Summer rolled on well into March, making it extremely difficult for Mick to get a night alone down by the lake. The continuous stream of people walking barefoot along the shore each night should have been a nuisance but it just made things more exciting. One particularly warm night Mick needed to clear out his trunk so he lugged his suitcase through the park and waited on his favourite park bench.
Young couples walked hand in hand completely unaware of the fact that there weren’t clothes inside of Mick’s suitcase. Through vigorous trial and error he had discovered that a suitcase was the best way to transport a body. A duffel bag and especially black plastic bags drew too much attention but taking a suitcase to the lake near the airport was a common occurrence and went basically unnoticed.
When a gap opened up after a gaggle of couples Mick dragged the wheeled case onto the sand and struggled against the added resistance. Even having the super lightweight case didn’t make it any easier when he was lugging almost one hundred kilos of body parts. He couldn’t reach the lapping water fast enough and by the time he crouched down to unzip the case he was building up a sweat.
As the zips reached the corners of the case he froze as something started to emerge from the bushes behind the bench he had been waiting on. There was still enough waning light for him to tell that it was a young girl walking backwards and dragging something heavy. He stood up and stepped over the suitcase to put himself between it and her.
She walked backwards dragging what looked like the bag used for an inflatable bouncy castle without even looking to see if anybody was around. When she was within earshot and Mick was certain he would be heard over the scraping of the material on the footpath and then the sand, he cleared his throat.
“How’s it going,” he said casually.
What turned out to in fact be a young woman who just had the frame of a young girl looked backwards without stopping and grinned. Not only was she older than he was expecting, but she was also incredibly attractive.
“Hey buddy,” she replied as if it wasn’t weird that two people were down by the lake with unusual bags.
“What’s in the bag?” Mick asked, seeing how much she was struggling to keep up her momentum.
“Oh you know, just a dead body that I’m going to dump in the lake,” she said totally deadpan, and clearly decided that she had dragged her bag far enough as she stopped in her tracks.
Mick felt his stomach lurch into his throat before he realised that there was no way that she could know what he was doing. She was just making a joke because she didn’t have to tell the creep with the suitcase by the lake anything. He decided that the best thing to do was play along.
“Perfect timing,” he said. “I’m just about to rid myself of some body parts too.”
Her grin returned and Mick felt incredibly uncomfortable. Not because of how excited she seemed about the fact that he was either serious or just playing along. But because he knew that even if she was joking he needed to find a way to see her again. He had always been a sucker for a beautiful girl with a sense of humour. Or a psychotic streak.
“Great, we can help each other get this done before anyone shows up and we have to dispose of their bodies too,” she said and crouched down beside her bag.
Mick wasn’t sure if she was serious until she pulled out a dismembered arm and used it to wave at him.
“Hello,” she said in a cartoony voice, “I’m Cass, it’s nice to meet you.”
Mick’s mouth fell open as Cass burst into a fit of laughter capped off by a loud snort. She sprung up faster than Mick could respond and slapped him in the face with the dead hand.
“Wake up bro, you’re supposed to introduce yourself when somebody tells you their name.”
Too many things had stunned Mick for him to respond the way she wanted but he managed to say, “What if I wasn’t actually disposing of a body?”
“Really?” she said, poking him in the sides with the dead man’s arm. “It’s pretty obvious what you’re doing here, bro. Besides if you weren’t here for that I’d just kill you too. No skin off my back.”
“Not yet anyway,” Mick interjected, recovering his personality rather quicker than he was expecting. “Just don’t cross me.”
“There you go, you’ve developed a sense of humour. Just in time because I need a hand. Not this one obviously,” she said, waving the arm about and then flipping it over her back into the shallow water. “But yours would be appreciated.”
“I fucking love you,” Mick said before his brain could stop the words from coming out.
“Woah, calm down there, buddy. This is just a mutual body disposal. Don’t go falling in love with me or you’ll end up like this guy faster than I’ve already planned.”
“Sorry can’t take it back. I love you and after this we’re going to the pub.”
“If there was ever a proposal that a girl couldn’t refuse that is it.”
Mick walked around the suitcase, opened it up and pulled out one of the arms. He held it by the bicep and extended it towards Cass who instantly took the hint and pulled another arm out of her bouncy castle bag. They awkwardly shook hands with the bloated and pale appendages.
“It is a fucking pleasure to meet you, Cass,” Mick said. “I’m Mick.”
“The pleasure is all yours,” she said, unable to contain the cheeky uplift at the corner of her mouth. “For now.”