This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any company, product or person is not intended to reflect any actual events past or present. No such events have occurred in any town or company to the author’s knowledge nor are they intended as a commentary on such.
The serial killer awoke before dawn, as was his custom. He indulged his passion once a year on that awful anniversary—the year of the family vacation through the Upper Midwest. The trip began well enough. The Wisconsin woods gave way to the Dells, those meandering waterways through canyons of colorful cliffs. On to Chicago they went, where they walked along the lakefront holding their hats against the wind that gave the city its nickname. A busy place, full of busy people. Loud people. Pushy people. People in a hurry that scowled at children in their way, slowing their progress to destinations they deemed important. On they went around Lake Michigan to Battle Creek. The vacation part of the trip neared its end, with father considering whether the town might be a nice place for the family to live, should he get the job he sought. His mother, his younger sister and himself waited in the car for a time, expecting father to return at any moment with good news. As the car heated up in the summer sun, they got out to sit on the nearby benches of the little company park around a pond. Finally a man came running out instead to tell them of the terrible accident on the packaging line. After the interview, father had been touring there when it happened. No job for father. No father. Now, years later, he still observed the occasion. He went to a local market where he bought every box on the shelves in the breakfast aisle. He took them all to an empty lot at the edge of town where he pierced each one, spilling its contents on the ground. He emptied a gas can over the boxes and the dry piles of wheat, corn, oats and bran. He dropped the match then, burning it all. He never hit the same town twice, only now and then did he see a news report about the unknown cereal killer that had struck again in another small, Midwestern town.