Even though I’d immediately become fascinated by the old fashion of the 70s, I have to admit I don’t know why people thought women needed jeans to stop halfway up our bellies. I can get the bell bottom part. I like flare-leg jeans, so I get it. But whoever had the idea that pants should be part corset up top must have hated us. It’s ugly as fuck.
I used some of the money from the heist to pay for the fashion, and a few other things I know that will age well. I’m trying to do something with the rest through a bank, a law firm, and a set of instructions on how to invest. They are still looking for D.B. Cooper, but, come on, it’s not like these guys can check all the money everywhere. California’s closer to Washington, but this is in the age before internet and wireless connections. I’m surprised the cops manage to catch anyone at all. No DNA analysis, no satellites that can pick people up from space.
Well, that also makes it a bit tougher for me to pull off my next trick. I’ve been here a little bit and it’s difficult fishing for a serial killer. Fishing, yeah. I stopped by Mobian’s little hideaway in a vacant house he’s decided to borrow in San Francisco. It looks like it’s all cheery and clean, but opening the door either puts you in a land of dust and emptiness, or in his spaceship. It depends on if he wants to let you in at the moment.
He let me in for me to give him an update. I crossed the portal into his weird, giant room room that doesn’t seem to have a place to pee. “Why can’t you just drop me off at this guy’s house and let me stab him in the ass until he dies from catastrophic butt failure?”
“I have traveled far and wide across the cosmos and time itself, and I have never seen anyone die from catastrophic butt failure,” Mobian said. He sighed, and repeated his excuse from when we first landed a few days ago. “I cannot bring you directly to him because I do not know who he is.”
“But you know someone saved him from dying at the appropriate time, somehow,” I said.
“I am connected to the stream of time through my vessel, but it is one of instinct, not intellect,” he told me.
“Well, no go last night either. This would be a lot easier if you let me hire teams of people to be potential victims.”
He shook his head. “I trust you to deal with the Zodiac. No one else need die.”
I rolled my eyes, but there wasn’t much else to do. I had to make these trips in person because he doesn’t give me his timeship’s number or have a cell phone himself. Wouldn’t do any good here and now anyway if he did. No wonder Nixon figures he can get away with lying to people. Geez, Nixon. He seems so quaint compared to what’s coming in the future. I wonder if I can sneak off to New York City and plant a certain real estate con artist in the ground while I’m here. Nothing of value to the rest of the world would be lost, after all.
But no, I’m here in San Francisco. Didn’t even wear a flower in my hair like the hippies. If I thought people were terrible before, they’re way worse at this time. No wonder some asshat with a gun who can’t spell managed to become a terror to people. Yeah, I said it. Not like Zodiac’s reading this anyway.
I had the day to sleep, which I did at Mobian’s abandoned house. I have a comfy padded coffin in one of the rooms because I felt like stealing it and sleeping in it. I stay in there, breathing comfortable thanks to all the air holes, and pop out of it when my alarm goes off to signal night. Zodiac likes killing at night. There’s water and power, too, because just try and keep me out. So I got up, got ready, and headed out and started walking, looking for another isolated lover’s lane.
Zodiac is an egotistical guy. Thinks himself superior to the cops, and they didn’t dispel that by catching him. He might not have changed his MO that much because of it. Or maybe he’s just smart enough to change it some. Either way, there’s not many serial killers who can resist a lone woman hitchhiker. They don’t even realize at this point about the Highway Serial Killings. It’s a bit of a misnomer, because it’s not likely to be the same person. I may have even contributed to it some. But by the time 2009 rolls around, the FBI will be tracking 500 murders, some serial killings, all along highways in the United States, mostly women.
I feel it’s a pretty safe assumption that Zodiac will try and murder a lone woman hitchhiker traveling at night. Unfortunately, the assumption has been safe in the sense that he hasn’t gone after me yet.
This night, I decided to bring a bit of futuristic fashion to the past. Cutoff short-shorts. Bam. Showing off these legs might do the trick. Doused myself in plenty of bug spray to keep the mosquitoes off while I hiked out into the middle of nowhere. “Sure hope nobody stops and tries to kill me,” I said to myself.
