Dateline Plot Twists

Fiction by Benjamin Drevlow

It was the husband, no, it was the boyfriend, the babydaddy, the ex, the elicit Tinder lover, the hitman one of them hired. No, it was the colleague, the boss, the custodian, the mouth-breathing, pee-smelling tech guy. Probably it was the pimp, it’s always the pimp, no, the drug dealer, the burglar, the stalker. It was the serial-rapist-turned-serial killer, the satanic panic and their ritual sacrifices. Maybe the plumber, the painter, the panty-sniffing m’anny. That random unemployed dude-bro from next door, the pimple-faced bag boy who walks out the groceries during covid, the trucker who pulled over to help change the tire, Roy the harmless homeless guy who sleeps in the alley around the corner, plays his banjo for handouts outside her office building. The pedophile dad/brother/uncle/grandfather/minister/high school English teacher/softball coach/principal. The father of the best friend, father of the boyfriend, the father’s best friend from Catholic school.  It was the roid-raging fratboy denied sex, a blowjob, not even a handy, the star quarterback, the point guard, that lacrosse stud on scholarship, the debate team captain, the dude who played Danny Zuko in the high school musical. It was the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. The butler did it. No, it was Professor Plumb in the candlestick with a conservatory. It was him, him, him, him, him, and him. It was you all along.

What we have ourselves here is a real whodunnit. The police are looking at the usual suspects. They’re doing their due diligence, banging on doors, running down every lead, but there are so many suspects, motives, alibis, no witnesses, no forensic evidence that’ll hold up in a court. She didn’t have an enemy in the world. Such a sweet, innocent little thing. Could light up a room with that smile of hers, blond hair, and soft blue eyes. Not an enemy in the world. But don’t underestimate her. She’s got a girly-girl exterior with a tomboy heart. A real fighter. Not one to mess with. Oh, you should’ve heard her belt out The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow. She should’ve been on American Idol, on Broadway, but discarded like so much garbage. But behind every pretty face is a walk-in closet full of dirty little secrets. She was living a double life. She engaged in high-risk behaviors. She was getting in over her head. Of course we won’t know til the DNA test comes back but we wouldn’t be surprised if there were multiple donors. And we all know what multiple donors means. We don’t want to speak ill of the dead. More and more it’s looking like self-inflicted wounds. Every ex we talked to said she had a history of mental health issues. Bi-polar, borderline, whatever they’re calling crazy bitch these days. That and: enjoyed a certain kind of rough sex people don’t like to talk about around mixed company. There were two sides of her. It may turn out that there was no rape, there was no murder, it wasn’t any man at all. This whole thing’s been a witch hunt from the get-go. All this time and she did it all to herself. Ever the drama queen. Sure, it’s a damn tragedy, but it’s also the cold hard truth whether the family and friends want to hear it or not. An all-too-common story. A young lady like that runs out of fingers to point at everybody else in her life, only one left is pointing right back at her. A real shame. These are the ones that stay with you, follow you home when you look at your wife, your daughter, your granddaughter. Can’t help but think about how she’s the very same age as she was when she did it. It just makes you want to hold them and kiss them and do everything you can to protect them from all the evil in this world. But you can’t. You have to let them out there to live their own life and make their own mistakes. And that’s what’s so hard about this job for guys like me. Knowing what can happen and having to watch it happen over and over again and not being able to do anything to stop it. All you can do is get up the next day, take the call, and try to give them the justice they deserve—because they all deserve justice no matter what they might’ve done to earn their endings. Justice, if only for the family they left behind. And the rest of it? The rest you take to your grave. And in between that, the local watering hole.

Benjamin Drevlow

Drevlow is the managing editor of BULL, a lit mag dedicated to rewriting modern masculinity and the author of The Book of Rusty (2022), A Good Ram is Hard to Find (2021), Ina-Baby: A Love Story in Reverse (2021), and Bend with the Knees and Other Love Advice from My Father (2008). You can find these and other works linked at, on Twitter and Instagram @thedrevlow.