Mister Anonymous

Here is my plan: I am going to rent a secret apartment in some unnamed city. Operating anonymously, I will spend the remainder of my life performing good deeds. From providing the jaundiced with hot meals to securing loose manhole covers, I will do it all. "Whatever it takes" will be my motto, which I will eventually have embroidered on the back of my polyester shawl once my savings allow.

Some will hear reports of my adventures and instantly declare me a hero. Others may question my true purpose. But they will have to deal with that on their own because I will never address the media. I will, however, monitor my press coverage, wallpapering my modest headquarters with newspaper clippings of my exploits. I will use Fun-Tak to keep them in position so as not to damage the drywall. "Whatever it takes," remember?

Then, when I am killed (most likely in the act of helping some purse-snatching victim or candy store employee being robbed), the authorities will unmask me. But they will be disgusted because I will have had plastic surgery to alter my features beyond recognition. My fingerprints will have been sandpapered off as well. And if you were thinking that dental records might help in identifying me, you would be gravely mistaken because I will have had all my teeth removed by some “back alley” dentist. Even my costly implant will have been extracted. That is where the major outlay of funds will have gone.

The only clue remaining as to my identity will be a slip of paper secreted in the lining of my satin windbreaker. On that paper will be the address of my lair. It will be written in code, of course, but nothing so elementary that your everyday cryptographer cannot crack. It will be a simple letter replacement system. I will not even use any Wingings. That would be cheating.

When the police bust into my hidden den all “Se7en”-style (I will have installed motion-activated fog machines and lasers), the first thing that they notice will be the fact that I lived in abject squalor. Instantly their respect level for me will rise. They may even take off their caps at that point, holding them to their chests. Yes, it will be that poignant.

But then they will see the clippings on the walls. You forgot about those, didn’t you? There will be a slow pan around the room as the entire squad reads the many newspaper articles detailing my acts of kindness. Those members of law enforcement will be expecting the thriller movie cliché of the serial killer who wallpapers his dingy space with clippings of his sick crimes. The cops will be completely desensitized to the concept of newspaper clipping-covered walls. "Another one of these," one officer might be heard to say in a jaded tone.

But my media collage will undo that sentiment. Once the cops get out of their heads and begin reading, my clipping-covered-walls will confound their expectations. I went the opposite route as the serial killers that preceded me. I did not "go negative" as they so often do.

You see, that was my real plan the entire time - to subvert expectations. I will have given the world an indelible lesson on not judging others. Sure, faux-altruism was required to make it happen, but I bet it was worth it. I cannot be sure, though, because I am dead at this point.

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