Killer Ideas

Img_2365 I live with a cold blooded killer.  I haven’t turned him into the cops because he’s my cat, Tegan. 

He’s on a roll at the moment.  It’s spring and that means young and inexperienced creatures are poking their heads from their protective homes and Tegan is there to bite them off.  I spent last week picking up the chewed remains of mice, rats, birds and a lizard.  As soon as I’d drop a carcass in the trash, he’d have the remains of something else dangling from his jaws.

“Tegan, you git.  Stop killing things.”

He’d look at me with a typical cat arrogance that said, “Yeah, right.”

After I’d dealt with his latest trophy and sat down, he joined me on the couch for cuddle and a purr (okay, I purr.  It’s what I do).  I stared into his big eyes and I looked for a sign of remorse and obviously saw none.  Morally, he wasn’t doing anything wrong.  He’s an animal and his genetic code is programmed with the need to hunt and kill—irrespective of how much kibble I give him.  He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.  But he takes lives on a pretty regular basis without a hint of killer’s repentance. 

That chilled my human sensibilities.

Transpose Tegan’s killer instinct to a person and that person wouldn’t be a cute, furry companion, that person would be a psychopath, no ifs or buts.  Tegan can wander in from a kill, snuggle up to me for companionship then clean up the two kittens he’s rearing.  Sounds cool for a cat, because we accept this as cat behavior, but we don’t accept this behavior in all things.  Substitute a person for Tegan and Tegan’s behavior would present a very different picture.  Imagine a father like any other caring for his family while there is still blood under his fingernails.  This is serial killer country.

People always ask, ‘where do you get your ideas?’  I don’t have to trawl through the aisles of the true crime section to learn about killers, or even experience terrible events.  Sometimes, I don’t have to leave the house. 

Stories are out there waiting to be discovered.  Anything and everything can be the ignition source for a story.  It’s all about watching the world around me and seeing how things interact and what everyone else misses.  Usually, it’s the little things that people miss that make for the best stories.  With a little ingenuity, the mundane can become the extraordinary.

So Tegan could be the genesis for a very nasty killer.  All it takes is a little imagination and a dash of transposition.  J

Yours on golden pondering,
Simon Wood
PS: My local Sisters in Crime chapter is putting on a 1-day writer’s workshop.  If you’d like details, please email me at

9 thoughts on “Killer Ideas

  1. Jeremy

    Your cat would indeed be a disturbing character.

    I have never read about a killer that bites the heads off of his victims.

    Seriously, I am so happy that my cat lacks the ambition to kill critters.

  2. JT Ellison

    Simon, brilliant. Just great stuff.When I was a kid, my brother made up WANTED posters for the cats after particularly brutal or heartless attacks. I still have one somewhere accusing my Siamese Jezebelle, AKA Robear, AKA Belly, of birdicide. Thanks for making me think of that with your post today.

  3. Louise Ure

    Hi Pondering,

    Clearly you’re in that gestation stage of thinking about a new book, Simon. And that image of a family man with blood under his fingernails is going to stay with me for a long time.

  4. billie

    Simon, both chilling and fascinating. I think Louise is onto something – you’re on the path to a new book!

    And wrt cats and their prey – I’m right there with you. We have four of them and spring is definitely having its way with instincts around here.

    Oh, and JT – wanted posters! I love that! We simply sing songs bemoaning the killer ways of “the Evil Queen Muffine Eloise.” 🙂

  5. Naomi

    I’ll be vacationing in North Carolina in a week and a half, and I intend on bringing ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN with me. Can’t wait to read it.

    You’re all over the latest Sisters in Crime/L.A. newsletter, BTW.

  6. toni mcgee causey

    I’m with Louise — that image is going to stick a long, long time.

    I’m so lucky my cat is the dumbest animal on the planet. She’ll watch something race by with a sort of confused expression. She’s even stood still while a mouse ran underneath her and then she simply sat down and prepared to stare the mouse to death. Not terribly bright, this one.


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