Not my characters, but if there is any sense of justice this is what happened. And it would have been made of win. I am actually surprised no one's done this already on this site.

Several convention attendees left almost immediately after that disquieting episode with the Corinthian and the strange pale man, but for the stronger-stomached there was a complimentary dinner before they were required to check out.

The food was good, but Nimrod could hardly taste it. Conversation was subdued.

"Anyone seen Funland?" The Connoisseur asked. "He owes me a dollar I gave him for the vending machine. Said he didn't have cash on him, would pay me back before he left."

"Probably welshed on ya," said Pickaxe.


"I think so, first," The Waif mumbled into her napkin. Nobody paid much attention to the little girl who'd become a hooker so she could kill her customers in creative ways, as she was almost perpetually strung-out on crack. She'd only been invited because Dog Soup always got upset at the underrepresentation of women at these events.

"A lot of people checked out early, even before the closing speech," Nimrod said. "You'd think they'd have the manners to return their nametags."

Ice Truck laughed. "Anything you give to one of us you're not liable to see again."

Nimrod glared at him. "You're looking awfully cheerful, Icey."

"I think the convention went really well, that's all." He scratched his head. "Although I do have to admit I haven't been entirely on the level with you."

At least five people in the room tightened their grip around the cutlery. "Oh?" Nimrod asked.

"The Ice Truck Killer is actually my brother, but he couldn't make it, seeing as how a police shootout left him in a coma. I thought I'd come in his honor, since we're both collectors and I found the invitation in his mailbox. We just specialize in different things."

The Waif piped up, "What?"

A slow smile spread across the man's face, and Nimrod realized too late that he had not eaten a bite of his food, only pushed it around. "Sorry about your dollar, Con. Funland and I had an appointment to make. And, uh, I've got the nametags you were looking for."

As the first drugged victim slumped in their chair, and the other thumps followed in sweet symphony, Dexter Morgan stood and pulled on his rubber gloves.

Getting here, buying off the hotel staff, purchasing sufficient sedative, covering the entire basement with plastic sheets, and accumulating the sheer bulk of Saran wrap and duct tape necessary had all been challenges. But a guy's gotta do something with a month's leave and an inheritance that gives him bad memories.

And, even with the effort of giving each of these playmates the attention they deserved, this was looking to be the best vacation of his life.