By Christian Weaver
To read Part Two, click here
Good Lord, I'm depressed, you haven't written for three months and I'm sick with despair. Melancholic black bile...
"A depression so thick you forget your own name
A depression that longs for the grave."
I prefer the kind of grief that is caused by real events, that has an origin and end. For surely knowing why would bring relief of some sort -- and perhaps a way out: "If I eliminate the cause then the effect is sure to follow." But the kind that drops instantly like an evil black cloud... what on earth can one do? You don't know where it came from, or how long it will stay, or where it will go, or when it will return. It's as bad as having something (a knowable cause) that can't be removed. That's when twilight falls fastest, when the cloud is so opaque that you can't catch a glimpse, no matter how faint, of the sunlight beyond. Do you know what the "The Bell Jar" refers to? Sylvia Plath was in a medical lab (or somewhere like that; it was when she in college) when she saw a glass jar that was flared at bottom -- like a bell. Inside, pickled in some solution, was a tiny curled fetus like an oversized shrimp. She imagined it was living and how hopeless and silent, how utterly mute, it would feel. Even though it could look outward like an ordinary person; it could look out at others and they could look back at it... nonetheless, it was trapped. She described how that feeling -- similar, I imagine, to how an epileptic feels before a seizure comes on -- descends from the sky like a massive bell jar. Is that how you feel right before you try suicide?
You know what's funny about suicide? That I've always lacked the balls, the testicular fortitude, to try it. The closest I've come was binging out on hard drugs - which are merely flirtations. Like once in New Orleans when I shot a bunch of heroin (five or six twenties in one night) and awoke the next evening nearly drowning in sweat. The whole mattress was soaked. But I wouldn't have done a gram or taken two hundred Tylenols. I didn't want to live but I was too afraid to die, a sort of limbo for cowards. I was like the dead sailors in "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" when they were revived, in ghoulish fashion, by the spirit Death-in-Life: they were moving but will-less, being prompted from without. They were puppet-zombie hybrids.
I recall the exact moment when I should have committed suicide. Guns n' Roses was on the radio and I'd been drinking malt liquor, getting drunker by the hour (This was at Athena's several months before the murder. I was in you guy's bedroom). I had loaded my pistol and was tracing it gently, almost unconsciously, on my neck and my cheek. "This isn't suicide," I laughed. "This is pushing a button. Any jerk can do this!" I imagined how it'd be if certain methods were impossible -- that is, you couldn‘t just blow out your brains or swallow poison or something. Let‘s say you were limited to a fork, a small rope (perhaps three feet or so), and a weirdly blunt object like a rock or an iron. The point was to make suicide as awkward and slow, and of course as excruciating, as humanly possible. Can you imagine that shit? Try to picture a guy stabbing himself for one or two hours: "Ouch! Okay okay... ah! That hurts... ouch! Ah!" [psyches himself up and really digs the fork in] "Ah! Ahhh! AHHHHHHHHHH!!" Suicide rates would go down, I am sure.
I put the barrel in my mouth and sort of licked the steel hole, like I was pleasuring a woman. I put some pressure on the trigger and closed my eyes with a groan. I felt the moment rush past. I heard some poetry from Eliot: "I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker... the eternal footman hold my coat and snicker... and in short I was afraid."
Suddenly I had a creepy, transmigration of souls-type feeling -- disembodied, like I was made of false time. Borrowed time. I'd rebelled against my fate and over-lived my own life. I was a fraud, an imposter, and also something of a ghoul. And then the counter-thought emerged that someone else had to die, that someone's blood must be shed to atone for my sins and enable my life ~- my reckless, foolish, and utterly wasted life -- to continue. This was the delusion (I call it "the sacrificial lamb" delusion) that led directly to the murder. Anyhow... I took the gun from my mouth and laid it down in defeat; I gazed at it wistfully. Little Cassie strolled in and read the scene at a glance. She casually lit a smoke and trained her eyes on the gun. She sort of pouted and frowned (like a teenager will do) and scooped it up in a flash. I think she took it from the room or stashed it somewhere in the closet. She didn‘t hide it or anything, but she moved it far enough to where the moment was ruined.
Suicide and murder are two sides of one coin. The person who commits one is most capable of the other. If you're ready to take a life then it makes little difference, in an objective sense, whose it is that is taken. You are both equally human, equally living, and equally departed once the threshold has been crossed and you perceive nothing special in the sacred God-dust. You're the murderer of God!
"Suicide and homicide are two forms of murder, as vapor and ice are two forms of water."
And again: "Suicide is simply a murder turned inward, an imploding star."
I'm not one of those jerks who think that killers can be forgiven but that suicides go to hell because they don't, being dead, have the chance to repent. That's doctrinally sound but it is terribly unjust and in grotesquely bad taste (and I would sooner serve Satan than a God with bad taste). You take some idiot like me who throws away his whole life. Out of envy and malice he decides to take REVENGE -- not on himself, the real culprit, but on those who are happy, on life itself! How rotten is that? But take a man in equal crises who decides to commit suicide: at least he still has the honor, to take himself from the equation before he ruins someone else. Compared to the former he is actually heroic. But by some methodological, cause and effect bullshit, some glitch, he‘s condemned to spend eternity in the flames of Gahanna. What blasphemy!
You know, I just recalled how much you loathe those kinds of people (suicides-go-to-hellers and other ultra-myopic types). I just leafed through your papers and unearthed a few snippets that you probably forget writing. It's in your lucid, sarcastic, and super aggressive style:
"He was jingoism incarnate, a middle-aged war vet with a jarhead hair cut and a ribbon. -- yellow, of course -- tied to his antennae.
