Baby Killer

Although I had known of the guy for about two years, I had never seen him. That didn’t matter, though, when he walked into the room to sit before our foster-care review board. There was no one else he could be, and the fact that he was there was at once disgusting and disturbing. If he was here, that meant that he was out of jail. And if he was out of jail, after all this time, that meant that he must be out, as in released, and free. I was suddenly filled with revulsion. For these past two years, I had only known his name and the relationship that he had with other names, a couple of which did have faces. And now he has a face. My hatred could now become tangible, for it was no longer attached to a simple thought. It was something real, for the name, the idea that had, up until now, been the mere combination of letters, or symbols that were so aligned to cause me to understand that the entity was just, and only an entity, a notion, an idea, a concept, and now a thing. Literally, a thing. Not a person who was capable of human feelings of compassion, sadness, desire, love, tenderness, appreciation, consideration, or even respect – as it might apply to another being aside from his own. The murdering bastard was finally flesh. The evil something that I had only read about for the past two years, when considering what would be best for the murderer’s son, was now a breathing entity whose physical substance demanded consideration.

 

So, he entered the room following the case manager, approached the table, and following the case manager’s lead, pulled out one of the rolling chairs and sat down. The look of arrogance, real or defensive, was worthy of a slap in the face. The way he looked around the room like we were waiting for him, wanting to speak to him, or listen to him, was unsettling. How dare he present himself to our board? How dare he breath the air that moves freely about the atmosphere, take up any of the sun’s rays, be nourished by human concern or thoughts. How dare his heart beat. How dare he demand respect as a human being, in his appearing before us today. Goddamn and curse him into nonexistence! May he rot in the worm-ridden eternity of nothingness that is the most far below acknowledgement. He doesn’t deserve a thought.

 

Ernie, the man before us, murdered his stepson two years ago. That isn’t true. He murdered his girlfriend’s three-year-old baby. Again, the boyfriend murdered the girlfriend’s child. Are we so little removed from the wild that we have to wipe out the previous male’s genes so that ours can thrive? Is this yet another argument for the strong forces of nature that are still within our souls, our bodies, and our existence? Can this be? Can we forget that we have become civilized, ‘higher’ thinking…yes, thinking, aware, conscious organisms…can we forget that and revert to the animal that lurks inside us? Are we supposed to expect that what he did is ok just because he is, after-all just another animal? No!

 

Of course not. Of course not – it was criminal what he did. It was an abhorrent act. He should be strung up by his balls and stabbed with a screwdriver until he dies. I’d like to be the one who….

 

He walked into the room, as I said, following the case manager, and took a seat in front of us. He is about twenty-three or twenty-four, Hispanic, about 5’10”, maybe 165lbs, maybe more. His shiny, black hair is cut short on top and then combed back. The sides are shaved to a military closeness. Reddened acne-spots mar his otherwise pale skin. He has a slight mustache and goatee, slight because his age and breeding won’t allow it to come-in any fuller at present. His front teeth are slightly bucked so he has to consciously close his lips over their belligerent protrusion. He has very dark, brown eyes, possibly even nearing the color of black. His eyes never met mine so I can’t say for sure. And in saying that, I might add that the reason the meeting didn’t occur was not because my eyes were timid in their sockets, choosing to remain on his apparel or to flee to the corners of the ceiling whenever his might walk toward mine, hand out in greeting, while strolling across the plane between us. No, it wasn’t because of me. Maybe they didn’t meet because he felt the piercing darts that fired themselves from my unbelieving, hateful eyes, arch-like from across the table where eons of evolutionary time separated our souls. His eyes were haughty, though, and the eyebrows above them had that slight wrinkle that belied his feigned concern. That’s what I saw anyway.

Ernie was wearing a brown, crème, and rust colored acrylic sweater that had a gold zipper at the neck. The zipper head had a small chain with a loop at the end to facilitate in pulling the zipper up and down. The slightly baggy sleeves were cuffed in elastic that allowed them to catch at his wrists, where they could gracefully adorn the pale, olive skin which revealed blue veins and couldn’t, for a moment, distract the viewer with any amount of success from pulling their eyes away from his short, grease tainted fingernails. I don’t remember a ring, but I do recall that he had a gold bracelet of medium-sized links, with a typical slide-ring clasp, worn on his right hand.

 

Ernie is the biological father of Christian. Christian is also the son of Jane – a Philippina/Hispanic looking, very skinny, tall twenty-three year-old woman. Her affect is as flat as the boardroom table that separates us from Ernie. “I know she’s on something,” John said, those two years ago. “She is too out of it not to be.” But then again, her responses to our questions were also flat, which made us wonder how far her elevator went up to begin with. Jane’s sister, Angela, who is a couple years older, resembles her physically, but differs from her greatly in that she has a personality. Even in the simplest answers and statements, her tone and face are animated enough to reveal to us that there is a person inside the body.

