“This has every earmark of Seattle.”
Chris asked, “what about Seattle?” Floyd said, “a couple of years ago, something similar happened. Killers were being killed and if I recall, they were all snuffed out at two in the morning. There was the mention of some beautiful blonde, although it was never really confirmed. Actually, everyone thought she was made up by the press to make it sound more romantic or some bullshit like that. The Seattle times dubbed the killer ‘The Hand of Justice’.”
“So you think this is a copycat?” asked Gary. Floyd said, “I don’t know. I know they never caught whoever it was. The killing just stopped one day. The task force suspected that he or she tried to exact revenge on the wrong person and the tables were turned, or they simply left town before they got caught.”
Gary said, “do you think they thought it was a woman?” Floyd said, “I don’t know. I kind of doubt it.” Gary was smiling when he said, “still, there’s something a little poetic about ‘The Hand of Justice,’ though, isn’t there? And it could have been a woman. There’s more than a few women out there with hands filthy from murder. It doesn’t make it right, but it sure makes it even.”
Richie said, “let’s let this go for a while. Tomorrow I’m going to barbeque a pig, and I want all of you to come by.” He surprised Maude when he asked, “you working tomorrow?” Maude answered that she wasn’t, but was thinking about making a trip. “Trip to where?” Richie asked. He didn’t give her a chance to answer. He just said authoritatively, “postpone your trip and come on over. You’ve become a kind of fixture in our lives, listening to our stories, making sure our coffee cups are full, and laughing at our corny jokes. You need to come.” Maude wondered why they would want an old, overweight waitress to hang out with them. She hadn’t been invited to Garys’ baby shower, although she had sent a gift.
Even Chris chimed in and told her that she should come. “We like you Maude,” he said. “You’re a real character.”
Maude had noticed that Chris seemed to be making a concerted effort to be nicer, much like the old Chris she had liked so much before. He even offered to come get her. “I’ll pick you up in my cruiser,” he said, “and we’ll light her up on the way.” She thanked all of them, smiled and said she would certainly give it some thought.
But she knew that she wouldn’t be giving it any thought, because she didn’t intend to go. She was going somewhere, but it was not to a barbeque. She appreciated the invitation and the inclusion into their world and she was going to miss her “boys.”
That night, Maude slowly walked up the stairs to her tiny, dingy apartment, unlocked the door and went in. She checked the ticket in her purse, and then took out the napkin the lonesome dove had doodled on. She read the hidden word to herself, and smiled. Then she lit a match, and watched the napkin slowly burn.”
She put her glasses on the table, kicked off her shoes and reached behind her back for the loop attached to the zipper of her custom made fat suit. Next, off came the wrinkled, rubber mask that took more than two hours to glue on, and less than five seconds to peel off.
As she walked into the bathroom, she placed the grey curly wig on its stand. She pulled back the curtain, turned on the water and a beautiful, willowy blonde stepped into the shower.