Saturday, June 20, 2009

Killing Amanda Palmer

It's probably easier to read about this than for me to explain it.

The first "We Killed Amanda Palmer" photo to catch my eye was the one above, taken by Kyle Cassidy. I hammered out a story immediately, but writing "short" is so much harder than writing long. (Ask a poet.) Two months later, here it is. (Thank you, Demon Insomnia.)



I never knew Amanda Palmer, but I recognized the body. Not the “who” of the body, but the “how.” How it’s not so much a crime scene as a mise-en-scène. I knew she was one of his right away. If dying is an art, then so’s killing... and he does it exceptionally well.

I’m not supposed to use his real name anymore. He gets real funny about that, and I’m not about to cross him. So let’s call him “Dawn.” As near as I can tell, this all got started way back in 1980. Maybe there were one or two bodies before then, but 1980 was the first really professional kill. That’s when people started to notice. After that, things got real crazy, real fast.

It wasn’t until 1988 that our paths crossed, Dawn’s and mine... either I wandered into his world, or he wandered into mine. And I’ll admit to being a gawker. He was exotic and scary, and for a few furtive bucks there were plenty of folks willing to let me in on his story. I started following him, watching the corpses fall... learning their names from their toe tags.

And then he started killing people I cared about... people he’d introduced me to... one guy I could have loved, way back before I knew I was gonna swing that way.

A corpse a month, or so it seemed. Each a gift... a moment frozen and incorruptible. Even now, I find it hard to remember all those people in terms of their lives. It’s the deaths that sustain. Every life is a story, true enough, but a story is only as good as its ending.

But I guess you know that now.