Counting makes even hideous events bearable as simply more of the same -- the counting of wedding rings, spectacles, teeth, and bodies disassociates them from their context -- to make the ultimate obscene blasphemy of bureaucratic insensitivity. Engage the mind with numbing recitation to make it empty of reaction.
--Peter Greenaway, Fear of Drowning By Numbers

An eerie, incandescent glow was shining on Jack Kipper’s face, the result of the moonlight penetrating through a raindrop spattered windshield. It cast moving shadows over his skin, as the rainwater slowly crept down the glass. Jack couldn’t turn on the windshield wipers though, no, definitely not, then the happy couple would know they were being watched. Definitely make too much noise, most definitely.

“Rob, I’m getting cold,” the pretty girl’s voice coming in distorted through the falling water, the steel car frame; coming in weak. Delightfully weak. Her pearly necklace had precisely thirty-three pearls. No more, no less, definitely. Jack was good at counting.

“We’ll head home then,” the man identified as Rob replied, wrapping his arm around his beau’s shoulder. They walked under a streetlight, for a few seconds he was illuminated. The zipper on his jacket had three-hundred and twelve spokes. Jack was good at counting. Rob walked with a constant rhythm, an agitating rhythm, three steps every one point two seconds. Jack wanted to disrupt it, make his steps erratic. Like the pretty girl’s.

They were getting close now, Jack ducked out of view, beneath the window with one hundred and nineteen water droplets. One hundred and thirteen water droplets. One hundred and twenty-two water droplets. They would be next to his car door in three point nine seconds if they kept the current pace. Definitely, no more, no less. Jack was good at arithmetic. Jack prepared while he counted down. Jack could see every millisecond pass in his head, Jack was special. There were one point four seconds left. Now they were right outside. Definitely.

Excited but calculated, Jack opened his door at speed, slamming into Rob’s left calf. Rob fell over, leaving the pretty girl vulnerable. He screamed, Jack stomped on his head. Jack heard the crunch of a skull and a low groan; there was no more fight in Rob. The girl was standing there, two point three metres away, stiff as a bone in her shock. Jack felt stiff now, too, but in a different way. He fingered his knife in his pocket, with a wire wound around the hilt twenty three times, definitely. Jack was good at counting.

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