Psycho Killers in Love
“Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads played on the jukebox of the diner. The Last Stop Diner looked like it was straight out of the 1950s, except dirtier and grimier. So, I suppose you could say it was like a diner straight out of the 1950s with several decades of use since then. The chair vinyl was frayed, the waitress looked surlier than a grizzly bear, and the patronage was a mixture of truckers as well as meth-heads. It was the sort of place that if you said there was a psycho killer present, most people would just nod and say, “Yep, sounds about right.” Really, I should be offended.
Honestly, the term was grossly inaccurate, and I much preferred the term slasher. It was decades since the heyday of my people since the Eighties when Fred, Mike, the Camp Killer, the Camp Killer’s Mother, and others stalked the streets. The media had popularized them and led to a slew of imitators, some actual slashers (more on that later) and others just the more mundane sort of killer looking for attention. Privately, I tended to believe if most of their victims hadn’t been lovely young women then society’s latent misogyny wouldn’t have turned them into celebrities.
My father, Billy Jones Patrick, had been one of the first slashers. Maybe not as early as the Motel Shower Murderer but certainly up there. Billy was one of those monster misogynists who targeted slumber parties and sororities for maximum affect. He even did it on Christmas, which was a terrible thing to do to your children I have to say. I mean, what child likes when their father must work on Christmas? Chooses to work on Christmas?
A crappy one, I tell you. Eventually, the lifestyle caught up with Billy after a series of embarrassing ax-murders in Santa suits and other holiday killing sprees (who wants to see mass murder on Saint Patrick’s Day?).
Billy did, however, live long enough to explain that true slashers weren’t entirely human. I’d never understood what he meant by that until he’d finally taken on one too many strapping young ladies. She drove a car into him, chopped off his head, and then burned him with an entire can’s worth of gasoline. Now, normally, that would be enough to finish off even a true slasher, but Billy’s malevolence meant that his evil continued to linger to this day. Like right in this diner for instance.
“Junior, I think we need to talk,” the ghostly form of my father’s blond and bearded form said, wearing a striped Christmas shirt. He was looking significantly better than when I last saw him physically. He’d been a charred decapitated corpse then, killed by one of his victims who did everything she could to make sure he didn’t come back from the dead again.
Mind you, Billy was translucent now, but the fact he was talking to me now was a major improvement over oblivion. For him, at least. None of the locals could see my father and didn’t seem to be interested in the conversation we were having.
“Please don’t call me Junior,” I muttered, sipping my horrid coffee. “I hate being called that.”
“You’re not worth calling Billy the Undying yet,” Billy said, puffing his chest up and saying his name like anyone remembered him. It had never quite sunk into my dad’s brain that being one of the first slashers was nothing compared to being the first and he was mostly remembered by diehard murder aficionados.
“No one ever called you that but us,” I replied, “and only because you made us do it.”
Billy frowned. “Well, what do you want to call yourself? You haven’t killed anyone yet so just giving yourself a name isn’t going to do it. People have tried that. It never works. I knew one guy who called himself the Hatchet—”
I interrupted. “I go by William, Dad. William England.”
“We’re Irish, son.”
I frowned, wondering if there was any point to speaking to my father’s spirit. “It’s called throwing people off the scent that I’m your family. This may surprise you, but being a CPA is hard when you’re the child of a notorious serial killer.”
I’d managed to escape the family business or at least I’d tried to. After Billy had finally met his final death, supposedly, both my sister and I had ended up institutionalized despite our relative sanity. Apparently, people in the government believed we might possess the so-called slasher gene and go on a rampage ourselves. I’d managed to break out of the asylum we were incarcerated at, which did wonders for my claims of innocence, and eventually got my sister out. From there, it had been a series of credit card frauds, student loans, and faked credentials to getting myself certified at the age of twenty-eight.
“You can’t escape your destiny,” Billy said.
“I can certainly try,” I said.