He stuffed the black watch cap and the coat into his safe at the office. Adjusting the placard on the front of his desk that read Joe Black, Detective, he also straightened various other police issue items there. Joe was very particular as to the arrangement of his desk and office as a whole. He was an average bodied man of fifty-five years, grey streaked black hair, developing a slight paunch from too many tavern visits, and well dressed in a dark suit for his job. Joe loved his job as a lawman, wanting to root out crime wherever he could, almost self righteous in his attitude towards ne’erdowells. He sat back in his leather seated desk chair and placed his finely polished shoes on his desk. Another job well done, he sighed in satisfaction.
Later in the evening as Joe walked home to his small apartment, he grabbed The Detroit Times evening paper and tossed a silver dollar onto the magazine vendor’s counter. “Evenin’, Joe” the vendor offered but Joe’s attention was on the headlines. WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN HAWKINS ALLEY. Joe hid his evil smile as he quickened his pace down the street to relish the news in private.
Anxious to read of his exploits, he remained true to his routine; fixing a poached egg on whole wheat toast, marmalade on the side, and two beef sausages, as he did every night of the week except Sunday. Sunday evenings he supped at his mother’s nursing home after spending an arduous afternoon listening to her ramble on about this or that, not ever making any sense to anyone but herself; but she was his mother and he was obligated.
Joe tried not to hurry his meal, but it had been a month since his last exploit so the curiosity was overwhelming. Opposite of his usual clean up, he put the dish in the sink and grabbed a beer out of the icebox. Settling into his favorite overstuffed wingback, he read the headlines again. Joe didn’t realize the look on his face as it grew from childish anticipation to evil sneer. He read the story slowly, taking in every lurid detail of the murder and it was almost a Hyde effect on his appearance, as he morphed into the man who committed the crime. His shoulders hunched, his lips in a snarl, his eyes bugged with lecherous intent. Joe relived every aspect of the crime, and was disappointed they had not printed every single detail of the act.
After reading the newspaper account repeatedly, he finally loosened his grip on the pages and his body started to relax into the usual laid back posture. Joe folded the paper carefully and neatly placed it on the end table, to be read again and again till another month had passed.
Rising from his bath, he meticulously combed his hair, shaved and put on his cotton pajamas. Rolling into bed with an air of satisfaction, he slept well, dreaming of another day of law enforcement.