12. Chrysalis

The next couple of days of my life are strictly business. I watch documentaries and read articles on serial killers. One of them illuminates over the rest – Tommy Lynn Sells. He is notorious for both killing children and driving authorities insane; so much; they locked up an innocent mother – charging her with murdering her own son. Not only was he a traveling man; and by traveling, I mean state to state, all across the United States; but also he had a unique MO similar to Richard Ramirez and Henry Lee Lucas in being completely random. I take note to being random, I take note to being versatile. Currently and ironically – Tommy Lynn Sells – is not too far away from me. He is 75 miles due north rotting in a prison cell in Livingston, Texas; the Polunsky Unit. Other known as Death Row.

This is the next step of the transformation. A vital step. I have to be careful though – real careful. I don't want Tommy Lynn Sells to be my neighbor. I do nothing but hard and long workouts and runs that I classify as training. I mean, I always kind of had the mentality that I was training, not just casually working out, but that was just to better myself, training to beat depression, training to beat obesity. Now I have a vibrant objective, an objective that will require my full cunning and precise orchestration. I will need to be in top shape in case anything gets out of control. I will need plans, many of them. But first of all, I need to test myself, see if I really have the heart to do this.

I come up with a decent test that I think I can easily do without being detected. I will kill Kevin Wayne Smithers – the HIV slinging Santa Claus – the insect I saw on the news several days ago, the one who bragged about giving HIV to the teenage boy whom he unlawfully manipulated sex from.

My first thought was I will stab him multiple times with a butterfly knife I bought at a flea market many years ago when I was a child; about the same age as his victim. I then contemplate it deeper as I put on a trucker hat that has of the American flag on it and fake beard that resembles either that of a stoner or a bum and head to the Montrose area where he lives to do a reconnaissance mission. After walking around and looking at some things I realize I could pull off a safer assassination. This is because it consisted of pulling a trigger from a distance rather than getting touching distance and pushing and pulling a blade repeatedly into and out of a live human being; live human flesh: blood, screaming, evidence, witnesses, messy.

I stop at the corner store located across the street of the high rise that he was staying at, the one the news reported he was living at where the sexual assaults occurred. I initially go in to buy cigarettes, and then, as I'm roaming for other necessities, I notice there is music being played at a very high volume. This music isn't just loud TV and treble; his was loud volume and bass – a legit stereo system playing reggae.

I grab a pack of spearmint gum and walk up to the front counter; there's was an African dude, perhaps Rastafarian, working the register. I come to this conclusion after I ask him if he always plays his music this loud and he tells me "Yes" in an African or Rastafarian accent, then asks me "Why, you don't like it?" I tell him no, that I did like it, and that I think it's awesome to be able to listen to music like this all day while you're at work. He tells me the music stays "on all day and all night". This isn't a Houston thing, this is a Montrose thing.

As I leave the store, I look up at the roof. I assess that will be easy to get onto without being detected because of the loud music coming from inside which will also serve as protection from detection of footsteps while on top of it; and the distance makes it a great place to assassinate this motherfucker.

I'll be using my dad's old Remington 700 sniper rifle. The rifle stands silently, with only my father's war decorations and some old photos keeping it company in a lonely and depressed closet full of both anger and aura.

The next couple of weeks I spend stalking my prey. It's essential that I get the right guy on the right balcony. Thanks to the news, I had a clear image of what he looked like and spent hours walking around his complex, as if I were homeless or some kind of drug addict or some shit. This is normal for this neighborhood. I suppose I didn't look homeless, because I was wearing my new iPod, but doing this shit without any music to keep me focused would be nearly impossible. Drugs can only do so much. I ask questions to people walking in the building about him and even ask one man if he could show me where he lived.

He told me, "I can't let you in the building, son, because it's against regulation, but I will tell you that sick prick lives in building 306," as he pointed to a third-floor balcony. "You will never be able to see him during daytime, but every now and then that prick will be out there during the night, just standing there on his balcony, staring at the moon like some sort of vampire."

I could have easily gotten into that place if I wanted to, even with the door security and what not, but I decided against it because it would actually jeopardize my operation if people or cameras saw me lurking around his door; plus my technique to execute needs no close distance. Fact is, I have shot that rifle more hundreds of times in my life. One time I hit a deer from about two miles away. My dad would take me to the country or the vacant parts of the beach in Galveston to shoot guns and taught me how to use them proficiently. Hitting this guy from about 500 feet with an upward angle would be like clockwork. Not much wind in Houston, if any, so wind won't be a factor.

I survey the neighborhood for about two weeks and conclude its pretty dead on a Tuesday. Then again, what isn't dead on a Tuesday? Although the scene was dead, the loud music at the corner store did stay very alive all night.

