Note: This is the English rewrite of the original Dutch version. Your ruthless comments are welcome in the comment section below, in the appropriate thread in the SoWrite Facebook group, and in the ABM IDT group. Take your pick.
For years Johan had been terrorised. First by his violent wife Vicky, whom he had started to lovingly refer to as “The Ex From Hell” after the divorce, later also by countless alleged ‘aid workers’ and government officials. He was denied justice: complaints and charges were swept under the rug, the culprits were protected.
On the tenth anniversary of the start of the violence (a day he remembered as if it were yesterday) he decided to take it no longer. As a high-functioning autistic person he had a strongly developed sense of justice which told him justice had to be served. He wouldn’t have to expect any support from Lady Justice, something he had already found out years ago. In his small studio apartment entire bookshelves were taken up by binders with files which proved Lady Justice no longer wore her blindfold; those who served her weren’t part of the solution, they were part of the problem!
That day he made a dramatic decision: he would wield the Sword of Justice himself. Of course that had to be prepared good and thoroughly, a half-ass job wouldn’t serve anyone. That required thorough preparation, at home there would be too many distractions, so he packed a weekend bag and booked a long weekend in a hotel at the coast. It was October so the tourists would be long gone, and the hotel proprietor would be happy to get any guests at all. And the walks on the beach would definitely make him feel better.
That’s where he could be found all weekend: walking on the almost deserted beach, braving the cold and stormy winds. As his lungs filled with the salty sea air, his mind and notepad filled with plans. Nobody would escape the Sword of Justice; not the alleged aid workers, not the government officials, and most certainly not Vicky. But her turn (and her end) would come last, in a sort of Grand Finale, so she’d get to see how one by one everyone she had gotten to do her dirty work for her would be punished. And the first to go under the axe would be Peter, the case manager at the Bureau for Prevention of Domestic Violence.
Peter had had the audacity to twist Johan’s domestic violence report around, making him the perpetrator rather than the victim and wrongfully listing Vicky as the victim. Johan had brought the topic up numerous times, but Peter had refused to correct his mistake and instead hid behind: “We don’t search for the truth.” How odd then that he had ‘corrected’ the initial report. Later Johan found out why: Peter hadn’t had any training beyond that of a social worker, where he had learned that domestic violence means that the man abuses his wife. The reverse scenario wasn’t in his study books, therefore it didn’t exist, and thus the information in the initial report must have been wrong.
After a while Johan found out that Peter wasn’t just incompetent but also corrupt: he had let himself be bribed with sex. Vicky’s mother Lena had taught her daughter that as a woman she could get anything done by spreading her legs. Lena knew what she was talking about: decades of working as a prostitute had earned her a reputation as “the City Whore of Maastricht.” Vicky had practiced her mother’s advice with great zeal. Although Peter had been just the first in a long line of ‘aid workers’ and government officials who had ended up between her thighs, before him she also had been involved in several extramarital affairs to further her career.
Shortly after Johan’s weekend getaway, life became increasingly unpleasant for Peter. Stories from conveniently anonymous clients were posted on the Internet, telling tales of his lack of impartiality and his willingness to protect female clients in exchange for sexual services. Photos and videos appeared online which showed that he was constantly being watched. His wife received phone call after phone call from women asking for Peter, only to hang up when she asked for the caller’s name. Red roses were delivered to his workplace and his home address, and the mailman regularly delivered postcards from someone with a female handwriting, declaring her love for Peter.
The operation was a success. Despite efforts by his employer to protect Peter, his position at the Bureau could no longer be maintained. The government denied him Unemployment Benefits, thus stating that he had only himself to blame for his unemployment. His wife became convinced Peter was cheating on her and threw him out of the house. Shortly afterwards she divorced him.
Peter lost everything he had. Impoverished and shunned by everyone he knew he wandered aimlessly through the city, sleeping under the stars and sometimes sleeping in the homeless shelter if and when they had a bed available for him. He survived on what little money he received every week in Homeless Benefits, most of which were spent on his only remaining friend: the booze.
More photos and videos popped up, proving that he was still being watched. It actually got him the questionable title of Best Known Homeless Person in the city, but the title was no benefit; the more people learned who he was and what he had done, the more he got chased away. Even his fellow outcasts didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Peter had nowhere left to go.
Through the morning fog the train driver of the morning’s first Intercity train saw the one thing no train driver ever wants to see, and did the only thing he could do.
He slammed the emergency brake knowing that there was no way the train would stop in time anyway, and waited for the inevitable thump.
Later that day Johan learned from the regional newspaper’s website that the city’s Best Known Homeless Person had been killed. He opened his notepad, crossed out Peter’s name with a red marker, looked who was next on the list, and booked another long weekend at the same hotel at the coast. Time had come for the next step.
To be continued…
This story is fictional. Any similarity with actual people, organisations or events is purely coincidental.