On the Dotted Line

by KT Pinto

 

People never read what they are signing anymore. With the influx of internet disclaimers and contracts, people have just gotten into the habit of signing anything that’s put in front of them.

So I ask you, why not take advantage of it?

It’s pretty simple: you just slip in that extra piece of paper with the confirmation slip and the credit card application and you now have written permission to kill them.

It’s hokey, I know. I mean, we could kill them without their permission, but it’s such a rush to see their faces blanch when you show them their signature on the paperwork. Their whole lives flashing before their eyes as they realize that they wouldn’t be in this predicament if they had only read the form before they signed it…

We take our turns killing the customers. Since we’re a small garage it would be wrong for only a select few of us to get that rush. We keep track of our kills on a board in the office; we can’t kill indiscriminately or often, otherwise someone might catch on.

We each have our favorite types of victims:

Brady hunts the storytellers. You know, the ones who have to tell you how they got up early in the morning to take their dog to the vet, because the dog’s nose was dry and he was sluggish, and neither of them wanted to go out in the snow, but the vet was nice enough to fit them into his schedule, etc, instead of just saying that their battery was dead.

Linda likes to take the condescending men—the ones who call her “dear” and talk like she couldn’t possibly know the difference between an idler arm and a ball joint.

Jerry likes to spill foreign blood. It doesn’t matter what country they’re from, as long as it’s obvious that English isn’t their first language.

Roam takes on the P.I.T.A.s—you know them as the Pains in the Asses—the customers who keep bugging us every five minutes, wanting to know why their car isn’t in the garage yet; why cars that are getting an oil change are out faster then their car, when they’re getting a full brake job; why their size 20 tires are so much more expensive then the size 13s in the paper…

Mike kills old people. This brings up questions from us about any paternal issues he may have, but he gets people to sign up for credit cards, so we let this slide.

I personally kill women—the mousy ones that have to call their husbands for every little thing, or the ones that try to bond with me with comments like “This is something that only men are really interested in, don’t you agree?” I cringe at the thought that I am the same gender as these creatures.

It’s usually easy to pick who our next victim is going to be. There’s always one “shining star” who aggravates one of us to the point that we have to go out into the garage and have ourselves a good scream. If it happens to be that person’s turn to pick a victim, then that customer is asked to sign three forms when he pays: the pick-up slip, the preferred customer card, and the special pink slip, all of which we keep. We then take a coded sticker off of the pink form and put it on their receipt.

That innocuous little sticker contains a tiny GPS homing device that our resident techno-geek designed. We realized that we needed this particular toy after we tracked one of our would-be victims to an apartment complex—and lost the trail. This sticker helps us track our prey right into their home. It’s very rare that someone would leave their receipt in the car, since most people rely on the misguided belief that we are responsible for monitoring every bit of work that they’ve had done at our garage. So, the receipt gets brought into the house and put in a pile with overdue bills and memos from work.

Then we hunt.

Most people are simple creatures of habit. They go home; they eat; they watch TV… then they hear a noise outside… and they go to investigate.

The scenario changes from there, depending on who comes outside, but the ending is always the same:

Blood.

Guts.

Death.

And, sometimes, we get a nice car for the mechanics to chop up and sell for parts.

My favorite kill was the woman who had more plastic in her than Barbie. Her nails were long to the point of uselessness; her cheeks and chin were obvious implants; her lips looked like a hive of bees had stung her.

And she was as dumb as a box of hammers. She came into the garage in her spiked heels, her hair sprayed high, and her breasts looking like two beach balls pushing their way out of her shirt.

And, of course, she walked right over to me.

“I need tires,” she said, inhaling deeply as Tony walked past with another customer.

“OK,” I replied, already knowing how this conversation was going to go. “Do you know what size tires you need?”

“No,” she giggled, putting her hand on my shoulder. “Women aren’t supposed to know things like that.”

Stepping out of her reach, I asked, “What kind of car do you have?”