Christian, Jane, and Angela are not here today. It’s only Ernie and the case manager, and by telephone – his newly appointed counsel from the public defender’s office in one of the tall, multi-storied, brownstones downtown. Gail, Angela, Chuck, and I occupy my side of the table. Alexander had to leave for an appointment somewhere. He missed Ernie. He didn’t get to look at the empty eyes of the person who caused the death of Christian’s older brother. He didn’t get to look at the hands that must have viciously grabbed the tiny arm, and squeezed the tender, baby skin against the soft muscles as he threw him against the wall, or smashed his little head against the edge of the table, causing the terrible damage that made his brain and heart stop working. Alexander didn’t get to see Ernie’s nervous, murdering fingers twitching and rolling and rubbing and flicking one another as he sat there, haughtily expecting our attention, waiting for us to ask him a question or tell him what we were going to do for him so he could get his son back. Alexander, a twenty-six year veteran of the police department, didn’t get to look into the eyes of another rotten-scumbag-mother-fucking baby killer.

 

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6 responses

  1. byronhj

    Sometimes I become painfully aware of that “lower, animal” deep inside of me. Sometimes not so deep. Is it “lower” or animalistic to have the desire to strangle the breath out of a “human” that has acted like such an animal? Does that make me no better than he is? I dont know. In these cases of heinous animals acting in inhuman savagery, at least my pragmatic animal actions would eliminate the possibility of another innocent child paying the price for the breath and space that Ernie and his ilk take up. But for the grace of the system, or my inability to overcome my “higher” fear of compromising my soft life, go I.

    October 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

    • seekraz

      Yes, Byron, I think we can still feel those primal urges at times, but our brain chemistries continued to develop as children in what were at least minimally nurturing environments and we learned how to sense or know the other as being part of ourselves and not a risk of whatever type. And when we learn of people like Ernie, I think it is probably healthy to feel those urges, knowing in our gut that what we are beholding is a wrong and ‘evil’ that must be removed or even obliterated. And while that might be healthy, the soundness remains within us to prevent our animalistic urges from exacting similar agonies upon him that he perpetrated on others. Until, that is, the wrong or ‘evil’ comes too close or invades our intimates, and then we can “unleash hell” in our retribution. Thank you, Byron. 🙂

      October 21, 2009 at 10:42 am

  2. Would a mountain goat become a step father to a younger mountain goat then kill it? And if so, would there be a sense of urgent retribution to be inflicted on him by the rest of the herd?

    I wonder if the tendency to want to “revert to the animal that lurks inside us” is false. Mountain goats do not seek revenge or justice. I think it is not accurate to call our sense of revenge and justice as animalistic or primal. I would call it human.

    Hatred and murder and justice and revenge and the need to avenge a wrong are human traits that have been beaten into submission by our “civilized” societies current set of ethics handed, down to us from those who came before.

    I think those who dispute the idea of vigilantism are not being true to their humanistic feelings, and are being held back by an ingrained sense of civility. Vigilantism, in this case, would bring the majority a sense of happiness and justice – the problem is that no one will admit it out loud for fear of being uncivil.

    The only thing keeping you from reaching across that table and unleashing hell on the mother fucker was your sense of self preservation from punishment, civility, and an idea that by doing so would perpetuate a cycle of evil. Animals do not possess this. Unfortunately humans do. And if you could get away with it and had the support of our society, you would have killed him on the spot. I know I would have.

    October 21, 2009 at 11:19 am

    • seekraz

      No, Jason, a mountain goat wouldn’t have done it, but when a newcomer male lion defeats of the old lion of a pride, the new lion does actually go and kill the young cubs that are still nursing or dependent upon their mothers…and when he does that, removing the competing genes, the lioness(es) go into estrus (heat) again and are ready to mate and propagate his genes…. Look at the child abuse and murder statistics and you’ll find that an overly large portion are at the hand of the mon’s boyfriend or the stepfather…. Is this the same removing of the competition that we observe in the lion? It may be, whether we like it or not. I’m not offering it as an excuse, reason, or rationale for what Ernie and others have done, just suggesting it as reflecting upon that primal part in some of us that remains unleashed by the other developmental processes that function well in the rest of us. And about vigilantism, revenge, and justice, I guess those could represent something purely human, something that exists in us alone among the species, and as you said, handed down to us from those who came before. (Richard Dawkins refers to these as ‘memes,’ culturally or socially transmitted traits that get passed along from one generation to the next.) And did I want to reach across the table and unleash hell on that mother fucker, absolutely…and you’re right, too, that I didn’t because of my sense of self-preservation, etc. But I would love to see the same done to him that he did to the baby…again, absolutely. Thank you for your thoughts, Jason. 🙂

      October 21, 2009 at 11:42 am

  3. Nathan

    Where to begin? I’m not even quite sure………
    So this guy, Ernie is in his early twenties and has already murdered a small child, and the most astonishing part of it all is that he is already out of jail. Somehow this doesn’t make sense to me. We have people put into jail for DECADES because of victimless drug crimes, and here this piece of shit gets out in just a couple of years. To me, there’s something terribly wrong with this picture.
    I’m reminded of how much “real life” you’ve seen every time I read one of your stories. Most people don’t have a clue what those feelings running through your body would feel like, but I think we can all imagine. And, I would say absolutely, unequivocally, this bastard deserves the screwdriver you speak of……and then some.

    October 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    • seekraz

      Yes, it’s quite a list of accomplishments he has under his belt already…and out of jail/prison and ready for more. Incredible. And I would agree that the justice system has its priorities a bit backwards, as is evidenced by this one. A couple years for a baby’s life and decades for drug crimes. And yes, Ernie needs the screwdriver, at least. Thank you for visiting, Nate. 🙂

      October 29, 2009 at 3:59 pm

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