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Author Nonimportant (Works) is fine with any constructive edits you wish to make to this literary work.

I said I like interview-like stories. This one was originally written in Portuguese, but I'm translating/paraphrasing it to English, it should be understandable, but not particularly directed at you. If you are offended by what Antônio says: Remember, don't mind him, he's psycho-crazy.



Silveira walked up the stairs to the third floor of the building, there were many stairs, but not too many, there never can be too many stairs. Silveira counted seventy-three and stopped, looking around. He stepped over some steps, and counted seventy-five before stepping out of the stairs and moving toward an apartment door. If he hadn't stepped over them, the total number of steps wouldn't be divisible by five, and Silveira liked to be very organized.

This is how he managed to discover who the killer was, after all. It took a long time of investigation and careful organization of facts into tables and graphs and maps and days and days reading the help files for that Microsoft Excel thing. No wonder the police didn't discover the truth, it took genius for that. And he was the greatest genius he knew, he thought, with a smirk as he knocked on the door number 402.

A friendly man with a friendly face opened the door, smiling. He had recently shaved, and applied perfume, probably, otherwise he had the nicest body odour Silveira ever smelled. His eyes were blue, and his hair was short, and grey, but not balding., his skin was something between pink and yellow and white, quite different from Silveira's own light brown. The combination of recent shave and light skin tone reflected the sunlight into Silveira's eyes.

"Sr. Antônio!" Silveira said, almost too enthusiastically, but of course, he had a very good reason to be so, he had just cracked the case by himself just like his favourite detective in the books, and now he would confront the perpetrator. Silveira was anxious, but he wasn't stupid, of course, and carried a small calibre gun under his coat. A coat he used especially for this reason, disregarding the forty degrees Celsius heat of summer.

Silveira forced himself to calm down before saying anything, and said, "May I enter? I have a very important matter to discuss," yes, that sounded calm, almost uninterested, like the detectives in the books, taking their time before revealing the intricate reasoning behind their conclusions.

They entered the small apartment. It wasn't as bad as it appeared from outside, it was actually comfortable, really, the sofas were covered in floral designs, and a large television sat on front of one of them, the wooden furniture was painted white, almost bright white. And the sun entered through the windows and the door to the balcony, illuminating the whole room with light. And heat. The whole room was full of hot air. The ceiling fan was turned off.

While closing the door, his host asked, "So, is it about that census thing? Or is it something about elections? You're not selling anything, are you?"

Silveira decided to start, "I know it was you! I know it was you who killed all those people!" he said it, a little louder, and faster, than he wanted. But it didn't matter, it would have the effect he wanted. Surprise!

The host stopped for a second what he was doing. Then he locked the door, and turned around, still smiling, not a pint of malice on his face, "Ah, finally! So you got it all figured out?"

"YES!" Silveira more or less yelled, "I mean...yes, I have! I used my superior cognitive abilities and managed to follow a trail of clues you left behind! It all started when I..." Silveira started explaining the case, like the detectives from the books always did.

"Doesn't matter. You just followed the clues I left you, right? I expected the police to find it out first, but a private investigator is just as well. The ending will be basically the same, and not a word of the epilogue will change. Anything that you haven't figured out that needs some explaining?" Antônio asked, cheerily, moving his hands about while he walked towards the fridge.

"Uh..." Silveira needed a second or two to understand what was going on, "Ah, yes. Why? I mean, I know the hows and the whens and the wheres...but why? I mean it makes no sense, and 'you are crazy' seems too simple to be satisfactory. There's method to madness, you see. Even if a man that sits on the floor all day wearing few clothes and doesn't eat seems irrational, when you realize he think he's Gandhi, his actions start to make sense. A mad man is still a rational man and..."

"Yeah, yeah, I read 'The ABC crimes' too. Want a glass of wine, Sr....?" Antônio offered a glass.

"Silveira, and no. I don't drink. It kills brain cells," he answered, as Antônio filled his own glass and started to speak while holding it.

"So, why I did it? Huh? I thought it'd be obvious. Do you watch TV, Silveira? And no need to call me sir, we're like intimate friends here, if you've been investigating my crimes," he spoke, still smiling broadly.

"W-well...yes, sometimes."

"Well, did you watch it last night? A horror movie was on it, 'Halloween', I think. One of those movies about psychopaths."

"So...you were copying the movies you saw?"

"Oh, no, of course not. I merely mentioned it because the film was simply retarded," he said, showing the palms of his hands, his smile thinning a bit.

"Oh," was all the answer Silveira could muster.

"You see, it appears Hollywood specializes on this kind of films. Retarded films for brainless people. This is particularly noticeable in horror films. And in a particular subgroup. Films about psychopaths," Antônio started talking, in the stern demeanour of his day-job as a teacher.

Silveira sat on a nearby chair, and crossed his legs. Pretty comfortable, he thought. "Oh, I see, uh...and how does that apply to..."

Antônio grabbed a large knife on the counter and started swinging it on the air, "I mean it's just pure stabbing fun, there's no problem with that, but it's too simple for a long film. Hollywood doesn't do shorts, I know, but we can't be expected to be entertained by mindless slash and stab for more than an hour!"

