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American Annals of the Deaf

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Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer
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After a moment she picked up the pencil again and wrote, How do you sign “motorcycle”?

Patrick’s eyes lit up and he immediately imitated the hand motion of revving a motorcycle engine, the sign for motorcycle, then took the pencil from her and wrote, Have motorcycle.

You want ride? Rosamund wrote back, Maybe later. First teach me more signs.

For the next half hour or so Rosamund wrote various words, and he made the appropriate signs for her to imitate. Sometimes Patrick would sign back to her one of those he had taught her to see if she remembered. Rosamund was an apt pupil. Later they played several games of shuffleboard, all the time laughing together and teasing each other as Rosamund learned to put together simple sign sentences.

They returned to the bar, and after several more rounds of drinks, Rosamund pointed to her watch to indicate that it was time for her to leave. When Patrick made the sign for motorcycle and gestured in a way that indicated he was offering to take her home, she signed Yes.

That was the beginning of what Patrick felt was the perfect romance. Being with a girl who could hear made him like everyone else, not different. A hearing girl who knew sign language was best of all. With her, he could order in a restaurant without having to point on the menu, and she could tell him what movies and TV shows were about or what other people were saying.

He’d had lots of hearing girlfriends before, but they never lasted very long. Sometimes girls started out being nice and saying they were his girlfriend when they didn’t really mean it. His previous girlfriend, Cindy, had told him he was taking up too much of her space and said she wanted him to get out of her apartment. He’d shown her, though. She was plenty mad when she found out he’d burned up her dress and put all her shoes in the toilet.

And there was Amanda back in Crownsville. After they broke up, he killed her dog. His foster father Brent got mad at him about that. But that dog wasn’t nice like Lancer, and besides, Amanda had lied to him. She told him she really liked him and then she went out with that Mark guy when she ought to have known that she was his girlfriend and nobody else’s. But that was all past now. He had his motorcycle and Rosamund Witty was his new girlfriend and she would always be his and nobody else’s. Rosamund said she liked him a lot, and she wouldn’t lie to him.

By the end of January Patrick’s Social Security stipend had run out, and he had no money to go to the bars or to get gas for his motorcycle. He’d worked hard, but Clint hadn’t paid him for over three weeks. He confronted Clint, but Clint kept saying soon as the money came in from the big job on the Kioloo II yacht, he would give him his pay. He told Clint he needed the money now. Clint said Patrick would just have to wait, that he didn’t have any cash to give him. Patrick grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled, “Write me check.”

Clint shook his head. “No money in the bank,” he said. “No money in the checking account. You have to wait.”

Furious, Patrick stomped about the shop slamming tools around, banging the door, and yelling at Clint that he had better pay him the money he owed him or he was going to be sorry. Finally, Marilyn handed him a few dollars and said he should go buy himself some lunch at the deli and to bring her back a sandwich.

Although Marilyn deplored the way Clint treated his young shop assistant, she realized that the business was in a financial bind. They had just finished up a thirty-thousand-dollar renovation job on a yacht’s interior. The owner had paid Clint two-thirds of the money up front. That had covered the cost of Clint’s supplies and salaries for Patrick, Marilyn, and an occasional additional helper. But he was having a hard time collecting the balance, which represented his profits for the work. Although Riley still had ten thousand dollars of the original payment secreted in his Philadelphia bank, he was afraid to withdraw it while his former wife was suing for child support. As a result, the three hundred dollars in his checking account was all that was left of his operating funds.

Meanwhile Patrick grew increasingly angry as he sat waiting for his sandwich at the deli counter. He was convinced that Clint was lying to him. After all, Clint had plenty money to spend at the bar every night, and lots of times he bought drinks for his friends. The longer Patrick sat there, the more determined he became that if Clint wouldn’t pay him, he’d get the money some other way. Finally, he devised a plan. One time Lancer had run off and Clint had to pay the pound a sizable fee to get him back. Patrick decided he would hide Lancer somewhere and then say that he’d found him at a dog pound some place far away from Annapolis and had to pay to get him back. Then Clint would have to give him money.

Convinced his plan would work, Patrick went to where his friend Floyd lived on a boat at a marina farther down Spa Creek. He told Floyd that he was playing a joke on Clint and wanted to hide Lancer on Floyd’s boat for a couple of days. Floyd agreed. Next evening when Clint was at Marmaduke’s, Patrick slipped out of the shop with Lancer and took him to stay with Floyd.

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