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I Live Two Lives!

Jack Halliday | Cait Maloney


Always the questions and it always seems that they will never end.

But then I remind myself that this is what therapy is all about. You have to ‘do the work’ and that means answering questions: lots of them.

Time was, I often wondered if it was worth it, really worth all of the time, energy and attempt at self-revelation, and that, in front of a stranger one barely knows.

But later, as I dialed it back an emotional notch, and considered how the pluses far outweighed the minuses, I concluded that it was more than worth it after all.

I suppose my urge to kill began when I was just a little boy, swatting flies, not killing them outright, but wounding them just enough to keep them from becoming airborne. Then, with the help of my trusty magnifying glass capturing and condensing the glaring sun overhead into a makeshift laser beam, I would watch them evaporate into opaque wisps of smoke, vying for supremacy over competing dust motes in their ascent into the azure sky above.

From there began an escalation into what some term the madness of becoming a cunning and creative psychopath. This mysterious individual is the creation of pen and screen, the subject of novelist and screenwriter, the outsider who shuns the subtle skills of interpersonal relationships in favor of the more private and personal pursuit of predator and prey.

The sum total of those whose lives have ended at my hand stands at thirty-three. A full, fine figure: a tribute to my treachery, a testimony to my tenacity in erasing what, to me, are the more unworthy and uninteresting elements of humanity. My victims are blights on the gene pool, defects and derelicts, losers and liars, posers and paupers, all.

It is difficult to describe the delicious procedure involved in choosing ‘whom’ and ‘why,’ when one has first ascended the inner throne in order to subsequently play the parts of judge, jury and executioner. Like Bonaparte of old, I have long ago crowned myself ‘emperor of erasure,’ plying my terrifying trade at the expense of those whom others might deem worthy of both long and lasting happiness.

I determined at the outset that I would be an ‘equal opportunity murderer,’ favoring neither color nor creed, gender nor grandeur, nor any other natural or genetic considerations. I simply enjoy disposing of–often in ingenious ways–those whom I consider unworthy of continuing to take up space on this whirling globe which is rapidly becoming overcrowded with sub-par specimens of the human genome.

By day, I am the antithesis of my alter-ego, looked upon by others, whose eyes are unable to peer beyond the outer trappings of conservative convention which I wear like a well-tailored suit, as a paragon of society, a sort of shimmering example of Darwin’s ideal.

But beneath the veneer of outward respectability, lurks the other ‘me,’ Dexter’s ‘dark passenger,’ replete with the demonic desire to end life, even as others aspire to protect it. I have been and remain the quintessential ‘enigma wrapped within a conundrum,’ a puzzle with one missing piece, a question without an answer. And so my killing continues. And that, despite this therapy that is part and parcel of my ‘other life.’

Occasionally, I become apprehensive about the practice of therapy, about too much self-disclosure somehow escaping into the ether, not unlike steam from a kettle which has been left too long on the stove. But the momentary lapse into fear, an emotion almost unknown to me, is quickly dispelled by the sweet anticipation of yet another opportunity to indulge my savage desire to exercise the near godlike quality of sovereignty over a stranger’s mortal existence. The tingling, tickling sensation ascending my spine at the thought of ending the life of another is simply too precious and powerful to refuse to release. Yes, my therapy is a small price to pay for this.

Finally, the letter arrives.

As I open it and read its expected contents, a soothing wave of relaxation passes through me. Before my inward eyes suddenly appears an almost infinite pool of possibilities; a plethora of people and places, facts and faces, serve to overwhelm me with the joyous anticipation of yet another stress-free period of selecting, stalking and slaying to come. Anonymous friends and relatives of individuals I have yet to meet seem to crowd in upon me, nearly overwhelming me with their desire to join the ranks of the previous thirty-three whom have preceded them. I am nearly ecstatic.

The reason?

The letter reads, in part:

Dear Dr. Winthrop,
Congratulations upon your successful completion of the required series of psychological consultations. A certificate verifying the same will be sent to you under separate cover. This certifies you as a registered physician in good standing with this association and allows you to continue the practice of psychiatry in this state for the period of another three years following the date of this letter.

About Jack Halliday

Jack Halliday is a published author, optioned screenwriter, multiple contest winner & finalist and consulting producer based in Cincinnati.

Visit the author's page >

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