Invasion of Privacy
A Novel Mur der
“I’m going to kill her today,” he said, “I’ve had her tied up in the basement for three days;
it’s time to end it.”
I couldn’t believe the man sitting behind me was talking on the phone so casually about
“No, I haven’t decided how yet, I’m going to do that now.”
When he got up to exit the bus, I decided to follow him. Maybe I could find a way to stop
his horrible plan. I studied him carefully so I’d be able to give the police an accurate description.
He appeared to be in his mid- fifties, grey hair, casually dressed in jeans and a blue sweatshirt,
nothing extraordinary about him at all.
He walked into a pawnshop and I stood outside, looking through the window. As I watched,
the clerk took a large machete out of the display case and handed it to him. Watching him swing
the deadly weapon through the air, I could just imagine the poor woman in t he basement having
her head chopped off! He handed the machete back, apparently unsatisfied, and continued
looking around the shop. He methodically checked an assortment of items: an ax, a
sledgehammer, and a large pry bar, swinging them through the air, seemingly testing their
weight. Next, he stood in front of a cabinet filled with knives and had the clerk hand him several
of them. I watched in horror as he jabbed and sliced the invisible victim in front of him.
As I watched the scene inside the store, I thought about my options. I knew I would need
more proof before the police would be able to help, but I decided to call them anyway.
“Siri, call the police,” I said nervously, as I watched the man who was now looking at guns.
“Calling police,” she responded. I detected a note of concern in her voice and probably
shouldn’t have been surprised when she asked, “Is everything all right, Stud?”
“Yes, Siri, I’m fine.” The advances they were making with the voice recognition program
“Twenty-third precinct,” said the bored voice of the desk sergeant.
“Yes, I would like to report a potential murder,” I said, and realizing how that sounded, I
added, “I mean, you know, it’s going to happen.”
“I don’t understand,” the sergeant replied, seemingly less bored, “Are you planning on
“No, there’s a man in the pawn shop, testing weapons. I heard him talking on the phone. He
has someone tied up in his basement, and he’s going to kill her.”
“Oh, I see, and what is the address of this future murder scene?” he asked, obviously amused
by my call.
“I don’t know the address yet,” I said sarcastically. “I’ll do your job for you and keep
“Sir, I don’t recommend that you follow—” I heard him say before I quickly disconnected
The man was leaving the pawnshop and I was relieved to see that he hadn’t purchased
anything. I tried to appear focused on the display in the window, but I needn’t have bothered. He