The Pink Hippopotamus was one of Baltimore’s oldest and most established gay and lesbian bars. Opened in the 70’s, the club really hit it’s heyday in the 80’s and 90’s. Over the years the traffic had slowed considerably and the owner was now thinking of closing but club, but Sandy planned on enjoying it for as long as she could. It was a Sunday, which meant no dancing, no DJ, just a quiet and safe place to drink.
Sandy sat enjoying her cosmopolitan while playing on her phone, waiting for her on again-off again girlfriend to return her text. She paid no attention when the middle-aged man in a baseball cap sat one stool away from her.
“Slow night,” he said, looking over with a smile.
Sandy didn’t look up. “It is.”
He ordered a whisky on the rocks from the young man behind the bar, but paid him no attention at all. “Can I buy you another?” He asked, never taking his eyes off of the young brunette beside him.
“No thank you.” She said nicely.
There was a prolonged period of silence, but Sandy was now acutely aware that the man next to her was staring. She kept playing on her phone, trying to ignore him and hoping he would take the hint. Finally, he broke the silence, “So what is a pretty young thing like you doing in a place like this?”
She couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Dude,” She looked up wearily, “you know this is a gay bar, right? You are really barking up the wrong tree here.”
“I was just trying to make conversation. I know where I am and what you are.” His demeanor had changed from happy to ominous and Sandy was suddenly very uncomfortable with his tone.
“Yeah…ok…just making sure. Sometimes people get confused. If you sit here long enough, I’m sure some ‘pretty young thing’ will surely buy you a drink and I’m sure he’ll be more your type.” She through his own words back at him. He just smiled.
This asshole was creepy and she knew she needed to get as far away from his as possible. “Well, it was nice to meet you, but I have work in the morning so I’m calling it.” Sandy downed the rest of her drink and left a $20 on the table before waving good-bye to Joey the bartender. “Later Joe.”
“Night Sand.” He called back.
“Be careful getting home,” the stranger said. “There are lots of psychos out there.”
“Yeah, thanks.” God what a creeper. Thank god I’m gay!
Sandy walked across Eager Street to the parking lot, but by the time she got to her car, the world was spinning. What the hell is wrong with me? I only had one drink, she thought as she dropped her keys on the ground. When she bent to pick them up she fell forward, hitting her head on the car door. Fuck.
He sat and waited for about five minutes before laying his money on the bar and walking out. When he walked out, he could see the young woman leaning against her car. He looked around to make sure no one else was on the street or watching before walking over to her. “You alright there?”
She didn’t answer. He slid on his gloves and picked up the keys off the ground next to her and used the electronic fob to unlock the car doors. He then picked Sandy up and carefully placed her in the passenger seat, pulling her cell phone from her pocket. He held it up to her face so it would open to the home screen and then went to maps and hit the home feature. Within seconds, he had directions to her house and they were on their way.
With all the traffic lights, it took around twenty minutes to arrive at Sandy’s home. He liked how quiet the street was and that the houses were large and decently spaced apart. That would make it easy to get her into her house unnoticed.
Once inside, he carried her upstairs to the master suite and laid her out on the bed. He sat next to her and waited, growing impatient as his thoughts started racing. You think you can take what’s mine? You think this life you live is right? Wake up! I can’t do this if you’re sleeping!
Sandy’s head was pounding. How did she get home? She slowly opened her eyes, but everything was blurry. And then she heard his breathing. She wasn’t alone. Who was here with her? She listened, unmoving and thought of all her options. She could keep pretending to be asleep, try to roll off the bed and get to the phone or try to fight, but she could barely move, let alone think, so fighting was out, so he tried to roll and the man next to her immediately sensed it and turned on her. In a flash, e was above her, hovering, so close she could smell the alcohol on his breath. Oh God. The man from the bar.
She tried to scream, but his hand was quickly around her throat, squeezing, but not enough to silence her yet. Her heart was racing, adrenaline started pumping, and she felt her body ramping up. “Who the fuck are you?” She croaked out.
“How quickly they forget. I helped you get home.” He was straddling her now and she felt like her worst fear was going to come true.
“Please don’t,” she begged. “Just…just leave me alone.” Her eyes started to tear.
His grin was sickening. “I just want to know why you did it.”
Sandy was sobbing now. “Did what? I didn’t do anything to you!” Her throat hurt as he hand was slowly getting tighter and tighter around her.
“LYING BITCH!” He screamed! “YOU STOLE WHAT WAS MINE!”
“NO! I didn’t steal anything from you!” She tried to wiggle away but he was too heavy and her body was still too weak.
He was savoring the fear radiating off of her and he wanted this feeling to last. He released his hold on her neck and shifted off of her, but somehow she knew she was still in great danger. “I don’t know what you want.” She tried to breath, but it was difficult. Panic was setting in.
“You take and you take…you take the women…fuck them…and leave nothing left for us!” He turned back to her screaming and sweating now as his anger continued to rise. “You took her from me and now you’re going to pay for that!”
The adrenaline finally gave her the strength the move and she rolled off the bed and onto her feet. She knew it was fight or flight, and she needed to flee, but as she tried to run out of her bedroom he grabbed her arm and swung her face first into the wall. She heard the crack as her nose broke, and the tears filled her eyes making it impossible to see. She realized at that moment that she was going to die and now she knew she needed to fight. Every crime show she ever watched came rushing into her mind. Bite, scratch, claw! She swung around to try and hit him, but missed and before she could do anything else, his hand was around her neck again. She brought her hands up to try to pull them off and to scratch, but he had on a long sleeve jacket and gloves. She tried to kick, but he didn’t even flinch. She couldn’t breathe…couldn’t think…pain…dark…and then there was nothingness.
He squeezed until he was sure the last breath had escaped her and then watched her body fall to the ground as he panted. He had wanted it to last longer; wanted her to fight harder. He sat on the bed and let his own body calm down, watching to make sure his victim was indeed dead and not faking. After a few minutes he walked around the house, searching for what he needed, but he was missing one essential element. He would improvise. He pulled two fabric belts from her closet and then lifted her body to the bed. He used the fabric to tie her hands to the bed, taking care to stage her in just the right way. Afterwards, he looked around and cleaned up the room, not wanting to leave any traces of his DNA behind.
Satisfied that the cops would attribute the crime to the right person, he quietly left the house, leaving the front door slightly ajar. He needed her to be found. He slowly and confidently walked a few blocks over to the college campus and caught a local city bus to take him back into the inner city and to his car. He smiled and spoke with the bus driver, feeling good, strong, and relaxed. That was just what he needed.