by Linda Rodriguez
I have started a list for my future mysteries of people I want to bump off or people evil and dastardly enough to kill others. The vegan stranger who made fun of my appearance on Facebook and told me how ugly I was is going to the top of the list, supplanting the nasty young man who drove to tears a woman who gets chemo with me by calling her fat and lazy. Right behind those two is the psychopath who spread poison to try to kill my wheelchair-bound friend’s service dog. I suspect he’ll be a murderer.
Then there’s the powerful literary figure I disagreed with publicly. So many people warned me to watch my back because this person is vindictive and vicious, telling me their own terrible experiences. I can’t decide whether such a person would make a better victim—so many people with motives to kill!—or a better murderer—so Machiavellian and sadistic.
I already have planned a book that will involve a crazy, radical church group that’s really just one large, cultish family that pickets the funerals of victims of natural disasters to claim those deaths are God’s wrath on this country for not stoning gay people—and women who have abortions and women who leave their husbands. Leaders of this group will be suspects and, ultimately, perhaps victims and/or murderers.
Then there’s the guy in Accounting at my publishers who too often decides that he really doesn’t need to meet any of the contractual deadlines for my checks, although they hold me to my deadlines for manuscript and revisions/copyedits with bands of legal steel. Months go by after the payment was due, and he’s whistling around his office, happily not sending out checks to a long list of authors who were owed them months earlier when suddenly a shot rings out, breaking a window from the parking lot, and the deadbeat in Accounting is bleeding out on the floor. By the time anyone thinks to look out the window, there’s no one there. The questions for investigators are how many of the writers he was stiffing were in New York at the time and how many of the other employees he’s offended and injured professionally were in the vicinity at the time (because you know that anyone who’d treat authors that way is hell on wheels with other people, too).
Then there’s the person who sent me to a collection agency for a bill that the hospital shouldn’t have billed in the first place since everything that was supposed to be paid was paid. But they tried to get Medicare to pay for what the insurance company had disallowed as an overcharge according to their contract with that hospital, and when Medicare wouldn’t pay it (since it wasn’t a charge that should ever have gone to them), this person sent the bill to me. I called and told her this was insurance fraud they were perpetrating. She told me it was a simple mistake and to disregard it. Then she turned me over to a collection agency.
Where do you think she should go? Malevolent murder victim or vicious killer?