I used to live down the street from a hitman. We worked together and I used to catch rides to and from the cab company with him three or four times a week. Of course, at the time I had no idea he was a hitman. To be honest, he just seemed like kind of a dork.
The story begins way back in 1991. George Bush was President, Metallica had just (or was just about to) hit the mainstream with “Enter Sandman,” and Saturday Night Live was still funny most of the time. I was starting my first year of college at an overpriced but otherwise underwhelming school called Transylvania University where I lived in stately (by “stately,” I mean “not quite condemned, but real close”) Clay Hall.
It wasn’t unusual for random neighbors to drop my room for no apparent reason. Though I’d like to credit this to my scintillating personality, I suspect it had more to do with the fact that I was the only person on that end of the hall with cable. In any case, one night my next-door neighbor, Matt the Redneck, showed up with his girlfriend and her roommate. The four of us hung out for a while, and at some point the girls went away to do whatever girls do when they go away by themselves. As soon as they were gone, Matt asked for my help. Apparently he and his girlfriend had been trying to ditch the roommate for over an hour, with no success. Would I mind keeping her busy while they went next door for a little “alone time” (nudge nudge wink wink)?
Since I had nothing better to do, and since Matt the Redneck seemed desperate, I agreed. So there I am, 19 years old alone in my dorm room with a girl with no obvious diseases or disfigurements. Sounds like the stuff Penthouse Forum letters are made of, right? Wrong. After about 10 minutes, I realized that this girl had issues, possibly even subscriptions. When she told me about how she was a “psychic vampire” who fed on other peoples’ emotions, I started to get creeped out. By the time Matt and his girl had come back, I was trying to come up with reasonable-sounding excuses to leave my own room. I’m not exactly sure what I told Matt the Redneck after the girls left, but I’m pretty sure it involved me doing grievous bodily harm to him (or at least his nutsack) if he ever tried to pawn that crazy bitch (we’ll call her Meg, because that was her name) off on me again. I never really talked to Meg again after that, and aside from discussing her insanity with some of my friends (who were in the same sorority as her), didn’t think much about her. By my sophomore year, she’d transferred to another school, much to the relief of everyone who’d heard her talking when she was in Crazy Town.
One Sunday morning during the second semester of my sophomore year, I woke up at the crack of noon (probably hungover) and trudged across campus to the cafeteria for some food. After snagging some Cap’n Crunch and bacon, I headed to the back part of the cafeteria (or as some called it “bacteria”) where all the smokers, non-Greeks, lepers, and other outcasts were allowed to sit. (For those of you not familiar with Transylvania, it’s a very small school, which means it’s just like high school but easier to get beer). As I walked to my usual table, I noticed there were a lot of people at lunch for a Sunday, and that they all seemed to be discussing something in the paper. A little curious, I sat down.
“So,” said someone (we’ll call her Dani, because I think that’s who said it) , “did you hear Meg killed her family?”
There wasn’t really any question that Dani meant Crazy Meg, so I waited for the details. Apparently Meg’s parents and brother (and, if I remember correctly, even the dog) had all been shot the day before, and the police thought it was somebody they knew. While the paper didn’t have enough information for us to confirm that Meg had done the shooting, nobody had any doubt she was involved. Of course, it never occurred to the Lexington Police Department (motto: To Make Money For The City and Block The Streets) that the crazy daughter who thought she was a vampire, hated her family, and stood to collect a nice insurance payoff might be involved, so the case went unsolved.
Several years later, I had taken one of the few jobs available to a college graduate with a bad attitude and no marketable skills—cab driver. One of the dispatchers was a guy named Bill Meece, who was a nice enough guy but (we assumed) full of shit. He was always telling stories about his time in the military and his amazing skill with firearms, but nobody believed him. He just seemed like one of those idiots who claim they were in Delta Force but whose actual military service amounts to watching a lot of Chuck Norris movies. Case in point: Bill quit dispatching to actually drive a cab, and was constantly showing everyone his gun and talking about how if anyone tried to rob him, they’d eat lead. One night he actually got robbed. They stole his gun.
A few months before Bill started driving a cab, I’d moved into a new apartment, and soon discovered that Bill lived right down the street. This came in handy when my car broke down. Because I had a second job and only worked as a cab driver a few days a week, I didn’t keep my taxi all the time, which meant I needed a way to get to work. Since I was on his way, Bill offered to let me ride with him. So, for a couple of months, I rode to and from work with him three or four days a week. At some point (fortunately after I’d gotten my car running again), Bill got fired for allegedly raping a stripper and his wife kicked him out of the house. Aside from giving him a cab ride one night, I never saw Bill again.
Some indeterminate amount of time later, I was sitting in the Awful Waffle with another cab driver (who we’ll call Creepy, because for some reason he insists on it) and he made some reference to “that crazy shit with Bill Meece.” I asked if he was talking about the whole “raping a stripper” thing. No, Creepy told me, Bill was arrested for taking a down payment to kill somebody, and apparently during the investigation the cops found out that he’d killed some family in Eastern Kentucky about ten years ago.
This sounded kind of familiar, and I immediately thought of Crazy Meg, but unfortunately Creepy didn’t know enough details for me to confirm anything. When I got home, I fired up Google, punched in the names, and what do you know? Turns out Bill was the guy Crazy Meg had hired to kill her family way back when. People I went to college with knew Meg. People I worked with knew Bill. I knew them both. Turns out Lexington is an even smaller town than I thought.