My name is Missy, and I’m an addict. That’s what you guys say, right?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been like this. As a little girl in pigtails and jeans, I remember I would grab the stinkiest chemical out from under the sink and pour the whole bottle down the anthills and watch them run. One day I saw my brother with the magnifying glass trying to light a fire, and it occurred to me how much more personal it would be if I just applied that bit of heat to a tiny ant, rather than drowning them with chemicals. It took most of the afternoon but I finally mastered the glass, and could bring a pinprick of hell to bear on an ant within seconds. Like the hand of God, I smote and smote, unable to control the huge grin on my face. Inevitably though, I grew, and as I did, the ants ceased to hold their interest. Like any addict, I now needed something more.
I saved up my coins and bought a mouse trap. I was so excited the night I set it under our porch. I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning and see if I’d gotten anything. I lay awake for ages, listening for the snap, before waking up to the light of day. I flew out of bed and down the porch stairs in my bare feet. There it was, snapped across the skull of what I later learned was a shrew. Its eyes bulged and there was a deep crimp in its head where the bar of the trap had snapped, but it was otherwise unmarked. I was disappointed. Sure, I had killed it. But it was cold and stiff and I had been asleep while the trap did the actual dirty work hours before, crushing its brain as efficiently and humanely as it had been designed to do. The satisfaction I received from roasting ants was better than this!
Frustrated, I saved my money again. This time, I went to the pet store, a jumpy nervous excitement bouncing my stomach. Straight to the Small Animals section, where a strange thing happened. I looked in the eyes of a white rat with a spot on its forehead, and my original plan evaporated. I did purchase her, but she became my companion rather than my victim, living in my sweater hood and riding on my shoulder as I went about my day. I named her Rat, and cried for a week when she finally passed away.
This inconvenient softening did not help my deeper issue, namely something larger than an ant and less quickly dispatched than a mousetrap. However, thanks to Rat, the easy pickings such as all the neighborhood pets, as well as regular trips to the pet store, were unthinkable. There were times I would look at a random cat curled up on my mother’s car as though it had every right to be there, and I would wonder how bad it would hurt me before I could get it immobilized and start…
Rat’s beady little black eyes regarded me solemnly from my shoulder. I could feel her looking at me, as though she knew what I was thinking, and I would look away from the cat, embarrassed. It was just being a cat. Rat was just being a rat, and the ants were just being ants. They had no say in the matter and knew nothing of malice.
More and more I couldn’t stop thinking about a girl in my class at school. Rachel S, I’ll call her, and she was Perfect, with a capital fucking P. She knew it too, and made sure everyone else did. None of the Perfect girls had any problem with me, but if Rachel knew what I thought about as I watched her bitching her way through life, she would never have accepted my invitation to spend the night that Saturday.
The next morning, she was gone. I told my family we had argued, and she had left sometime around midnight. This was not unreasonable, she lived two blocks from our house and there were streetlights the whole way. Besides, she was twelve years old, and she could take care of herself, she said when she left, I told Mom. When she was missed, I told her parents and police the same thing, explaining our quarrel away as over a boy. She was never found, and ultimately it was assumed someone had snatched her in those two blocks and made a clean getaway. Nobody ever asked me about it in any official capacity again.
She was my first person, but I was smart enough to know I couldn’t go around preying on everybody I knew. Once I could get away with, I was sure. Twice, I was pretty sure I could get away with as well, but not sure enough. I began spending time at various summer camps in the woods, where many accidents were possible, and accidents did happen. The worst for me, personally, was when a girl and I fell off a log into a river and were washed over a decent sized waterfall. I broke my leg. The girl I was with broke her back and couldn’t move from the waist down. I pulled her to the bank and she was gone by the time we were found, some two hours later. I told counselors through an Oscar-winning show of hysterics that she had died immediately.
Finally, not being stupid, Mom confronted me, and I broke down, tearfully spilling all of my extracurricular activities and expecting her to call the police at any moment. The last thing I expected was the scolding, the “why didn’t you tell me young lady” and the tour of the basement. I quit going to the camps, relieved to have found a steady outlet. But even so, it wasn’t enough. I longed for a more visceral experience. I thought military or law enforcement might be a suitable outlet, until I went to my first execution when I was eighteen with Mom.
She took all of us when we turned eighteen, just so we knew what the stakes were. I remember equally the lesson, and the executioner. His face was like granite, but his eyes were a volcano. When I read the files on those being executed, I could see why. I knew that look; I had seen it in my own eyes when I caught sight of myself in one of the basement’s mirrors when things were really going down. The fun comes in dispatching someone who truly NEEDS to die.
“So here I am,” Missy finishes, looking around with bright eyes. “Through hard work, luck and the necessary ruthlessness, I became the lead physician, or executioner, or whatever you want to call it. A detailed summary of what these guys have done to innocent people makes injecting them a great pleasure.” A pause. “And every time I do it, I think about what it would be like to lay on the couch instead of stand beside it.”