I Was Deeply Depressed Before the Better Way
The State murdered my family mercilessly on May the second two thousand and seventeen. You read that right – the American government is responsible for the deaths of my beautiful wife and our baby boy, Ben.
It happened on a Sunday morning.
Emily, a sweet saint and my soulmate of ten years had slipped out to the grocery store to pick up the morning bagels as a surprise. Two salt with butter, one egg with cream cheese. The salt was mine, and she used to tease about the calories constantly. Em wasn’t wrong, everyone could see. My days in the army were long behind me, and raising Ben had stacked on five years worth of waste in my growing waist.
They… they didn’t even do anything wrong, was the thing. Em had called from the road that morning. Her and Ben were giggling like idiots. They were singing to the song on the radio, some top forties hit who’s name eludes me even on the darkest days. She called it her telephoned wake-up call.
The cell phone was hands free… she followed all the rules of the road.
Em was a good driver.
When the light changed, our extra-safe Subaru Forrester set through the intersection as expected. That is all on camera. But Emily never saw the police car with his siren on. She was never prepared for the shit-show that followed.
The collision was head-on from the driver side. I heard my wife’s dying screams through the unaffected on-board audio.
Ben died instantly and Emily never made it out of the ambulance.
Police Officer Gary claimed to have had high beams on from a mile away. There were no street cameras that far back, and no witnesses there to verify his claim. Good old Gare was gone on a twelve-hour shift at the time, in the shit part of town. Lord knows how bad his vision was. Lord knows he never hit the brakes. He was suspended, but never charged.
And so, I thought about murdering him.
See, the thing was that I had the arsenal. I had the training. With a dead family, there was no reason or will to work. I quit my job at the firm after a week and never left our haunted little house. Groceries were delivered with the pot. I kept myself in a stoned stupor for the better part of the winter, and the only thing that kept my mind off mayhem and massacres were pictures.
They were neatly aligned above the desk in our attic. My family encompassed the majority of the makeshift motif. Ben was an adorable bundle of curls and bad behavior from the moment he was born. But Emily was jaw-dropping from our first moment until the last. You know the type of Mrs. that truly never needed make-up? She was thirty years old and maintained every bit of her beauty after Ben’s birth. Em’s brown hair was always kept up in a neat ponytail, and she had three neat freckles that speckled right underneath her light green eyes.
Gary’s picture was on the wall too.
Below the rest, to the right, in a red circle next to the video footage.
The photo was an old one – from back when Gary was a new trooper on the force. He was handsome then… with a thin mustache and bushy eyebrows that matched a curly mop of red hair on top.
Sometimes I watch him in his bedroom. The man hardly matches the monument.
There are three cameras. Netgear Arlos were the brand, if you must know. The base station is located in his garage, and three wire-frees are discreetly hidden throughout the house. Every night, for the past year… when I am all alone with my shitty stories in this sub and a bottle of Brandy… I watch them all like a sadly-tuned sitcom.
The family sits down to dinner at six sharp. His straightly-laced children are neatly dressed every evening. Any exceptions are not tolerated and strictly disciplined. Gary’s eldest, Bill, is seventeen and homosexual. Even if Dad is in denial; his little sister, Sylvia, and mother, Steph are quite supportive. When pops is away from the table some evenings, they whisper to Bill about the bars and boyfriends he’s meeting in high school.
One night last week, Bill says he is going to bring a friend by.
The boy’s name is Jeremy, he is sixteen and dresses a little different from Bill and the boys he usually associates with. Gary greets him at the door and gets him inside. They shake hands, and there is a salty-seeming warmth there that only 720p can display. Like a coward, Gary waits until the boy’s back is turned and the front door is closed before he pulls the belt from it’s loop and wraps it around Jeremy’s throat.
There are screams. Lots of screams.
Billy tries to intervene. Sylvia and Steph are so shocked that they cower like scattered chickens in the corner. Bill is a strong boy. He has worked out at the gym for months to make the basketball team. But his father is bigger. Even with an arm holding the belt around Jeremy like a noose, he beats his helpless son into a horrible submission that ends, sadly, on the rugged corner of the kitchen table.
Both boys are dead. Gary buries them in the backyard while his paralytic wife and daughter watch from the bay window. And now four gory bodies have made geriatric-Gare a serial killer.
I was ready to murder him. The plan was simple. My shed was stocked with assault rifles and enough artillery to blow him to hell a few years early.
He would be alone that night.
Steph had managed to take Sylvia to her mom’s in Sacramento for a few days. It was for the best, they all said. I knew his wife still loved him. It was an accident, she repeated in the bathroom mirror when nobody else looked. Gary still needed time to clean up the crime scene and soon the missing boy would be city-wide news. The proper steps must be taken. A trip to see Grandma could never be suspicious.
It was time to make my move.
I licked my lips three times when I got out of the car on June the sixth. Em always told Ben to never lick his lips. She said if he did, the birth marks on his face would get bigger and bigger. Ben always hated his birth marks.
Gary was alone in his cabin. Same as every night that week. Sometimes he would stare out the window, or at the sixty inch smart TV in his study. Most nights he would get fucked up enough to pass out and shit the sofa. The situation was unfortunately the ladder when I watched his video feed from the smartphone in my van.
The walkway was quiet and windy. I guessed a storm coming, but the sky seemed clear. I savored the sweetness of my first succulent taste at revenge. Gary would be the first, but would be the last? I could slaughter all of them. The cop, the judge, the lawyers. Even the fucking traffic light sitting above Staten Street could a victim to every inch of sadness I felt when seeing my wife’s sweet face sitting alone in the attic.
And how surprised was I, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a man with a wide-brimmed hat and neat black tie.
There was a child beside him. The boy could not have been more than thirteen, or fourteen, but he had a devilish grin on his face that made me shift the rifle in my hands uncomfortably. Neither of these freaks seemed to mind the fact that I was armed. They approached like two tourists out on an evening hike. In the middle of my murderous madness, the cockiness made them strangely admirable.
“Allow us to handle this one for you, Sir,” the man said, his voice slipped through still lips like a serpent. He then nodded to the child beside him. The boy ran up to Gary’s door like a good soldier and knocked three times.
“We have taught them to do this on their own, now. I want to see how he does,” the man said with a sickly smile, as if discussing the child’s homework assignment. I was dumbfounded… unsure of what to say and rooted to the perfect green grass below my feet.
Gary answered the door with shit still dripping from his overalls. There was no shame in the sad fuck. I would have laughed if not for the shock. The boy covered his nose briefly, but the man beside me tapped his clipboard angrily and gestured to the sky, with one index finger still in the air.
The last words out of Gary’s foul little mouth were
“What the fuck…“
Before a pen drove into his eyeball. A clipboard flowed swiftly behind to drive the point further in Gary’s brain, and soon the haughty boy was on top of him like a hungry animal. His teeth were razor sharp slits that pierced through skin and sinew as if it were deli meat.
If it were anyone else, my instinct would be to vomit on the spot. But there was something strangely satisfying in Gary Smith’s suffering.
The Man turned to me; clearly annoyed but set on the business at hand. He handed me a card; printed on fine paper with proper block stencil lettering.
“He didn’t quite do it right, but they are learning, aren’t they! Such impressive students. Thankfully there are no witnesses,” he gestured to the empty woods around us.
“Please, see my card, and if you find no other use for that copious talent… consider seeing our corporate office.“
Without another word, he trotted down the walkway to the house, and slammed the front door. He seemed ready to join his small companion. I got in my car and drove away, uninterested in what happened next. The job was done.
Truthfully… I am thankful for it.
I did not call Ray from Better WayTM yesterday, but I think I may today.