I walked for a good long while, then turned around and started back. I was still well outside the range of any street lights when a pair of the headlights passing by stopped in front of me. I couldn’t see anything of the person when they stepped out. “Are you meeting someone out here, miss?” asked the person.
I shook my head. “No. It’s just me by myself.”
He shot me five times in the chest. Darn headlights. I stumbled a little, but didn’t go down. That didn’t stop him from hopping back in the car and gunning it right for me. He only ended up winging me when I threw myself to the side, but it let me see why he didn’t stop to confirm the kill. There was another car behind him, and this one stopped.
“Hot damn, girl, are you alright?” asked the man.
I jumped up, groaning a little at the pain, but mostly unharmed. The bastard who shot me had ruined my shirt with bullet holes, but I was fine. “I need your car.”
“Sure, let me help you to the passenger seat, I’ll take you to the hospital,” he said as I walked over and pulled him away from the driver’s side. I slid into the seat and sped off after my shooter. I saw him up there, speeding away. He saw me, too. He ended up skidding to a halt at the top of a hill and jumping out. I didn’t stop, instead embedding the one I was driving into his such that he wasn’t getting away soon. He opened fire before I even got out, giving me a sharp headache as one of the bullets rang my bell.
“What. The. Fuck?!” He fired desperately, missing a lot. Maybe it was the way my eyes glowed red. It could have been the way I held up a hand in front of me and closed the palm after he shot at my center of mass. When I opened it, a bullet fell out onto the road. The gun clicked empty soon afterward.
“Oh please tell me you’re who I think you are,” I said.
Without any better ideas, he ejected the mag and slid another in. The slide of his gun came forward just in time for him to instead try to smash me on the head with the bottom of the grip. I caught his arm. I didn’t overwhelm him all at once, preferring to keep him close. “What are you?” he asked.
“I’m the one who sends the souls of the dead on to the afterlife. Are you the one who meant to make slaves of them?”
I tossed him over to where the messed-up headlights could show him off. A curly-haired guy about the right age, but the lack of a definite photo complicated stuff. I asked again. “Are you Zodiac?”
He nodded, then raised the gun and shot me between the eyes. I growled as the bullet ricocheted into the air. “Why won’t you die?!” he practically begged. I added a rough squealing noise, like an alarm siren, coming from my body just to help freak him out more. I walked over, taking my time. Zodiac’s aim wobbled, but then he stuck the gun under his own chin and closed his eyes. It couldn’t have been a pleasant surprise when I tilted the gun and all he did was blow off his lower jaw and lip.
I took the gun from him and lifted him into the air with one hand, watching him gurgle and squirm. “You shot me too many times to get away with a one-bullet suicide there, Zodiac. Tell me, are you a swinger?”
I grabbed him by the back of his underwear and proceeded to do a wedgie version of that astronaut test where they spin you around to see how long before you pass out.
The forensics will look a bit off, but there’s no denying he shot himself with his own hand. They probably won’t know what to do about his remaining eye being so wide and scared, like maybe he snuck up on himself. I didn’t have more time to make it as painful for him as it should have been. The guy I carjacked was probably running this way, and I’d left it in too poor of a shape to drive myself out of there. Same with Zodiac’s car. So I was walking again, this time knowing I’d be leaving San Francisco soon.
I didn’t give Mobian the update right away. I showered and hopped into my coffin for a good day’s rest, then hopped out and decided to enjoy myself the next night, followed by a bit of light graffiti. Hopefully, people in The Castro will remember those weird messages about “Condoms keep you off the GRID,” in another decade.
I’d barely finished the last of those when a bright light appeared overhead and I found myself in Mobian’s timeship again. He looked down at me, maybe disappointed. I crossed my arms and looked him in the eye defiantly. He didn’t say anything about the graffiti. Instead, he gave his cane a tap on the floor. “Your hunt went well the previous evening. My timeship felt the disturbance settle.”
“Dead as disco’s gonna be,” I said.
“Quite. Are you well rested?” he asked. Upon my nod, he continued, “Good. Let us continue our excellent journey.”
“Party on, dude,” I told him, to his continued confusion.