Suck me dry, patriot -- I'll wrap that ribbon around your neck until your gawkers bug out like a pair of crystal balls.Turn the fuck around and don't look me in the eye, BITCH.I'd like to shoot him into space without a spacesuit, I laughed.
That was all it took and BAM -- I was on him like a wolf. I grabbed him by the collar and latched onto his nose like a vampire, chewing furiously through skin and gristle. Then, with a rabid jerk, I ripped it clean off and spit it back in his face. The staff rushed in to stop me but it was already over: he was bellowing in agony, rolling on the floor, spraying blood and snot everywhere..."
You've always hated things that were inherently unjust. "Freakin' bullies," you would seethe. "People bullies. Idea bullies." Injustice and oppression made you instantly go Hyde. When we were homeschooled and taking classes (by video, if you recall) I remember this teacher who used science to legitimize -- or attempt to legitimize -- a real hell. He said something to the effect that certain flames were pitch black. The hottest flames manufactured in a laboratory became black. He reconciled this nugget with how the Bible describes hell: "darkness," "outer darkness," "gnashing of teeth," etc. "How else can darkness and fire coexist in one place?" he asked.
You chortled so intensely that some spittle flew out. "They can't!" you roared, pounding on the desk. "That's why it's utter BULLSHIT." Then you described, in gratuitously graphic detail, how you'd enlighten the teacher: you‘d hold his hand on a stove or touch his finger to a flame or even push a heated needle very slowly through his pupil. "Or maybe I‘d set him on fire," you mused. "And while he shrieked and contorted I would follow him around with a microphone or something -- like a pesky reporter. 'Pastor Shetler,' I would ask. 'Do you consider this experience to be painful or pleasant?' [more shrieking and screaming] 'Ooookay... I'll accept that as a yes. Would you consider it to be torture?' [something like a roar] 'Yes, yes, I see. Hmm-mm. Would you consider this experience to have innate redemptive value or is it simply an inflated form of cruelty and torture?' [more bellowing and roaring] It‘s sadistic, you say? Well that's eminently logical, of course - it should go without saying - but it seems to contradict what you were teaching your students. Could you explain this dichotomy?' Then I break out a hose and extinguish the bastard. He's like a Thanksgiving turkey if the turkey were in charge and it had left the oven on for maybe... two or three days. I crouch and hold the microphone very close to his face. The stench is unbearable. 'You've only been on fire for [I glance at my watch] barely over a minute and yet your feelings on this matter underwent a reversal. Now extrapolate this experience into the infinite future... second after second, week after week, century after century. Would your torturer more closely favor God... or Satan?
Your persona was always either timid and shy or contemptuous and taunting. It was mostly the former but it could instantly swing, like a mad pendulum, to the latter. I used to think it was random until I noticed your trigger: any bullying or oppression of the weak by the strong. Here's an excerpt from a narrative (another abandoned project) that I attempted about our lives:
"Justin turned inward and never tried to fit in. He became very quiet and brooding. He befriended the bullied and would taunt, viciously and personally, their oppressor. He‘d say, ‘How can you make fun of him? You're fat, you have a hook nose, and you're really, really dumb.' Christian recalls incidents where he heard a commotion, turned around, and caught Justin in the act of pounding someone with his fists. Justin perceived (as he does to this day) only two kinds of people: the courteous and kind and the nasty and mean-spirited. There was no in-between."
Here's another excerpt from the very same narrative. We were fourteen or so.
"Christian walked in on the following conversation; it was Justin on the phone: "Hello? Is this James? [pause] It's Elvis, that's who. I know it's been awhile and as your kind of half-stupid I'm gonna make it real simple. My name is Justin Weaver and we attended school together in the sixth grade. [pause] Crab Orchard, you minion. How many other schools you-- oh you remember? [glances at Christian, beaming] Hey, he remembers! [ignores him again] You used to victimize the children who weren‘t as ignorant, inbred, and utterly common as you are. You even taunted me a bit [licks his lips and his eyes become wild, psychotic] How would you like it if I scooped out your eyeballs with a paring knife and snipped off your nose with a pair of sharp scissors. Would you like that, ole buddy? Would you like it if I chopped off your fingers n' toes and reattached your toes to your hands and your fingers to your feet? How 'bout it, ole pal. What if --'"
“Poor James hung up and then his mother called back; she requested our parents and when that didn't work she said she'd already called the cops. Justin calmly explained that her son was a monster and that he needed this treatment. 'Preventative terror,' he smiled. ‘By terrorizing him now I'm preventing him from terrorizing other people in the future. You'll thank me later, I swear.’"
"Justin, unlike a sociopath, was not randomly cruel. He had surgical precision. He didn't torture small animals or start fires and all that. He reserved his worst behavior for the people he believed were psychological sadists, the 'real psychopaths.' Those who bullied others -- particularly the timid, shy, peculiar, or homely -- were the lowest of the low. He saw himself as their punisher because 'bullying, though legal, is among the worst crimes. It creates the worst consequences... sometimes many years later.' He perceived them as criminals (for instigating schools shooting and other violence) and even demons and monsters, on the other (for tormenting the defenseless and mangling their psyches)."
Well I guess I'll end this letter and start scribbling another. I shall leave you with this maxim:
Lost -- I mailed myself a letter and it never returned.
Write me back before you die.
To be continued....
Christian Weaver 271262
1045 Horsehead Road
Pikerville, TN 37367
To read Christian's poetry, click here