I am nothing. You can’t see me without the proper credentials. You can’t say my name without shuddering, so now I am a number. It’s so simple. I am monster out there, but in here I am nothing.
Sometimes the sounds at night remind me of home: the howl of a predator echoing through the silence of sleeping trees, the rattling of teeth protesting the biting cold in here, the moans of a compatriot hell-bent on finding love with his hand, the screams of a man seized by a nightmare he won’t remember when his eyes open but which will haunt him in his waking hours.
It’s all familiar, and I hate it because there’s some tiny thread of me that misses my home and I don’t understand why. There’s nothing left of my young years, although I guess if you dug deep enough, you might find me before I became a bogeyman, but I believe I always was, so different from everyone else, the one nobody understood, the one who had no fear in a world filled with terror and blasphemy. I can laugh now. There’s nobody to tell me not to, not even in here. Laugh, cry, pee in your pants, slit your own throat — they don’t care. You’re just a number, and that can be erased out of the books.
I’m going to sleep now. Because I can, because nobody’s gonna touch me in here.
They — the psychiatrists, the behavioral specialists, the college professors — talk about nature versus nurture. It doesn’t matter. Once you have the killing spirit, it’s a moot question of why. It ain’t never going away. Put me in this prison, deprive me of my humanness, starve me, mock me from beyond the protection of thick steel bars, it won’t contain me. I’ll slit you open the first chance I get, with my teeth, my nails, whatever I find in my dark stay here. There’s a pulsating rage living inside me that terrorizes and calms me at the same time. It’s always been. I scared what mother I had, when she was around, when she was sober, so she let the revolving-door men in her pathetic life do what they wanted to me. Some of them lived to regret it when I got big enough. So, maybe you could say it was nurture-gone-wrong that made me a savage beast, but maybe I liked the sight and smell of blood. Maybe that’s just who I am, born that way, grown demented in the womb of a junkie.
When I was living in the world, women loved me. I have a rugged cowboy look, kind of like a Kevin Costner hugging the back of an unpredictable black stallion, riding pell-mell on the open plains of South Dakota. Women like that masculine wildness, the sense of danger with a jagged man who opens his arms but not his heart. I never killed a woman. You would think that I’d hate all women because of the good-for-nothing mother I had, but it’s men I hate. Men are born with a meanness in them; some keep it at bay and let it wither, some don’t know they have it because it’s been hidden by religious teachings or something else, others know they have this meanness but they don’t kill people; they just kill the environment, animals, ideas, or happiness instead. And then there are men like me who know the meanness, embrace it, and act on it because it can’t be controlled by everyday rules, everyday people, everyday breathing.
There are no women in this prison. There are men who act like women, but they are not women. I miss the touch of a feminine hand, the kiss of soft lips, the fullness of a breast, the wetness of a willing vagina. When I let my mind trip into the future, I can’t imagine a life without women. There is nothing here but coldness, rancid smells, masculine voices, darkness. And everyone would say that’s all I deserve. By my very monster nature I should be condemned to an eternal hell of ugliness and torment. So be it. I still have my mind, a mind filled with a vivid imagination that can still torture and kill men, still smell and taste the ripeness of newly shed blood, still be satiated with the vision of a horrified face. Nothing like knowing you’re gonna die at the hands of a loving-it fiend.
I have an expiration date, but there are always do-gooder lawyers and prison counselors who try to mitigate the death penalty and offer to let me live the rest of my life in prison. I don’t care one way or the other. Alive or dead, I exist as living, breathing, never-forgotten entity in the lives of all those I touched with the depraved murders of their loved ones or friends or whatever. I’m one for the history books, like Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, H.H. Holmes, Andrei Chikatilo, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Richard Ramirez. I don’t consider them my heroes or role models. I’m a loner. I do my own thing, and if I hadn’t got caught, I’d still be doing my own thing across the country and maybe even the world.
My hands itch. Don’t they say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop? There’s nothing to do in prison, on death row, nothing to do but dream. Dream of murderous things, dream of the pliancy of a woman’s body, dream of tasty, aromatic food. Sometimes I bang my head against the solid cement wall of my cell to feel my life essence trickling down my forehead, then I reach up with my dirty fingers, swipe it gently onto my skin, and then place my fingers in my mouth so I can savor the salty, acidic taste of newly shed human blood. Makes a guy almost have an orgasm.
I know you think I’m a monster, a diabolical beast, something that should be executed by a method delivering a lot of pain. But I assure you that I’m just like you; you just don’t know it. Because way down deep inside that place you won’t go lays a devil waiting to be released. I can laugh inside this little box I live in because nothing can touch me now. I am all that I am; there is nothing hidden, waiting for freedom, waiting for a chance to bellow. I am everything, and nothing.
Nothing at all. Just a number because you’re too afraid to say my name, too afraid that I will awaken your Kraken within.
And so I laugh, and laugh, and laugh.