Silveira, tensed up a bit and paying very close attention to the knife-swinging psychopath, answered, "Yes, sure, but but that doesn't have anything to do with your crim..."

"And the gore!" Antônio suddenly bellowed, striking one of the nearby furniture with a quick slash of the knife, not paying any attention to Silveira, some wine fell out of his glass "The gore. Gore is not horrifying! Gore is disgusting. True, there is always an element of disgust in horror, we can all agree that the mere thought of a creature so evil that cannot be possibly redeemed, and will kill any redeemers on sight, is disgusting in its own right, but pure gore is not scary. Vomiting is not a sign that you're scared, and it's not the effect the film-makers and entertainers in general should strive to achieve in their audiences. And by that comment, I, of course, do include the grotesque films some call comedy."

Antônio's rant was boring the hell out of Silveira, he looked around the room, there were shelves on every wall, and, something that he hadn't noticed when he first entered the room, they were full of VHS and DVD cases. Many, many, many VHS and DVD cases. In many shelves, all over the walls. Silveira realized he should be paying more attention, for having missed that.

"So, Sr. Antônio, why did you commit those crimes in the first place?" said Silveira, interrupting the rant.

"Huh? I was just...I was just explaining it to you? Don't you get it?" Antônio asked, visibly stunned.

"Stop playing games, I am not here to hear film criticisms, I'm here to hear a motive...and arrest you, Sr. Antônio!" Silveira said, confident, like the detectives in the books would be. Perhaps too confident for someone inside a locked room with a psychopath wielding a knife.

"You...really didn't get it? Hah, and to think one such as you were able to get me. You're not even able to deduct the motive from what I've already told you. Then again, six months have passed already since I started my spree, your slow, stupid, oblivious brain must have enough time to sum one plus one...I'm surprised the police hadn't got to me then...I'm surprised a dunce like you was able to get it...I'm very surprised indeed," Antônio said, almost to himself, while setting the knife on the counter.

"Well, Sr. Silveira, they are quite simple, my motives. You see, I wanted to make a better story," Antônio explained, walking around, sipping wine, "I knew I could make a better plot, choose better characters. But I don't have the money or the connections for film-making, and it's really hard making people watch national films already with the relatively little glitter they get, compared to the season's Hollywoodian blockbuster.

"So I decided for the next best thing. Books. I'm writing a book, you see, in diary style. Or at least I started it, but I realized I'm not as good at it than I thought. I can see the images, but only fuzzily, not with enough clarity to put it in paper. A problem mitigated if I was doing a film. I decided that I had to get inspired, so I decided to do something ripped from the headlines.

"I was faced with the same problem. There simply aren't any good serial killers in Brazil, and the reporters do not report any interesting information on them. I was frustrated, until I had an idea. A creative solution to the problem..."

Silveira closed his eyes for a second. That was a lot of information, he tried to organize and classify the information in his mind, like he classified his socks and underwear. Numbering them as he numbered the steps. He was such a slow thinker, and had so little focus, but organization helped mitigate that.

Antônio didn't stop talking, "So I became angry, terribly angry. And then the pizza delivery guy let my pizza fall on the floor and still wanted me to pay for it. The floods opened, and I observed him for days, before striking. Clean, no clues at all. I realized it was easy. That is, to kill. And when I did, I had an epiphany and a flood of inspiration. The smell, the sights, the sounds...I had the perfect idea for a prologue!" with that, he gave a wide swing with the knife, accidentally tipping over the bottle of wine that was on the counter to the floor.

"So...that's why you started killing? Just that? I mean...seriously, that is your reason?" Silveira asked unbelieving.

"Yes, of course. A combination of writer's block and bad films can do that to anybody. But of course, I made sure not to fall in the oft repeated clichéd Hollywood serial killer. First, I left clues intentionally. Real serial killers do that. Not so for Hollywood ones, completely ignoring the many potential interesting scenes, or in my case, chapters, to be derived of this. Then, I chose victims at random, except for the first one, they weren't killed because they were gangsters, or sexually promiscuous or whatever kind of unsympathetic victim their screenwriters come up next. They were killed because I am amoral.

"Then there's the use of different modus operandi, not only knives and hooks and axes and saws, but poison and firearms, something unexpected for a fictional psycho killer... Of course, I knew I'd be discovered sooner or later, in a big climactic preparation to the grand finale...or so I expected..." he said, disappointment clear in his voice.

"What do you mean by that?" Silveira asked, with a tough voice, as tough as the toughest crime noir detectives from the books.

"I mean that I expected a real antagonist, not...you. Though, perhaps, it is not entirely bad. An unexpected antagonist can give a deconstructionist anti-trope style to the book. When the expectations of the reader are not met on purpose...and, of course, there always can be a sequel. Perhaps a change the setting, to colder climates. But first I have to focus on ending this one. Perhaps later I write an epilogue while disposing of the body, and travelling away..."

"What...do you mean...?" asked Silveira, suddenly tense.

"You didn't get it yet?" asked Antônio, tightening his grip around the knife, "A twist ending."

Quickly, he traversed the small space separating him from Silveira and cut open his neck, almost separating the head from the body, while all the now dead man could pronounce was a gurgle, and blood flowed.

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