by Gail Farrelly
Bad Boy is an original mystery short story that Gail entered several years ago in Crime and Suspense Magazine. It was published along with the other entries on the website, but it didn’t win a prize.
This is the day the Lord has made. NOT! But I intend to “rejoice and be glad in it” anyway. You see, this is the day I made – the day my long-term nemesis, Billy “Buzzy” Bennett, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for perjury and obstructing an investigation about unauthorized leaking to the press the name of a covert CIA operative.
It’s partly my fault that good old Buzzy will be heading off to jail. Yippee! I’ve hated him for forty years, since we were in the tenth grade at Arlington High in Virginia. I was just another kid in love, having a girlfriend for the first time in my young life. That was before she met Buzzy. He stole her away from me and put an end to my hopes, my dreams, and my romantic fantasies. I’ve never been able to forgive him. Never wanted to.
Tonight I’m celebrating his bad fortune and my good one. The venue is Johnny Rockets, a retro diner in Washington D.C.’s Union Station. Having placed my order for a cheeseburger, fries, and Coke, I relax on the shiny red cushioned seats of the booth, play some favorites on the tabletop jukebox, and congratulate myself on how I handled the Bennett caper.
I came up with my scheme on the day that I first read that Buzzy, a big mucky muck at the State
Department, was being investigated in the CIA leak case. I reasoned that it might be difficult or impossible for the prosecutors to nail him for leaking classified information; but lying to authorities and obstruction of justice, well that was another story. When the good guys couldn’t get Al Capone on more serious charges, they settled for tax evasion. And fairly routinely, when prosecutors think they can’t convict on something like insider trading, they may decide to indict for perjury instead. Buzzy’s case would probably be no different. So I decided to make things just a little bit easier for the prosecutors. In short, I set my old “friend” up.
Here’s how. I work at the CIA in a research center where scientists are fine-tuning a memory-altering drug causing subjects to have short-term (one dose lasts for 72 hours) memory problems. Subjects have poor recall of past happenings, although in other ways the poor slobs seem to be perfectly normal. I found out the dates when Buzzy would be formally interviewed by the investigators and made my plans.
Everything worked like a charm. It was a fairly simple matter to steal a dosage of the drug. And slipping it to Buzzy? Not a problem. He’s a creature of habit, and Monday to Friday he always starts his day with an early breakfast at a Starbucks near his home. So that’s where I, too, started my day on the first day of his formal interrogation. A staged “collision” as he picked up his order at the counter, and we were in business. A quick “Hi, how you’ve been?” and I was able to slip the drug into his orange juice. Eureka! No wonder his answers to the prosecutors later that day and in the next two days were muddled and simply wrong. In the interviews, “I don’t recall” must have been an oft-repeated response; with that drug in his system, how could he recall much of anything?
Psychologists would probably say that a middle-aged man like me should have dealt with the Buzzy incident a long time ago and then moved on. I have an answer for them. I’ve learned to deal with it just fine and have bided my time in taking revenge. It’s been said, after all, that revenge is a dish best served cold.
The perky, pony-tailed waitress brings my order, and I play “Earth Angel” on the tabletop jukebox. Money well spent. Where else but Johnny Rockets can you be transported to ecstasy for such a small sum? And it’s a feeling that only gets better when I take my first bite of the juicy cheeseburger, and I think about the reaction of Washington and the entire nation to Buzzy’s sentencing today. Some think justice has been served, some say no. Talking heads on all the news channels are giving their views as if they were gospel. Too bad they don’t know what they’re talking about. What a buzz it gives me to know that I’m the only one who knows the real reason Buzzy will be heading off to jail.
Lady Justice should be bowing her head in shame, I think gleefully a little while later, as I turn my attention to dessert options.
I feel sad for a moment listening to the current jukebox offering, “My Special Angel.” That was what my girlfriend and I were dancing to so many years ago when I spotted Buzzy staring at us from across the room. When the next song started, he came over and asked her to dance. That was how it all began. That was how it all ended – at least for me.
My mood improves a few minutes later when “Blue Moon” plays on the jukebox. But I’m not really totally into it. I’m previewing in my mind the happy day when they come for Buzzy to take him off to jail. The tune that’s playing and re-playing in my head is the song from the TV show Cops. You know, the one that goes: “Bad Boy, Bad Boy, Whatcha Gonna Do? Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?”
Buzzy Bennett was a bad boy when he was 16. Now he’ll pay for it. In spades. Maybe the Lord has made this day after all.
But wait! What’s the loudmouth in the next booth talking about? I hear the name Buzzy Bennett and my ears perk up. The guy continues in his booming voice: “Yep, it happened just an hour ago. The president said he was pardoning good ole Buzzy. He won’t be spending a day in jail.”
What? The news takes my breath away. Not a day in jail. After being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice? To say nothing of what he did to me years ago. This is an outrage.
Not a day that the Lord has made after all. At least not for me, that is. He must have made it for that bum Buzzy Bennett. Let HIM rejoice and be glad.
Me, I’m going to order myself a brownie with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. With a mocha shake on the side to wash it down. I deserve a treat; and besides, I need some fuel for thinking up another plot of revenge and payback.
Bad Boy isn’t out of the woods yet. No siree. Not by a long shot.
Check out another of Gail’s short stories here in KRL, The Kindle Did It.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.