I will never forget the first time I saw someone get murdered. To say it frightened me would be a false statement.
It changed me.
It all started when my cousin, Mike, showed me pictures of the women he tortured and raped. They were beautiful in their own way, bloodied and bruised with fear plastered on their faces. The fear in their eyes is what hooked me. I wanted to be the cause of that fear.
Mike showed me how to fight like a soldier – and kill like a Green Beret. He taught me how to be stealthy. Stealth was essential to elicit genuine fear in someone’s eyes.
I started spending more time with my cousin when he returned from the war in Vietnam because I wanted an escape from the chaos in my life.
I grew close to Mike. The stories he shared stuck with me my entire life.
But it was that day that I knew I wanted to be the cause of fear in someone’s eyes.
My dad was abusive; I’m sure I’m fucked up for life because of it, so I spent a lot of time with my cousin, Mike.
I was thirteen at the time and went over to Mike’s apartment. I was playing mini pool when I got thirsty. So, I went to the refrigerator to grab a Coke when I saw a gun on the top shelf. I’ve never seen a gun before and didn’t understand why it was in the fridge, but I figured Mike would tell me later.
When I asked him about it, all he said was, “I might be using it later. I want it to be cool.”
I just shrugged and went back to my game. Nothing about it seemed odd to me at the time, and to this day, I still don’t understand why he kept it there. Maybe to keep it hidden from his wife, Jessie? Perhaps he just liked the idea of having a gun in his fridge? I’m not sure what the reason was, but I decided not to let it bother my thoughts.
When Jessie came home, she started nagging Mike about being unemployed. He told me he had been looking for a job, but it was hard being a vet, especially after the shit he saw. How could you blame the guy? The gory stories he told me would haunt any normal person.
“You can’t sit around all day doing nothing with the kids! How are we supposed to make ends meet? I thought you being a soldier meant we were set for life. What the fuck happened?”
I wasn’t sure if time stopped or slowed down, but I remember the details of what happened next vividly.
Mike stood up and walked towards the fridge. He stared into it for a moment, just looking at the gun. Jessie was still bitching in the background, completely oblivious to the firearm. She went to the bedroom but continued to tear Mike down.
Mike followed her to the bedroom, gun in hand, and listened to her nagging him more and more. I could see it in his eyes that he was getting agitated, angry; he felt belittled.
You don’t belittle a Green Beret.
“I know it’s tough, but we need money, Mike. We’re hardly surviving. I need your—”
She had no time to react. Mike lifted the firearm, and before she could even blink, he shot her point-blank in the face.
The look on Mike’s face will stick with me forever. The power, the control he had at that moment was a dream of mine. I want that power.
“Go home. Now.” I didn’t hesitate at his words.
Nothing was the same the days following. I didn’t feel the same. It wasn’t as if what I witnessed was traumatic, but the shock value…
I went back into the apartment to collect some things with my dad because my cousin was in jail. The bed was all bloody. It was there where she had landed after the bullet. She got a .38 to the face. My father told me to look into her pocketbook for this jewelry my cousin wanted, and I dumped Jessie’s pocketbook on the bed and looked through her things. It gave me the weirdest feeling. I mean, I knew her, and these were her things, and she was dead. Murdered. Gone. And I was touching her things. It made me feel…in contact with her.
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