Sauerkraut and Juliette
Fear, the smell and taste of fear, can be distinct. Where it may be different for everyone, I could describe my experience as unique. The pungent order of sauerkraut cooking on the stove is how I remember it. The taste, well, it nauseated me. Acrid, bitter, with a dash of pepper, made my tongue and throat burn. Ahh, but the adrenaline, is oh-so addictive.
His name was Michael. An ex-con who loved making others’ lives miserable. He lived for it. To say he picked the wrong person to stalk would be an understatement. I took action to put a stop to them after I discovered what he was doing. His cute little assistant played me right into her hands. She’d get hers too.
At first, I feared him. When I saw the degree of his spitefulness, fear permeated my senses, and infiltrated my dreams. It horrified me the way I dreamed of his demise in the most gruesome of ways. I’d awake with my heart racing, and cold sweat dripping down my back.
A simple everyday task, pulling the mail from the mailbox, would cause my hands to shake. How can someone mail that many threatening letters? It took me seven years to put up with his shenanigans. The process server, who knocked on my door this particular morning, broke the camel’s back. It was time for me to put my plan into action.
When I befriended his next-door neighbor, it became easier for my plan to work. Mr. Grumble, a hunched-over, single old man, appreciated the company and the homemade meals I prepared. I bought a blonde, curly wig and lost weight. Rented a white car, and installed security cameras, with wide lenses at the end of Mr. Grumble’s eves which faced Michael’s house. This made it look like any other house on the block.
I spent hours looking at my cell phone as I watched the asshole’s actions. It took a while, but one day he forgot to put his car in the garage, and I attached a GPS tracker under the back fender. For someone who promoted himself as a private investigator slash attorney, he was clueless about my devious plan.
Before I get ahead of myself, I want to tell you how I came about meeting his assistant, or partner in crime. She walked into my office wanting a job. Her Juvéderm lips and long bleached blonde hair didn’t distract me enough to take my eyes from her voluptuous breast, flat stomach, and butterball behind.
Her introduction mesmerized me. She extended her arm to grasp my shake, and my hand lingered a bit.
“Juliette,” she said.
“Pleasure,” I replied. Her brown eyes sparkled.
A smirk crossed her lips. Or was that how she smiled? Of course, I’m wiser now, but that’s what I thought; first impressions never lie.
I watched her mouth as she talked, not hearing what she said. Fantasies of placing those puffy lips on certain parts of my body filled my mind until I heard her say,
“Do you understand what I mean?”
My hooded eyes opened wide, and my heart raced. All I could say was, “yes, I do.”
“So, what do you say? Are you interested?” she asked.
“Yes.” I acknowledged, thinking, what the hell did I comply with?
Now, I realize my hormones were getting the best of me. And I’m positive it was part of their deceit, so I have to admit this is my fault, too.
Our relationship lasted a mere nine months, long enough for her to identify all the intimate details of my soul. Whenever we were together, or apart, I longed for her. My blood boiled with passion. And when she dropped me, I fantasized about all the nasty things I craved to do to her. A modern-day Romeo and Juliette, except we were Rhonda and Juliette.
After we parted, the bastard served me with a lawsuit. The papers stated I committed fraud when I agreed to use my name in a business transaction. Talk about extortion. Of course, all the paperwork attached was his proof that a legitimate partnership arrangement between Juliette and me existed.
A silent partner, so silent, I had no acknowledgment of him. My signature appeared on all the trade contracts. Juliette convinced me she couldn’t afford to have her name listed on the business, and Michael backed up her claim, as an attorney.
Rage built inside me. There was no reasoning with that type of resentment. It consumed you, day and night. They crushed me emotionally and financially. But I wouldn’t have it, and that’s when I devised my plan to ruin them. Blinded by my anger, I didn’t consider the consequences. She was the first to go.
One night, walking downtown enjoying a street festival, I noticed her car illegally parked. She got away with small stuff like this because she had a few cops in her back pocket and in her bed, too. I called a buddy of mine who owned a towing company in town.
Later that night, when she arrived back and searched for her Hummer, she realized they had towed it. I observed her from the restaurant across the road. Her fists clamped open and closed as she spoke on her cell phone. Yep, her bright red face showed frustration.
“Do you realize who I am?” she shouted into the phone.
I could almost hear my buddy inform her, “Lady, I don’t give a shit who you are.”
The tow guy was told to look through the console, where he would cover a wad of currency stashed in the bottom. I informed him I’d split it with him.
Uber drivers were busy, so Juliette strolled to the shop on the outskirts of town. I’m positive she thought it was a pleasant night.
I had a good deal of time to retrieve my rental pickup and followed her from a safe distance. Most of the streets were deserted, as it was past midnight. Alone, under the streetlights, I observed as she swayed her ass in rhythm to some head tune. You know, the song playing in our heads even if there is no music?
Headlights off, I eased my foot down on the accelerator and headed straight for her. I’m positive she didn’t realize what struck her. The sound of her bones snapping, and her skull squashed beneath the front driver’s side tire, continued to haunt me in my dreams. The adrenaline rushed through my torso like a powerful orgasm, and the relief was instantaneous. I headed over to my friend’s shop to pick up my payment. I earned it.
Could it be pure luck my phone app buzzed in my rear pocket minutes after counting Juliette’s hidden cash? Checking it, I saw Michael’s BMW pulling into his garage. He was alone. Perfect timing. May as well kill two birds with one stone. I headed over to his gated community.
Once inside the gates, I pulled over and grabbed my handgun case from under my seat. The silencer, easy to screw in place, made it more difficult to put in my waistband, so I carried it. It was late, and as I crept through the sparse streetlamp lighting; the odor of fear permeated my nostrils. My esophagus burned.
My hand shook as I reached for the doorbell. While I waited for the door to open, Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” began to play in my brain. Michael shouted through the door, “Who is it?”
“Mr. Grumble next door needs some help. I’m sorry to bother you this late.” The locks clacked as he unlocked the door. He won’t recognize me if I lower my baseball cap on my forehead. I raised my hand with the pistol in it and as the door opened wider, I pointed it at Michael’s forehead and squeezed the trigger. I watched as he fell backwards, suspended in time, onto his white tile floor. Thick, red blood pooled in the grout cracks.
Not conscious of holding my breath; I filled my lungs with air and let it out in spurts. Birdy number two. Glancing around, hoping no one witnessed this vile act, I turned and raced to my pickup parked down the road. God, I felt invincible. Is this how serial killers felt when they murdered someone?
The moving company placed all my belongings in storage. My landlord was notified thirty days ago of my vacating the property and wouldn’t put two and two together. There was only one object left in the garage, my bag.
I threw the rental pickup keys in the lockbox and raced through the parking lot to my automobile, sitting there for a minute to compose myself. I drove back downtown to locate a public trash can where I disposed of my cell phone. Just for giggles, I passed the road where I had run Juliette over. Yep, police tape blocked off the road and I could see all the pretty blue and red flashing lights dance along the buildings. They’d discovered her. At least she wasn’t alone for long.
As I steered my ride out of town, I threw my baseball cap and wig out the window. I headed south; I’d overheard Mexico was warm year-round. Once Juliette’s beach trailer went on the market, I purchased it with her cash. Life is peaceful here. I’ve made friends, picked up surfing the Pacific waves, and I drank beer on the shore in glass bottles.
Although, there is one thing I never do anymore…I never cook sauerkraut. And the adrenaline, well, there is a good deal of young girls here who assist me with trying to duplicate it. I learned it’s like chasing a first-time drug high. It won’t be the same as it was with Juliette.