his chin. I guess he didn’t expect me to be packing. I told him it was over. If he wasn’t going to feel remorse, I was going to make him. That’s not what I wanted, when this all started. I’m a simple man. I just want to enforce the law. I just want justice.
I threw his body in the trunk. I grabbed a shovel from my garage on the way. I dragged his body all the way up the hill to that old maple tree in the cemetery and dug him a shallow grave. It was better than he deserved, for the crimes he committed. Some people, people like that, they just don’t care. They don’t want to pay up. Maybe they think it’s no big deal, they think they can get away with missing a deadline, or taking a book here or there. They think they can push us around. But not me. It’s up to people like me to make sure these people face justice. I make them pay. And if they won’t pay their library fines, I’ll have to deal with them personally.