CHAPTER 4
Death of a Telephone


      Robert Bakrero picked up the phone and dialed the number again. Still no answer. «Damn it!», he said aloud. «Stigvarf should have been home by now. He knew I was going to call!» he thought quietly. He felt wound up and aggravated at the same time, and couldn’t shake the destructive spiral he was in: the more he thought about the unbearability of the situation, the more aggravated he became. Finally he uttered a strange, contorted, but quiet, roar, and hurled the phone at the floor. It was one hurl at the floor too many for the poor battered phone; it split in two and revealed its inner mechanisms to the aggressive Mr. Bakrero.
      Mr. Bakrero’s state of mind immediately transformed from rage to remorse and caring. He fell to his knees, and clumsily tried to piece the phone back together. «No, no, no... I must speak to Stigvarf... No... no...» He collapsed into apathy.
      He lay on the floor listening to the rain drumming against the window. It had rained almost constantly for three days. Ever since that night three nights ago, when their gang of four had suddenly been halved. First, Turbo hadn’t been home when Bakrero, Stigvarf and Turbo were to meet in Turbo’s apartment. He had been gone since that night. When they had tried to contact the fourth man of the gang, that had proven to be impossible as well. Was Stigvarf also missing now..?
      Suddenly he pulled himself out of his chain of thoughts, and threw himself to his feet. He had to do something! But before he was allowed another thought, there was a heavy knock at the door.
      «Stigvarf..?» thought Mr. Bakrero. «But he wasn’t supposed to come here. He was supposed to stay at home and wait for my call, so that we could agree on a place to meet.» Still he answered the door.
      «But... What are you... I thought you had disappeared!»
      «Hello, Robert. Do you have the paper from the day before yesterday?»
      «What? The paper? Uhhh... ‘Day before yesterday’? Do you mean... Hang on, today’s... Tuesday? Do you mean Sunday’s paper?»
      «Don’t play games with me, Robert! It’s two o’clock, it’s Wednesday! You know bloody well I mean Monday’s paper!» He pushed his way through the door, and looked around.
      «Wait, you can’t just barge in here, I’m in the middle of some important...
      He turned towards Bakrero: «You did it, didn’t you?! You sent the parcel to no.4!? Fucking bastards!!» He pulled out a knife with dried bloodstains and walked stiffly towards Bakrero.
      «NO!!» cried Mr. Bakrero «N-no, what are you d-doing?! What parcel are you talking about? I dunno nuthin’ about no..!»
      Those words were Mr. Bakrero’s last, as he was brutally stabbed to death with three stabs through his left lung, one stab through his right, one stab in his left arm, and two stabs through his stomach.

      The killer stood, gasping, and wiped the sweat off his brow, only to find that the sweat had already evaporated. He felt a terrible heat. Was it over now? He didn’t think so. Three lives he had taken, but it didn’t feel as though the end was any closer. He peered down at the carpet. The blood had now run to his boots where he was standing, and mixed with the water that was dripping from his coat. He put the knife back in his pocket.
      After searching the small apartment he concluded that a copy of the wanted paper was not to be found on the premises.
      «How can I know whether Stigvarf’s paper was the real thing?» the man asked himself. «I MUST check another paper. Stigvarf’s aunt lives next-door! I can get in there without problems!»
      And then the ticking started again. He looked around for a clock. There were none around. Was he going insane? Or was this a healthy reaction to taking a life? Again he felt a chill. The same thing had happened three times. But not after the first kill. It had happened twice after the second kill, and for the time being, once...

      He decided to wait in the apartment until morning, so as to be certain the woman next-door would let him in.
      Suddenly he woke up, and realized that he must have dozed off again. What time was it? He stepped over Bakrero and left the apartment, closing the door behind him.



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