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Home: The Toast

dana-scully-profileI know the local detectives have done their best, but I really think it’s time for us to move on. This investigation isn’t going anywhere, and we all know it. It’s time to call in someone a little more sophisticated, someone more empathetic–someone who really gets me.

Part of this is my fault, I know. I should have known that my pattern of elegant but brutal serial murders would go right over the heads of these local cops. But honestly, I thought that after the third victim, they’d catch on. My exquisite design, tableaux morts of the Greek muses surrounded by signifiers of their arts– it’s not that subtle. I thought they’d appreciate the elaborate staging, the intricate detail, the nuanced references to classical poetry and painting. I thought they’d see me as Apollo, leading my choir of muses to create the most beautiful and perfect work of art the world has ever seen.

Instead, they’ve dubbed me the MILF Killer.

Putting my own ego aside, that term is an insult to my victims. Clio, the history professor; Melpomene, the theatre patron; Terpsichore, the retired ballerina — these women were leaders, inspirations. And they weren’t even that hot. Is that what these yokels are looking for? Maybe if I were slashing coeds, I’d get more respect.

But that’s not the kind of serial killer I am. I just wish someone understood that.

Picture it: a dedicated investigator, alone in a library at night, wearing white gloves in the rare books room while a piano concerto plays. There she is, brushing her hair behind her ear as she takes notes, visiting curators, interviewing classicists and historians, comparing rare artifacts to crime scene photos. I mean, how great would that be?

jodie-foster-clarice-starlingCincinnati isn’t New York or LA. I realize that. But it’s still a city, and even these detectives must have taken a literature class somewhere along the way, right? Don’t they have a modicum of education? It took them weeks to even connect the Clio and Melpomene scenes; they wasted all of that time looking at the history professor’s ex-husband, instead of appreciating how I posed her body holding an antique trumpet in imitation of the Mignard painting. A real profiler would get that immediately. She’d understand me.

I don’t mean to assume that this FBI profiler has to be a woman–I’m a serial killer, but I’m not sexist. Sure, I’d be thrilled if I got assigned some Gillian Anderson type, but I’d be just as happy with a male agent. Really. The main thing is to find someone I could have a connection with, draw in with letters or enigmatic clues, make untraceable calls to in the middle of the night. I could maybe even squeeze in a little stalking as I plan my next tableau. Like, a Morgan Freeman type. I could definitely work with that.

Well. A Google search just told me that only 1% of police departments require a four-year college degree. I wish I’d looked that up sooner.

Kiss_the_Girls_morgan-freemanI should be looking for the perfect Urania or Euterpe right now, or double-checking the security system in the old college observatory, but lately I’ve taken to driving past the FBI building. It’s out in Kenwood, close to the mall–not that I’d ever step inside that mausoleum of decadent contemporary consumerism. But that trendy new cupcake place across the way is really good.

And the whole time I’m standing by the counter, trying to decide between the Green Tea & Ginger or the Kentucky Bourbon Pie, I’m fantasizing about a chance encounter with the agent assigned to me. Like, maybe she’ll be carrying my file, and I’ll glimpse her sifting through the photos or witness reports as I’m passing by with my Chocolate Caramel Macchiato, and we’ll strike up a conversation that will seem casual, the kind of thing she normally wouldn’t think about twice, until later, when she realizes the double meanings behind my alluringly enigmatic words…

Sometimes at night, on my way home from buying duct tape or taking surveillance pictures of Erato, I drive by that big federal building, looking to see if there’s a light left on. Just hoping.

Juliana Gray is a poet and essayist whose humor pieces have appeared in The Big Jewel and Defenestration. She teaches English and creative writing at Alfred University in western New York.

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