Excerpt from Manuscript, Warren #5

Warren struggles to come to terms with the abuse he suffered as a teen and his own violent fantasies. For more excerpts about this character, click HERE, HERE, HERE, & HERE. For excerpts from the POV of his ex-lover, click HERE , HERE and HERE. For an excerpt from the point of view of his mother, click HERE.–

The journal I kept as a teen was a purple composition notebook with Warren’s; DO NOT READ!!! written rather unsubtly on the cover. It contained pages of intimate details of my lack of a sex life, lists of all the things and people I hated, and angsty, emotionally raw tangents about my loneliness and frustration. It also contained a ten page long sex fantasy as only a fourteen-year-old gay virgin could write it. I don’t remember my minor pornographic masterpiece that well, and I don’t think I could look at it again without dying of embarrassment. The journal got lost in the shuffle a long time ago. I do know the fantasy involved Donnie Thornton, the sexiest and most insufferably arrogant boy on the swim team. Seriously, he couldn’t go five minutes without comparing himself to Michael Phelps.

I guess with a name like Donnie you kind of have to develop an enormous ego to cope. I wasn’t on the swim team myself, I’m one of those unique people who has so little buoyancy that you put me in a body of water and I sink like a rock. When I was five years old my dad tried to teach me how to swim by hoisting me over his head and tossing me like a sack of potatoes into a swimming hole. He ended up having to jump in after me. I was actually pretty uncomfortable with being in any body of water bigger than a bathtub, but I spent two whole weeks watching Donnie move through the water during boy’s swim tryouts, when I was pretended to be thoroughly engrossed in Ulysses. I had always had a thing for male swimmers. I was teased for being creepy, and in retrospect, I was kind of creepy. I was soft-spoken and diminutive, but so are the best serial killers. Nobody suspects the fourteen-year-old boy with the turtleneck who’s sitting in the food court of the local mall drinking a slushy and reading Wuthering Heights.

But in a lot of ways I was a sick, fucked-up kid. I entertained a lot of violent fantasies, they provided me with catharsis. I think it was after the whole debacle with Theo that I really became fixated on the concept of killing people who mistreated me. I was so naive that after my ‘relationship’ with Theo, I wasn’t sure if I was a virgin or not. That day we had made out with him on top of me and I had ejaculated, I thought maybe that constituted not being a virgin anymore. I was feeling a lot of guilt about my homosexuality. I came from a religious family, mostly my mother, and I didn’t feel ‘clean’ anymore. It had finally sunk in that Theo had exploited me and had never liked me in the first place, and I was sick of being bullied at school by people who were obviously intellectually inferior to myself.

My mother had told me when I was little that the other kids picked on me because I was more ‘gifted’ than they were and they couldn’t keep up on me, so they turned on me. Likewise, I turned on my classmates, but only in my lurid daydreams. They were doltish and ignorant and I was sophisticated and smart. Why did I always get the short end of the stick? When I daydreamed about torturing and killing my classmates, I told myself that these kinds of fantasies were just venting, and no different from enjoying a violent film. I remember shortly after Sandy Hook, this woman Barbara who worked at Smiley’s for about half a year and then got fired for stealing money went on this rant about the mentally ill during lunch break. I knew she was upset by what had happened, we were all upset. I had felt physically sick when I heard about it on the news. But Barbara was really starting to grate on me.

She lumped Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and basically anything you could be put on psychiatric medication for with being a worthless piece of shit who mows down a bunch of elementary school kids. I kept my mouth shut until Barbara started talking about a boy she had gone to school with who was really ‘creepy.’ She kept saying that over and over, he was ‘creepy.’ He barely talked to anyone and he was obsessed with guns and serial killers. She said she told everybody the boy was a sociopath. “He could have done something like this,” she said pointedly. “Society needs to stop cutting people who are fucking crazy slack.”
“Maybe he needed someone to give him a chance and try to be his friend,” I said abruptly. Everybody looked up from their packed lunches and vending machine snacks, they weren’t used to me actually speaking..
“Excuse me, I don’t want to end up in Jeffrey Dahmer’s freezer. I don’t care how much he might ‘need someone to be his friend.’” I know it’s stupid, but what Barbara said hit a nerve because it felt like she was talking about me. I was the school basket case.

June wasn’t the only person who suggested that I was a sociopath; I didn’t laugh, except inappropriately, I rarely smiled, I was obsessed with death and violence. One night when I was fifteen I broke into my dad’s gun cabinet and started playing around with his guns. I wasn’t a master safecracker, I just knew where the keys were. I was fifteen years old. My parents had gone to bed early and my sister was at a party I hadn’t been invited to. In fact I think the host’s instructions to Hannah were not to bring her ‘freak show’ brother. This quickly got back to me through the high school grape vine and I told everyone who would listen I didn’t want to go to Olivia Milton’s retarded party anyway. I ended up throwing a party of my own with my dad’s handguns. I was really enamored with one particular gun, I didn’t know what kind it was or what it was like to shoot but it was very sleek and shiny. It looked lethal. I considered shooting myself in the head but I didn’t pull the trigger, I didn’t want my mom or my sister to find my body.

