The bastard sat across from me, the table between us, the coffee grown cold and still. The lights burned my eyes.
“Is it worse, do you think, to commit a rape and not enjoy it?”
I allowed that I did not follow.
“The narrative of rape is lust. That’s what we tell ourselves: the rapist is horny. Wants it, needs it, so bad, but can’t get it—so they resort to violence, force, trickery, drugs, whatever. For some of them, it’s even a power thing, a dominance thing, not so much about the sex itself as lording it over someone, having them at your mercy, to do things to them, to force them to do things to you. That’s still just another way to get off though, you follow?”
I did, and could have said more, but only nodded.
“But sometimes it’s not about lust at all. Some people, they’re driven by something. They don’t like it, they don’t really enjoy it, rape is just something they do, something they are. They don’t like rape, they just do it. They have to do it. Have to rape.”
I shared that I did not care for the subject.
“What, rape? Rape rape rape? Nothing wrong with talking about rape is there? Not in this country, anyway. It’s in all the papers, all over the internet, there are entire books about nothing more than rape. Lots of talk of rape, all the time, in all the television shows and webisodes, rape in every form and fashion—you don’t need to go to the dirty sites for your daily dose of rape, not when you can turn on prime time and hear about some young boy getting sodomized almost in half—but not to worry, the handsome detectives will solve this case in an hour plus commercials!”
I repeated that I did not care for the subject, and added that whatever the unwashed masses indulged in, I found it objectionable how rape was sensationalized.
“That’s a good word. Sensationalized. Made appealing to the senses. Bright colors, loud sounds, bold headlines in active voice. Sex, even violent and unwanted sex, sells. But surely there’s some good in sensationalized rape. Gets the word out there. Victim advocacy groups. Get people to come forward and admit they’ve been raped, put pressure on the cops to find the rapists, show the people what happens to rapists, provide an outlet via rape-media for those potential rapists to get their fix without doing the deed themselves. You’ve heard about prison rape, right?”
I allowed that I had.
“Terrible thing, really. And true. It’s not that many of them are actually homosexual, mind, but when you’re locked up for a couple of years you just know that it’s a nice warm hole or lips wrapped around your cock—or pressing against your cunt, no reason to think women’s prisons have it any easier in that regard. See, prison rape is different from what I was talking about before—that’s almost entirely a crime of lust, of need, sometimes dominance. Just a limited population of victims is all, and we hardly feel sorry for them. Do you?”
I arched an eyebrow. Do I what?
“Do you feel sorry, for rape victims?”
I did. It was, I added, the most terrible violation next to murder.
“Even the prison rape victims?”
I nodded. Even them.
“It’s so good that we have so many tools to catch them now, don’t you agree? Fiber analysis. Cell phone data. DNA, processed from rapekits.”
I nodded again.
“Good as a fingerprint, DNA is, at least in court. Television has brainwashed all the juries to believe in it. They won’t often convict without it. No hard forensics from the crime scene investigation folks, no lasers and test tubes, and they’ll try to acquit. Judges have to train them off it.”
I allowed that this was a sad state of affairs, but surely it was better for a few to go free than an innocent person convicted of rape to be convicted.
“Words right out of my mouth. You would know, right? I mean, that’s what you do, when we find the bodies. Send them to you.”
I confirmed that as an assistant to the county medical examiner, I was often called upon to swab for such trace evidence.
“Rape on account of lust, those tend to be a bit spontaneous. Sloppy attacks. Leave a lot of traces. We try to process those damn quick. Of course, sometimes there’s a backlog in processing the rape kits, but we’ve gotten better at that lately. You seen all the new computers they’ve moved in?”
I had. I nodded.
“Murder-rape is the worst, of course. Get a body in there, violated, cum and shit leaking out of every hole, duck tape around the wrists and ankles—and that’s if it hasn’t been sitting out in a creek to ripen up for a couple days. You processed one like that a couple weeks ago, right?”
He took out a photograph, laying face up on a morgue tray, a dirty angel. Monique. Yes, I had. The lab had come back with a match to a registered sex offender, led to his arrest. I told him as much.
He took out another photograph.
“And her, a couple months back?”
Blonde hair framing a massive wound; head caved in with a blunt object, seminal fluid still leaking out of her mouth in a tiny dried white rivulet. Janice. Another success, another arrest—her biker boyfriend.
A third photograph was laid out.
The lower half of a young boy. We never found his upper torso. Jeremy. Retired schoolteacher hung himself before the cops broke down his door.
“Funny thing: before we got this new computer system in, sometimes the county medical examiner had bodies swabbed twice. Different lab techs each time. With the first kit off to get processed, they’d just file the second kit away in evidence. Seeing as you always did the first kit, you might not have known that.”
I did not know that. I said nothing.
“Now we’re catching up with the backlog, and those sloppy seconds that came after you? They all contain your semen. A judge gave us a warrant to search your car and apartment. We found your trophies.”
He took out a plastic envelope, with locks of hair.
I asked to call my lawyer. He nodded, stood up, looked me in the eye.
“I don’t know where your head is at. Whether you did it because they were there and you were horny, or whether you’re so sick it’s just a compulsion and you scrub yourself raw and bloody afterwards. Maybe you liked to think about what happened to them and reenact it. Maybe you just thought ‘what the fuck, it’s not like their virgins anymore.’ Believe me, I’ve heard worse from people that fucked the living. I’m damn sure you thought you’d gotten away with it.”
I repeated my request to call my lawyer. He nodded.
“First things first. Please stand up and turn around.”
I did. He grabbed my wrist.
“Walter Jaxson, you are under arrest for the crime of necrophilia…”