Sometimes I get the nastiest urges. No, really, I do. I’m not that sweet, nice person you see on the outside. Don’t believe me? You will when I’m finished – and you’ll wonder who you really are.
I’m at the subway, waiting for the next train. That woman tapping her feet at the edge, impatient, grabs her cell phone and stabs the answer button with a viciousness that’s scary. I can’t hear what she’s saying, but the tone is plain. Angry – no, furious, the harshness plain even though she is trying to whisper. I take an instant dislike to her. No, I hate her.
“She doesn’t belong here.”
“So, push her off.”
“I hear the train.”
“Yeah,” chuckle, “that’s the idea. Isn’t it?”
“I’ll get caught.”
“No, you won’t. Just a little nudge. It’ll look like an accident.”
“But I’m not supposed to.”
“So, who’s to know?”
“It is tempting.”
“Yeah, just look at her. The witch! She deserves it.”
“Nah, I’m chicken.”
“You’d be doing the world a favour.”
The train rolls in. I’m too late – or am I?
Then there’s that tailgater who won’t pass you and won’t get off your …
“Slam the brake. Make him rear-end you.”
“I can’t … my car … “
“It’s old. You want a new one.”
“Damn, it’s so tempting.”
“He’s the one will get charged. It’ll be his fault.”
“Grrrr. I’ll do it. … Crap, his blinker’s on. He’s turning.”
Am I too late again?
“That yappy dog has kept me up all night.”
“So what do you want to do about it?”
“It’s the owner’s fault, really.”
“You know they’re not gonna do anything. You already talked to them. Remember? They gave you lip.”
“Aaaargh. There it goes again.”
Delicious smirk. “Soooo, what do you want to do – huh – huh? Think about it. You know. Admit it.”
“I want to take it by its furry, ratty ears, hang it on the clothes line, take a sharp knife and …”
“That’s the ticket.”
“Oh, there goes the other neighbor to talk to her. She’s taking it inside. Good. Maybe now I’ll get some sleep.”
Too late, again?
(Disclaimer – I love animals and would never, ever hurt one. This came from reading about how serial killers sometimes get started.)
Oh, yes, I have had all those urges, and more. But somehow I’m always too late to act on them. Or am I? Do I wait until it’s too late because that’s what I really want, that’s who I really am? You be the judge.
But know that you are also judging yourself. What? You say you never have thoughts like that? I don’t believe you. I would bet my life (well maybe not my life) that everyone reading this has been in similar situations. The urge to kill, to hurt, to get revenge – it’s there in all of us. So, who are you – really? What defines who we are? Do thoughts count? When do we cross that line from thoughts into actions? Does that line shift, depending on what happens? Is that the line that serial killers cross? What about other crimes? And how will we judge ourselves and others when we become aware of these thoughts?
Most of us never act on these impulses. What stops us? These are some of the questions that can make for great character study and development. What kind of character acts on these demonic urges? Why? If not, why not? What stops him or her? And how are these two different from each other?
Now, who are you – really?