This would surely have led to romance, but the whole "listening to suicides" thing was a mood-killer.
Rule and this young man worked together often and became fairly close, and he told Rule some of his most personal stories -- tales about his background as an illegitimate child, plans to get his girlfriend back, and how his grandmother strangely pretended she was his mom. You know, usual friend stuff. But Rule was still a crime writer by trade, and a few years later, she was working on a book about a string of unsolved murders of women in the Washington area. While investigating, Rule learned that one of the women had heard the killer call himself "Ted." Which was the name of the young, good-hearted guy she had worked with on the suicide hotline.
The Ridiculous Twist:
Hold on now, what was this guy's full name again? Oh, right: Ted fucking Bundy.
Florida Department of Corrections
"Four homicides in one game."
The similar name and physical description of the killer wasn't enough to make Rule believe that Ted was the culprit -- the dude was volunteering to save the lives of depressed people, for crying out loud -- but it alarmed her enough that she decided to give the cops a "Hey, this is probably nothing, but ..." courtesy call. She told the investigator about Bundy, who unbeknownst to her turned out to own the exact same model of VW Beetle as the killer.
Making him the second-worst person to be involved with the Beetle.
Unnerved, Rule asked for her tip to remain anonymous, which was probably a pretty good move on her part, because the next year, Ted contacted her. Presumably because he knew about Rule's crime journalist career, he wanted to know why the police were suddenly looking into his law school records. Rule checked, found that he was one of the 1,200 suspects the law was looking into, and presumably did a passable enough innocent whistle to avoid ending up in a ditch somewhere.
Seemingly happy with the information, Bundy told Rule: "I think they have some kind of a wild idea I'm connected with some cases up in Washington [...] Everything's going to turn out all right. But if it doesn't, you'll be reading about me in the papers." Lo and behold, she did read about him, when he was arrested. And keep in mind, this isn't like finding out your co-worker killed their spouse in a fit of jealous rage -- Bundy would eventually confess to 30 goddamned murders, and may have committed many more.
We realize virtually all of you reading this can name at least one co-worker whom you believe is plausibly a serial killer. Remember that statistically, no more than one or two of you are right.
Jordan Breeding is a part-time writer, full-time lover, and all-the-time guitarist. Check out his band at http://www.skywardband.com or on Spotify here
For more real crimes fiction could never match, check out 6 People Who Just Fucking Disappeared and 7 True Crimes Solved By Twists Too Ridiculous For Network TV.
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