So I wrote something instead. Now, to the pub with a pad.
An Instance of Excellence
by Stewart Wilson
I'd been watching them for weeks. I sat in my car or in a diner, once on a fire escape. Eight, ten, twelve hours at a time. They always look happy. All smiles and light. For me, huddling against a wall with a cigarette for company, it's a crapshoot. Perfectly normal couple. They're always the hardest jobs.
The sky overhead grey with cloud, just the right side of evening to turn the world monochrome. A church-spire, silhouetted against the sky. There's a thousand and one shades of grey in that image, and I recognise all of them from the inside of my head. I don't need to watch the lovebirds any more. They're a lost cause. Eros be damned.
It takes weeks, but I finally see a chink in their armour. Something tiny, some little hint of what's going on. I'd call it a hunch, but most people don't stalk other people just to get hunches. I thought it was true love. That always screws things up. But then I saw what I saw. Found their secrets. Jealousy. Betrayal. Obsession. Now that, I know how to deal with. The fix is in.
Another week goes by. Another week of photographs from my hiding spots, of tapping their phones, listening to their conversations. Immersing myself in their lives. I know their cues now, know what makes them tick deep down inside. I know the root of everything they're doing to each other and to my employer. Those roots lead to a massive web, a conceptual network of social contacts and ideas and institutions and other, less tangible, things.
Normally it's drugs or adultery or something like that, something that gets the little conservative brains out of whack. Those things are fine inside, all I have to do is make them public, use the trigger of shame to ruin people's idea of who they are. The little denials, the but-I-don't-*really*-do-that moments, build up. I let the pressure out and shatter their sense of self while I'm at it. Not these. They're going to take more work. That's why I've been careful, gathered my evidence. Planned.
A card from his half-senile mother in a nursing home where the roaches get better treatment, pleading for her son to spend time with her. And to bring her cocaine, as she's developed a five-line-a-day habit. The attached photo shows her bleeding from the nose, a half-eaten cockroach dangling from her lips. She's pouting for the camera, an octagenarian in purple lipstick. That's family when you're a 500K a year family man in the media spotlight.
She gets a summons from the lawyers of the high-school sweetheart she left when he turned out too poor to buy her the breasts she wanted. She took his penis away with him, and now he wants it back. I've been in their house when they were out. She still has it, in a trunk in the basement. A stuffed penis, fully erect. Testicles not included. I don't yet have a letter from the taxidermist, but that's only a matter of time.
I considered taking the penis and mounting it on the bonnet of his Jag, a fitting ornament. But no. Too blatant. Better that they find the mail when they return, and that each has no doubts about what the other got. A couple of misdirected phone calls from a voice actor who owes me a favour, and my work's done.
In six weeks, celebrity magazines will be full of the breakup of the Perfect Couple. The up and coming politician and his darling socialite wife, splitting up citing "unreconcilable differences". I wonder if I could bribe a journalist to use the phrase 'stuffed, mounted penis'. Probably.
Do not fuck with my employer. These people did. They did a very stupid thing, and now I have punished them. But they'll not realise it for a few days yet. These are my moments of excellence.