Maybe it’s just me, but that shouldn’t be a stumper.

We finally walked out to the car. It was one of those German luxury cars that hardly ever sees the road.

I measured the depth of the tread on her tires and tried to explain why her tires were wearing unevenly.

She giggled again and said that it was all just too complicated for her.

So then I gave her the price of the tires, with all the labor costs.

“Do I really need the alignment?”

So I again explained to her why her tires were wearing unevenly.

“Do I really need the balancing?”

“Unless you want the car to vibrate.”

“My car doesn’t vibrate.”

“Because your tires are balanced.”

“So why do I need to balance them again?”

Grrrrrr. “Because you’re getting new tires.”

“Don’t they come balanced?”

“When you pay for balancing, they do.”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s all so complicated! How do you remember all of this?”

I held back the urge to say “because I have a brain”.

Ironically, stupid people tend to understand when they’re being insulted.

The rest of the conversation consisted of her rambling about the amount of time four tires and an alignment was going to take, because she had a nail and tanning appointment in a few hours, and couldn’t we push things along.

I never understood this logic. Why in the world would you want the people who are working on your car to rush through their job? Would you want a doctor to rush through your bypass?

I told her I couldn’t guarantee the time, but told her that she could take the shuttle and come back after she was through with her appointments to pick up the car. As I was explaining this, I saw her reading the work order closely; I hoped that the words weren’t too big for her to understand. I knew the question that was going to come next.

“I have to pay for the labor?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, pulling out the pink form for her to sign.

“I don’t understand that.”

“Ma’am, would you do your job if you weren’t getting paid for it?”

She laughed. “Oh, I don’t work!”

Of course not.

When I finally convinced her that our mechanics don’t fix cars out of the kindness of their hearts, she agreed to the whole thing and went on her way.

Then we went to work.

Based on the address she gave us, we knew that she lived in a middle-class neighborhood where the houses tried to look pretentious even though they only took up part of a city lot and boasted a postage-stamp sized lawn. We knew the best time to arrive on a block like that was between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, when dinner was finished, the kids were being tucked in, and the evening line-ups were just beginning.

So, at 8:47 that night, our inconspicuous mini-van pulled up across from her house. (The company owned five mini-vans, each registered to a different dummy corporation in Asia.) The one we were in was blue with a dent in the front bumper and a “My kid’s an honor student” sticker on the back.

That night it was me, Roam, and Jerry, with Tony driving. Roam scanned the house with his night vision goggles. “There’s only one human in the house.”

“Oh good,” I drawled, “So we don’t have to bring our alien gear this time?”

He made a face at me. “I meant as opposed to pets.”

“Is that what you meant?”

“Is it our target?” Jerry asked.

I looked through the regular binoculars. “Yep. That’s her in all of her plastic glory.”

“How do we know she’s not waiting for her hubby to come home?”

“Easy,” Krantz said from the back of the van; sometimes we forget about Krantz. We heard a couple of taps on his laptop before he spoke again. “According to her tax returns, she’s single… and her on-line date book has nothing scheduled for tonight. There are also no reservations listed in her name anywhere in the tri-state area.”

“What about phone calls?”

Krantz shook his head. “Nothing of note, and her blog is coming up with nothing either.”

“OK then,” I said, slipping my mask on, “Let’s have some fun.”

* * * * *

She woke up bound and gagged in the tire room of our |garage. We were all there; it’s like a little party when we make a kill, even down to the munchies and beer.

I walked over to her, pressing a long, thin blade against her cheek. “Now, if I take the gag out, and you scream, then you will lose your nose. Understood?”

She nodded.

I pulled off the gag and watched her rubbery lips quiver with fear. “What are you going to do to me?” she asked.

“Oh, we’re going to kill you,” I replied with a smile, “After a long, painful torture session, of course.”

