The Cafe Culture

He arrived at the cafe at 11, and made his way to a table. Today it was the turn of the top-right-hand table. It always amused him that people, in general, were creatures of habit, and because of this, it was amazing what you could get away with in plain site. He undid the top of the sugar pourer, and gently wiped it around with a tissue, and banged the top lightly on the table to get free some of the sugar from the tube. The small number of old people and relaxing business men had stopped looking at him by now, and gone back to their self-indulgent little lives. He pulled out a small packet of white powder, and gently added it to the sugar. He replaced the lid, and shook the sugar dispenser, placing it back down oh the table where he had found it. The waitress called Marie came over. She was in her late 30’s with what small beauty she had fading fast with her age. Her tousled blond hair pulled back into a bun on the back of her head, and held in with a pin. She dreamed of being able to let it down for the right man, should he ever came back. She had told him her dream of a man coming in here to whisk her away, and it hadn’t taken him long to find out that this was based on the true story of what she considered a handsome man who had come in every day for two years to talk to her. He had always said that he would come back and take her away from this place, but then, one day, he had suddenly stopped coming. For Lucious Marks, the that Marie was currently talking too, this little piece of human misery had him do a small amount of research. It hadn’t taken him long to find a carcrash that had happened just around the corner around 10 years ago. He had been almost handsome, and single. They had found an engagement ring in his pocket, but no fiancée, or indeed, perspective fiancée had come forward to lay claim to it. He had been buried in a small funeral, attended only by work colleagues in a short service on a wet Tuesday morning. Lucious looked at Marie, and often wondered how she would react when she found out that she had been wasting her life here for a man that had already died. No doubt her romantic notions would kick and she would believe that the ring had been for her, and she would spend the rest of her life content that she had been part of some cosmic love tragedy. Telling her would probably bring her some comfort. It was that thought that meant that Lucious never would. “Would you like your usual Luke?” said Marie. The happiness in her voice betraying the deep sadness within. Lucious smiled at her “Yes, thank you Marie. That’s so very kind of you to remember”. The woman flashed a weary smile at him and vanished towards the kitchen, allowing Lucious to survey the Cafe. It had taken him weeks to reach the level of saturation within the sugar for his plan to take effect, and a simple glance around him at the regulars revealed that they were all well on their way. The old woman near the window’s skin had on it small water-like droplets, and the business man’s shaking hands had small white crescents at the base of his fingernails. This was a job well done, even if he did say so himself. It would perhaps be a few days before the effects led to their inexorable conclusion, and some one keeled over and died. There would be no doubt three or four more deaths before the police began to get suspicious, and the count could reach as high as maybe 7 or 8 before they finally worked it out. He would be long gone by then. He would likely never be a suspect, at least, not until the conspiracy theorists began their work, and that would almost guarantee him a free pass.

It was all down to psychology he mused as he stirred his tea, black, no sugar, of course. They would look for someone with a grudge, someone who wanted to ruin the business. Perhaps Susan, the owners’ ex husband. He was known to be a violent man, and had sworn that he would make her pay. The police would no doubt entertain him as a subject until they worked out that he was a hot-headed man, and this level of poisoning was slow and methodical. The eyes would then turn to the medical examiner who frequents here every Tuesday. A man who would know how to do it, and an investigation into him would reveal that he was a pagan. The media storm would brand him a witch, and that these actions were Satanic, making further real detective work impossible. Someone might stumble onto him, but a vague description was all they had. If they were lucky they might lift a finger print from his from inside one of the sugar dispensers, and then they would find that it matched a whole list of other unsolved crimes. Even with a big man hunt for him, he would be long gone from here. What would get the police every time was motive. That was the trifecta, Means, Motive and opportunity. They could get him on opportunity, perhaps, but they would never pin Motive or Means on him. They would have to know who he was for that. He smiled to himself. Even if they did know him, they would never get his Motive.

What possible reason could he have for poisoning so many people he didn’t know? He had no links with any of them. He could have said he was told too by the Devil, but that was a lie. There had been an implication that such acts were completely acceptable, but he had never been formally ordered to do this. In fact, he had not been given any orders for over six months, which was not unusual by any stretch. He paused in his stirring and pondered his own motive. Was it to keep his hand in? His own ego railed at that. He was not sure he was old enough to begin loosing his edge just yet. That left the rather dull and mundane reason of “Because He Could”. He didn’t like that one either. It felt.. unplanned, and he very definitely remembered planning it, about 7 months ago, right at this very table. He wasn’t doing it for fun, either. This kind of work got tedious after a while. It was what normally caught lesser men than him. It wasn’t the action that was tedious, it was the interaction with people who were so tedious that the Roman Catholic Church had foreseen a place that was full of these boring, tedious people. It was called “Purgatory”. These people were not good enough to ascend, and the only thing they had ever done that was offensive was talk to people. The visionaries of the Catholic Church had foreseen a place where they could go beyond death to get a clue. Lucious was making damned sure that he was not going to Purgatory. No, he mused, his motive was the same motive of small boys pulling wings off flies, or of scientists painting lipstick on rabbits, it was to see what would happen. He wanted to watch the people die slowly and see if it made a difference, to see if the cafe would survive, to see how the people reacted.

Lucious slowly wiped the handle of his spoon with his napkin, and then wiped the coffee cup, and saucer. He pulled out some well-used money from his wallet, and wiped that too, placing it the plate. To see how the people reacted, now that was a motive he could get behind. It was time that he found himself a place where he would be undisturbed so he could watch the show.

~BX