Tag Archives: crime fiction

“Portrait of a Mass Murderer”

A narrative exploration of a Western epidemic. [A rhyming sestina in iambic pentameter–by Paul Burgess]

I.
Of boredom Janie feared she soon would die.
She needed something dangerous to try.
She’d taken all the pills a girl could take
While making all the love a girl could make
And now desired another high to give
Her faith that it was best for her to live.

II.
Internal voices said, “Who wants to live
When life’s no more than efforts not to die?”
Beliefs and doctrines never seemed to give
The high she sought, no matter what she’d try.
Relationships and friends she tried to make,
It seemed, would rarely give but often take.

III.
“Perhaps the time has come for me to take.
“Might ‘taking’ best define the phrase ‘to live’?”
Preparing for the move she planned to make,
She grabbed then shook and rolled a plastic die.
“Though six is high for my beginning try,
I said I’d take the choice the die would give.”

IV.
“Is there a charity you’d like to give…”
She cut the cashier off and said she’d take
A sack of fifties and then, “Don’t you try
To play the hero, Gramps. In films they live,
But, off the screen, they often tend to die.”
Then Janie thought about the news she’d make.

V.
Responding to the gruesome threats she’d make,
A shopper cried, “There’s nothing I won’t give,
But please, this isn’t how I want to die.
I have a yacht and car I’ll let you take
If only you’ll allow me now to live.”
Her only words were, “It’s no use to try.”

VI.
A theft was not what she was there to try.
It mattered little how much cash she’d make.
While six would die, the others she’d let live.
She said she’d take the choice the die would give.
With ev’ry person’s precious life she’d take,
A part of her humanity would die.

VII.
She’d murdered people just to watch them die
Because she’d wanted something new to try.
She’d thought it might be easier to take,
More fun destroying what she couldn’t make,
Than it had ever been for her to give.
She’d thought by killing others that she’d live.