Monday, July 14, 2008

Bump ‘Em Off, Eh?

by Ben Small

We all know somebody we want to bump off. Maybe the woman who waited to get to the Exact Change toll booth today before rooting around for change. Or maybe the father who brought his six screaming kids to McDonald’s and parked them at the table next to me. I do not enjoy having to dodge flying fries while I’m trying to eat a Grease-Burger. Or what about the woman who sat next to me on my last flight? She weighed over three hundred, I’ll bet, and she’d doused herself in chemicals I’m sure the EPA have outlawed. Getting up ― no doubt so she could splash on more Skunk-Scent in the bathroom ― she rocked the seat ahead of her so hard, she gave the poor schlub sitting there whiplash. You can imagine my thoughts about her return.

Why not just bump these folks off before they become a menace to society… or more particularly… me?

The problem is: How do I get away with it? There was that famous Hitchcock play where the little ole lady bumped off her hubby with a frozen lamb shank, and then fed it to the investigating cops. But how many times can one get away with that? And how does one keep the lamb shank cold when on the road?

Last week, I spoke about the problems of using a gun. Sure, one can get around these problems. Use cotton gloves to load your bullets and fire the thing, wear long sleeve shirts, ear and eye protection, and use a drop-in barrel in a semi-auto. But that’s all so much trouble, and even so, somebody may still see or hear you plug the deceased.

Chester suggested a smudge pot. Would that be called a “Smludgeoning?” Chester, we need to explore that crime a little further. Jean suggested a bathtub drowning, but what if the offender is bigger or stronger than I am? I’m not into role reversal here. Trevanian used a credit card, but that’s close-up work – kinda messy. Charlie Chan once investigated a series of murders where the killer put venom on a needle which was inserted into a doorknob or vending machine slot, or something like that. But how practical is that, Charlie?

Maybe I need to get in touch with my feminine side. Lucrezia Borgia got a bad rep, I’m told, but she may have been on to something. I picked up Deadly Doses, a Writer’s Guide To Poisons, by Serita Deborah Stevens and Anne Klarner. Remind me not to have dinner with either of these ladies...

Seriously, a handbook of poisons should be on every murder writer’s bookshelf. All sorts of interesting info. And what could be better, if one truly has a murderous heart, but to sit and watch your target die an agonizing death? How fun! Pass the popcorn.


Chester Campbell said...

Enjoyed your parade of murder, Ben. There was more gore there than in Albert (sorry for the bad pun, but Al is a fellow Nashvillian and another former newspaper reporter). Speaking of Al, old Al Hitchcock could really spin a tale. Can't remember if I saw that one, but the leg of lamb bit was a doozy.

Anonymous said...

Serita Stevens' book DEADLY DOSES has been on my short list of indispensible writing books for several years. She did an incredible job.

I also have Dr. Lyle's FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES, which I wouldn't part with. I need to check into his web site. Thanks for the URL.

Pat Browning