It was a gorgeous Thursday afternoon. The men were in the family room watching the special Thanksgiving Day football game. The Chicago Bears were playing against the Minnesota Vikings. Norton McCarthy and his brother-in-law, Simon Fletcher, were wagering as to whom had the better offense. From looking at the score, you would have to agree with Norton; the Vikings--deep in Bear's territory--were winning, 24-7, late in the fourth quarter. As the Vikings scored yet another touchdown, it all but settled their bets.
The time clock finally ticked down to zero; the Bears had lost by twenty-eight points. Simon got up, and quickly flipped the channel until he came across an old Clint Eastwood movie: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. He sat back down with a grim look on his face.
"Those sons-of-bitches," Simon uttered. He was heartbroken and disappointed to see the Bears take such a serious butt whipping.
He was especially embarrassed that he had to sit through this massacre in the company of his brother-in-law.
"Now, calm down son. It was only a game. Let's enjoy the holiday festivities," Simon's father advised.
Norton observed the collection of moose heads and gun racks hanging along the walls. He picked-up one of the hunting magazines that were lying on the coffee table, and flips through a couple of pages. Then, he stops and studies a page for a few seconds. Simon gave a snide glance from the corner of eyes while he continued listening to the rampage of gunfire on the television. "Hey Simon, check out that beauty." He opens the magazine in full length to show Simon. "Ah, now why on earth would anyone want to kill one of God's sweet innocent creations," Norton lashed.
Simon looked; it was a beautiful white rabbit hanging from a rope on the back of a 4x4 flatbed. "Dawn, I would have loved to shoot that sucker. I haven't caught one all year," Simon answered.
"Simon," Norton passionately responds, "look into the eyes of this creature and tell it that you will not have any remorse for killing them." Simon snatches the magazine and looks directly into the eyes of the rabbit and uttered, "You lucky son-of-a-bitch, you better be glad he got to you before I did. I for certain would have gotten you and your mama," Simon taunts as he releases a huge laughter, and tosses the magazine back at Norton.
"You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that," Norton responded. "I for one do not see how you, and your beer-guzzling buddy, can label killing this sweet innocent animals as a recreational sport. If I had things my way, I would permanently ban this so-called idiotic "sport." I personally think hunting should be outlawed until wildlife develops the ability to shoot back. If you want to hunt something, pick with someone your own size." Upon hearing this, Simon's inside boiled. Deep down he never fully accepted Norton as part of the family. He always thought Norton was soft: not a real man. The two were from completely different worlds. Simon was a blue-collar worker, loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, gambling, and mostly drinking. While, Norton was into classical music and the lively arts, and made his living as a freelance writer. All of the emotions Simon felt against Norton quickly erupted.
"Why you stupid stuck-up son-of-a-bitch!" Simon retorted. "Who the hell are you to tell me what I can or can not hunt! I have a hunting license, certified by the state!" He pulls out his wallet. "Look right there! That's my name and this license grants me the right to slaughter sons-of-a-bitches just like that one! Not to mention, I belong to the National Riffle Association, and, we encourage hunting as a means of controlling overpopulation of these "sweet innocent creations of God!" These are my guns and I will use them for anything I dawn well please!" The voices of both escalated to an astounding pitch. Simon's father tried to separate the two men. The wives of Norton and Simon, Sarah and Mary, hurried to the room so see what the shouting was about.
Sarah questions, "What are you two arguing about?" "This argument is over, because, I'm about to through this sorry son-of-a-bitch out!" Simon shouts.
"Simon, please control of your temper," Mary warns. "I don't want you to regret doing something, and then feeling sorry for yourself again." Mary noticed that Simon was sweating profusely with veins popping out of his forehead. Mary recalled the incident, from May 13 of this year, he had while at a local bar. He had gotten into an argument, lost his temper, and began fighting one of the bartenders. Luckily for him, charges were not filed. However, he was permanently banned from the bar.
Simon ignored Mary's warnings and proceeded to escort Norton out of the house. However, Norton gladly left resisting further incident. He had had enough of Simon's uncontrollable behavior and wanted to get away from him. Him and Sarah quickly got into their car and drove home. Neither Simon nor Norton bothered apologizing to each other for their rude behavior.
Two days later, it was back to work for Simon. He almost did not want to go to work. For Saturday was a holiday weekend, and almost everyone would be out today taking advantage of the Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas sales. The majority of his co-workers were out of town visiting family. Therefore, he figured what the heck; he would go in, but will work very lightly today.
Around 7:30 that morning, Simon cranked-up his red Ford Escort. He waited awhile to let the car warm up. He got out to clear the dew from the rear window. Upon noticing how the car had aged, he figured it was time for him to get another one. It was in dire need of a paint job. However, that was not a major concern, since the engine was still holding strong. Besides, he was up to his neck trying the pay creditor now. He got back into the car and departed for work.
