A day in the life of a public service serial killer's intern

It's a good week when we get two new short stories from political science fiction wunderkind Laurie Penny: on Monday, it was The House of Surrender, about a prison in a world without coercion; today it's "The Killing Jar," about the intern to a serial killer employed by an English town council: "Since serial murder was first recognized as one of the English Fine Arts, the trick has always been to keep it original."

Dealing with emails is about half my job. There are always one or two enthusiastic wannabe accomplices, which is stupid, because everyone knows the Council runs the placement system and you can’t apply directly. But most of it’s fan mail. Tony generally answers one or two every day, which I think is overkill.

I feel a bit sorry for Tony. It's not that he's not a good serial killer, it's just that for various reasons things haven't worked out for him, and he hasn't achieved the sort of notoriety that someone with his skill set really deserves.

For instance: The last troubled, hard-drinking detective with unorthodox methods who Tony managed to hook into a daring cat-and-mouse game ended up in rehab for alcohol abuse, thus wasting months of painstaking antagonism. He's alright now, but part of his recovery program apparently involves no longer doing active police work, which pisses Tony off no end after the amount of time he put into the creepy post-crime scene flirtation they had going on.

The new inspector on the case just doesn't have the same sparkle. Sure, he breaks the rules now and then, but his colleagues generally like him and he's Tony says he doesn't have enough personality disorders to be interesting.

The Killing Jar
[Lauria Penny/Motherboard]