He sits there staring into his now cold cup of coffee, lost in a million different thoughts all at once. So lost in fact that he doesn’t notice the man enter the café until he is standing in front of him.
“Hello? Is anyone in there?” the man says, Detective inspected Frank Clifford looks up from his coffee at the man.
“I’m sorry, do we know each other?”
“In a roundabout way, I mean, I know more about you than you do about me.” The man says with a grin.
“I’m not following, who are you?”
“Kevin Stafford,” he says as he holds out his hand.
“Stafford? The same piece of slime from the papers?”
“The very same, I was…..” He doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Frank is to his feet in seconds and grabs him by the throat and slams him up against the café wall. The girl behind the counter stops in her tracks and stares in shock as does a customer who is sitting a few seats away.
“What the fuck are you playing at you piece of shit? You write all that drivel about me in your little fucking column, and now you have the gall to show up here and what? Expected me to fucking answer your stupid fucking questions?” he says as he shakes Stafford vigorously, slamming him against the wall several times.
“That’s no-not why I-I’m here,” Stafford stammers.
“Whatever you’re selling, I’m not interested in,” he says as he throws Stafford to the floor. “Fuck off before I give you what you deserve, you little shit.”
“Two minutes, that’s all I want,” Stafford says as he slowly gets to his feet. “Please, two minutes and I’m gone, you have my word.”
“You want two minutes, well I’ve got your two minutes right here,” Frank says as he grabs his crotch. “Fuck off.”
“I know the identity of the Skinner,” Stafford says quickly.
“Bullshit, why come to me with this when you could publish it in your daily piece of shit paper, aren’t you all about sales and shit?”
“Because he knows I know, I’m afraid and you’re the only one who can help me.”
“Why the fuck should I care? You called me, and I’m quoting your words here, ‘an ineffective tool in the shed that should be thrown in the bin and replaced with a new, more appropriate weapon,’ those were your words dip shit, so tell me again why I should help you?”
“Look, I’m under the pump, just like you, and my editor wants sensationalised news, he wants to sell papers just like you pointed out, and I want a job, so I fluff shit up for the readers,” Stafford says. “But you need to know this, you need to stop him, only you can do it, come on, how long has he been out there now, eight months and what, seventy-victims have found themselves beneath his blade. I can help you, I can give you everything, and you can stop it all.”
“There are ten to twenty other guys on the force who are just as good, if not better than me. Fuck, if I’m honest I’d agree with your column, I’m old, done, I can’t stop this prick, he’s just too many steps ahead.”
“Then fucking let me talk instead of wasting time.”
“Two minutes is all you get, after that you can leave me the fuck alone to finish my coffee in peace.”
“Deal,” Stafford says as they both sit back down at the table, Stafford pulls a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and places it on the table and slides it over to Frank. “Everything you want is on that piece of paper, the name of your killer, why he’s doing it and when he’ll strike next.”
“Bullshit,” Frank says as he grabs the paper, Stafford places his hand on Frank’s, holding the paper down.
“Once you read it, once you know, you can’t go back, you understand?”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Frank says as he wrestles his hand free and opens the folded piece of paper, he flips it over and then flips it again. “Is this some kind of joke?” Franks says as he looks up from the blank piece of paper into the empty chair across from him.
“What the fuck does that mean?” he says as he slams a fist down onto the table, his cup jumps from the table and crashes back down, spilling half its contents. “Now look what you made me do, get out! Get the fuck out!” he yells, and then silence follows and he takes another sip of his cold cup of coffee, his hand covered in dried blood, scratch marks run down his face and the bodies of his victims laid scattered around the small café. The sounds of sirens scream from outside as the walls begin to close in on the Skinner and his final victims, and he still just sits there, lost in a million different thoughts all at once.