He surveyed the disarray in his new bedroom. Not too much blood on the sheets or on his clothes, but his washing machine would be kept busy. Now he had a bigger problem.
How to dispose of Precious?
Simplest would be to wrap her in a carpet and dump her at the landfill site; but he wanted her to completely disappear. No trace; no evidence, nothing – at worst, a missing person.
But that could wait until morning. He dumped the body in the bath, cleaned himself up, switched off the electricity, locked the door behind him, and returned to his bed-sit. A search through his trade magazines provided the solution.
He slept like a baby that night.
At ten the next morning, he was waiting outside a cash and carry in his workman’s overalls. He bought four 5-litre packs of industrial drain cleaner, a couple of large sheets of heavy-duty plastic, thick rubber gloves, and strong adhesive tape with his weekly groceries.
Back at his new home he parked the Cortina outside the block and made a few trips up the stairs with his cargo of goodies. A few people were up and about but no one bothered him; he blended in. No nosy neighbours to worry about. Dumping the bags in his lounge, he made himself a poached egg on toast, swilled down with a cup of tea.
After that, he got to work. He put on his rubber gloves, plugged the bath hole, slit open the body with a carving knife to drain out the fluids, and poured all twenty litres of drain cleaner into the tub. Then he covered the top of the bath with the plastic sheeting and sealed it with the adhesive tape.
By his estimate, it would take the caustic soda five days for Precious to dissolve into a gooey sludge.
He cleaned up, and then carried out an initial search of the flat. Within half an hour he had found all the basic information he would need; a bright red handbag containing a credit card, personal mail, cellphone, rent book, and over two hundred pounds. Best of all was a bank pin number in her bedside drawer. He started to fill up the Cortina’s boot with carrier bags of her clothes and toiletries, and gradually removed all of her belongings during that day. Oxfam would be pleased.
A new start.
Later, he leafed through the rent book. It seemed like a cash-in-hand set-up: no legal contracts that he could find in her flat; it was probably a tax evasion operation. The book had the name and address of the landlord’s agent: Gilbert Pratt who, according to Precious, was a sexual predator.
Time to put that right.
He locked up and traipsed back down the stairs again, and located Pratt’s house near the paper shop. He banged on the door, and heard a shuffling from inside. The door opened. Standing there was an ugly, fat brute in a dressing gown and slippers with a fag hanging out of his mouth. His face was chalky-white, apart from a few days growth of stubble.
The man rubbed his chin with a grimy hand. His voice was croaky, like he had a hangover. ‘Who are you? What you want?
‘Mr. Pratt ... Gilbert?
The man nodded.
He handed over the rent book. ‘I’m Dominic Bowman.’ He paused while Gilbert leafed through the book and digested the information. ‘I’m Miss Mogwase’s minder.’
Gilbert seemed surprised. He coughed, and flicked away the dog-end. ‘Eh?’
‘That means if you’re looking for rent see me about it. I don’t want her hassled ... you understand?’
‘Look mister ...’
He interrupted. ‘Don’t mister me ... just leave her alone.’ He fished out his pile of cash and offered Gilbert fifty pounds. ‘Go on then, take it and update the book in my name.’
He watched Gilbert piggy eyes stare at the notes. It didn’t take long – just as he had reckoned.
The money talked: a new ID.
It took him two weeks to relocate his business to a lock-up garage in a quiet location, end his tenancy at the bed-sit, and move into his new home.
Precious was cooking nicely.
With a few top-ups, the alkaline drain cleaner had worked up to a point; the flesh had decomposed into an oily grunge, but the bones hadn’t dissolved. He was expecting that; couldn’t risk an acid spillage or poisonous fumes in a third-floor flat, it was far too risky, but it lengthened the process.
Between snacks of ham and tomato sandwiches, swilled down with cups of tea, he spent most of a whole day sawing up the skeleton and flushing buckets of delectable flesh soup safely down the toilet.
The following day he bagged the bones and took them to his lock-up. There, it was safer to play around with acid and the fumes would be dissipated. A metal tub filled with industrial strength from one of his suppliers dissolved the remains in two days and completed the clean-up. He neutralised the acid and swilled out the residue down the drain outside.
Returning to his flat, he sat down in his comfortable armchair, and switched on the TV.
No Precious, no evidence; job done.