by Phyllis Green

My uncle, the famous Kip Krutzinger, the State Wrestling Champ, wrote a letter about me to the STUDS so I became a pledge. I could have joined the Drama Turds (yeah, they were called that) because I was a drama major and I had been directing neighborhood plays and pageants since I was five. I figured I could get more girls as a STUD. In a way that was true. When I saw a pretty girl I would use this line, “There’s a hot party at the STUDS house Saturday night. You and your friends may come as my guests.” I would walk in like Hefner with his playmates, nine gorgeous giggling girls clinging to me. So I’d go and get drinks and when I came back the girls had scattered to hang by the jocks and I would sit and finish off 10 glasses of wine and then inch off to my dorm room like the worm I was.

Pledge week I was assigned to Chuck Fuller of the “If Chuck Fuller loves you; you know you’ve been loved.” He didn’t really say loved. Chuck was the quarterback and yeah, I was to say the least, intimidated.

“Here’s your assignment,” he bellowed at me. He was drunk of course, always was.

“What?” I asked eagerly, popping another beer can for him.

“I want you to kill Professor Cook.”

“The math guy?”

“He gave me an F,” Chuck said before he belched and farted.

“So, you want me to …?”

“Kill him.”

“Any special way?” I had had a couple beers myself.


“Uh huh.” I’m thinking gotta get me a sharp knife.

“And before he’s dead, say ‘This is from Chuck Fuller for the F’.”

“How much time do I have?”

“One week,” Chuck said. “Seven days and then adios Prof Cook and your freaking Trig class.”

The tall skinny balding guy with the holey KNIVES ARE US tee shirt was very helpful.

“What kind of knife are you looking for?” He wore thick tortoise shell glasses that kept sliding down his nose and when he pushed them back up it looked like was giving me the finger.

“I’ll be going on safari,” I confided. “In case I get tossed out of the jeep or lose the group I want to have protection from the lions, the wildebeests, the rampaging elephants, hyenas, monkeys, parrots, and prairie dogs.”

“There can be mentally disturbed prairie dogs,” he said. “Let’s look over here.”

We moved to another counter and he bent down and unlocked a dusty black chest and out came some really wicked stuff. Axes, scabbards, pirate paraphernalia, Arabian swords, good stuff.

I chose a long curved sharp serrated steel knife with a bright blue handle.

“That should take care of anything you run into.”

I paid the $499 with my parent’s credit card. A small price to keep Chuck and the STUDS happy.

Then I began stalking Professor Cook. I soon knew the man better than he knew himself. I followed him from his small house that needed a good paint job to the red brick campus building where he worked. I learned the times of his classes. I knew the classroom. I knew that each day before he went home he stopped at Peggy’s Pie Shoppe and ate a piece of pie. I knew he had three little kids who had colds and a wife who did lots of laundry. She had long blond hair. She would look good in black. Maybe after a decent interval I could date her.

The plan was to attack him as he left the last class of the day.

I walked slowly down the hallway with my eyes on Professor Cook, my blue handled knife pointing straight ahead and when I bumped into him it would sink into his liver or lung or somewhere in there.

It was mere seconds until I would bump him when some jackass flung open the door to Classroom #29 and my blue handled curved serrated blade rammed the door and went right through to the other side. I couldn’t get it out! I pulled and twisted but my knife wasn’t budging.

Professor Cook passed me as I struggled. He waved and called, “Afternoon, Krutzinger.”


I had to go back to the Drama Workshop to get pliers and wrenches and hammers. It took me 45 minutes to detach my knife from the door to Classroom #29.

The next day I didn’t stand outside the Pie Shoppe waiting for the professor to eat. I boldly went inside and ordered a blueberry. I noted he had a lemon meringue.

I decided to play tough. I tossed the clear plastic fork on the floor and ate my pie with my blue handled knife. I came this close to slicing off a piece of my tongue.

When the professor headed home, I followed, waiting across the street, whittling branches of a tree I hoped belonged to him. He came out of his sad little house with a basketball and three little snot nosed kids and they proceeded to play hoops. I waited for their game to end. They went back inside, leaving the basketball in the yard--so like kids. I snuck over to the ball, grabbed it like it was alive and struggling, then stabbed it with my blue handled knife. It went in easily like cutting coconut cake, and I left the withered ball for the professor, a warning. Then I went to play practice. We were doing that fun play, HARVEY. I would have liked to direct but I was playing Doctor Chumley.

