He was sat across from her, easy like Sunday morning. Black suit. Politically correct bow tie. Dimples. Robert Downey Jnr-ish beards. She wondered, not for the first time, why he was still in the ‘singles market’.
He, on the other hand, was preoccupied with trying to chew in as civil a manner as possible. It wouldn’t do to make a faux pas. He knew her social crowd. The “yes, please, and thank you” and the “just a soupçon of garlic, Monsieur Goulash” crowd. No. It wouldn’t do to make a faux pas at all.
“Do you spit or swallow?”
He choked on his veal. Mini-tears sprang to his eyes, and he blushed as much as his black skin would allow.
“Sorry. I beg your pardon. I didn’t quite hear what you said…” he trailed off.
“Your wine tasting. Do you spit or swallow?” she asked sweetly again.
These tush people will not kill me, he thought. “I swallow, of course. How about you, Victoria?”
“I spit. And I do not allow the wine stay a fraction longer than it takes to appreciate the flavors and richness.”
“Oh,” he said, unsure of what to say next. “Why’s that?”
She laughed again. It was reminiscent of playground chuckles. “I’m just a social snob.”
You know this, he thought. What you need is a long, hard –
“You thought I was referring to blowjobs, didn’t you?”
For the second time that evening, his cheek skin attempted the impossible feat of blushing.
“Of course not,” he deadpanned.
She laughed again. She was hysterical. “You did. Admit it.”
“Okay,” he allowed himself an easy chuckle, even though it felt like Dwayne Johnson was reaching down his throat. “Maybe I did. A little. What does that make me?”
“A man,” she said. Her face was straight.
“A what? You sexist, you!”
“I know!” and she threw up her hands in laughter.
This babe has drunk too much, he thought with much consternation. He didn’t like the looks their table was receiving.
“Did you notice…there are no Nigerian serial killers?” she asked, out of the blue.
His surprise registered immediately. Where did that come from?
“No. I never really thought of it. But now that you mention it…”
“Technically, Clifford Orji was a serial killer.”
She laughed again. The laughter was beginning to irritate him. And it wasn’t even 9:00 pm yet. New record.
“Clifford Orji was a human parts dealer. Hardly a serial killer,” she sighed. “He had strong political connections too, I heard. Like, he was the departmental store of body parts for essential power-retaining rituals.”
He chuckled. “I hear what you’re saying Victoria. Still…to actually procure his prey, he had to use the basic serial killer techniques, I expect.”
“Basic serial killer techniques? What would you know about those?”
I dey jack novel. I dey wash feem. Which kain kweshun you come dey ask? “Ah. I have my ways…” he winked conspirationally.
She leaned back in her chair and raised an eyebrow. “Hm. I’ll bite. What are the basic serial killer techniques?”
He smiled. Time to go in for the kill. “Identify. Befriend. Alienate. Terminate. The IBAT principle.”
She cackled. “You totally made that up just now!”
He smiled. You have no idea, Miss. “No, I did not.”
“You definitely did. I saw you pause to think up the acronym when you were done.” Her eyes drooped monentarily, but she recovered quickly enough.
Clever. “You never know. Like Clifford, I may right now be refining my hunt.”
“Oh? And I suppose I am your prey, being female and by default in the vulnerable demographic, eh?”
He laughed. “Precisely so. I am currently in the Befriend phase with you, although as we speak, we may be shifting gears into the Alienate phase.”
“Oh?” she said again. “I seem to have missed the Identify phase. How did I become a suitable target in the sea of defenseless females all around Abuja? Surely, some more ‘eligible’ should have caught your eye?” Her eyes dipped again.
“Ah, don’t demean yourself, Victoria. You live in a hotel. Sheraton. You never get any visitors. Estranged from your father. Your mother’s dead. You own your own business. You keep a low profile. The paparazzi doesn’t know what you look like. You are popular, but invisible. Now, why would a serial killer looking to kill himself some popular chicks without being spotted too soon pass up on that buffet?”
She was stunned, he noticed. Good.
“Okay. I’ll bite. So you want to add me to your ‘collection’, and we are well acquainted. So we’re almost past your befriend phase, right? I mean, we’re probably going to end up fucking tonight in your room, are we not?”
I take it back. This chick is not gold. She’s priceless. “Yes. The rules dictate that we should be in the alienate phase right now…”
“…I don’t feel pretty much alienated right now.”
“Oh, but you are. You called your hotel to tell them you’ll be arriving late tonight, because I told you the restaurant had changed our dinner time. We signed our names here as Mr. and Mrs. Chibueze. As far as this restaurant is concerned, you are my wife. As far as I am concerned, how can you be sure you know my real name?“
He could see the first tendrils of fear twisting round her heart. Brilliant.
To her credit, she didn’t pick her keys off the table and run squealing off. She had a glint in her eye, even though her lips trembled a little.
“So what now? Wait. Am I…am I drunk?” she whispered, but her words still came out slurred.
“Your drink. I spiked it with Rohypnol. You should go under in a few seconds.”
“You…bastard.” Her head lolled to the side, and she regained composure momentarily. Without warning, she fell forward, upsetting her half empty plate.
The waiter came rushing over.
The man smiled. “Sorry about that. Well this is embarrassing – my wife – she has had too much wine.”
The waiter smiled in understanding, and helped the man hoist his ‘wife’ up and out of the restaurant.
When they got to the car, he tipped the waiter and delicately arranged his ‘wife’ in the front seat. She was drooling on her own shoulder.
He sat at the driver’s seat. The key was in the ignition. The car was idling. But he had one more journal entry to make.
Opening the pigeonhole, he retrieved a leather bound diary.
On it was written:
Pen poised over the journal, he looked at the woman at the other side. God, she is so beautiful. So perfect.
Terminate. In progress.
The car came to life.