My formative years didn’t so much scar me as gut me from the intestines out like one lethal claw swipe by an enraged grizzly bear. So by the time my path crossed with that of the equally unwhole and marginally more unwholesome Jason Stillman, the fact that he ritualistically killed strangers seemed little more than one of life’s exercises in morbid poetic symmetry.
I’d like to make a disclaimer here at the outset of this peculiar story that I am as reliable a narrator as any. You may not agree with the nature of my feelings for Jason—in fact, you may feel a certain disgust for our relationship, but its salience in my life is an immutable fact. I only hope to relay it with some coherency, and I ask to be forgiven for any installments that may feel like a train wreck of badly stitched-together reflections. It was, after all, a lot to absorb. And at the end, if you are still compelled to play judge, jury, and executioner with me, don’t hesitate. Just remember I’ve already survived being gutted at least once.
I avoid using the term “serial killer” because he hated it. He felt the word serial indicated something bland, repetitive, lacking in passion and imagination. He argued that a serial number on a DVD player cannot convey the full experience of all the hours spent and all the emotion stirred in just a string of nondescript digits, and I agreed. That was one of many satisfying things we had in common: a deep respect for language. Many cups of coffee at the all-night diner would be emptied and refilled during impassioned conversations detailing theories of the precarious rise and impending fall of language in human civilization as the world around us continually monopolized and bastardized it in a bid for control of our minds and perceptions.
After all, what one family called “love” resulted in the gutted, empty state I lived in on a daily basis. At least when he killed, the evisceration was not preceded by the mandatory family rhetoric claiming to love, cherish, and protect.