Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Murdering Rastari, Part I

This is a redraft of an old short story draft from 2007.

I hate Danny Rastari. His very presence makes me angry. His very existence is morally loathsome. I have always prided myself on the serious pursuit of virtue, and, as Rastari was clearly a moral temptation, I engaged in some evaluation of moral risks and drew the only rational conclusion: for the sake of my own virtue, I would have to kill Danny Rastari. Very difficult, though -- how do you deliberately kill someone without murdering them? I would need help at something like that, and help came in the form of Max Sanders, another of Rastari's many enemies.

Our plan was simple. I would lure Rastari to a high place, and Max and I would push him off. It was a beautiful plan. All Max and I would be doing is assisting the order of nature; gravity, not us, would kill Rastari; gravity would be responsible for his death. So I set out to lure Rastari to the top of the First International Bank building so Max and I could push him off.

It was easy; the man is not only morally contemptible but as gullible as can be. I told him that Max and I had found a great place to view the city at night, we took him to the top, and pushed him off. Down he went. It was a beautiful happening on a beautiful night, and we spent some time watching the stars afterward, before making our way down.

We found, however, that it was not so easy to destroy a cause of morally bad states of affairs. By some strange miracle Danny Rastari did not die on hitting the ground, and when Max and I finally reached the ground floor, Rastari's body was nowhere to be found.

Max and I wandered around trying to find the body for at least an hour. But after trying, without success, to puzzle this, we decided on our next course of action. I called Danny's wife.

"Caroline, have you seen Danny?"

There was a moment's silence on the other end. "I thought he was with you."

"Well, he was," I said, "but then he...well, he sort of wandered off by himself. I thought he might have gone home."

"No," she said slowly, "he isn't here."

"Well, it's probably nothing," I said. "Who knows with Danny? I'll look for him. Text me if he comes home so we know he's okay."

I decided to continue looking for the body; Max went home to bed. A few hours later Caroline called. I called up Max, who had been sleeping and was not happy to be awake. For my part, I couldn't help but admire how calm he was. I certainly couldn't have gone to sleep after everything that had happened.

"Hmmnnhfnn," he said when he answered the phone. Or something to that effect.

"Max, I found out what happened to Danny."


"Danny checked himself into the emergency room."

There was silence. Then clearly and distinctly: "How did he survive?"

"I don't know. We might be safe, though; Caroline said something about amnesia. But you can never tell with that woman." And you can't, either. What sort of crazy woman would marry Danny Rastari? "I'll have to check it in person. You just stay put, and I'll let you know what's happening."

And that was how I ended up in a hospital room, face to face with Danny Rastari, the horrible person I had just pushed off the bank building. He was infuriatingly cheerful.

to be continued

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