He sat, perched precariously, on the back of the park bench.  The sun had long since set, but he could still make out the object of his obsessions in the dim lighting of the street lamps.  This thing had been bothering him for a week now, and he’d finally built up the courage to do something about it.  He looked to the left to make sure nobody was strolling down the path.  There was one street lamp, casting its pale glow upon the sidewalk.  The cracked and uneven pavement was free of pedestrians.  He looked to the right, toward the pond where, during the day, the children screamed in delight at the ducks geese chasing them down for handfuls of cracked corn.  Nobody was there.

He did hear a scream, however.  But it was off in the distance, and it was most definitely not in delight.  Probably just another stupid tourist out in the park after dark getting mugged.  No, there was no threat there to his plans either.

He took a moment to feel around in his pockets, checking for the tools he would need to do this job.  Both items were there.  The knife.  And that other thing, the thing he’d spent the last two day scouring the park and nearby city streets for.  It had to be exactly right, or this wouldn’t work.  He’d finally found what he was looking for in a pile of broken wood and cork at the east end of the park.  It was sharp, very sharp, and it was red. With a nod of resigned satisfaction, he hopped down from his perch.  The tattered hem of his trench coat momentarily getting caught on the arm of the bench.  A small tearing sound ripped through the night and he froze.  Glancing quickly around to left and right.  Was that heard?  Would someone know what he’s about to do and run to stop him?

He heard no onrushing footfalls and with a sigh of relief straightened himself.  Slowly, he pulled the knife from his pocket.  It was only an old rusty pocket knife, but it was certainly up to the task.  It would probably be easier with something larger, something sharper, but this will do the trick.  Slowly, and with deliberation, he unfolded the blade.  With a soft audible click, it locked into place.  He took another step forward.

Then, with a resolve that surprised even him, he crossed the remaining space between him and it in three quick strides. One!  Two!  Three!! The knife came up in a blur.  This job had to be done quickly or he would be seen and then all would be over.  With impressive precision, he placed the tip in exactly the right spot. The hours of practice he’d spent this afternoon paid off.  A deft jerk of his wrist sent the staple flying from the board.  Before the edge of the poster could droop, he dropped the knife and caught hold of the faded paper.  An audible sigh escaped his lips as he raised that corner half an inch, making the top edge of the poster even with, and parallel to, the edge of the bulletin board. His other hand reached into his pocket and pulled out the red push pin he had found.  He placed its tip perfectly, he noted, into the corner of the poster and into the cork behind it.  Then he let go, took a step back and appraised his work.

“There,” he thought, “now it is right.”

 


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