I am not a monster. The quest for love always demands sacrifice.

King County Jail 2011 I recognize her footsteps before she's even in the room. Light, quick, purposeful. Like a fingerprint, distinguishing her from everyone else. She appears finally, a petite woman with stylish, short-cropped blond hair and a few extra pounds around the middle. A simple skirt and jacket. Probably from some department store clearance rack, meant to impress on first once-over, not holding up to further inspection. Ragged threads slip the hems, buttons dangle loose and askew. The guard waves her in and she sees me seated at the table and struggles to keep her expression bright and free of judgment. When she finally sits, she's clutching the straps of her purse like a child clinging to a favorite stuffed toy, proffering a half-hearted smile while the look in her eyes shrivels me. I am a total fucking disaster of a clusterfuck of a disappointment and I find this reassuring because I still care what she thinks. Maybe I'm not too far gone. "How are you?" she asks. I have been interviewed, interrogated, processed, booked, and arraigned. Escorted, chained, moved and guarded through the cattle chutes of the system. My body, my clothes, even my soap and toilet paper, all belong to the State now. Remanded to custody, pending a psych evaluation. The men in white lab coats want to peer at me through the slim window of their training to discern which label they should slap on me: sociopath, psychotic, spree killer? To the layman, perhaps these are all one and the same. But there are shades of nuance between them and the legal system depends on those nuances.

The public, though. The public has already shrinked me. Already they have peered through the glass and taken down notes on their little notepads. I am a demon to some, a savior to others. A demon savior, striking a blow for all the pussified men out there tired of being sidelined and impotent. Someone needed to stand up and show women a thing or two about justice, by God. Some blame the evils of the Internet or video games, as if I had become drunk on their cocktail of tits and ass and blood and guts. Others accuse me of being a misogynist, the worst kind of sociopath with no shot at redemption besides a bullet to the brain. Others consider me the byproduct of contemporary life--disconnected from reality, tone deaf to morality and God's love, a Frankenstein's monster. The public comes at me with the torches and pitchforks of blogs and sound bites. I half nod, unable to put together any meaningful words. "I called my attorney. He's agreed to represent you." I nod again. What attorney? Her divorce lawyer?? "You won't have to worry about a public servant defending you. We might be able to get you off if you plead insanity." She studies my face, looking for a reaction. It's on the tip of my tongue to apologize, to beg forgiveness, to weep at her feet and tell her she's the only woman who will ever mean a goddamned to me. It was never my intention to wind up here, a cause celebre, a Dateline special, my story twisted and taken out of context and misunderstood, like the childhood game of "Telephone" gone horribly awry.

The detectives have already interrogated me. In a little room with the blinking red eye of the camera and minimal breaks for water and Doritos from the vending machine. One detective spread a series of photographs in front of me--all those women. All those victims. I just slumped back in my chair and went quiet. But I recognized them. The ones they've connected to me so far. And I'm already receiving letters. From women fans, the murder groupies. They ask for details. For letters from me. They want to know the size of my cock and if I'm currently seeing anyone. Men destroy, women hope to be destroyed. My mother shifts, tugging at her skirt. I'm struck now by a vague memory of being three years old and climbing onto my mother's lap, jamming my hand down her cleavage. She had weaned me by age two, I think, but goddamnit, those teats were still mine. I longed for the hard pink button of her nipple, for her to cradle me in her arms again and stroke my hair and gaze into my eyes while her sweet succor flowed over my tongue. She pushed me away and told me I was too old. I nod to the guard and he hauls me up off the chair. I know Mom is still sitting there, waiting for me to look back at her, make eye contact and acknowledge the bond between us. I stare at the floor as the guard leads me away.

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