Every night, before bed, I brush my teeth with gingivitis toothpaste and watch videos about serial killers.
It’s a great routine. I prevent my gums from bleeding, and then I prevent myself from going to sleep by thinking about a man in a flannel shirt and dungarees sneaking into my bed chamber with an ax, a hatchet, or a combination ax-hatchet, giving myself the heebies and the jeebies until I realize that I’m not in a bed chamber (I’m in a dorm room) and that combination ax-hatchets don’t exist (I hope and think).
I can’t help it–I’m fascinated by serial killers. I’m fascinated by the notes they write to newspapers, the ways they evade suspicion, and their periods of inactivity; like, did The San Antonio Head Marauder not decapitate anyone between 1944 and 1948 because they were fighting in World War II?? I’m fascinated by the killers of decades past; the ones who got away because police didn’t care about fingerprints. Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to the discovery of DNA hadn’t been overlooked by the male scientific community yet, and the description “beefy white dude in a brown hat” could have described literally anybody.
Before you come at me with accusations like “Sarah, you’re such a freak!” and “Sarah, how could you be so insensitive about cold-blooded murder!” first, I know, and second, serial killer intrigue is a real cultural phenomenon. People are interested in their psychology and psychosis. People are interested in their fame and fictionalization. And people still can’t get over the fact that Ted Cruz’s presidential run proved that a bona fide bonecruncher can run for the highest office in the land.*
People also think that serial killers are hot. I am not one of those people. So don’t worry, mom, I’m not going to marry Charles Manson. I’m just going to read every document associated with the Manson Family Murders in order to create a Murder BoardTM complete with maps, mug shots, and coils of yarn, and I’m gonna do it in my pajamas.
Somehow, the creepy crawly feeling I get from watching Buzzfeed Unsolved videos and listening to true crime podcasts in the dark has become almost cozy. I know that I am safe in bed, wrapped in my yellow comforter, snuggling my stuffed bear. I’m not in some rickety house that’s been infiltrated by a yahoo looking to butcher me like a pork chop. I’m not walking near a body of water that a murderous oaf frequents in his quest to find young, brunette women between the ages of 18 and 25 to feed to his flock of well-trained, rabid geese.
I’m in my room. Perfectly safe.
Well, unless some madman got hold of a Brown I.D. and a key to my suite. Which wouldn’t be that hard, I guess, I mean people are dropping I.D.s all the time and how secure is the key office anyways? Well, I guess this madman could sneak into my room and pop a cyanide tablet into my morning yogurt parfait. And yeah, sure, he could totally submit a cryptogram to the BDH, they’ll publish anything, and yeah, okay, I guess he could baffle DPS with a string of murders for years that would eventually lead to a confrontation in a secluded cabin on the coast of Rhode Island, but justice would be served, just like how I was served death-granola, and wow, I am never going to sleep again.
*It has been brought to my attention that maybe Ted Cruz isn’t the Zodiac Killer, which was truly a bummer to find out. Like, I thought we finally caught the guy, ya know? I guess the only thing Ted Cruz’s presidential run proved is that Ted Cruz is a wretched, sucky, bigoted, melted crayon of a person who I would like to slap across the face with a flounder repeatedly.
Images via Sarah Clapp.