2024.07 : Rage Mumbling

Mental Illness Circa 2024

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship, that makes unhappy marriages.

— Friedrich Nietzsche​

Warning: Violence from a tale of true crime.

When folks inquire about my well-being, I’ve made it a recent habit to sugarcoat reality with this quip, ‘Well, it’s so bad I’ve been robbed of self-pity.’ It maintains an honest vibe while also prompting a good chuckle.

I received a text from Al: ‘Call me when you have time. I saved a life last night.’ Well, that certainly grabbed my attention.

Al, a deep sleeper in his rural haven where doors remain unlocked, relies on his trusty dogs for security—gentle to friends, but deadly serious to intruders. At the deepest hour of the night, the patio door slid open, and a man stumbled in, disrupting the calm of the dogs’ inner sanctum, the living room. Confronted with an unfamiliar sight and scent, the dogs exchanged urgent cries: ‘What’s the call?!’ ‘Should we strike?’ ‘Hold up, it’s a human in distress.’ ‘Oh, what now?!’ ‘Daaaaaaaaaaad!!!!!!!!!’ In dire need of their alpha’s guidance, they awaited his awakening. They needn’t wait long; Al rocked from slumber, fumbling for his glasses as he shuffled into the room to confront a figure drenched in crimson from head to toe.

“‘Who the hell are you?!’ Al demanded of what he was certain was a character in a dream quickly turning into a nightmare.

“‘Help me! Please, help me,’” said the apparition.

The voice penetrated Al’s mental fog. “‘Oh, Christ! Is that you, Christopher?’”

“Y-yes, please help,” Christopher managed to utter as his life was waning. Leveraging all his strength, Al guided Christopher to the couch, where he found the resolve to triage the bleeding wounds, urgently instructing others in the house to call 911. Throughout the ordeal, Christopher’s desperate pleas of ‘my boy!’ pierced the scene. Soon after, police and EMTs arrived, rushing Christopher to the big city in the hopes of making it in time. Seven days later, Christopher stepped out of the hospital, taking the first step in the arduous journey of healing ahead.

Before Christopher had met Mary, I had heard rumors that she was single and attractive. As Al and I drove past Mary’s house, curiosity got the better of me and I asked, “So, what about Mary?” Al’s response was so serious that I remember it vividly to this day: “Oh no, something ain’t right about Mary.” After that, not another word was spoken about her.

That is, not until the story of what happened to Christopher was told. In the intervening time, Christopher and Mary had met and had a boy. Their relationship had been on the rocks, and recently they had separated. Mary invited Christopher back home to discuss a brighter future. He arrived, picking up his two-year-old boy into his powerful father arms. Mary directed the three of them to a room to celebrate the reunion. Once everyone was inside, she secured the door with a padlock from the inside. No key. No way out. Mary had planned and arranged the trap. Her prey was now ensnared.

Christopher turned around. With the eerie calm akin to a loving parent, Mary suggested he put the child down. Sensing something was terribly wrong, he complied. In a horrifying turn of events, Mary brandished a .357 pistol, pointing it at Christopher and firing five shots from point-blank range. Landing all five. Christopher, acting on instinct, dove through a closed window, shattering the glass and plummeting two floors to the ground below. Enraged, Mary leaned out of the window, intent on finishing the job.

Barefoot, Christopher made it to neighbors who refused to answer the door and didn’t call 911. Incredibly, he managed to navigate his way to Al’s house, which was located a long country block away.

Police had to forcibly break down Mary’s locked door to apprehend her. She was ensnared within her own trap. Bid her son farewell before being escorted away to jail, lamenting her sole wish for Christopher’s death.

If you’re just a regular human being, you can’t help but feel the tragedy of a mother throwing away her life with her son, or throwing away any chance of a normal future for him, or throwing away Christopher’s very existence.

So do I, but being a few degrees off normal, what truly intrigues me is delving into Mary’s inner monologue. For the rest of her days. Every day. All day long. Rage mumbling. “After meticulously orchestrating every detail. After everything falling perfectly into place. After my flawless marksmanship. After crashing through glass. After bleeding out for god knows how long?! And he survived?! I’ve sacrificed it all—my freedom, my son’s future, all for Christopher’s death, not for him to live! Why isn’t he six feet under? F**K ME!”

Comparing and contrasting Mary’s deserved misfortune, which will plague her for the rest of her days, robs me of my self-pity.

And now… know the photograph.

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