Watch Your Back, flash fiction by Pauline Milner at

Watch Your Back

Watch Your Back

written by: Pauline Milner



Everyone has a niche. Mine just happens to be watching a person writhe in pain before they die.

As I stand here on this deserted street the fog has crept in and I pull up my coat collar in response to the dampness. It won’t be a long wait. Alex Mason will be passing by in just a few minutes, taking his normal route home after his shift at Shekel’s. I know because I have been stalking him for weeks.

This is my typical MO, though the time it takes to find the right victim, always in a new city, can be the longest part of my mission. I seek out the assholes; the ones who are hostile to teenagers working the counter at a fast food joint, yell obscenities at others, and routinely harass people. These stains on society need to be taken out and endure some suffering of their own.

In the distance, I hear footsteps and I push myself further back against the alcove of bushes. Mason’s about to find out what his punishment is for telling a young kid to fuck off when she accidentally bumped into him and for spitting on a homeless person asking for change on their usual corner.

I rub the syringe in my hand with my thumb—almost ShowTime. As Mason passes, I step in behind him. This has to happen quickly before he stops to check and see who is following him. In one choreographed motion, my left arm goes around his throat while my right-hand plunges the needle into his neck. He jerks a couple of times before I drop him and the agony begins. Potassium chloride burns his veins on the way to his heart and before this episode is over he will try to scream, twist in pain, and claw at his neck. His eyes may meet mine, if only for a second, as I am enjoying the show.

Within a few short minutes, Mason is still, and the look of terror remains evident on his face. I step over his body and make my way south toward the mall parking lot where I left my motor home.

I am not playing God and I did not plan on growing up to be a murderer. First of all, for all the plebeians who really think there is a big guy up there in the sky with his hands on the controls of everything. Bullshit. You are chasing a fairy tale because God would not let little kids be sexually abused and people be blown up by suicide bombers. Secondly, for everyone who believes we are all born equal and can be what we want in life, you are living in fantasyland. Do you think that guy who picks up your garbage really aspired to that job?

In my house, kids were punching bags and chore-masters and anything else my parents wanted us to be. My sister grew up to be a habitual drug user and is probably still shooting meth into her veins. Me? I got lucky as the one with brains and a particular penchant for economics. You would think I would be an executive with a corner office, a wife, and two kids but it didn’t happen because I ended up with a different fate.

My friends thought it was cool when I brought a frog to school and laughed as I tore its legs off and watched it bleed to death. When my father told me to get rid of my sister’s guinea pig because she wasn’t taking care of it, I shot it in the head with my BB gun until it died. I was in control of their deaths and it’s not my fault that I liked it. I also pounded the face of Freddy Moore until it was a bloody pulp of a mess but he never called me a freak again.

One thing I never did unless I absolutely had to spend money. My parents didn’t notice or didn’t care when they got no change after I did errands. I took every shift I could at the local pharmacy stocking shelves and spent evenings manning the canteen at the ball field. Every Christmas and Birthday card that had money in it went right into my war chest.

I had studied the stock market for years. As soon as I turned 18, I put a good chunk of change into a small start-up that was building personal computers. When Nanopriv Corporation blew up, I got out with enough money to support myself. I also said goodbye to my hometown.

Sitting at a campsite in my motor home, for two days I had to listen to the prick two spaces over scream at his wife and smack her around. Something stirred in me and that something led me to where I am today.

Since no one has my fingerprints or a sample of my DNA, I haven’t been too worried about getting caught, but I do keep that spare syringe in case the police ever come calling. I know it will only be a few minutes of excruciating pain before the end.

You have to like people to do what I do. Sitting and watching all day. Picking out the one who needs to be erased. Following them for days, sometimes weeks, to find the place where their reckoning will come. I have been lucky so far, eighteen and counting.

When I reach my motor home, there is no one around. I decide to cop a few zzz’s before I head out. My next city will be another state away. A long drive and a lot of time to think.

I can’t fathom ever stopping unless, of course, I have to be the orchestrator of my own ending. Killing is orgasmic for me.

You don’t have to worry about being my next victim but if you aren’t minding your P’s and Q’s, watch your back.

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