SHE WAS (STILL)* BREATHING WHEN I LEFT: SERIAL KILLERS TALK CHOP SHOP

I confessed my crime on this very blog years ago, yet it still goes unpunished.

Remarkable.  Don’t you think?

Get away with murder even after confessing?  It’s the perfect crime.

I must be a sociopath too, because I don’t feel bad about it.  In fact, I come nearer feeling bad for not feeling bad.  (Fact check: The older I get, the more I feel bad about it.)

I watch enough movies and true crime programs with my wife to know the rule.  “Sereal killers keep ‘trophies’ of their crimes.”

Yeah.  It’s apparently in the Murderer’s Handbook.  They know this because of all the serial killers they caught.  So, if you ask me, they should change the name to Handbook for Killers Who Eventually Get Caught, because the ones they don’t catch are the truly evil ones.  (Wouldn’t you agree, Agent Starling?)  “Trophies” are how they caught Dahmer.  He was keeping bodies and body parts as “trophies” and… and… and as dinner.

(As I heard it, when law enforcement raided his home, they found a stew pot of penises boiling on the stove – some trophy!)

He should have done more like other famous serial killers and just kept IDs, jewelry, and shoes.  A lot less baggage, a lot less disturbing smell.  I mean, eating the evidence is a good way of covering your trax, but keeping rotting corpses next to the bed will eventually give you away every time – especially in an apartment building.

As for my story, it was my first kill, which (according to the handbook) means I was “learning” and probably made the most mistakes.  It means, if they can pin this one on me, others will likely come to light.

Right?

Yeah.  They never caught Zodiac either, and that crazy braggart tempted fate with letters to the editor!  Still, they couldn’t catch him.  Desperate theorists are looking at an unsolved murder down in Riverside in ’66.  If they can pin that one on him, they think the others will fit the puzzle too, finally revealing the Zodiac apocalypse.

That’s some cold-hearted killing going on out there, and in this business, fame will bring you down.

Dig?

(Of course, you do.  You dig shallow graves all the time, you sick reader!)

But what do you know?

My first time out, I commit the ultimate crime flawlessly, confess it decades later on a blog, and still, I can’t get anyone’s interest.  (Some days the stats count zero all day long!)  You would think confessing murder would go viral and make headlines on world news programs.

(Why am I writing this on a blog so devoted to Jesus and the homeless?)

(Shhhhh!  –whisper this part– Good question, but I will have to let you figure that out for yourself.  We will see if you have a conscience before this is done.)

Yeah, I killed her in an empty lot behind the Kokopelli Inn late summer 1986.  But technically, she was breathing when I left her.*  I didn’t know her; I didn’t get her name.  I never met her before, and there is nothing in either of our histories which would connect us.  Being perfect strangers, this plot is better than Throw Mama From The Train, or Owen’s three-page murder mystery.

I didn’t see anything about it in the papers later either.  I was nobody; she was nobody.  Not to you, anyway.  Not to the authorities.  And I kept no “trophies” or memorabilia of any kind.   Even I struggle to remember details.  She wouldn’t be missed.  And as long as I didn’t slay her in some sensational method, nobody would care.  It wasn’t some bloody dismemberment.  Such crime scenes are treasure troves of evidence.

I attacked quick and split immediately.  A crime of opportunity, she never saw me coming, and no one saw me leave.

And THAT’s how you do it!

It was murder by drive-by.  But not with a gun.  A gun would draw attention.  It would be a classic “gang hit” which potentially puts innocent bystanders at risk, and so the authorities move swiftly to stop that kind.  In my case, I used words to kill.  Let me explain.

I was young that day, very young – still in high school.  I was feeling extreme insecurity, vulnerable, a complete lack of self-confidence.

My best friend and I had come into conflict and let it fester for months.  We had not talked in all that time, when I reached out to him to seek reconciliation.  He seemed interested.  He drove over to pick me up and go out socializing with other teen friends.  And there was another one, a third friend along for this ride.

I was riding in the back seat.

The back seat.

My attempt at reconciliation was not important enough to warrant the front seat, and it was interfered with by a third person, a brash young man who fancied himself a lead guitar, rock star.  My efforts at mattering in the back seat were floundering when I saw her.

She appeared to be in her thirties.  She was walking the little footpath shortcut through the empty lot only one block from the grocery store, midafternoon.  She looked homely and overweight.  Very overweight and burdened with too many bags of groceries for one person to carry.

It was too easy an opportunity to miss.

I leaned out the window and in a voice loud enough to be heard by her as we slowly passed by the lot, I told her in no uncertain terms how ugly and fat she was.

Sadly, I cannot recall now the words I used, but I suspect I intimated how the burden of her groceries might be the cause of more burden than simply the load she carried.  That kind of heavy lifting just makes you fatter, fatter and uglier.  Who would ever want to touch such a pathetic creature?

Whatever it was I said, I am certain that I tried to increase the humor proportionate to the cruelty of the message, all of which I exploded with on the fly.

Who knew so much evil could burst out of me?  Even I was shocked.  But I was more shocked at that moment by how little a chuckle my barrage elicited from my front-seat friends.  The ROI was notably pitiful immediately, which led quickly to conviction.  I slumped in the seat and marveled at my own evil.

She was breathing when I left her, but later that night, I wondered about that.  Reckon she was still breathing at midnight?  I wondered how or why.  I never spoke of it again, and my friends didn’t either, but I wondered if I hadn’t taken her breath away even by delayed effect.

What I did was inexcusable, horrible, and cruel.  I am sure I didn’t interrupt the best day in her life when I found her burdened with baggage on the empty lot.  On the contrary, I am sure I kicked her when she was down and not looking or feeling her best – possibly her worst, but not her best.

What did she think of the experience?  What did she think of me??  What did she think of herself???

It is entirely possible that she proceeded home, and with her own hand completed the murder I started.  And if she did, there would be no way for me to know or anyone to ever investigate, convict me, and punish me for my crime.

In my case, I was proactively evil.

What about you?

What about you, you sick… sick… (well, I won’t say what you are).

I doubt many, though probably a few, readers here did what I did.  But you know what?  When you pull up at a stop light and see a homeless beggar on the corner and roll up the window and look away, you don’t stab with words.  That is true, and I agree.

But you dismember with indifference, and you leave a trail of carnage and crime scenes only God can see.

God… and you.

Maybe you just feel insecure about things.  Maybe you feel vulnerable.  Maybe you excuse yourself that it’s not your problem or the problem is too big for you to fix.

Yeah.  You just sit there and fidget with the radio and tell yourself that.

No one is going to investigate your crime.  Your conviction won’t be in this life.  But…  maybe you should think again about all of that.

If you want to talk chop shop with me, I am here.  I got a handbook of forgiveness and hope here, and I can help you with that conviction you are feeling.

Let’s talk…

*A word of advice here: When interrogated later, leave out the word “still” from that sentence, since it implies you have knowledge her breathing ceased at some point.  

2 comments

  1. StainedbytheSpirit · January 15

    I have said to my husband their are so many ways to kill a person. You can murder a person with your words. You can say things to them that kills their joy, their hope. That is murder. You can lie and set up an illusion that they believe and depend on and take it away and that to I believe is murder when it destroys someone’s world. GOD BLESS and great post!

    Like

  2. harolene · January 15

    Very sad that you did that and I understand the feelings of remorse at having done it. Once out of your mouth can’t take it back. 🥲 My grandfather told me to think about what I was about to say 10 times before I spoke. I told him that would mean I never said anything!! I can still see the little, sly grin on his dear face. I try to remember altho I have not always done that and, like you, have lived to regret it 🙏😇

    Like

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