Suspense 2019, Special Issue, Short Stories - Bob McNeil



A Virtual Study of Real Psychosis

By Bob McNeil



William B. Reeves sits in front of his laptop computer. He goes online to a dating chat service called The Metropolitan Liaisons and types:


Anytime depression eclipses my day, your words show me a well-lit way to no worries. Thank u!


Seconds pass as he awaits a reply. A particular person will not ignore him. He reaches for a manila folder right beside his keypad. Atop of the file, a lukewarm cup of coffee sits.



Justine Issin responds: I'm happy that I can do that for u. How was ur day? More than prepared for a long night of cybering, Justine has a full pack of Par Noir Cigarettes next to her laptop.



William: Between you and me, long and depressing. Let's talk about someone important, namely u! How was ur day?



Justine: You're important, too. Well, as for me, I came home from work and watched TV, that’s all. Real exciting Friday night. LOL!1 That report about the Cyber Extirpator is really interesting, though.



William: I envy u. Work, unfortunately, keeps me away from the tube. Tell me about this Extirpator.


Justine: OMG.3 You haven’t heard. ICYMI,4 the news says the Cyber Extirpator chats, stalks and kills sexual deviants, both male and female. No sooner does Justine stub a cigarette, she puts another in her mouth.



William: Who knows, maybe the Cyber Extirpator is doing the internet a service. There are too many creeps online, if you ask me. William leafs through the file. There are pictures of a few women and men. Sandwiched between the pictures are obituaries. Slowly, he runs his fingers over Asian, Black, Hispanic and White faces. Much the same way Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer,5 fondled his souvenirs, William is doing the same to this file. It appears to be some kind of tantalizing tactile interlude. Based upon his expression, touching the images is an obsession.



Justine: I like your profile picture. You’re kinda of an Afro-Latin lover type with short, dark curly hair, muscles and brown skin. Your features, cheekbones and chin would be perfect for a soap opera actor. LOL.No, but seriously, that’s hot. I know, at least on your profile, you say that you’re single. I’m going to ask you something. Be straight with me.


William: AMA.6 Speaking of hot, those pictures of your ivory body sunbathing are awesome. And that face of yours is flawless. That body of yours should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Only problem is, you’re not here with me now. Is that cam of yours finally working? If not, you know we can video conference on our smartphones?



Justine: Not yet. Wouldn't’t you prefer to be F2F?7 Hooking up with married guys turns me on. JSYK.8 YOLO.9 So, for real, are u married or not? I just want a FB.10




William: Yeah, I’m married, not happily, though. Really, I am just a DDF11 AFC.12


Justine: Sure, I’m DDF. But, I love sin. Coveting is a sin. Sin is hot, don’t you think? NSA13. Just sex and fun.



William: If it’s a sin to hook up with a hottie like you, let me burn.



Justine: Right after we do it, you can climb into bed with your old lady. Would’t that be wicked and hot?



William: Hell, yeah. Serves her right for not servicing me. LOL.



Justine: Servicing, right. Yeah, you’re the kind of guy I like to meet. You’re a weirdo. YKIOK.14 Sex with me will be the last thing you’ll remember, trust me. Can you get away from wifey? LMK.15 Wanna beat my rug?



William: Sex with me will be the last thing u ever do of importance on this Earth. Name where you want to meet and I’ll be there. I’ll give you what your kind deserves. All I have to do is tell my wife my security company needs me.


Justine: So, you’re a guard. Come over and guard my body. NIFOC.16 Tomorrow, around 9pm, I’ll tell you what hotel to meet me at, honey. Give me your cell number. I’ll call you to confirm. AEAP.17.



William: Sure, it’s 212-601-1953. Also, for tomorrow night, what do you want me to bring, you know, something to drink, or whatever?


Justine: Bring your cock, a large box of bachelor’s tuxedos and a lot of lust, baby. Leave the rest to just Justine. I’ll give you the justice your loins deserve. Talk to you later.


End Chat.



The next day, specifically at 8:34 pm, William’s cellphone rings long and hard. Perhaps because of the room’s darkness, the phone seems louder than it is.


“Hello, Justine, is that you?”


“Yes, lover, it is.”

“Your voice is even sexier than I imagined.”


“The rest of me ain’t too bad, either. Are you up to meeting me?”


“I’d say.”


“Good. I’m in room 331 at the Kamadeva Hotel. Tell the guy at the desk that you are my guest.Say you are here to see Blayr Siren.”




“Obviously, it’s an alias. I have my secrets. You should understand that, Mr. Husband.”


“Got you. Depending on the traffic, I’ll be there in half an hour to forty-five minutes with a specific emotion in my heart.”


“It’s not your heart that I want, lover. Bye, boo.”


“I’m leaving now. See you soon, sweetheart.”


