I had re-enrolled in school strictly for the pleasure of learning. Not surprisingly, my first class was a small graduate seminar on the psychology of deranged murderers. The classroom was a small rectangle, the walls of which were paneled in cheap faux wood panels. In the center of the room was a half-circle Formica table around which we students sat; the professor's chair sat singularly at the straight side of the table. I small-talked with a few of the fifteen students, and then, our professor arrived.
Amazed, and quite honored, the regal older woman walked gracefully to her chair. She wore her deep mahogany waves of hair pulled away from her porcelain skin with an elastic head band. This flattering look accentuated her high cheek bones and broad forehead. Little make-up covered her face. Her outfit for the first day of class was simple, yet unexpected: a black silk bathrobe that flowed to the floor. When she sat down to begin her introduction, the voice confirmed my fantastical suspicions: my professor of derangement was none other than Faye Dunaway dressed as Joan Crawford, the famous actress Dunaway had portrayed to audiences' horrors in the film, "Mommy Dearest."
She spoke confidently and calmly, unlike her abusive rants and ravings in "Mommy Dearest." Of course, I was already interested in the subject of this seminar, but now that I had this classy beguiling actress as my professor, I wanted to attend every offered section and wished to be Ms. Dunaway's right-hand assistant in her research. These feelings were strictly out of my admiration and idolatry of her mystique, not sexual nor self-serving in nature.
Class was progressing remarkably for me and I suspected the other students would have agreed. Or at least most of them. As Ms. Dunaway outlined the seminar's gruesome subject matter- serial murderers, lust murder, fanaticism, psychopathis sexualis, etc.- a student sitting adjacent to me started erupting with obnoxious comments, interrupting the queen of all professors. I started steaming with anger and disgust; consequently, my eyes shot darts through the sludge-monger's cold, barren, despicable brain (figuratively, of course). This muck was a twenty-something, Caucasian male whose brown mange of hair looked and smelled like it was going to attack at any given second, much like his mouth which was literally spewing forth gibberish and total nonsense. Ms. Dunaway asked him to save questions for later, regaining the floor as well as my raging attention. Apparently, we had a deranged specimen ready for examination right in the classroom.
The next few minutes of the lecture were literally flooded with streams from a water gun this doof had smuggled into class and the air was thick with rambling coming from his crust-laden mouth. The professor was shocked, the students and I were wet, and logically, I decided to pounce. As I slammed his neon water shooter down on the table, I screamed at him, "Will you SHUT THE FUCK UP." He looked a bit surprised, but unfazed; a bit embarrassed, but not apologetic. Ms. Dunaway stared at me with her Crawford eye brows arched in gratitude; they were perfect curves, like sand dunes. She then raised them, looking almost shocked at my frankness, and then decidedly smiled with approval. Then, she continued to go over the spectrum of a murderer's modus operandi.
Although I didn't know it at the time, my outburst directed at that rude student would cause me to wish I had never said a damned word to the bastard.
Soon after class, he ran up behind me while throwing pens at me. He proceeded to let me know that he was going to kill me or make my life a living hell. As time would no doubt tell, he chose the latter and soon started a campaign to drag me into deep paranoia and fear of his socio- and psychopathic behaviors.
I decided to leave town for the weekend, so I drove out to a river in between two jagged walls of rock. For some reason, I had two dogs in the back seat; one was a black lab, the other a shaggy mutt. They were not my pets and I was under the impression that I was watching them for someone. When I parked near the cliff to check out the view, I decided to use the bathroom provided by the park. I was apprehensive about leaving the dogs alone due to my recent unsettling encounter with Monsieur Sociopath so I locked the doors and ran to the bathrooms. The time in the rest room was foul and quick. When I returned to the car, the dogs were no longer in the back seat. A tail was protruding from below the rocks, so I crept over to look over the cliff; perhaps they had jumped in the river, but I sensed something was not right. Looking over my shoulder, I noticed post-it notes had been stuck to the sun visors in the front seat. Cautiously, I stepped a few feet toward the cliff and in the shrubbery growing around the rocks laid the two slumped bodies of the unfortunate dogs. I ran to the car, jumped in, locked all of the doors, and sped off to the nearest freeway. I ripped the notes from the fuzzy visors to find them colored with a waxy, fluorescent crayon. "FIRST WARNING" was repeatedly scrawled on the cheap yellowed paper.
