Just a quick suggestion from the author: if you're one of those people who read the ending before you read the rest of the story (which I don't personally understand, but whatever floats your boat), I BEG you, PLEASE don't do that with this story! You'll spoil the whole rest of it for you!
The window of my taxi cab is covered in bugs. I groan and run the windshield wipers, but the guts only streak and make it more difficult to see. It's okay, though; I've been able to see through a lot more than this. Besides, it makes the city look like it really is, blurry and strange, a place that's fun to visit but not fun to live in. Unfortunately, I do live here.
I groan and look at my take for the night. Not very many people out tonight; the temperature's too high. I've been out for most of the night, and all I've picked up are a couple of cheapskates who give out nothing but dollar and fifty-cent tips. However, I suppose I shouldn't complain. At least it's money. A guy's gotta get his kicks somehow, and those tips, miniscule that they may be, go toward financing those fun times. Besides, I've also got alimony and child support to pay. I only pay the alimony because that woman would sue my butt if I didn't, but I love those kids, so I pay child support out of love.
Tired of hearing nothing but my motor running, I turn on my radio, catching the end of The Doors's "People are Strange." I groan. Just my luck, just missing one of my favorite songs, but arriving just in time for the news, and I already know what's gonna be on the news.
You see, we've got a little murder case on our hands in our fair, or not-so-fair, city. Actually, more like multiple murders. Yep, a case of the classic serial killer preying on the terrified city. The cops think they've got a line on him; they've been talking about sexual perversions and so on, since he's only taken young, college-age girls so far. Personally, I think that's bull. I don't think he's got the hots for young girls; I think he takes 'em 'cause they're so easy to pick up. I mean, they all think they're the next Lee Remick or Tuesday Weld, so they are automatically pleased when some other guy starts flirtin' with 'em. They'll go anywhere with a guy if he's charming enough or handsome enough. It's a fact of life.
In the corner of the city, I see those familiar red-and-blue dome lights. I smile as I recognize the blue-shirted guy standing outside the car. I know these guys strike fear in the hearts of most people, but not with me. In fact, they make me feel good, like a security blanket, especially these days.
I pull up behind the cop car and step out of the cab. Nonchalantly, I lean against the cab and call, "Hey, Bill!"
The cop turns and sees me. A smile spreads across his face. "Hey, Johnny! How are ya?"
"Pretty good! Quiet night tonight?"
Bill nods. "Pretty good." He points at my left leg. "How's the leg?"
I smile and lightly pat my leg. "Still hurts a little sometimes. Not as bad as before, though."
Bill laughs in his warm, hearty way. "Yeah, I imagine. Man, that was some wild night on the docks, huh? Ol' Mackie almost got ya that night, huh?"
"Yeah, well, that's what happens when your partner is asleep when he's supposed to be covering you," I grin.
Bill grins back and is about to retort when the radio crackles. Bill looks at the radio and then smiles back at me. "Sorry, pal, gotta see what's goin' on. You remember how it is."
I nod. "Yeah, I remember. See you later, man."
He smiles as he listens to the radio. I have an ear cocked toward it, too; although I've been off the force for going on five years now, I can still decipher the radio codes. They're calling different squad cars to someplace on the other side of the city. Bill's car isn't one of them. Any other night, I'd stay and talk to Bill longer, but I've gotta get back on the road again. I love talkin' to anybody on the force, though. Those years were the best I'd ever had, and if it wasn't for that gunshot in the leg, I'd still be there and not where I am now.
Later that night, I pick up a young guy. I look at this guy once and get cold chills down my spine. He's got dark, cold eyes and greasy, matted dark hair. He looks at me with this look that would have struck me stone-cold dead on the spot, if looks could kill, of course. He's carrying a dirty satchel with some hundred-dollar bills stickin' out. He notices me eyeing the bills and quickly stuffs them into the satchel. He sits himself down on the worn leather seat, and I stare at his dirty leather jacket and his ripped jeans.
"Where to?" I say. I don't want to say any more to this guy than I have to; he gives me the creeps.
"Just keep drivin'. I'll tell you when to stop."
It's then that I notice the small bump in this guy's jacket. I recognize it from my days on the force; it's a revolver in a shoulder holster. I swallow and keep driving.
After a while, we pass Bill's squad car again; now Bill and his partner are both standing on the sidewalk, taking a smoke break. I look in my rearview mirror and see that my customer sees 'em, too. I'm expecting him to look scared, but he doesn't look scared. He's got a look on his face, and it scares me to death.
I watch as he sticks his hand under his jacket and leans toward the front seat. "Pull over here," he says. I comply.
He reaches into the satchel and pulls out a hundred-dollar bill. He hands it to me. "Keep it all."
I nod silently and watch as the guy gets out of the cab, closing the door behind him. As I drive away, I watch as the guy makes his way down the sidewalk and starts talkin' to Bill and his partner. I turn the corner before I can see anything else. It's not long after that that I return to the taxi garage, get in my old Crown Victoria and go home.
I don't sleep at all that night, worrying about Bill and his partner.
I wake up quickly in the morning and turn on my radio, tuning in to the news. I tune in just in time.
"Last night, two officers in our Isola police force, William Parker and Harry C. "Bumper" Morgan, were savagely murdered in an onion field outside of town last night around two o'clock. They were both shot at close range through the head. It is assumed that these are two further murders by the still-at-large serial killer, The Midnight Caller. The police department are at work trying to figure out why his m.o. has changed-"
I turn off the radio and get out of bed. I'm sure my fellow officers are right about all of that, but there's one thing that I know isn't right. My friends were not murdered by the Midnight Caller. There are two things I know for sure, though. The Caller's m.o. is about to change, and his next victim is going to be a young guy with scary eyes, an old leather jacket and ripped jeans.
How do I know all this?
Because nobody kills the Midnight Caller's friends and gets away with it.
Just one more thing… (if you catch the reference there, I love you!) this is my first attempt at a real twist ending, and I hope you liked it! Please let me know how I did with this story, it's something new for me and I would love some good feedback!