Thursday, April 1, 2010


We all have skeletons in our closet, right? I’ve done many crazy things in my life, and I’m not without my fair share of idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes. Moreover, I’m not a Catholic, so I really don’t know why I’m confessing my “sin” to you. But one experience I had in my life—four years ago, to be exact—has bothered me and I haven’t been able to shake it. I once killed a drifter with a Swiss Army knife. There it is. I said it. In all honesty, I don’t really feel guilty about the actual business of killing him; after all, I no longer believe in hell. That's not what this mea culpa is about.  I simply have retrospective misgivings about my involuntary response to the slaying, though at the time I didn’t think much of it.

By the way, I’m not unaware of the irony here: a systems analyst at a software company dispatching a drifter. I know what you're thinking.  I'm sure you've conjured in your mind the image of a bedraggled, hirsute lowlife with a menacing scowl. This guy didn’t look the part, though—not entirely. He was a hobo, some guy ostensibly down on his luck; and he was an old fart who probably couldn't hurt a flea. There's no doubt that he walked across from the truck stop only about a half mile down the road from Wal-Mart, and for this reason he qualifies as drifter.  He asked me for a handout when I was walking to my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Can you believe it?  I'm not averse to charity when the cause is worthy, but I'll be damned (so to speak, because I don't believe in such things anymore) if some toothless dreg of society is going to work me for some cash.  For all I know he lives in a nice house somewhere and has chosen to make his living in this affluent town by sponging off of others and trying to manipulate their conscience.  He picked the wrong day to conduct his evil tricks.

Another irony in this pig's untimely demise at my hands is the precise weapon of choice.  You're thinking I knifed him, right?  You would be wrong.  I insisted on ripping out his throat with the nail file–neither the blade nor the screwdriver.  Heck, I would have used the toothpick, and I even tried it, but it wouldn't do the job.  I like to think outside the box, I suppose.  You give me a task, and I'll find an unorthodox way to accomplish it.  You might not think that about me, an ordinary-looking analyst, but, as my colleague Shelby would say, "that's just how I roll."  I like that.  No, I'm not your typical office guy.  Looks can be deceiving, and I have an ethereal dimension that you and the morons I work with could never understand.  They can satisfy their pedestrian desires with an Audi or even just a latte at Starbucks.  I would also add for the record that I have my own office with a window and not a cubicle.

What bothers me, however, is the erection I got while tearing out his larynx.  I'm comfortable talking about this now because I've spent weeks with a therapist going over this issue.  Dr. Knutson, the idiot, doesn't know the source of my erections, but I am getting some helpful medication out of the deal.  When I killed the old man, something inside of me happened that I can't fully explain.  It felt good, indeed sensual, though I couldn't bring it home, if you know what I mean.  For this reason I started seeing a psychiatrist, but of course I couldn't reveal everything.  To Dr. Knutson's credit, I can now be honest about erectile dysfunction, not that I tell everyone I meet on the street.  But if these words are my attempt at a "confession," well then, by all means, I'll bring everything out of the closet and put it on display before you prying eyes.  I used to fear hell itself for such indiscretions.  But when I was a kid my mother threatened to whack off my member for sexual thoughts of any kind.  How she knew what I was thinking, I still don't know to this day.

You'd think the first time I killed a guy would have been a harrowing experience, no?  I assure you I snuffed out this asshole with as much equanimity as if I were squashing an earwig.  I didn't know I had it in me, but I found it liberating.  If anything, I had felt awkward about the next person I killed, and that's only because I felt something for her.  Joyce Landry was a little whore, to be honest, but she used to babysit our kids back in the day. I surprisingly felt some nostalgia for her as the blood squired from her neck and sternum.  Unlike the bum in the parking lot, Joyce was a crime of passion, you might say.  But they won't link me to the "crime," because it's been over fifteen years since she we've known her, and she had moved to another town.  I never forget her, though, and I still think about her now, nothing but a bag of bones.  Life is funny.

Sometimes in my darkest imaginings I consider my place in the world, and it's likely not the same view that I suspect you hold of me.  Do not judge me from your Bema Seat on high. You know nothing about the real meaning of life, and less about people like me.  God loves me, I feel at peace, and the world is my playground.  That's all I need.  There's your confession.  Now leave me be, as I'm about to head out for Wal-Mart and get a new Swiss Army knife.