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He arrived at the café at nine thirty sharp, as always, and found a clean table beside the window. He liked to sit beside the window. It meant he could watch people passing by. This particular table beside the window also gave him a clear view of the door, which pleased him greatly. He didn’t like surprises.

He unfolded his newspaper and started to read a short front page article about the economy.

“Terrible, isn’t it?”

He froze for a brief moment, then looked up and smiled thinly at the waitress.

“I’m sorry?”

She gestured with her pen at his newspaper.

“All those girls. And they ain’t got no leads, either! Terrible, sumfing like that ‘appenin round here.”

He glanced back at the paper. The main headline, which he had ignored, screamed “Tenth Girl Found Dead, Police Baffled.”

“Yes,” he said. “Terrible. Coffee, please, black no sugar, and a full breakfast. Thank you.”

He shook his paper straight as he turned away, but he noticed the waitress roll her eyes at the brusque dismissal before she left. Good, he thought. That should discourage further unwanted conversation. He could almost feel his IQ diminishing in the face of her grammar.

He wanted to return to the economics article, but a morbid fascination drew his attention to the main article. The rampage of the Arlingbourne Ambusher continues, a sub header read. He groaned inwardly and shook his head. It was a crass name, cumbersome and awkward. You’d think paid journalists could come up with something better.

They weren’t even ambushed, after all. Every single one of them had got into his car perfectly willingly.

He turned the page and waited patiently for his coffee.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Three Word Wednesday this week gives us the prompt words Cumbersome, Morbid and Rampage.)