On the way, about 15 minutes later, he past Norton's house. The image of his house brought back memories of Norton. And, memories of Norton, brought back memories of the incident that happened two day ago on Thanksgiving Day. With his right foot, he jammed the gas pedal to the floor. The tires hollered past his house. Simon looked straight ahead, trying to avoid eye contact with the house.
He arrived at Rinaldi Enterprises a little before 8:00 a.m. He took a brief stroll through the building and noticed many unmanned workstations. Just as he thought, this would be a light day. He stopped by and waved good morning to his boss, Gary Miller. However, Gary was deeply engaged in a telephone conversation and barely noticed him.
At approximately 11:35 am on the same day, Sarah embraced Norton as she prepared to leave for work. They wished each other a wonderful day and she soon departed. Norton watched as she pulled away from the house, blew her a kiss, and then went back into the house.
A little before noon, Simon hears his stomach growling. He looks up at the clock and noticed that it was lunchtime. At 12:03 p.m., he was prepared to leave, however, was stopped by a ringing telephone. He answers, and tries to assist the customer with information about an account. While at the same time, he tries to get the customer off the line as quickly as possible. However, he was not successful with the latter.
At 12:30 p.m., Norton telephones his publisher. They briefly discussed some of his projects, and adjusted some of the deadlines and due dates.
Simon, very angry that a good portion of his lunchtime was gone, hurried to a local Burger King to pick-up a quick sandwich. After noticing how crowded the inside was, he zipped through the drive-thru window. As usual, they got his order wrong. He got out of his car, and stormed back to the window and demanded that they give him exactly what he had asked for; they complied. He got back in the car, and noticed he would have very little time to each his lunch now. Therefore, he hurriedly ate his lunch in the car on the way back to work.
At 1:00 p.m., Simon hurried to the conference room where a mandatory meeting was being held. He made it just in time, however, was unprepared and had forgotten to bring his paperwork. All of the section heads and "big men" attended.
The meeting lasted until 3:00 p.m. Simon was not very productive in the meeting. No one was pleased with his performance either.
Around 4:35 p.m., one of Simon's coworkers, William Parnell, walked by and notice him steadily working. He seemed anxious trying to finish something.
Shortly afterward, the frustration got too heavy for Simon to bare; so, he left work. It was an agonizing day for him. Moments later, he notices Norton's home again. Sweat popped out of his forehead again.
At 5:50 p.m., Simon finally makes it home after a long day. On his way home, he had stopped by a convenience store, and bought a gallon of milk and a lottery ticket. It took awhile to purchase the lottery ticket. It was worth almost $80 million dollars, and everyone was trying to get a piece of the pie.
He fixed himself a bowl of rabbit stew, and retired to the family room. As he began to eat his rabbit stew, he noticed the magazine that Norton had been reading on the day of their argument. He picked it up and gave a deep frown.
"Well, here's to you stupid son-of-a-bitch!" Simon says as he rams a big spoonful of stew to his mouth.
Sitting there eating rabbit stew and glancing through the hunting magazine only brought back more memories of the Thanksgiving Day fiasco. He was becoming enraged. Mary heard the yelling and came to calm his temper.
At 7:30 p.m., Sarah called home from work to tell Norton she was going out for drinks after work with a few coworkers. No one answered the telephone, so she left the message on the answering machine.
Mary finally convinces Simon to take a warm bath and retire for the rest of the night. Simon takes an extended bath, shaves, and then gets into bed. Their three-year-old daughter comes in and asks Mary to read her a bedtime story. She agreed and read The Three Little Pigs, while Simon reclined on the bed with his eyes closed, yet listening to every word Mary uttered.
About 9:15 p.m., after coming home from a night out, Sarah wanted nothing else but to take a quick shower and get into bed. She walked through the house looking for Norton. She wanted to let him know she had made it back safety.
Around 11:15 p.m., the Fletcher's telephone rings. They were in their bedroom watching the nightly news with their daughter. Mary leans over to answer the telephone. It was Sarah, weeping very heavily. Norton had been murdered; he had been stabbed thirteen times and beaten over the head with a blunt instrument. Mary was completely speechless; she could not believe what she had heard. She told Simon about the ordeal. He simply shook his head, and said, "What is this world coming to." Mary and Sarah swore no knives were missing from either their households. The police could not find many witnesses. However, Erin and Stan Johnson--The McCarthy's neighbors--after a lengthy interrogation, did recall seeing a red Ford Escort with rust spots drive into the McCarthy's driveway at approximately 5:00 p.m. Yet, they could not recall if the car was "big or small, dark or light."