The next time I saw Chuck Fuller he said, “I want his eyes gouged out.”

“Neat,” I said.

I went to the Mom n Pop store at Burnaby and Main and bought a large yellow grapefruit. Back in my room I gouged holes in it. I imagined the squirtings were blood and I got pretty darn enthused.

The next day at Peggy’s Pie Shoppe I tried the key lime. Cook stayed with lemon meringue. I ate with my knife very carefully. When he left, I followed. We passed a pumpkin patch and I rushed over and gouged a few to get in the spirit. In the middle of my gouging I looked up and there was the professor right in front of me and speaking to me. “Krutzinger, why don’t we walk together? We obviously go the same way.”

“Sure,” I said.

“Classes going okay? Any problems?”


“Anything you want to talk about?” he urged. His brown eyes looked so kind and pitying I felt like he could be a friend or like a grandfather or priest.

“Well, there is one thing,” I said. “You gave Chuck Fuller an F and he’s pretty upset about it.”


“Yeah if I were you, I’d be careful. Chuck is pretty big on getting even if you know what I mean.”

“Well thanks, Krutzinger, I appreciate the warning. I’ll try to be very careful.”

We reached the professor’s house and he shook my hand and said “Goodbye, Krutzinger, and you take good care of yourself too.”

I walked home thinking, “Oh cripes, now what do I do? Chuck will be so disappointed. Besides that I’ll be kicked out of the STUDS.”

I was always a better director than an actor. I knew there was a community theatre in town and those were the actors I needed, not some newbie college kids. So I quickly wrote a one-act play and got mature male actors to play the parts and we all went over to where Chuck Fuller lived in his parent’s basement apartment.

Chuck was drunk but not so drunk he didn’t get the message. And the message was—he was in trouble with the town police, the state police, and the FBI. They were investigating a murder-for hire scheme that he had tried to hire me to kill a professor. They convinced him that they had evidence and that he was not to leave town until the case was ready to be prosecuted and that could take a couple years. It was a very award winning community theatre and Chuck had the crap scared out of him. He kept saying “I won’t leave town, I promise. Don’t tell my mom and dad, please!”

“We always expect you to live here in your parent’s basement until the case is ready to be tried. Comprende?”

“How will I know when I can move on?”

“You will receive an official letter from us if you are cleared of the crime. Do nothing, go nowhere until then.”

I thanked the actors and paid them with my parent’s credit card. They thought Chuck had played a good role too. “Yep,” I said, “he’s an up-and-coming actor on campus.”

So then I resigned from the STUDS and I left school and went to New York and became a fairly well known director of stage plays. Each year though I would go back to the campus in that sleepy little town to make sure Professor Cook was still alive and teaching Trig and then I would go and hang out near Chuck Fuller’s parent’s house and peek in at the basement and see if Chuck was still there. I would find him drinking Gatorade.

But yesterday was a little disturbing. It had been six years since the incident and Professor Cook was fine but Chuck was missing. There were no lights on in his basement apartment.

I knocked on the front door and Mr. Fuller answered.

“Chuck around?” I asked.

“And you are?”

“An old buddy,” I answered.

“I’m afraid Chuck doesn’t live here anymore. He’s had a, well, a nervous breakdown and we had to put him in the state mental facility.”

“Temporarily, I hope.”

“No, I’m afraid it’s not a temporary thing.”

“I’m really sorry,” I said and I meant it. Cripes, I was really sorry! Jeez, did I do that?

I tried to figure out if it was my fault. Could he not stand living with his parents? Was he scared of the town police, and state police, and the FBI? I wondered if I should devote my life to helping him over his mental problems, move back here from New York, give up my wonderful life as a stage director, and plead with God to forgive me for what I had wrought.

Nah, I like New York. I like my life. After all, he did want me to commit murder.

Krutzinger Copyright 2012 by Phyllis Green


About the Author

A Pushcart prize nominee, Phyllis Green’s stories have been published in Epiphany, Parting Gifts, Prick of the Spindle, The Blue Lake Review, Bluestem, The Sheepshead Review, Paper Darts, The Examined Life, Hospital Drive, The Greensilk Journal, a drama in Mason’s Road, and an upcoming story in The Cossack Review.


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