It was the dumbest and possibly worst ransom note ever. Mike didn’t know a lot about ransom notes beyond what he had seen on TV like anyone else. He could tell this was not only amateur, as any good TV cop could immediately deduce, but that it was more than likely from his weirdo neighbour, Andrew Willingham.
Andrew Willingham was the sort of kid that you didn’t mind knowing necessarily, but kind of wished you didn’t. The kind of kid that never did anything to you, and that you couldn’t pin anything on really, but nonetheless, the sort of kid who, if he wasn’t already, could quite possibly grow up to be a serial murderer. Or an accountant. Or both. He was the sort of kid that age and nature seemed to hate, giving him a pear of a post-menopausal woman’s body, shoulders as narrow as his life options and an ass that a small family could float away to safety on after a shipwreck. He wore the same greenish sweatpants everyday and smelled like it. His body odour had evolved into something else, a strange, primeval perma-odour, a smell released from the earth itself by a warming arctic tundra. A smell that had otherwise been locked away from humanity since the last age of the dinosaurs. He didn’t shave and it didn’t help. The reddish patchwork of hairs sprouting out made him actually look younger, but in a way as if he was trying to get away with something, or that he couldn’t give a shit whether he got hit by a bus tomorrow.
“$500 for the pictures,” it read. Cutout letters, except on fringed, ripped out, ruled notebook paper placing the author’s identity as being in high school. Mike didn’t know a lot of criminal masterminds, but had a feeling that they were usually a bit smarter than this. Only kids used spiral notebooks, and only certain kids would spill food on them.
Andrew Willingham, given his abysmal social position, should have been smart, or at the very least smarter. He wasn’t. Things like this made that quite clear. Not that Mike himself was at the top of the academic food chain or anything. He would never catch the winning touchdown or get lucky with the prom queen. But compared to Andrew Willingham, he was doing alright. Still, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for the kid, even though he felt he really shouldn’t given the whole future serial murderer thing.
That kid, who’s mom died when they were little and who was never right since, was the weirdo next door he felt bad about thinking was a weirdo. It was one of those things that makes you or breaks you he supposed, and the trauma and ruthless, social cannibalism of high school didn’t help the situation. He had lived down the road for as long as he could remember. He had always been on the periphery, always somewhere around, somewhere not quite there and not quite anywhere. Just there. He didn’t talk a lot, but spoke hours and hours by just being.
This note was just plain dumb as shit though. That was it, and he wasn’t paying $500 which no kid their age would ever have except maybe on TV. No, he wouldn’t be giving Andrew Willingham a penny for pictures of him giving his old comic collection to the aliens. Everyone at school already knew about it anyhow.