Are serial killers really like the B Movie actor-of-the-week hired to play them on TV?
Well, it depends on the ratings.
If the ratings were good, then "no."
This is a joke a close friend of mine told to me at a particularly dark period of my journey back into the world of conscious living. As you may imagine, my friends have been few, but those who stick, get it. They laugh with me amongst the horror.
So, invariably, with the rise of the hit show "Dexter", the next question I hear amongst the curious is, "do you think a serial killer could really only kill for 'good'"?
I snicker, but only on the inside.
I wonder how killing can be classified. Is there a sin scale that Jesus made much like the terror threat levels which were the pinnacle success of George W. Bush's presidency?
On a good day, I respond with a modicum of diplomacy.
And, really, that's the truth. Maybe. It's no secret to you that the human pscyhe is so complex and diverse in it's own mysteries to try to pigeonhole even one characteristic into a "type" of person is like trying to categorize an aspect of the genius of God.
Now, some of you may be repelled that I could put "God" and "serial killer" within the same sentance let alone story. But, my reply is, it would seem crazier to me to leave God out of it. In fact, I think God belongs smack dab at the center of "it".
Really, what we're skiriting is the indellible mystery of death and who or what is going to play the last parts in our own demise. And, while it may be the last, does it really mean final?
I am not afraid of death but I'm afraid of dying. My dad, the serial killer, and God, tango across my contemplations with a heavy strut. Strangley, the part played by death typically isn't my dad, I've survived him too long.
All I know is that my dad didn't get the memo of any moral code to follow when picking his prey. And, even if he had, I am not sure I would feel any better to know of it.
For a long time I tried to mine my memories for a definitive moment where I could say, "yes, he loved me, when he did X, it was a sure sign."
The only concrete memory I've come up with was when I saw him pulling into the cul-de-sac after work with the muffler thumping loudly on our old yellow Chev, parking in front of our rambler when I was about 4-years-old. I heard the clicking of keys on his belt ring as he left the vehicle. Usually he made his way up the driveway to the front door of our house. On this day, he shouted over his shoulder to ask me if mom had retrieved the mail. I said no. He turned around, came over in front of me, knelt down on one knee, and asked me if I would like to help. Without hesitation, I said yes. Then he took my hand and we skipped across the road, hand-in-hand, until we reached the mailbox.
That's where the memory ends. It is simple but I treasured it for a long time. I still do.
Now, that may seem weird, but its the innocence of a moment that I get to hold onto, especially against the backdrop of terror which darkened the rest of my childhood.
When it's happening, you just don't know any different. When they (and yes, many serial killers congregate like men at the local Elks lodge, you just don't like to think they do) tell you how you are going to behave, set the conditions for how you are going to live, outline what is acceptable as there simply is no room for unacceptable, you convince yourself that this is what every one goes through, what every home is like. You HAVE to.
You begin to study other people to see, maybe, just maybe, if life in their homes is different. Maybe, just maybe, their fathers don't use you as a lure to bring children into their sadistic fold. But, really, for your own sanity, you never wonder too long or venture to wide in daydreams which will do nothing but get you killed, too.
The only code I know my father lived by was "take what you want." He did, and he did it skillfully. Like any good predator, he realized there is a rhythm to follow, turning too far out of line would make him seem obvious, and then his own survival would become compromised.
The only thing I know for sure about serial killers, is the only person they recognize as less human than you, is themselves.
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