Due to the mangled knot of fearful nerves churning through my digestive track, I drove incredibly quickly. I wanted everybody to know what this horrific sideshow of a person had done. Being an obnoxious jerk was one thing, but killing animals is way past my tolerance. I drove into the college town in which I lived. The town had the withered beach side scuzziness of Isla Vista, but the air and weather felt more Northern, like Santa Cruz. While parking on a side street, I noticed a fire burning in a three-story apartment complex, the complex in which my enemy resided.
I was not shocked to see him running around in the blazing room, kicking furniture to fuel the flames. He shattered the huge front window of the apartment by kicking through it so that the broken shards of glass rained down onto surrounding plants, trees, and stoned onlookers. Blood was visible on his arms and face from cuts, but I doubt he felt any pain due to the obvious spastic nature of his frantic episode. The stench of bad heavy metal wafted from his stereo into the air and he screamed along in between intervals of laughing maniacally. A group formed on the sidewalks, cars stopped in moving traffic so the drivers could witness the twisted entertainment. I, however, was disgusted and unimpressed by this jerk-off's selfish antics and dramatic tantrum of destruction. As soon as the fire trucks reeled in, he made his way up the two flights of stairs in the complex; after climbing up a ladder, he was on the roof, fanatically dancing. Many people, the poor, uneducated people, were actually laughing and cheering at the spectacle.
A wave of sorrowful nausea overcame my body. While trying not to vomit, I realized the evil jester had pinpointed me out in the crowd. I tried warning those around me to get away, that he was crazy, but before anyone could do anything, he jumped down from the roof of the three-story complex and landed two feet in front of me. The confrontation was hazy, but I did not back down. I had no weapons but my mouth and that had only gotten me in trouble before, so I tried to think resourcefully. His eyes were firing slugs in my direction. I took a quick survey of the objects around me: tree, bush, stick, car, parking meter, shoes, leaves, mailbox. My choices were not promising, but I would have to make due with what I had. By this point, he was mumbling in tongues, the fire behind him was blazing due to the apartment's gas pipes, my sweat was creating a fog around my body. He charged me, but I leapt up onto a crappy old car hood; this quick move led him to skid on the gutter sludge and bail on the asphalt. I screamed like I had never screamed before. Not a soul was going to help me; I was going to take this bitch down on my own. I rolled off of the car hood, grabbed hold of the mailbox post which was deeply stuck in a moist soil patch, and with my back against the sidewalk, I pulled with all of the strength in my arms and legs. The post was giving as I jiggled it back and forth to loosen the soil, and I almost had it, but I could hear his shoes crunching the gravel by my head. He spit on my face and through dirt in my mouth.
By this time I was gagging, trying not to choke on the soil, but I had the mailbox out of the ground. I held it with both hands, like a sledge hammer, spun around on my back, and held the makeshift weapon, ready to strike. The creep started biting my calf and if I wanted to clock him in the head, it meant I would have to injure my leg as well. In this situation, survival held priority over injury, so I swung the "hammer" over my head and struck the guy in the head with the cheaply fabricated mailbox. He released my leg from his chompers, so I was able to get away and stand up. As I lifted the mailbox again, all I could see was this freak-show foaming at the mouth and bleeding at the forehead; I had no pity, no compassion, so I clocked him again in the knees just to make sure he wouldn't get up for a while. Victorious, but not too thrilled, I threw my weapon down on the yard. In a state of dizzy apathy, I took off to the local medical clinic to get cleaned up so I would not catch whatever infected my assailant.
After a brief black out of the whole episode, I found myself in a kitchen with some friends from Santa Barbara. In the center of the kitchen, there was an island on which my friend Jamie was kneading cornmeal to make handmade tortillas. The cornmeal was a deep shade of golden rod, like the crayon. Unfortunately, I left before they were cooked and devoured.