The target's silhouette came out mostly every night, sometimes once, sometimes multiple times. I suppose I would too if I had a balcony. I like balconies. I like being high. There was one night he didn't come out. It's not a concern though. My only concern is the getaway and hauling that big-ass gun around the neighbored and up and down the corner store. I know I can do this, but I would have to be real patient and take the gun up to the store roof in some kind of disguise and when I completed the kill I would have to be careful and not leave any kind of evidence behind. I mean, this is something I have to do. I can't risk some fucking new-school hippie or hipster riding his bike home and seeing me with a nearly 4-foot assassin gun strapped to my back like Peace from the 1977 movie Wizards.

Back at the house, I head to the closet and open the door and pull out the rifle and gently lay it on the couch. I go to the dining room table and pull out a bag of weed and a Swisher Sweet blunt. I cut the blunt open and empty out the tobacco on some newspaper. I fill the blunt with weed and then roll it up, then run a lighter across it about a dozen times to dry it.

With the blunt in my mouth and a lighter in my hand I walk to the garage, open the door, and turn the lights on. I walk over to the cabinet and pull out a box of Federal primers and a box of Speer 165 Grand Slam rifle bullets and place them on the bench next to the smokeless powder that was already sitting there. I then retrieve the Lyman 30-06 die set and place it on the table. I open the die set and take out the shell plate and the sizer die and install them in the turret press. I connect my iPod to the stereo with the aux cord and shuffle a few times until I land on 'Southside' by Lil' Keke. I then grab a towel and lay it down and light the blunt. After I take two big hits of the marijuana cigar; I get five bullet cases, lubricate them, and decap them.

Reality smashes into me and I'm forced to think about what the fuck I'm doing. I'm literally preparing to commit murder. I think about my life, and how I should be dead already. How I want to die. How I am not a hero. How I have nothing to live for; nothing but Mr. Tibbs. I think about how I've done nothing in this life. I think about how I'm nothing like my father. But here I am, in his house, just like him, I'm sitting on his reloading bench that he made. I think about life and how short it is. I think about child rapists and how short they serve, often much shorter than drug offenders. I take another puff of the marijuana cigar; then another, and another. Then I think about the teenager, who will now suffer for the rest of his life because of a human immunodeficiency virus bearing boogeyman.

I think more about Mr. Tibbs and the reality that he could end up at the pound and euthanized if something goes wrong tomorrow. If I get caught and have to "Kurt Cobain" he will for surely end up there. He's too old and mean-looking to be adopted. I could always roll the dice and plead insanity. But that doesn't matter as I would still be locked in a cage for the rest of his life and I have no family or friends that would be able to take him. Crackhead Ernie pets Mr. Tibbs from time to time if he sees him sitting in the front yard or on the edge of the street. I suppose I should go find Ernie and ask him if he can find Mr. Tibbs a new home if anything is to happen to me. I can probably just tell him I have a dangerous midnight shift job.

The blunt is cashed now and I put it out on the bench. I grab the five bullet cases and begin the deburr them. Then I prime them. After they're primed I go and find the digital scale and zero out a brass and drop five charges. I use a small powder funnel to pour the gunpowder into the cases. I then thread the seater die a few turns into the press. With the handle in the up position, I insert the properly primed and charged case into the shell holder. I then grip a Grand Slam bullet and hold it over the case mouth with one hand and lower the press handle with the other. I then raise the handle up and then press down and inspect the cartridge. It's perfect, I feel like an alchemist. I do this four more times; take a valium, drink some Budweiser's, and then go to bed.

Time flies and before I know it it's time to roll. I eat cold leftover barbeque, the same that I ate for breakfast and then pop three Vicodin to take the edge off. I place the hobo/hipster beard on and unfortunately the drugs don't alleviate the itch that comes with the facial prosthetic. I get the sniper rifle some binoculars, and a 3400 Ti Phantom silencer and put them into a guitar case; then I grab the five handcrafted bullets and put them into my pocket.

Time to Rock n Roll.

Fifteen minutes pass, and I enter the Montrose neighborhood in my truck my truck. I'm dressed casual, or at least casual for this area where a man wearing a dress and high heels could almost be considered casual. This is the wild part of Houston where anything goes, known mostly for its large homosexual community, drugs, and epic dive bars. I'm wearing jean cargo shorts, some basic black Adidas, and a Bob Marley shirt. It's very common to see people wearing shit like this in the neighborhood and it's also very common to see people carrying instruments or wearing and using backpacks even if they are clearly not in school. Stoner style. Really, I fit in just perfectly.

I park my truck three blocks away from the store. I take a couple of deep breathes as I finish listening to a Tiesto song. The sun has been gone for about an hour. I get out of my truck, look up at the sky and say to myself, "Here we go."

I walk past the store, look at the balcony, and see no one. It doesn't matter, though, because I'm not ready. I still need to scale the area for cops, both conducting traffic operations and other sneaky patrol tactics. I walk about ten blocks up, down, left, right, north, south, west, east, and everything in between, including apartment parking lots and hobo-filled back alleys.

