Scott had been thinking hard every waking minute of his nights, and he thought he had a pretty foolproof plan—as foolproof as you could get when committing a crime.
“I need to do some shopping and drop some clothes off at Goodwill,” Scott announced to Josie one evening at midnight. He showed her the plastic trash bag in his hand.
“Okay,” she said cheerfully.
“Do we need anything while I’m out?”
She glanced around briefly. “No, I don’t think so. I think I’ve finally gotten everything bought up that we need.”
“Good. Do you need anything while I’m out? Something to eat?”
She smiled. “No, thanks; I brought something to eat.”
“Okay,” he said, before leaving.
His first stop was at Walgreens. He bought a few items of makeup and a package of socks. At the register, he made a show of checking the items on the counter against a list on a scrap of paper, as if he had been sent by his wife to do the shopping. When the clerk handed him his receipt, he carefully tucked it into his wallet.
Next, he drove to McDonald’s and parked in the spot furthest from the building—away from the lights and—hopefully—out of range of their security cameras.
He flipped down the sun visor and—for the first time—appreciated the fact that it had a lighted makeup mirror.
He opened a bottle of dark foundation and, using a fast food napkin from his glove box, he darkened his face with it. Not only was he no longer pale, like a vampire, he didn’t look very white at all; he actually looked rather Hispanic.
Then he took an eyebrow pencil out and darkened and thickened his faint eyebrows until he practically had a unibrow. One thing they had studied in law school was how criminals could change their appearance to confuse witnesses at a line up. And the thing that tripped up people more than anything was changing eyebrows. The entire class had been shown a picture of Richard Nixon without eyebrows and no one had recognized him. So, in Scott’s mind, it only followed that if he didn’t want to be recognized, he needed to give himself heavy brows which were the exact opposite of his thin ones.
After that, he pulled out a blush brush and a compact of black eye shadow. He brushed it across his chin and jaw, giving him something like a five o’clock shadow. It looked rather like a poor Halloween makeup job, but it was good enough for the dark.
He opened the trash bag which contained his old clothes and pulled out a heavy, scruffy-looking pea coat. He had bought it at the thrift store a few evenings before, and it didn’t look like anything he normally wore.
He took off his black sports coat and necktie. He had purposefully dressed dark and a bit on the causal side. He was wearing black casual slacks with his black sports coat—not his usual suit. He had paired the black with a dark gray shirt; the entire ensemble was darker than he normally dressed, but still nice enough that it didn’t look out of the ordinary for him.
He slipped on the wool coat, and pulled a black toboggan and pair of gloves out of the bag and put them on too. He checked his appearance one last time in the mirror and nodded his satisfaction. He did one last thing: he turned on his Kindle and let it begin downloading the mass of books he had queued up for it earlier. It was as close as he could get for an alibi. Me? I went shopping—yes, here’s the receipt—and then I went to McDonald’s and let my Kindle download all my new books. You can check it yourself.
He slipped out of the car and ducked behind the dumpster fence. Out of sight of everyone, he began running—cutting across the nearby strip center’s deserted parking lot—and then he went up the street. He normally spent as much time as possible acting as if he was still human, but tonight he was glad to be a vampire, moving so fast most people couldn’t even see him—certainly he was unrecognizable as Attorney Scott Cunningham.
It took him less than a minute to get where he was going—a small, run-down cottage on a dark street, surrounded by other small, run-down houses with junk and trash in the yards.
Scott stepped onto the tiny porch and glanced around; there was no one in sight. He grabbed the doorknob and gave the door a short, hard thrust with his shoulder. The frame splintered and the door opened.
Scott heard some sort of noise, and he hurried towards it, throwing open what appeared to be a bedroom door.
“What the fuck!?” a man shouted. It looked as if Scott had caught him in the process of looking for a weapon on his bedside table.
Scott strode over to him and grabbed him by the outstretched arm. “James Stanley?”
“Who the fuck are you?”
Scott jerked him out of the bed, then grabbed him by the throat and slammed him hard against the wall. “Stanley,” Scott said, trying to disguise his voice by making it sound low and rough, “you’ve been beating on women. I don’t like that shit.”
Scott let go of him, only to backhand him across the face. He was careful to hit him more lightly than he thought he deserved; he didn’t want to accidently kill the man.
Then he slapped him the other direction.
“How the fuck does it feel to be hit, huh?”
“Who the fuck are you?” Stanley said thickly, sounding as if he might have blood in his mouth.
“Don’t give me shit,” Scott growled, smacking him in the side of the head, just above the ear. Stanley stumbled a little, then began to cower.
“Quit hitting your ex-wife.” Scott slapped him on the head again. “Quit calling her.” Another slap. “Leave her the fuck alone.” Slap. “Can you get that through your thick skull, you sorry piece of shit?”
“She send you?” Stanley growled.
Scott pulled him upright. “No, she didn’t. But she didn’t have to. The whole fucking town knows you’re a wife beater. And I don’t like that shit in my town. You got that?”
Stanley glared at him angrily, but didn’t respond.
“I don’t think you heard me.” Scott struck him harder across the face. “Leave her the fuck alone.”
Stanley collapsed to the floor, but Scott was quick to pick him up and put him back on his feet. “If you call her again, or go to her work, or go to her house, or follow her around town, or lay a hand on her, I will be back. And I promise you, the police will never find your body. Do you understand me?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Stanley muttered, sounding rather smart-assed.
“No, I don’t think you do.” Scott kneed him sharply in the groin. Stanley audibly sucked in a small amount of air, then doubled-over. He would have fallen down again, but Scott caught him and held him upright. “You fuck with her again, and I’ll kill you. I’m not shitting you, Stanley. I. Will. Kill. You.”
Scott threw him to the floor, then hurried out of the house and raced back to his car. Inside, he stripped out of the gloves, hat and coat, putting them back in the bag. He pulled a box of facial wipes out of the Walgreens bag and wiped the makeup off his face. Then he put on his coat and tie again.
He drove to the Goodwill store nearby and left the bag of clothes on their donation dock and threw the sack of makeup and trash in the dumpster.
He walked back into his office with his Kindle and the package of socks. “Anything happening?” he asked Josie normally.
“All’s quiet on the Western front,” she said with a smile.
“Good,” he replied, before going to his office and shutting the door.
He sat down at his desk, expecting to feel nervous and distracted, but instead he felt almost elated. And powerful. He had just righted a wrong—corrected an injustice in the system. And it made him feel wonderful. Although he doubted anyone would agree with him, to him, fighting injustice was in his job description, and that responsibility didn’t end when he stepped outside the courtroom.
He reached for a file in his inbox and began to review it, his mind oddly clear and capable of focusing. Apparently he was getting the hang of being a vampire.
Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee