Serial Killers Are Everywhere

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

I’m sitting in my office, at my desk fretting over what to blog about this week. Coming from behind me, outside my window is either the sounds of a squirrel on crack, the roof coming off, or a drummer on scaffolding because I’m on the second floor. I’m trying to keep my mind away from the possibility of an intruder. Albeit, not a very bright one if he’s making that much noise on a bright, sunny day, at lunch time. However, I trust no one and my first thoughts are always to be careful. Serial killers are everywhere.

You know when you’re watching a scary movie and the character on screen decides to go look outside because they heard a crash or a gun shot and you yell at the screen, “DON’T DO IT. DON’T GO OUT THERE!”? I was compelled to look out my office window just now and thought this might be the stupidest thing I’ve done all day. But, there must be an explanation to the noises outside. We want to reassure ourselves the world as we know it hasn’t changed. We like the status quo, don’t we? And what was I going to do when I saw the rabid squirrel or the crazed drummer suspended in mid-air? Panic, that’s what. Not pretty.

Several years ago, I think before I even had kids, I was home and had somehow forgotten the roofers we hired were going to begin work. There I was home alone, footsteps pounded on my roof. It wasn’t Christmas Eve so that ruled out Santa immediately. I didn’t know what the sound was and then I heard voices! Robbers. Vandals. Serial Killers!!!!!!!! I panicked. Grabbed the phone and debated on calling 911. What was I going to say? I didn’t want to sound ridiculous and I didn’t want to go outside. I did bring myself to look out the window. Saw the roofer’s truck and passed out. No, kidding. I called myself a lot of stupid names for being silly.

I’m going to get a baseball bat. I’ll be right back.

There are disadvantages to having a vivid imagination. One of them is the stories in your head never stop. With baseball bat in hand, I investigated the noise. I opened the window, climbed out onto the ledge below and shimmied up the drain pipe to the roof above. A turkey vulture’s wing had tangled in the weather vane.

Looks like turkey for dinner.

No?

 

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6 thoughts on “Serial Killers Are Everywhere

  1. I didn’t realize, Stacey, that you were so susceptible to giving yourself the willies! It’s funny, too, the way we always feel most vulnerable in the places that are supposed to be the safest: I’ve walked through bad neighborhoods in New York in the middle of the night with nothing more than token concern for my own safety, but when I let the dog out onto the balcony at 2:00 a.m., I’ll often look over my shoulder into the darkened apartment behind me to check for things going bump in the night!

    I have a friend who came home after hours one night, stumbled into his bedroom searching for the lamp, and collided in the dark with a stranger! He fought the intruder off, flailing his arms indiscriminately, before finding and flicking on the light: Turns out the “figure” he’d bumped into was just a half-filled helium balloon hovering at eye level!

    Moments like that, I think, are where inspiration comes from. Something scares us — or saddens, amuses, or angers us; i.e., it prompts an emotional reaction that we can then “bottle” and channel into our own work. That’s why writers need to embrace our experiences — particularly the unpleasant ones — if we’re ever going to practice emotionally honest storytelling.

    Anyway — nice change of pace today! This was a very inspired little blog post!

  2. I’m pretty much freaked out everywhere. A long time ago my friend and I decided we wanted to drive into Manhattan. Never having done this before. We didn’t realize if you take the GW Bridge you land yourself in Harlem. On the east side. We got this brainstorm at 11 o’clock at night. When we saw the streets covered in garbage (Pre Rudy Guilliani Days) and graffiti covered every available wall space we knew we’d made a wrong turn and didn’t know how to go back. We went forward until we found a very nice police officer on horse back. I lowered the window only a crack to ask for directions. You can never be too sure who you’re talking to. He laughed at us and explained how we could get to the west side. It’s the fastest I’ve ever been through Central Park. Because no one should go into the park at night! See where I’m going with this?

    As for my own house? I’m pretty much freaked out there too. Serial killers are everywhere, remember?

    1. Back in the day, the neighborhood on the NY side of the GWB, Washington Heights, was the drug capital of the city, because it offered easy access to NJ (via the bridge), Westchester (via the HHP), and the Island (via the Cross Bronx) — it was a perfectly centrally located narcotics hub. Now Lin-Manuel Miranda lives there! My how times have changed…

      One of the principal characters of my forthcoming novel is a cop who was very much a “Giuliani foot solider” during the ’90s, and the book devotes a lot of real estate to exploring the sociopolitical consequences of policing policies that, for better and worse, cleaned up the city.

  3. It felt like the drug capital of the city and two young ladies had no business being there at that time of night or any time.

    Looking forward to meeting your character. I’m a huge fan of Giuliani. 😉

  4. Ahh, if only we could switch off an overactive imagination! I often plead with mine to discontinue communication with my thoughts. I feel you. Wonderfully entertaining post. Stay safe out there…

    1. Glad you liked the post! Thanks for leaving a comment. I can’t switch off my imagination. It’s noisy and exhausting, but I often get story ideas from it. There’s that plus, and I pay attention in parking lots.

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