Her eyes welled up with tears and I cringed. The bitch had contacts. I hate it when they have contacts. “I don’t understand…”

“And that’s your problem,” I snapped, “You don’t understand a damn thing. Everything is too difficult for you to grasp. You depend on all of this phony crap. This hair, those breasts… it’s all fake. It’s time for us to meet the real you.”

“What… what do you mean?”

“Wow! You are thick!” I shook my head as the group laughed behind me. “We’re going to take you apart. We’re going to cut away all the plastic until all that’s left is skin and bones… so to speak.”

I grabbed her arm, cut her bonds, and wrenched her hand in the air, causing a sickening popping sound as her shoulder dislocated. “Who wants the nails?”

Mike waved his hand in the air, as if he were still in school. I had known he was going to volunteer. Mike collects nails. He keeps them in shoe boxes under his bed. We’ve told him that keeping trophies like that was not a good idea—especially when he keeps the ones with skin still attached.

If he doesn’t start listening to us, Mike is going to have to go.

He came over with his silver-plated pliers and sat on her lap, leaning back on her so she couldn’t struggle as much. Then he started to rip her fake nails off, causing her to scream into his back as her real nails came off with them. He dropped each bloody tip into a plastic bag, sealed it shut when he had all ten, then walked over to a dark corner to admire his new prizes.

By now the girl was blubbering, her fake lips moving like a bleeding gash across her face. I found the irony interesting. The simile made me think of Nick; I called him over. Nick was new to our sales team, and had an affinity for scissors. He sat on her lap, facing her, and showed her a pair of tongs.

“Someone grab her hair,” he growled. Tony stepped forward, took hold of her hair at the crown of her head, and pulled her head back. Tony’s a good egg. He’s not really into the maiming and killing, but he helps out when he can.

So Nick, with the tongs holding the upper lip out, slowly cut the woman’s puffy mouth off of her face. Blood poured from her face as she tried to turn away, but Tony held her fast, and the lower lip came off just as easily as the upper one.

Nick dropped the lip on the floor, then wiped his scissors off on her silk shirt and stood. “Thanks, Tony.”

“Anytime.”

While Nick worked, I had noticed Brady starting to fidget. Brady is a breast man: he enjoys cutting open women’s breasts and finding out what’s inside. This woman’s breasts fascinated the fuck out of him. I was surprised he was able to hold out as long as he did.

So when Nick left the unconscious, lipless woman slumped in the chair, it didn’t surprise me that Brady stepped forward. He leaned towards her, resting his hand on the back of her chair, and slapped her over and over again, leaving gashes on her cheeks from his ring.

“Wake up,” he purred, ripping her shirt opened, “the fun isn’t over yet.”

Before she became fully conscious, he pulled out a professional looking scalpel and plunged it into her left breast, cutting through the skin like it was butter.

She screamed, loud and long. The thing was, our tire room was in the sub-basement of an old bomb shelter, so she could scream as much as she wanted. Our closest neighbors, three miles away in any direction, were not going to hear her. Roam had the DJ turn up the music. Nothing kills a party like a woman screaming her head off.

Brady stuck his hand into her breast like a kid cleaning the guts out of a pumpkin. Blood cascaded from her chest as he dug inside until he found what he was looking for.

The wobbly implant was streaked with blood and other things, and Brady felt the weight of it in the palm of his hand before hurling it across the room, where it made a satisfying splat against the wall.

He then dug for the other one. The woman had passed out again; Brady didn’t seem to notice as he pulled out his second prize. This one he cut opened and squeezed the goop out of it, letting it pour down his arm. He stared at his arm for a few moments with a small smile on his face before he stepped away.

Disgusted with how weak she was, I plunged a needle into her arm, making sure she’d stay awake until the very end. “Who’s next?”

There was a rustle through the group—what part of her should be the next to come off?

“Hey Jerry,” I said as I discarded the needle and got a drink from the punch bowl, “she’s wearing contacts.”

