Archive for existentialism
I killed someone on Saturday, 9th.
He looked a little simple. His wavy black hair was cropped and neat but looked askew, as if he was wearing a wig. His top teeth protruded slightly giving him the look of being slightly simple. Prison issue orange overalls, white t-shirt bleached within an inch of its life. Slip-ons, immaculate white and incongruously blue socks. He mumbled as I struggled to initiate a conversation about why he came to be here. I must say, his language skills added to the initial impression of slight retardation.
“So! Why did you kill two people? People you apparently didn’t even know?”
“Well, ah, argh. I was picked on like”
“Picked on. How did that happen? What do you mean when you say picked on?”
“Well, spat. They spat at me. And they slapped me around, and said bad things to me. Every day, every week. Yeah, the spitting, the hitting. And they said bad words to me. Over and over again. It was like . Like it was like….. It was so that I couldn’t show my face without being spat on, …. And slapped. ”
“So how did that make you feel?”
“Well! How would it make you feel? I wanted to teach them a lesson. Make them stop hitting and spitting and picking on me. I wanted it to stop”
“So you thought that shooting and killing them would make it stop.”
“Yeah! I thought it would teach them a lesson. Make them leave me alone. Make them think that I wasn’t an easy target.”
He sat straight-up, back as rigid as a drill sergeant; eyes focused somewhere3 over my head.
“And did you have a plan? Like did you target special people?”
“I jus got the guns and the bullets and walked to the school with them all stashed in my backpack. There were ones I wanted to hurt but once I started I just picked whoever was handy.”
“So thinking of the killing. Did you see them dead?”
“You know it’s kind of funny but I was only a kid then and I know that’s not a reason why I should have done it or got off or anything but I didn’t think that just shooting them once would kill them. I thought that they would just get back up again. I thought that I would have to shoot them like six or seven times. I was only a kid and that’s what happens in Doom, you know.”
“Yaeah! It’s a game. Doom. You know.”
“It’s a game where you shoot the monsters and like you have to shoot them a few times before they stay down. Once is not enough. You’ve got to do it over and over again. But I thought that once I had shot them they wouldn’t bully me any more. That would stop, and I would be able to hold my head high.”
“And once you say the blood and they didn’t get back up. Did that change anything?”
“No! I thought that they would just rest for a while then they would get up, but they wouldn’t spit and say things any more.”
I watched as he walked back to his cell. He leaned slightly to one side. He stumbled, as though his legs were manacled. Other prisoners jeered him as he shuffled back to his little 4 X 5 cell where he would spend the next 300 years of his life.
I only have vague memories of before the killing. A warm autumn morning – it must have been term break school holidays – motoring down the harbour side, my window open, my head hanging out the window sucking in the crisp air. Sliding down a hillside, squishy with mud, feeling out of control, but in control. I loved to sit at the bus station and watch the buses leave. It was an inside station, the huge, high roofs echoing the mechanics activities as they fixed skeletons of buses raised on jacks. You could sit inside the station waiting room in the high backed leather seats and watch passengers buying tickets for exotic destinations, or you could sit outside and watch as people slowly inserted themselves on a bus. I particularly liked watching as the buses came from their normal resting places to take their place in the queue. What fascinated me was how they rode the tapered curve that separated the road from the waiting platform. They routinely violated that artificial separation between road and walkway.
They lay in the dark bedroom together, bodies stretched out on the narrow bed, staring at the cracked ceiling. There was a torch somewhere in the bed but they had no use for it tonight as they lay, plotting. Tomorrow, as they made their way to school they would turn on the track about half way to the front gates. They would time it so they were behind him. They now conspired together so that they would get the words right. The words that would burn themselves into his brain. The words that would haunt him all day and into the night. The words that they would repeat on the way home form school. They giggled and twined their fingers together as they conspired to kill a soul.
“Round shouldered. You never stood tall.” The Mother said. You would not think she was talking about her son. “What do you mean? You are trying to tell me that that nice Jones boy – the son of my best friend – is yelling abuse at you. That those girls are too? I just don’t believe it. And don’t tell your father. He already thinks there’s something wrong with you.”
I killed somebody today. No more will he experience the cool breeze of an autumn morning. No more will he feel a glow at a new experience and look upon the world as a young unspoiled place ready to be explored. No more will he awake each morning and think of the glorious opportunities awaiting him throughout the day and reflect on the beauty of the previous day, week, and year. Instead he will trudge through the world looking at half empty glasses, seeing the bad in people, feeling everything is an effort. He will be subject to repeated bouts of depression throughout his life and always he will have this rage inside himself that he will never be able to assail. I killed some body today. I killed somebody today and in doing so I killed a bit of myself. ‘