Troy Peterson secured the two gas cans into the trunk of the car and slammed the trunk lid.  A few minutes later, he was on the road.  The hunt had commenced.

Troy pointed his Impala in the direction of – well, of nowhere in particular, actually.  He just drove.  Mile after mile of interstate zoomed by.  Troy locked the cruise control in at 65 miles per hour and listened to the radio as faster cars zoomed by him in the left hand lane.  On this day, Troy could not risk a speeding ticket.

A bit after dusk, Troy pulled off the interstate and quickly found himself on a deserted road.  He refueled the gas tank with one of the cans, urinated in the ditch, and then jumped back in the car to continue his journey.  As he drove, he grabbed one of the ham sandwiches he had packaged for the trip.  He wolfed down the sandwich and chased it down with a can of Pepsi.

At 10 PM, Troy parked his car outside a large grocery store.  He grabbed his Cubs hat and pulled it down over his face.  He also grabbed another very important item from the car.

Troy began to walk away from the grocery store, deeper into the heart of the neighborhood.  At this time of night, there was very little activity.

After twenty minutes of walking the streets, he saw a light come on.  A door opened, and a young woman stepped out of her house.  She turned onto the sidewalk and began to walk directly toward Troy.  It appeared that she, too, was out for a walk on this peaceful evening.

As the woman approached Troy, she gave him a friendly smile.  Troy responded by pulling his gun and firing two shots into her head.  The woman was dead before she hit the ground.

Troy immediately began to run.  Soon, he was several blocks away from the crime scene and slowed his pace to a walk.  He returned to the parking lot, got back into the car, and pointed the Impala toward home.  He made another pit stop on the way home, once again filling the tank an emptying his bladder.

Troy returned home just in time to stop by Denny’s for breakfast.  He visited the bathroom first, scrubbing off the residue of any gasoline smell that remained.  His hands now smelled of soap.  Troy exited the bathroom and took his seat at a table nearly the window.  As he waited for the waitress to bring his grand slam, Troy greeted several friends, firmly establishing his whereabouts early that morning.

Hundreds of miles away, a woman lie in the morgue.  The police could find no obvious motive for her murder.  Nor would they ever find one.  She had been cut down in the prime on her life by a stranger looking for a cheap thrill.  The randomness of the attack and her killer’s effort to avoid a paper trail would make it virtually impossible to solve the crime.

Back at the Denny’s, Troy Peterson smiled to himself as he sipped his orange juice.  He loved his monthly field trips.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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