I imagined being a vigilante, running away from home and killing people who deserved it. I wanted to kill child molesters, drug dealers, rapists, wife beaters. Then I thought of Cody, the kid who had desecrated my copy of The Martian Chronicles the day I tried to commit suicide. One year later Cody kept urging me to finish what I started. He always seemed disappointed to see me still alive and walking through the halls of high school, not lying face-down in a puddle of my own blood. He spent my entire fifteenth year spreading horrible rumors about me. No, not that I was a faggot, nothing that banal. He told everyone that I had put peanut butter on my cock and gotten my dog to lick it off. I didn’t even have a damn dog, I had a rabbit. He said I had a shitload of violent pornography on my computer, and that I had chlamydia. None of this was true. I did not watch violent porn, I was not interested in tricking a dog into licking my penis, and I was still a virgin. I finally confronted Cody. My mistake was doing it when we were alone because I didn’t want to get publicly humiliated if I got my ass kicked. I followed him home from school and called out his name. I was scared. But for once my anger overrode my fear.
“Oh, look, I have a stalker. Hi Warren.”
“Cody, I want you to take back those things you’ve been saying about me. I want you to tell everyone they’re not true.”
“Wait, Warren, what do you think I’ve been saying about you?”
“That I watch rape porn and am into bestiality. That’s disgusting. I don’t do any of those things. And I don’t have VD.”
“Warren, I’ll tell everybody that I made some shit up about you if you’ll admit publically tomorrow that you’re a faggot.”
I shook my head. “No. I won’t do that.”
“But you are a faggot, aren’t you, Warren?”
“No. I’m not a faggot.” I couldn’t look him in the eye.
He shoved me. “You’re lying, Warren. I’ve seen the way you ogle the guys on the swim team. You’re disgusting.”
Holy shit, Cody was more observant than I thought. I was lost for words. I finally said, very intelligently. “I… I… I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Cody forced me to the pavement and pulled my hair. “Everybody at school hates your fucking guts, Warren.”
“Cody, please stop. Cody, let me go.”
“Let me go!” Cody mimicked. “First say you’re a faggot.”
“No!” He put his foot on my back and pressed down.
“Alright! I’m a faggot, I’m a faggot, I’m a faggot.” Cody laughed, and then he got a flash of inspiration. He dragged me to the side of the road and shoved my face in dog shit. Then he took $20 from my wallet and my watch. I know it sounds stupid, but I was angrier about the watch than most of the other stuff, even having to come home with turd smeared on my face. My mom had given me that watch for a birthday present when I was eight years old, I had worn it every single day since. It provided a sense of order and security to my life and it was my favorite present anybody had ever given me. And now it was gone. Cody was probably going to pawn it off or something. He was a fucking cretin, and he didn’t deserve to live. He was a piece of shit teenager who was going to become a piece of shit adult and probably become successful doing it. People like him ruled the world. People like me were expected to just deal with it.
The night I broke into my father’s gun cabinet I seriously considered taking a gun to school and making Cody give me my watch back. I’d make him beg, I’d make him plead, I’d make him debase himself. I would have him kneel on the ground in front of me and I’d take the gun out of my backpack. I’d shoot him in the head point-blank and I’d leave his body in the locker room for the other guys to see. Then I’d kill myself. I’d leave a note telling my mother and my sister that I loved them. I’d tell my father to rot in hell. I thought about how much I fucking hated Cody everyday for months. He continued to bully me constantly. In my imaginary world where I wasn’t powerless I shot him in the face while he begged. In real life I was the one being degraded, being debased, pleading. I learned not to take any books from my personal collection to school, he ripped out the pages. He took my sneakers and he also took my inhaler, just because he thought it was funny.

He threw it in the swimming pool and told me to strip down to my skivvies and go after it. A girl swam after it and got it for me instead. That girl was Annie, her family had moved to North Carolina from Minnesota. So Annie Bishop saved my inhaler from the swimming pool, but I never got my watch back. And now I’m faced with the question of whether I would have actually shot Cody Taylor, and whether I would have shot somebody who tried to get between me and him.

I think I was capable of murdering someone as a teen, I think I was that angry. I think I admired mass shooters and serial killers in a way. I didn’t outright justify their actions, but there was some kind of attraction. They gained notoriety for doing the things I couldn’t. That said I am not and I will never be a sociopath. I feel things, sometimes I think I feel too many things, I’d kind of like to shut some of those feelings off. I still find myself hoping Cody’s having a shit life. I hope he cleans up dog poop for a living and his boss is a gay man with a very stylish watch who does not give him an easy time of it.

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