“You know, I’m waiting, lover. Come and get this broth while it’s bubbling.”



In accordance with their agreement, William knocks and calls Justine’s name. The door with the number 331 swings open. A voice whispers, “Come in.” Hesitantly, William enters. Lo and behold, from behind the door, an arm lunges towards him. Inside that moving hand is a hypodermic syringe. Wrestling with that arm and a yell for a platoon of police officers in the hallway reveals the attacker. A waxy-looking officer finds the light switch. Illumination reveals a red-haired, portly woman of forty years or more. Wearing a black negligee, the female’s age-worn body is there for all to see. Over the course of a few minutes, a crowd of policemen and women are in the room. Tools for a barbarous encounter are there as well, such as knives, rigger’s tape, rope and a silencer. Even her smartphone reveals the murderess’ preoccupation with torture videos.

“All you male monsters are the same. You marry and cheat on your wives. Some of you bring back diseases.My husband brought back a disease and my bullet cured him of it,”

Justine yells while being taken away.


Prior to her forced exit, Justine looks at William. She marvels at his real appearance as opposed to his internet profile. William’s online picture is from a time previous to the middle-aged grey strands in his Caesar haircut. Otherwise, he is still well-built. Even in the chaos of being arrested, words like “attractive” and “distinguished” dominate her mind.


Press conferences are unwatchable to William. He would sooner talk to a criminal who has a gun in hand than listen to the police commissioner. Nonetheless, opposite to his desires, there he is sitting in front of the TV. The mayor and various municipal dignitaries are on the stage not far from the podium where the pale, bald and barrel-chested commissioner stands. Half asleep, William listens to his superior go on incessantly.


The Commissioner says: “Contrary to conflicting news reports, on different occasions, three unrelated married men and three unrelated married women were murdered after sexting with a specific woman. Surveillance cameras on the streets and various hotel lobbies proved the perpetrator, Justine Issin aka Blayr Siren aka Lilith Eve aka the Cyber Extirpator, always used fake ID, phony credit cards, wore hats, Stetsons or fedoras, wigs of different colours and lengths.


Dark clothes were worn, sometimes pants suits or dresses. Resulting from these murders, Operation Night Widow started on March 11.” William’s mind takes a trek towards morbid recollections. His internal voice asks and answers itself: Matter-of-factly, how often have your eyes scanned the wounds on lifeless flesh? Such a total would make a calculator exhausted. Taking a break from his own words and thoughts, William returns to listening to the Commissioner as he explains the case:


“Each victim was kissed by the same murderess who wore thick, red lipstick. The victims were, in every case, stabbed with a hypodermic syringe filled with Etorphine. The synthetic opioid induced unconsciousness and then the assailant proceeded to batter, rape and stab the victims to death.”


Exhausted from the investigation, William just wants to sleep. Awaiting the comfort of slumber, he lets the television sedate him. Towards the end of the Commissioner’s speech, William thinks about his loneliness. Disembodied voices keep Justine company, according to some shrink’s report.But, what do I have? William thinks. Memories of the women who should have been his wife, had his career not stopped the courtships, return. They range from library-shelf-intellectual to athletic as tennis pros.


What those women have in common is intolerance for William’s obsessive need to investigate cases 24-hours a day. Devotion only gets him respect from the NYPD. A badge and various honours do not comfort him like a wife, ever. Knowledge that he, Homicide Detective William Bass Reeves, is a descendant of a legendary lawman does not produce much comfort during a lonely evening either. Also, William understands that knowing the dark net the way falcons know aerial hunting does not provide romance and passion.


Continuous sips of beer in front of the TV bring out the truth that William misses chatting online, not with Justine, per se, just in general.


My next case will delete this depression virus from my head. A case leaves no space for that virus to hide, William mutters to himself before mentally logging off.


Abbreviations: 1. LOL: Laugh out loud 2. ELI5: Explain like I'm 5 3. OMG: Oh, my God 4. ICYMI: In Case You Missed It 5. BTK Killer 6. AMA: Ask Me Anything 7. F2F: Face to face 8. JSYK: Just So You Know 9. YOLO: You only live once 10. FB: Fuck Buddy 11. DDF: Drug and Disease Free 12. AFC: Average Frustrated Chump 13. NSA: No Strings Attached 14. YKIOK: Your Kink Is OK 15. LMK: Let me know. 16. NIFOC: Naked In Front Of Computer 17. AEAP: As Early As Possible


Bob McNeil is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, Queens Poet Laureate, described the book as “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” His works was published in The Shout It Out Anthology, Brine Rights: Stanzas and Clauses for the Causes (Volume 1), San Francisco Peace and Hope, and The Self-Portrait Poetry Collection, etc. Furthermore, Bob’s work as a professional illustrator, spoken word artist, and writer is dedicated to one cause—justice.




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