Mortimer was sweeping the carport as Wilbur arrived to begin their afternoon adventure. Mortimer kept his mobile home pad spotless, and was a very well respected member of his senior citizen homeowner association. After serving in two wars, raising five kids, and dedicating a career to a farm in the Midwest, he relished retirement in the warmth of the desert. He now had the time to feed his own wants and needs, although he had added a new hobby-murder.
“Come on, Mortimer, throw your clubs in the back.” Wilbur said from the drivers seat, “Mary’s not home, is she?”
“No, and I’m moving as I fast as I want to. There’s no need to be impatient. We are retired, you know.”
“I know, I know, I have a surprise for you, that's all.”
“A surprise? Wilbur, have you gotten another one already?”
“Just hurry up and get in and I’ll tell you about it.”
Mortimer closed both the door to the camper shell and the tail gate before settling up front of the full sized four wheel desert truck.
“Well, what happened?”
“Last night I went to the complex real late, about 1:30. I couldn’t sleep with the nightmares and all. Anyway, this guy comes bursting into the front gate, about scaring me half to death, and he’s dragging this woman -- a bigger kinda woman -- and he tries to get the door open, but that double dead bolt we put in there really held up good, I tell ya, and well, they are both dead now,”
“Honestly, Wilbur, you have to find yourself someone or something to occupy a little more of your time. It’s no good to be doing something because of sheer boredom. I thought we had a reason for this killing. I thought what we are doing is a worthy cause followed up by gallant acts of selective elimination.”
“Now you just wait one cotton pickin' minute, don’t you be insinuating I killed that poor girl who was trounced by that man -- she was already dead. I only killed him, but now we got two bodies.”
“I didn’t say anything of the kind. Besides, what could you have done? You said she was already dead, and that man implicated himself by his actions. It’s just that you’ve been going out on your own a lot lately. Why, you’ve buried three out on your place all on your own. We had a plan, remember?"
“Mort, we both know I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you, and all these people deserved it. If your worried I’m going over the edge and becoming a twisted psychopath who gets a thrill over killing things, you better just come out and say it.”
They caught eyes as the traffic allowed, attempting to confirm their faith in each other, even though Mortimer was a bit unsure of his relatively new friend.
“Hell, no Wil, you just told me no more without talking to me first, but the circumstances warranted it, how’d it happen?”
“Well, through the peephole I saw him look back at the door when I unlocked the first dead bolt, so I just opened the door and waited behind it for his investigation, and when he entered, I gave him the shovel in the head.”
“Not too bad. Nothing a little soap and water won’t clean up. When did you tell Mary you would be home?”
“I wasn’t too specific, so sometime before dark. She knows I like to go out to your place, and she has that pottery class, so she won’t worry. Besides I always could tell her we had to check on our properties. She likes being able to brag to her friends how we own rental properties. Those living on Social Security sure get riled.”
Laughter filled the truck as they approached their destination -- Verde Villas, phase 3. Neither green or containing villas, Verde Villas (all phases) is a multi-unit condominium development built in the 1970s which has undergone an image change since it’s birth. Once containing college students and young families, it is now a drug infested no mans land sitting on the borders of two cities, and the edge of a true slum. As the nature of Verde Villas changed, so did the notion of individual owners. Prices plummeted, and now a few individuals own the majority of the thousands of units. Mortimer and Wilbur are two of them. They make decent money charging rent, yet there is one unit which remains in their use.
“Let’s go upstairs, I put them both in the tub to drain.” Wilbur said as he headed for the stairs.
“They smell already, Wilbur, we should get them out of here today.”
“But they aren’t taking the carpet out of 4625 E. Wood until Wednesday. How are we going to manage unnoticed?” Wilbur said as they reached the bathroom.
“Maybe we can get him to move his schedule up two days and do it tomorrow. We can blame it on a renter, and pay him extra. Manny asks no questions when more money is involved.” Mortimer stopped in his tracks.
“By God, Wilbur, he’s a white man. And, he doesn’t’ even look like a drug addict, he looks like my insurance agent. What have you done! We are going to get caught.”
“Nonesense. I thought of that already. He is obviously not from this neighborhood, and from the ring on his finger, he’s married. So, if anyone wants to look for him, they won’t look here. I’m sure his wife didn’t know he was here.”
“Will you stop saying nonesense, it drives me crazy, and I don’t know about this, someone always misses a white man. Especially his wife. We were supposed to be selective, what happened, again, why did you decide to do it?”
“I already told you, he was a murderer. He deserved it.” Wilbur said coldly, and it scared Mortimer as he had been scared during the war. And, now, like then, he found it much easier to accept than question. And much easier not to confront his new friend.
“Well, what’s done is done, you still think we can get 18 holes in?” Mortimer shifted. “Open the window in the small bedroom a crack, it might help the smell from seepin’ through the walls. Maybe the golf course can get this smell out of my nose.”
“Well that's the spirit, Mortimer. Can you believe I got two at once and all I had to do was get one in the head with a shovel. It doesn’t get any more satisfying than that.”