True Crime

My ex still uses my Netflix password.

It would be fine, but she uses my profile, so my “continue watching” is always full of true crime, Deadliest This, Criminal That, murder and mayhem and shaky-cam misery. I’d just change my password, but, oh, you know. Inertia.

Anyway, I suppose I was feeling extra-lonely today. I was thinking of her, and I decided to watch some of it. I watched the most recent thing on the list, which was Murderous Affairs (and while it did occur to me she might still be watching, and we might kind of be watching together, that wasn’t why I picked it. They just, they all looked equally bad. I didn’t want to choose. I wanted to press the button and funnel it in, fill up my brain and be done with it. No thought. No effort. A 7-11 ready meal for my mind.)

It was unwatchable, of course, so I went to the next one, which was Killer Women. That was bad too, but not as bad as Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer. But the worst one was Click for sodding Murder. That one was so naff I ended up watching every episode, not because I wanted to, but because I’d lost my will to move. I lay motionless, gaping, till the last story finished and a Forensic Files trailer came on. Or maybe it was Making a Murderer. I don’t know. I didn’t click that one.

You know the worst part of these things? It’s like…man, it’s like they settled on the worst, most dismal way to tell a story, and thought “yeah. That’s how we’ll do this.” All grim and passionless. And they all got together and agreed on it, everyone who makes ’em, and they did that in the eighties and it’s been the same ever since, this bland, greyed-out template like reading an old newspaper—like, fuck!

You’ve got your…your stiff, earnest victim interviews, or family-of interviews, if the victim’s dead. But they don’t let them talk. They don’t let them tell the story as they’d tell it to a friend, with any feeling, any…any humanity. They’ve got this script, and I guess they must ask questions—you can practically hear ’em in the gaps between takes: How did you feel when he took you? Was there a moment where you knew you were going to die? How has your life changed? You’re so strong, now, aren’t you? Tell us about that.

They never swear. They never laugh. They never twirl their hair.

You get your experts next. They drone on. They talk about bite marks and tyre marks, how they got that hinky feeling, like I saw the door open, and the hairs all rose up… And it’s all just so dull, so crushingly dull, and just once, can’t they get on with it, like, y’know, honestly, there wasn’t much to it. Wasn’t much to it at all. We didn’t know who it was, then DNA came out, and we got him. We arrested him. He was a loser, a nobody, and now he’s in jail.

The final ingredient, ’cause there’s really only three—the last one’s the re-enactments. Grainy night-shots. Jouncing cameras. Black blood on white tile. They usually play over the experts, so you have something to look at while they faff on. Not over the victims, though, because that would be rude. A step too far, sort of thing. The victims, we’ve gotta see their faces, close up, no makeup, against concrete backdrops.

Fuck that, man. If I ever get serial-murdered and survive, and they put me on TV, I want to do it in my living room, in my dressing-gown and slippers, nibbling grapes from a bowl while I curse my way through some disjointed account—oh! And he kept picking his dandruff, just picking the whole time, and I wanted to serial-kill him. That’s how manky it was. And I said to him, I said….

Not that I’d agree to such a thing. Not that I’d ever….

I don’t think I’d admit it, if I got serial-almost-killed. I wouldn’t tell the police. I’d want to keep the door open for no-accountability revenge. No apparent connection, sort of thing. I could find him and trap him and feed him his own face, and no-one would guess it was me.

Would that be possible, d’you think, to feed someone their own face? Would they be able to eat it, or pass out from the pain?

Mm. I’m not sure I’d do that. He might boak it up. A bootful of regurgitated face—fucking disgusting. I think I’d do it fast, the murder part. I’d let him be frightened, maybe a day or two, but the actual violence, I’d do it quick. One cut, ear to ear. Not much pain.

Well. Ff. I didn’t enjoy that, my day of true crime. I think I’m depressed now. I feel limp. Also, desolate. And I have a headache.

I don’t think I’ll do that again.

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