by Chris Rhatigan
His classmates would go on to The Wharton School or Tisch School of the Arts. Do what was expected of them. Marry early, have kids, acquire wealth or behave well enough to inherit it.
Not him. He was destined for greater things.
Like Jenny Oglethorpe.
One evening he hid in the bushes along the trail where she ran every day, syringe of Seconal in his hand. He dragged her to his basement while his parents were away in Nantucket.
Jenny and him, they had a magical weekend together.
He was in complete control. He created with a virility he never knew before. Felt it in his bones and in her screams.
The next week, he told his father that instead of going to college, he wanted to study landscape painting. Father, of course, didn’t think much of his youngest son, who never took to athletics and seemed to be a bit of a sniffling loner.
So he bought his son a cottage out in the country. Plenty of land and no neighbors for miles.
There, with great patience and stunning talent, the artist honed his craft.
He had a type. He didn’t even notice at first. Blonde. Late teens. Jogger. Lean. Small breasts. Ambitious. Conscientious. These girls would have gone into environmental law or non-profit management if given the chance.
Like Jenny Oglethorpe.
Because he was a painter, he had an exquisite signature on every one of his works. He initialed each of his girls on the right pelvic bone with a curly-cue flourish at the end of the H. He kept photo albums of every one of his subjects, and the last photo was always a close up of his initials. This gave him immense satisfaction.
Of course, he out-foxed the stupid police, who hounded him every once in a while. He even liked to play little games with them. Hints imbued with Turner and Pissaro that they couldn’t possibly understand.
But one night, as he dined on Karen Mulberry’s delectable calf muscle and sipped Chianti, he came to a crippling realization.
He was a stereotype.
And an awful stereotype at that. One so formulaic it could have sprung from the Mac Book of the laziest Hollywood hack. A stereotype worthy of CSI or Criminal Minds.
The classic “type” he preferred. His signature. The cannibalism. Teasing the cops. Even who he was – the bored son of an absent, wealthy father – all of it was so mundane.
So on track.
He ran from his classmates, but he was just like them.
He scraped the rest of Karen off the plate into the trash. Drank straight from the bottle of Chianti.
What to do, what to do… He had followed the track TV and movies supplied him with for so long, how could he possibly break free from it?
He considered elaborate and absurd ways to satisfy his lust for violence. He could do a public service and rid the world of other serial killers!
No, wait, that’s Dexter.
He could make pies, fill them with the remains of his victims, sell them to the unsuspecting public!
No, wait, that’s Sweeney Todd.
He thought intensely about this for hours, until he discovered what he had to do. The one thing serial killers never did.
Not in a dramatic way or to escape a more severe punishment. Just suddenly and without reason, he would cede all control. Serial killers never did that. After all, he loved being in control.
Now how to go about it… Jump off a building? Take a bunch of pills? Put a shotgun in his mouth?
Ugh, what a bunch of clichés.
Well, he had all the time in the world to think about how he would do it.
In the meantime, he had noticed a girl at the general store the other day. Blonde. Late teens. Lean. Small breasts.
Bet she jogged, too.