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By Patrick Raftery

I remember when Gramps used to take me out trout fishing on Sunday mornings. I was probably about eight or nine years old and cute as a button. He'd tell me stories about the old days and give me advice about my own life. Sometimes when he talked about his wife - my grandma - who'd been dead for nearly twenty years, a single glistening tear would trace its way down his cheek and drip off the end of his chin. He'd call her his 'angel,' then wipe the tear away and pretend that he was fine, but I knew better. We were best buds, he'd tell me, and together we'd fish and laugh and share the ham sandwiches Aunt Moxie made until the sun dropped below the horizon late in the early evening. Those sure were the days.

Eventually that routine got so damn boring that I stuck a filet knife in his chest and hacked his lifeless body to pieces! The old coot made great bait!

Well, that was my first murder, and let me tell you, it was just so exhilarating!! The gushing blood, the look of helpless fear and gut-wrenching terror - it was all so intoxicating!! After that I knew - I just knew in the deep pit of my soul - that I was going to be a serial killer. Let the other kids become doctors or lawyers or astronauts - I was going to be different! I was destined to march to the beat of my own drummer by kidnapping poor, unsuspecting victims, torturing them for days in my basement dungeon, killing them with a blunt instrument and then disposing of their mutilated carcasses in a nearby abandoned field. How touching, and, indeed, how truly courageous it is to follow that dream that calls you from deep within your heart.

But after years of pursuing my vocation, I had to admit that there was still something missing in my life. My therapist thought maybe I was directing too much of my energy toward mutilating my victims, but I knew it was really something deeper than that. What I turned out to be was just plain lonely. Yes, for all my love of kidnapping and killing and taunting police with grisly clues like pieces of fingers and livers and stuff, I had no one to share my passion with - no one who truly understood who I was on a deep level. It was a lonely life, I tell you.Until that fateful day.

I remember it like it was yesterday. (Actually, I have no recollection whatsoever of yesterday, but that's another matter.) I was busy dismembering another victim out behind Old Mister Sampson's junkyard when I heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Jumping quickly behind an abandoned car, fearful of snooping detectives, my eyes soon met a sight they will never forget. There, trudging along not twenty feet away, was a woman in a green jump suit and brown workboots, carrying in her hand a blood-stained axe. She seemed to be dragging some sort of heavy load behind her, and over her face she wore a blood-flecked hockey mask.

"Could it be?" I asked myself. "Could I have found the answer at last?" I took a quick breath and approached her.

"Hey there beautiful," I called out.

She stopped dead in her tracks and looked straight at me.

"What's a lovely lady like you doing in a place like this?" I was surprised to find myself quite the charmer.

"Who wants to know?" she shot back.

Extending my hand, I introduced myself, and thus our friendship was born. Her name was Gladys, and, like me, she'd been killing serially. (We tend to prefer this politically correct moniker to distinguish ourselves from those low-lifes who kill for money or passion or whatever.) She too looked on it as a noble calling and passion. Originally from Des Moines, she'd drifted across the country, leaving behind her a bloody trail of bodies and a gruesome collection of clues. She told me her professional name was 'Jane the Ripper,' but most of her close friends and family still called her Gladys. She was - to say the least - everything I wanted in a living woman.

Gladys knew I was crazy about her after I presented her with an ear and part of a kidney on our one-month anniversary. It took some time, but she and I inevitably became lovers and soulmates. Often we'd share intimate secrets and discuss the tricks of the trade long into the night, and sometimes as a treat we'd help one another with a job. Once as a birthday present she let me strangle and skin a terrified middle-aged man she'd abducted from outside a local watering hole. What a hopeless romantic she was! She got such delight watching me press my hands around the guy's throat and squeeze the last gasp of life out of him. When I'd finished, together we weighted his body down and tossed it in the creek. How lovely she looked in the moonlight. Pure bliss!

So you see there's hope for us all. I finally found peace and fulfillment after a long and agonizing search and so can you. In fact, there's absolutely no reason why we can't all hold tight to our professional dreams and still find that true soul mate - just look at Oprah. My life is now suffused with unimaginable joy and love.

Sometimes life does have a happy ending!

Don't forget these other exciting Chicken Soup books: Chicken Soup for Happy, Fuzzy Bunny Rabbits, Chicken Soup for Chickens, and Chicken Soup for the Parents of Gays and Lesbians!!!


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