I walked back to the woman with Jerry in tow, watching as she tried to form words with her lipless mouth.

“Why me?” she finally managed.

I smiled sweetly and held up the pink form. “Why? Because you gave us permission to do so. ‘I, the undersigned, give Kear’s Tire and Auto permission to torture and kill me by any means they deem necessary… blah blah blah… give my car to Kear’s to be dismantled… blah blah blah… and have my body incinerated in the furnace.’ And look, right there is your signature.”

Her eyes widened in shock and tears started running down her bloodied cheeks “I didn’t know,” she croaked, “I didn’t read it…”

“That’s really none of my concern,” I answered, “I would say you are now finally seeing the error of your ways, but that would be too cruel, even for me…”

I stepped back as Jerry walked to the girl, holding something that looked like small, flat salad spoons. I turned away. Eyes creep me out, so much so that I won’t even wear contacts. I avoid the eye doctor as much as I can. Just the thought of the grape-like texture and fragility of eyeballs makes me cringe. And now Jerry was going to slide those little disks into her eye sockets and rip the orbs out, holding them gently between the disks so they won’t splatter like her implants did.

What he did with them after that, I didn’t want to know. Roam told me that Jerry made a tasty stew out of them. Linda says Roam is crazy—he only uses the eyeballs to make a broth, then tosses them away. Mike believes that Jerry eats them whole, popping them in his mouth and savoring the juicy middle like it’s a chocolate-covered cherry.

Mike worries me.

I know you’re wondering why I hadn’t done anything at this point besides talk. As I said before, I kill my victims; I don’t torture them. I torture Linda’s (picture a tazer and man’s most sensitive spot); I torture Roam’s and Jerry’s and Brady’s; I don’t torture Mike’s (torturing old people unnerves me). But my own victims, I just kill. I let my co-workers have their fun.

I waited for Roam to finish shaving the woman’s head, all the time whispering to her about her impending death, then stood in front of her, feeling the weight of my gun in my hand.

I’m the only one of our group that uses a gun. Brady uses a knife; Linda favors the garrote; Roam is fond of axes.

I like guns: the feel of one in my hand, the smell of a freshly cleaned and oiled piece, the sound of bullets penetrating flesh…

Roam slapped her a few times, making sure she was awake when I killed her, then walked over to Fredo—our resident DJ—who had just started the song “Last Dance”.

“Do you have to play that song every time?” Roam asked.

“You bet I do!”

I shook my head with a smile, and turned to the woman. “You can’t see this, but I have a revolver pointed right at your thick head. And, in a moment, I am going to shoot you. It’s a lovely little weapon, engraved with spiders on the handle and polished so well, it shines. But the best part, in my humble opinion is that the trigger pull on this is so smooth…”

The gun rang out three times: once for her head, once for her bosom, and once for her uterus. Those were the three places many pagans believe to be the parts that identify the woman as Goddess.

She wasn’t worthy of those parts.

The party wrapped up at that point. Charlie and George—our stock guys—turned on the hose, sending blood down the drains in the floor, while the body and the paper bag full of her hair were put on a gurney.

We have greased a lot of palms to get the permit allowing us to melt down tires on our property. That’s where the bodies go: into the fiery furnace. The temp is high enough that all that remains is ash among the melted tires, and the smell of the rubber hides any other distinctive odors.

* * * * *

We really don’t have much fear of being caught. We take back with us all of the incriminating paperwork from our victims’ homes, and our clothes, being black, tend to hide any blood spilled… unless they used the black lights and luminol.

But that means that they would have to suspect us, and what simple mechanics—who deal with a thousand customers a week—have to do with one lone woman who disappeared?

Will we ever stop? Perhaps. But why should we when fate keeps dropping stupid people right in our laps?

Stupid people who don’t read what they are signing.

So the next time you’re asked to sign something, and you jokingly comment that you’re signing your life away, don’t laugh.

You may be doing exactly that.

 

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