Thursday, January 13, 2005

a way you'll never be

“As part of my Ph.D. research on criminal genius, I conducted 44 semi-structured interviews. One of the 44 subjects, in particular, stood out. This noteworthy individual claimed that he had killed 15 people. His story was particularly interesting because—unlike most social research involving serial killers—he claimed that he had never been arrested or convicted for his homicides. Compelled by his account, I met with this subject on five additional occasions, and gradually compiled his criminal life history. Ethical and legal considerations limited inquiry into several dimensions of this subject’s life history, but over time, an interesting and richly textured narrative emerged…

“Official criminal statistics and self-report studies traditionally support the claim that the average criminal offender has a slightly subnormal IQ score—about 92, or eight points less than the population average. However, because criminologists have historically focused their research on vulnerable populations such as juveniles or prison inmates, almost nothing is known about the patterns of criminal behavior among gifted adults with exceptional cognitive abilities. Indeed, prior to this study, no criminological data had ever been gathered on adult offenders with IQ scores in the genius range. Intrigued by this enigmatic topic, I studied the crimes of geniuses—offenses committed by people with IQ scores of 132 or higher…”

Read the full study here (PDF).

Saturday, January 8, 2005

feels the same

I’m playing guitar in the bathroom, recording it with a small tape recorder. I finish a song. Sweating, I pick up the recorder and rewind. I hit play.
I didn’t rewind far enough, so I hit stop. It doesn’t stop. I hit stop over and over. The fucking stop button doesn’t work.
God damn it. I feel heat rising in my neck and temples. God fucking damnit you fucking piece of shit.
I stand up and kick the stool from under me. I make a fist, but stop mid-punch and think better. I head for the closet.
I dig around for something heavy. I throw clothes around, realizing there’s nothing. No baseball bats, no golf clubs. Left them behind when I left the old life.
My head is hot. I stomp into the kitchen. On top of the fridge is an old street knife, the kind with brass knuckles. It’s been there for years, an artifact from my old life.
I grab it.
I remember the story. It was late at the bar. Big Man was telling jokes, something about a house robbery where the owner surprised him with a knife.
“Don’t bring a knife to the gunfight motherfucker” he says, making a pistol with his thumb and forefinger. “Cut him with his own godamn blade.”
“That’s funny shit” I say out of my beer glass.
“You know I’ve got it right here” he says.
“No, get the fuck outta here” I say.
He tamps out a cigarette, shifts in his chair and slides a knife out of his back pocket. He clunks it down on the table.
“Get the fuck outta here” I say.
“What, you think I’m gonna leave it sticking in his ass?” he says.
I pick it up and try on the brass knuckles.
“You like it?” he says. “Go ahead, it’s yours. Fucking bad luck in my hands anyway.”
“No shit?” I say, folding it open and closed. “Thanks, bro.”
“Maybe that shit will keep you out of gunfights” he says.
I laugh and clink his glass.
“Two more Henry’s” I call to the bartender.
I fold open the knife and head for the bathroom. The recorder’s on the floor. I feel much more drunk now.
“Thought I was done, huh you fuck?” I say.
I grab a shirt from a laundry pile and wrap it around my hand. The hard knife handle hurts without an insulator. I remember this from before.
“You fucking die motherfucker!”
I drop to my knees and take a full swing. I crush the 6-inch blade through the tape recorder and into the carpet underneath. I swing again, stabbing hard, gripping through the towel. I feel my arm muscles, the strength in my shoulders. The knife crashes and sticks in the floor. I twist it out and swing again and again.
My arm gets tired. I grab the recorder and pitch it against the living room wall. Parts spray.
I relax on my knees and drop the knife. My head is drunk with adrenaline. I look around at the mess and take deep breaths. It’s very quiet.
I stand up slowly, rubbing my shoulder. I walk to the kitchen for a waste can. I carefully collect the parts and put them in the can. I put the can back in the kitchen. I sit down. Everything is in order.
I turn on music. It’s an old Brotha Lynch Hung CD. I listen to the lyrics and think. Not much different from the real thing, I think. Not much, just the mess. Feels the same.
I think for a minute about the weight of a body, how hard that is to deal with, how you need friends for that. Guys who know the wilderness spots. Guys like Big Man.
I pour a fresh whiskey and get ready for bed.
I think about my life now. Gotta pick up dry cleaning. Maybe stop in the office for a few hours. Got a presentation next week.
I think about Big Man’s trial. We haven’t talked since. Police went nuts looking for that knife. Hell of a lucky move giving it to me. Thanks to that he’ll be out in… What is it now? 71 months? Shit, better than never.
I take a big gulp and ice clinks against my nose.
I climb into bed and close my eyes. I wait for sunrise so I can finally sleep, as usual.

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