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  • Dressed to Kill Yourself
  • Rob Hardin
There had been a series of spectacular killings west of New Haven. By all reports, the victims had been imaginatively disfigured. The textured palette techniques by which their intestines had been rearranged to suggest Satan Casting ET Into The Lake of Fire were the subject of both critical praise and craftsman’s speculation. How had the strangely anonymous murderer been able to make his parings in the murk acquire such distinct borders? Of particular interest was his work in broken capillaries. Here, the shadings of blue and red were so subtle as to suggest the airbrush work of Futura 2000 (an ancient LES artist whose techniques have been much imitated in these times of draftsmen automatons.

But after the telejournalist reviews and panel discussions had thoroughly analyzed Khaki Cadaver 5, and academidroids were left to dry-hump its aesthetic until the skin had been worn away, the public’s lack of interest voided the subject. There was something precious in the murderer’s technique; it was too self- conscious; it lacked that bold, splashy manner which Americans love. His would never be the work of a successful mainstream killer— but since the murderer was an idiot savant, perhaps financial success were better left to those who would actually recognize its rewards.
Dwayne was a hydrocephalic millionaire who had squandered his trust fund on musical dog collars. They’d arrived by the mobile homeful, ritualistically daisy-chained to Victrolas. But when his brokers came to remove his sternum and optic fiber caps, Dwayne knew it was time to join RMSA (Retarded Millionaire Sexaholics Anonymous) or face a life of aggressive, monosyllabic panhandling. At RMSA, he met a friend who was to become the very apex of his sobriety: Onion, a mongoloid turpentine heir who’d spent his entire fortune on topless shoe- shines. Through the I-Can’t- Count-But-There-Are-More- Steps-Than-I-Have-Fingers Program, he became a successful infanticide entrepreneur, setting up his own BabyHeadGallery—a name which reflected both the nature of the murders and the stunted emotional growth of the killers themselves.
(Tuesday, July 9th, 1985: was it something I’d said, or had the individual molecules of styrene in Molly’s flaming plastic cup become volatile mutagens, altering her genes? Why had her lips become seven- foot-long cave worms that writhed whenever the DFA inspector passed? I tried not to feel personally insulted, but the vertigo and loss of memory caused by low-level exposure to polycyclic aromatics was getting to me. Hell, I thought, why not propose on my monomer-dusted knees (the surfaces of which were already beginning to pulsate with passion and deformity)? But it was too late. Molly had already changed into a 350-nanograms- per-gram representation of the Rape of the Sabine Women, rendered in hot pink fur.)

Privately, however, Onion knew the true reason for his success: his ability to utter wordless streams of syllables that reduced his clients to a soporific state in which they’d empty their wallets, drop their pants, and imagine themselves contestants on Wheel of Fortune. For Onion’s special episode, the usual wheel was replaced by a huge, proctologically correct representation of Vanna White’s anus just after sodomy by the entire executive staff of CBS. The inflamed areas were marked off in greed- inducing shades of olive and magenta, and bore the potential scores which a spin of the anus might achieve: sex with broccoli pulverizers, cappucino sprinklers, vibrating swimsuit erasers, you name it. The grand prize was this: the endangered wildlife species of the contestant’s choice, smeared with Heinz 57 and slivers of prosciutto, and offered to him for ocular penetration.
The sites he recalled were side-roads of the broken. The faces of dispirited mobs, a driftwood of deltas—even the people he’d killed formed a discontinuous whole. It was a pattern he’d noticed before, though not until now with resignation.

Earlier that afternoon, the rest stops of the dead had seemed merely pathetic. Poor puny things, he’d said, quoting Dwight Frye as he set fire to...

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