Friday, October 30, 2009

And the blade clacked the vertebra...

Serial killer victim Jeanine Nicarico. Scroll to second item for her story.

By Shane Gericke

First, everyone, sorry I haven't been online this week. I'm still struggling to recover from the vapors--what the docs now call viral bronchitis--so I've been napping more than working. Had to miss y'all at Bouchercon, too. Major bummer.

So, the answer to the question, What's the most exotic way you've killed a character? Allow me to quote from my current book, CUT TO THE BONE:

The barber bent close, touched steel to flesh. Several dozen strokes later, he wiped the Executioner clean with a hot towel from the baseboard steamer.

"Terrific job, Frank," the Executioner enthused, watching the white fog billow into the shivery air. "Best shave I've had since ... well, ever."

"Thanks. I pride myself on them," Frank said. "The straight razor helps."

The Executioner reached to the shelf to examine one. He stopped midair.

"Oops, sorry," he apologized. "All right if I take a look?"

"Oh, sure, be my guest," the barber said.

The Executioner raised the straight razor to the light, turned it this way and that. No tool marks. No burrs. Just a gleam and perfect mating of ironwood handle to hollow-ground carbon steel blade. "This is a work of art," he said, deeply impressed. "And you're an artist."

"Thanks," Frank Mahoney Jr. said, young chest puffing under his white smock. "That's genuine Solingen steel, all the way from Germany. Grandpa Frank got them off the Internet. They're expensive, but they keep a nice sharp edge, which you need to clip those annoying loose ends."

"Funny you should mention that," the Executioner said, reaching toward the shelf.

"Mention what?" Frank said, bending to the towel steamer for the final hot one.

The Executioner reversed his movement, sliced the boy ear to ear, Solingen steel sinking so deep the edge clacked off the cervical vertebra.

"Awk ... wha ..." Frank gurgled as his eyes went full-moon.

"You're a loose end," the serial killer said, backpedaling to avoid the blood shot. "And I just clipped you. Funny, huh?"

Frank collapsed like a brain-shot calf.

"Or not," the Executioner said ...


Serial killer Brian Dugan.

Today, I'm going to visit a real one. His name is Brian Dugan. He kidnapped, beat, sodomized, strangled and murdered a woman and two children back in the 1980s. One of the kids was 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico from Naperville, IL, where I live. Dugan confessed to the first two, drew life in prison. He recently confessed to Jeanine's, and hopes to avoid lethal injection because he confessed--an act of contrition, he says, that makes him a good guy worth saving. The prospect he might be saved does not make me happy. Dugan tried and failed to rape and kill a half-dozen other girls. He is unrepentant. He is evil.

I want to see what pure evil looks like, up close. So, I'll attend his sentencing hearing at the DuPage County Courthouse. The prosecutor is arguing for death. Dugan's lawyers argue against. The jury must decide.

I don't believe in the death penalty. It's America at its revenge-besotted worst, with laws and rules written by the melon-brained politicians who gave us the war in Iraq, torture of prisoners, and bank "reform." In other words, it's rotten.

Nonetheless, I'm pulling for the prosecution. Hypocritical, you say?

Guilty. Though with an asterisk.

* I'd really like Dugan to escape the needle and get life with no parole in a maximum security prison, with assignment to general population,instead of the protective custody he's enjoyed for the twenty years this case has dragged through the court system. Let him experience the humiliating and terrifying rape he gave all his victims. Let him feel his anus rip as the shaft ...

Well. You know.

When his attackers are sated, find more. There's lots of horny cons in the max. For a "short-eyes"--prison jargon for "child molester"--the other cons and the guards will look the other way. Sorry to sound so bloodthirsty about this, but the thought of Dugan makes my skin crawl and my jaw start flapping. The family is warm and loving, and I am proud to raise money for their dead daughter. I'll be prouder yet when Brian Dugan receives his justice.

Preferably, bent over a laundry basket, howling at the unfairness of it all.

I look forward to giving you my report next week.

Shane Gericke despises serial killers, but writes about them anyway because they fascinate him so much. His next crime novel appears in July, 2010.


Jen Forbus said...

I don't know that a sickness that ugly and that black can be reformed...and I certainly don't think he deserves to be "protected" when his victims were not afforded that same luxury. I have no pity or compassion for people like that and believe them to be a cancer to a civilized society. I hope justice can prevail.

Shane Gericke said...

It cannot, Jen. Therefore, it's time for him to depart this earth in some fancy or fashion.

I've never talked with a serial killer, and since I write about them, I thought it was time to go see the show. Don't know if I'll have a chance to ask him anything, but at least I'll be able to see him.

Jen Forbus said...

I have to say I share your sentiments on that, Shane. I'm interested to hear what your experience is like...

Shane Gericke said...

Best-laid plans, etc.

I got to the courthouse at noon , found the room empty. Got some coffee, sat and made some book notes. A sheriff emerged from the room. I asked when Dugan's hearing would resume.

"Won't today," he said. "Cancelled. Don't know why. It will resume Tuesday at 9:30."

I'll be there.

Unknown said...

Shane - I just finished Cut to the Bone and was second guessing myself until the very end as to the identity of the Executioner (good work!). I noticed in some scenes you describe in great detail the murder, while in others you leave some to the imagination. What makes you decide if you'll describe a homicide with all the gore attached, and why do you leave some up to the reader to fill in the details?
Curt Wendelboe