After I get done with my street scan and I'm content that everything is clear. I crawl up to the roof of the corner store using the air-conditioning unit and some pipes that lead up to the top. When I get up to the roof, I duck real low and get to the front where I'm blocked from view by the top of the building structure that is kind of like a 3 foot enclosure blocking this front and sides of the store as well as holding the stores lettering on it. You know the area where they put the name of the store. The tops of the letters themselves provide even more coverage and it even looks like I will be able to use them as a balance for the end of the gun.

My heart is pounding over the bass of the music coming from inside the store and I'm trying to take deep breaths to remain calm and not panic. This shit has gotten real. This shit has to be done. I shut my eyes for about five or six seconds and then quickly open them and remove the rifle from the guitar bag.

After my rifle is out, I screw on the silencer then double check it and make sure it's fastened correctly. I then take out the binoculars that I use to scope the balcony as using the sniper scope is reckless and unprofessional.

Lots of time goes by and lots of crazy thoughts are going through my head, including retreating and calling off this mission. But I need this rush, no matter what happens. I need to get him on that balcony or anywhere near the sliding glass door. If I can get him even four feet away from the inside I can get him. Fuck, I need to be creative!

Creativity is about capturing thoughts and dreams. Thoughts and dreams are like butterflies and birds. Butterflies are much easier to catch than birds. Only the most creative and ones willing to take a risk catch the eagles and the falcons.

I see a motorcycle at a red-light. It will be heading my direction when the light turns green. I put the barrel on the top of the last letter, the 'E' in 'STORE'. My gun is hanging off the middle line in the 'E' and my eyes are looking through the middle and top line of the helpful letter. My heart beats wild like pistons in a Dodge Viper's V10 engine. I focus the gun on the top corner of the sliding door. The motorcycle speeds down the street and I pull the trigger sending the bullet over the biker and into the corner of the window. Glass shatters, and a hole that a rock or baseball would make is left in the door.

Then it happens; the fucker runs out screaming.

I had seen him pacing in his house thirty minutes prior to this and that kept me instilled with hope. He runs out to the balcony door and leans on the railing, screaming at the motorcycle or possibly the moon, which was just about full and set almost right behind me. Although he's looking in my direction he cannot see me huddled behind the sign and the lettering. Distance and darkness obviously play a big part in this. He's distressed and possibly drunk. He thinks someone is broke his window with a rock or baseball. He thinks they broke his window and fled. I lock on. He takes his hands off of the railing. I pull the trigger for the second time.

The magical muffled bullet reaches him in a fraction of a second; his head explodes like a fucking water balloon. His body gently falls forward and then hangs on the balcony like a towel on a towel rack.

I quickly retreat behind the wall and shut my eyes and take three deep breaths. About twenty seconds pass and I have to get one more glance at what I have done. I grab the binoculars and then focus them on the balcony. I stare at the violent mess for about ten seconds and then see it happening. The body slowly slips and then tumbles over the railing, falls, and crashes onto a parked car below, smashing its roof and front windshield sending the car alarm into a flamboyant frenzy. The lurid and consistent car horn beeps let everybody in a ten block radius know that something has gone vastly awry.

Fucking fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck! I need to escape the area immediately! I quickly make my way down the side of the building and begin walking to my vehicle with a counterfeit calmness. The sounds of the car alarm follow me as I walk toward the truck. When I get there I throw my guitar bag in, shut my eyes for about three or four seconds, try to act natural even I can still hear the car alarm beeping, although the beeps are stifled now. Then I start the ignition.

I drive down the back streets until I hit Shepard and take it all the way down until I hit 610. I take the 610 feeder until I get to T.C. Jester. My adrenaline is flailing and I nervously and sporadically look for a song on my iPod that would fit or tame my current emotions, and then finally I find it, or perhaps it finds me: 'Karma Police' by Radiohead. What the song is about is pretty clear – karma. As I hear the singers voice singing it transmits like a message from God. I feel like its being sung to me personally. I feel like now I have passed the Karma Police academy and it's time to get my badge.

I play this song twice in a row until I get to my house. I continue to play it about three more times once I arrive, spontaneously singing the lyrics at certain parts.

My anxiety refuses to recede, even after I lock my front door and pick up my Mossberg. In fact apprehension is becoming more fierce each step I take as I pace back and forth throughout the house with the shotgun in hand. I keep glaring out the window expecting a police vehicle rapidly pull up. Fuck! How can I stop this?

I head to my mother's table and begin lighting all of the votive prayer candles. I then pull out the old record player and begin to play a record with Gregorian chants.

I begin to drink heavily and continue to look frantically out the window. The whiskey calms my nerves and I begin to relax and think pragmatically that if they find me it probably wouldn't be tonight. I go into my room and pull out a pint of Promethazine with Codeine and put the bottle into my side pocket. I walk over to the army of candles and grab my main man St. Michael the Archangel and then sit on the couch. With the shotgun on my lap I sip the purple codeine with my right hand and hold the angel with my left.

As I begin to lose consciousness, I feel a great force within me; both blissful and terrified with an overwhelming sense of a new beginning or perhaps a psychological systematic reboot. A resurrection. A rebirth. A chrysalis …