23 January 2016

Confession of a Murderer

I killed a man once. His name was Amon Kissenbee. He always wore an old corduroy jacket, a plain light blue shirt and khakis. Amon always had the sniffles but never blew his nose and that was just one of his irritating habits. He did this thing where he look right at you while he was talking to you, I mean right in the eyes, but when you spoke he’d look away. He’d also scratch behind an ear all the time and scrunch his face up while he did it.

Amon was a terrible athlete, a very bad singer, couldn’t write a decent sentence and had superficial knowledge of but few topics. But he constantly spoke of his athletic prowess, his nice singing voice, his writing talents and his towering intellect. Amon had no friends but always hung around with us. To an outsider it would appear he was part of the group. I suppose he was, but an uninvited one. Whenever we’d go on outings he’d be there, whenever there was a party he’d be there, whenever we were hanging out at the local bar, he’d be there. Amon always seemed to know where we were and when we’d be there. He'd be there talking your ear off and most of what he said was negative or self aggrandizing. Aside from me I don’t think anyone hated Amon. But I can say for sure that, including me, no one liked the bastard.

Somehow Amon always seemed to have a girl. No one could figure this out. After all he had the charm of a wharf rat and was hardly any better looking. Yet girls would go out with him. Once. Maybe a second time. It wouldn’t take long for a woman to suss Amon out for the jerk that he was.

Amon worked at a shipping firm but none of us knew exactly what he did there, not that anyone cared. I’m sure he told us all in great detail what he did and how damn important he was but we got so that we didn’t listen to the bum. All of us had all gone to college together and most of us had been flatmates at one time or another, except of course for Amon who had lived alone. No one could quite recall how Amon leeched onto us but all of us were sure none of us had ever encouraged his friendship or invited him to anything.

But like I said at the beginning I killed the guy. I’m not proud of ending a man’s life but neither am I particularly broken up about it either. It’s not like anyone would miss him. One thing we did gleam from Amon’s ramblings was that he was estranged from his family. Apparently his dad — who was in the money — essentially bought him off, giving him a big chunk of money to stay the hell away from the rest of the family for good and all. Of course when Amon told it he twisted it around in such a way that it seemed like his idea and that his family was all a bunch of kooks especially his dad and that he was well rid of them and that they were jealous of him and what not. That last one was a real scream. Jealous of what? What a crummy guy he was? How poorly he dressed? How talentless he was? How self absorbed he was?

So you’re probably wondering why the hell I’m writing this, confessing to a murder that I’ve gotten away with, a killing that did the world more good than harm and that hasn’t caused me a second of guilt. Well if you’re reading this it means I’m dead myself. I’ve left it as part of my will for this to be opened and read upon my passing. I hope it’s many years in the future and that I’ve had a good life. As I write this things look promising. I’ve embarked on a career in journalism, I’ve met a girl who may be my future wife and my health is excellent (I pause now to knock on wood — no use tempting fate).

It’s been a year since I murdered Amon Kissenbee and life has just been grand for all us. No one gets buttonholed by him anymore. We no longer have to endure his rants or half baked theories. Now when we get together it’s just people who like and respect and get along with one each other. There isn’t this massive ego in the room. There was, of course, an investigation into Amon’s death and his family came out but not for long and they clearly weren’t all that broken up about it. His father had told someone that they never thought they’d been seeing Amon again. The whole thing died down pretty quickly. The only thing that surprised anyone — and I don’t know why it should have — was that his company discovered he’d been skimming money off them, just a bit at a time in such a way that he wouldn’t have been caught for a long time, if ever. This tells you a lot about Amon Kissenbee, embezzling small amounts of dough when he’s already got a plenty in the bank. He was doing it just to do it.

So what happened was this. One Saturday afternoon we went for a  hike. Needless to say Amon found out and was of the seven of us who made the two hour drive to the mountains. We’d been on the trail for several hours enjoying the sights on a cool early spring day. Everyone was ready to head back. There was a bar and restaurant near where we parked and the plan was to have a few drinks and dinner before heading back. But there was a spot I knew of not far off and I wanted to go there before ending the hike. I decided to go it alone and meet everyone a half hour later. Amon had left his binoculars at a spot we’d just been at and went back to get it. So while five of our gang made for the restaurant, and Amon retrieved his binocs, I went for one last view.

It’s a great spot and I had a spectacular view.  I’d just gotten there and was soaking it all in when what should hear but that dumb jerk Amon Kissenbee calling my name. “I’ve come to check out this view you made such a big deal about,” Amon hollered as he approached me.

My heart sank. Of all the dirty rotten things. Here I was alone, lost in the moment, feeling on top of the world when this guy I hate crashes into the scene. It really exemplified his presence in my life. I was crestfallen and steaming mad at the same time.

Now a little background. In my backpack I had a pistol which I only ever used when hiking as protection against rattlesnakes. I’d found this pistol a few years before in an alley outside a bar. I theorized that someone had dumped it there after committing a crime. It still had four bullets in it.

As Amon neared me I thought of the gun and what a simple matter it would be to shoot him right here and now and do the world a big favor. I immediately dismissed the thought though because I’d never so much as punched a guy let alone shot one. But he was in rare form on this day. Yak, yak, yak without a pause between words. He wasn’t even looking at the view just babbling at me and to top it off complaining about the hike and how overrated this area was and on and on and how he’d have picked a better spot. It was too much. Amon had spoiled my afternoon just by showing up and he was making it worse now. Plus I faced the prospect of walking back with him. I simply could not take it.

When Amon started in on his hiking superior knowledge of local geography I’d had enough. I reached into my backpack, pulled out the gun and shot the bastard in the forehead. I had about one second of “oh my god what have I done?” before feeling an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Then I looked around. Not a soul. There’d been someone standing about where I was just before I arrived. His tracks led in the other direction. I tossed the gun (after wiping the prints) in that direction and headed back.

I didn’t tell anyone anything. I acted surprised that Amon hadn’t come back. We waited around and hour after eating then reported to a park ranger that “our friend” was missing. We drove back with no one seeming to be the least bit worried. The next day Amon’s body was discovered. The police never came up with a suspect, let alone a motive. We were all questioned (me especially only because I was the last to leave the area) but it never seemed any of us was under suspicion. To this date the case remains unsolved, a cold case.

So that’s it. My confession. I suppose that to many of you I’m a murderer, in addition to whatever else I can be defined as. Like I said I’ve never felt any regret but I also thought it right to pen this confession. There you have it. Judge me as you will.

Clement Q. Chance
April 12, 1956

Postscript. Clement Chance worked as a journalist for a few years then went into publishing where he became respected and wealthy. He married Doris Ledbetter in August 1958 and they had three children. Doris died in 2002 of complications during heart surgery. In addition to his three children, Mr. Chance is survived by four grandchildren. He died on January 1, 2016 at the age of 85. Unbeknownest to Mr. Chance, he'd been a prime suspect in the death of Amon Kissenbee, but the murder weapon was never found and there was no motive and not enough evidence for an indictment. 

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