Friday: March 12, 2027
12:57 PM; CLIFFBURN APARTMENTS COMPLEX, APARTMENT 34B
Mickey pulled his keys from his pocket and unlocked his apartment door. He pulled the key free and twisted the doorknob, pushing the door open. He stopped inside, pocketed his keys, and closed the door. He flipped on the overhead light, flinching. “Hello,” he greeted.
“Hi,” Bo said, lifting a hand. “I’m Bo Au—”
“I know who you are,” Mickey cut in. “Bo and Jensen Austen-Taylor. I know. What do you want?”
“We need to talk, Michael,” Bo said.
“God, don’t call me that,” Mickey muttered. “It’s Mickey,” he added, sounding bored.
“Sure, Mickey. That doesn’t change the issue. We need to talk,” Bo repeated.
“Your murders,” Bo said.
“Mm.” Mickey sighed dramatically, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I’ll play your game. What murders?”
“They caught him.”
“He’s back. He killed two women and just so happened to take a break when you headed home to take care of Mom and Dad,” Bo said. “I know your job won’t help you, Mick. You can’t pay your mother’s bills and take care of your father. I know your brother isn’t willingly sending you money to help. I know he doesn’t talk to you. I know he thinks he’s too good for that, for you. I know you need help,” Bo said. “I have a proposition.”
“Sure. Throw one my way.”
“If you confess, if you offer the evidence that can convict you for the terrible shit you’ve done, I’ll pay your mother’s bills. I’ll pay the assisted living place,” Bo said.
“You wouldn’t, not if you believe I’m a killer.”
“If it got justice for these women, I’d do whatever I needed to,” the blonde said.
“You love your mom, Mick,” Jensen said. “You love your dad. How do you care so deeply about them that you’re willing to stop doing what you love for them?”
Mickey shook his head. “I don’t need this. You broke into my apartment,” he said.
“It was that or get an arrest warrant. I figure you’d like a chance to help your mother and father,” Bo said.
“You couldn’t get a warrant without evidence,” Mickey said.
“Jamal Pitman,” Bo said. “He’s my boss, and I’m his right-hand man. He’d pull any warrant I needed,” he explained.
“You get the warrant, and both of my parents get thrown out on the street. Is that the deal?” Mickey asked.
“I don’t have evidence for you,” Mickey said after a moment.
“No.” A pause. “Yes,” Mickey said with a nod. “In the beginning, I wrote entries. I liked to keep track of them, of their names, of their phone numbers. I stopped doing it in 2003,” he said quietly. He took a step back, leaned back against the door. “I don’t have anything past that,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest.
“What made you stop?” Jensen asked.
“I needed to be more careful. Leaving entries around for anyone’s findings was a dangerous game,” Mickey said.
“Where are they?” Bo questioned.
“One journal’s in New Jersey at my parents’ place. One’s here. One’s in the bank. Safety deposit box,” Mickey said.
“If you love your mother so much, a woman… why kill these these girls so viciously? So aggressively?” Bo asked.
“Had to become famous somehow,” Mickey said. He closed his eyes, tilting his head back against the door. “No one remembers the killers that weren’t violent, that didn’t do something crazy. They remember the ones that raped their victims, that decapitated them, that kept the fucked up souvenirs, that terrorized people. You’ve got your Bundy and your Gacy and your Gein and your Kemper. You’ve got Zodiac, Ripper. They all did fucked up shit, man. You don’t get remembered for slitting a chick’s throat, killing her quickly. You just don’t,” he said.
“Why do you need to be famous? You crave it?” Bo asked.
“You get famous and you sell your tell-tale story to the press. Write a couple books about why you did what you did, about how it made you feel,” Mickey said.
The color drained from Bo’s face as the realization dawned upon him. “A get rich quick scheme to help your parents out,” he whispered.
“Mmhmm.” Mickey nodded, forcing his eyes open. “And then that dumbass in Jersey ruined everything, confessed to my crimes. Mom needed help with Dad, so I couldn’t go turn myself in and prove him wrong. She needed me.”
Jensen cleared his throat. “I’m gonna need that journal, Mickey.”
Mickey sighed, waving a hand off to the right. “It’s in the bedroom. There’s a plastic contained under the bed. It’s filled with wrapping paper scraps. The journals at the bottom,” he said.
“You good?” Jensen asked, his voice low. Bo nodded. The younger man touched a hand to his hip, a subtle reminder that he had a gun if he needed it. Jensen glanced back at Mickey before walking out of the room.
Mickey took in a long breath before letting it out slowly. “You’ll make sure my parents are taken care of?”
“Of course. I don’t break promises.”
“Even to killers?”
“Even to killers,” Bo assured. “If you wanted to get caught, why not leave evidence?” he asked.
“I wasn’t going to make it easy for you, Mister Austen,” Mickey said. “My job isn’t to make yours easier. You’re smart. I knew you’d figure it out if you tried hard enough. And low and behold, I was right.”
“You didn’t have to kill people to get rich,” Bo said.
“Not smart enough to get rich any other way,” Mickey said. “I did what was easiest, what was… most productive. You get a nice new solve and I get to sell my crazy and evil for money to take care of Mom and Dad. We both get what we want, Austen,” he said as Jensen walked back into the room, the journal tucked away in an evidence bag. “That’s all that matters, Austen. A solve for you, a platform to share my disgusting story for me. Win-win, Blondie. Win-win.”
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