Practice Makes Perfect by Pat Feehan


In many ways, my first murder was the easiest. That probably sounds daft. Practice makes perfect and all that. But it’s true. When I did the first one I didn’t realise what a kick I’d get out of it. I was really doing it out of necessity. Ok I was intrigued at how it would feel. But basically it was a case of removing an inconvenience. So I had no expectations and no standards to aim for.
            But once I’d done it I realised how much I’d enjoyed it. Not immediately, because there was the tidying up and so on to make sure I didn’t get caught. That all worked perfectly, in case you’re interested. But after I’d taken care of the practicalities and was able to sit back and savour the experience, it felt brilliant. And I knew I would have to do it again.
            It wasn’t just the actual killing that was addictive. The planning and making sure there were no loose ends really appealed to my creative side. I’d tried other stuff over the years, pottery, furniture-making, amateur dramatics, even creative writing. I’d enjoyed all that but none of it gave me the buzz I got from planning and executing a kill and working out my ‘exit strategy’.
The creative writing and the am-dram actually helped me with the murder. Not with the ‘hands-on’ stuff. But they helped me pick a victim, lure them where I wanted them and how to implicate someone else for the murder.
They say that in fiction there are no new plots, just variations that depend on having interesting characters, good dialogue and a fresh angle. I found the same was true of murder. I wasn’t particularly innovative. I’d absorbed lessons from all the murder novels and true-crime I’d read over the years and I found I was able to apply them quite naturally. But I like to think I did introduce one or two small refinements of my own.
As for the ‘hands-on’ bit, and it really was hands-on as I had opted for throttling, there was no real way to prepare for that. I didn’t know if I would chicken out or muck it up. But, if I say so myself, I was superb. I executed the kill perfectly. I emptied myself of emotion so that the pleading eyes, the red-going-to-blue face and the protruding tongue didn’t put me off my stride. I was really focused. And when I laid the lifeless body on the floor I was hooked.
But I’d also set myself a standard. So each time I have to ‘raise the bar’.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist. It took me a while to come up with the idea for my second. Maybe because I was doing it from choice, not necessity. When I’d done the third and fourth I knew I’d found a winning formula. Now I’ve done twenty and I’ve improved each time. You’ll be my twenty-first and I’m confident you’ll be my best yet.

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