I get out of my sedan. I pop the trunk, getting the bag of groceries out.
Shutting the trunk, I approach the house. This is ridiculous. I'm coming home. This should be my chance to relax.
On auto-pilot, I walk the perimeter. I hear nothing.
Entering my home, listening again, I hear muffled noise, but it's what's acceptable.
I set the groceries down when my phone beeps.
Sighing, I pull the phone from my pocket. A text, from an unknown number.
"Hasn't paid. Send right hand."
Damn. I wanted to watch TV.
Grudgingly, I respond.
Fuck it. I'm putting my groceries away.
I finish, considering a beer. Nah...I should get to work. I'll enjoy it more when I'm not distracted.
I make my way to the basement. Unlocking the heavy door, I wince as screams hit me full volume.
The woman, (Amber? Angela? I don't remember) tied up on the mattress, was screaming. She'd gotten the tape off her mouth. An annoyance, but expected.
Right hand? Seriously? Why not feet? I could've done that without adjusting her bonds.
Screams, threats, pleadings, fell on uninterested ears. I dragged a chair fitted with restraints over to the mattress. Days past I would have made bad jokes, threats, jeers.
Now I just wanted to get back to Netflix.
I put the well-used tarp under. She saw bloodstains on it and started wailing. Wasn't the first time.
Finally, I went over to her, staring for a second.
"Come on...let's go..." I said disinterestedly. Hauling her up, my 280 frame easily handling her 105, I set her in the chair and began adjusting the bonds.
She played weak, and when thinking I was distracted, went for my eyes. Maybe something she learned from some self-defense seminar. Tired, I easily swatted her attack away and secured her.
I looked at my tools. A year ago, I would have savored the screams and gone for a hacksaw. Slow. Meticulous.
Grabbing the hatchet, without pause, without fanfare, I walked back to her and slammed it down. One stroke, one severed hand.
I still cringe at the change of pitch that screams take when someone loses a body part. It's pretty shrill.
With practiced precision of a hundred amputations, I put a tourniquet on. The blood stops quickly. I decide to leave her in the chair.
I pick up the hand, placing it an appropriately sized box. I walk upstairs, seal the box, and place it on my porch.
20 minutes later, watching reruns, I hear shuffling outside my porch. A quick two rap knock tells me the package was picked up.
Minutes later, my phone beeps. $2,000 has been deposited into my account.
I used to believe in the saying "Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." But damn, when your hobbies become your job, they're no longer relaxing.
Oh, good, the screams stopped. I change to a nature channel. Something catches my eye.
Maybe I'll take up kayaking.