Sitting outside, a moment ago, with a glass of oolong in hand and a corncob filled with Peach Melba, I witnessed two strange events. First off was a neighbor's son, of a school age, quietly sneaking back inside on what is a school night (he would be about 16, this would have been near 1am). You have to know the mom for that to work as an oddity, very conserative and rules-following. The second oddity was another pair of, well, maybe neighbors who came up to a door downstairs from me. One knocked and then the other whipped out something that might have been keys. The door was opened and they went inside, shouting something as they did. A few minutes later, a sound like a scream came out of the apartment. It was missing that timbre of fear that I would associate with a murdering, so I assumed it was more of a playful scream.
But it got me thinking. The initial thought I will save for something like the end, but I will justify it a little first. I will not disclaimer this, those that know me know why this is the sort of speculation I might have. It is a fictional concept, a playing of ideas. Murder has two rough types, the sort where the person killed is significant and the sort where they are not. The first type is a business of sorts, a revenge maybe. Contract killers, jealous husbands, sore losers. There is nothing you can do with that sort of killing besides make them, maybe, a symbol to others. "Sleeping with the fishes..." and all that. The second sort is about the act itself. The victim is just an allusion to the act of killing. Sure, they have a home and a love and a life and all that sort of thing, but to the killer, they are a stand-in, a symbol, a piece, a plaything. They can be strangers or people the killer knows, it does not matter. In the former style of murder, the person killed matters. In the latter style, the killing itself matters.
I am not a criminal profiler. I am not fascinated with serial killers outside of something like mathematical, mechanical consideration: a symbolic analysis, if you will. I have not read true crime novels. I have read untrue crime novels, and have no idea if any of them mean anything to the real world. I cannot speak for a serial killer, but I can guess—based on what I know—that a serial killer is concerned with the act of killing. Like a drug. Like a text. It is either a barbituate or an exegesis. Most of them use their shyness, their out-of-wayness, to prolong the act of getting caught; even those that turn around and taunt the law later.
My initial thought, the one that I have been building up to, is that a serial killer could benefit from making an apartment his center of operations, his place to do the deed. Why? It highlights everything. It turns the knobs up to 11. The chance of getting caught is that much greater. The indelible stains that much harder to paint over. What's more, think of the grotesqueness. An interior bathroom turned into a charnel house. Bathtube caked with horrific memories. Screams choked off near a toilet mass produced and sat upon by a dozen families over the years.
Because if a serial killer is trying to embrace the thrill of the kill, to revel in his ability to be above and beyond the norm, it sounds like an apartment killing would be just the way to make every dollar spend that bit more, to stretch ever moment out. No pun intended.
I assure you.
Si Vales, Valeo
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Written by Doug Bolden
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