WRITING A LETTER TO A CONVICTED MURDERER

Sanja Marušić

I Started Writing To A Convicted Murderer Out Of Boredom, Now I REALLY Wish I Just Stayed Bored

I didn’t mean to actually act on the idea that had festered in the back of my mind. I wouldn’t have done it if I knew this was going to happen. I couldn’t have known that my life was actually going to be in danger, in fact, as of now, I am a dead woman; all thanks to my sick guilty pleasure. Right now I am trapped in my own car, watching as a man grins at me, his front tooth chipped. He douses the car in gasoline; the smell is strong and putrid, my head begins to pound. I close my eyes, hoping whatever will happen in the next thirty seconds will go by fast.

I think back to how I had gotten myself into this situation. I had just finished up at the school I work at as an advisor — the last student I met with had cried in my office, fearing she would not get accepted into any of the colleges she had applied for. As a guidance counselor, you become attached to these students, it’s as if they become your children – or in my case, siblings. At twenty-four years old I landed a position at my old high school as the guidance counselor — I was the youngest to be hired. After watching as this girl helplessly wiped the snot from her face, I told her that I would do everything I could to help her out. The stress of college application deadlines was not only affecting students, but it was eating away at me too. My regular eight-hour days had turned to twelve-hour days with no breaks. I had decided I was finally done. I packed up my belongings, snuck out the back door, and got into my car.

I took the same route home, nothing ever changes in this sleepy town — the most exciting thing to ever happen here is when a new restaurant opens. Given the small population of the town, restaurants don’t even tend to last very long. Turning into the driveway, I parked my car and sat there for a minute. Lately, my life had felt like a routine – there was nothing exciting happening anymore. My boyfriend of two years had dumped me a week ago, the stray cat that comes by every evening had stopped doing so (I’m blaming coyotes on that one), and my parents decided to take a month long vacation to Australia — we aren’t even on the same time zone to have proper conversations. I had friends, but they all seemed to be too busy for me.

Sighing, I got out of the car and walked to the front door, and into my house. I threw my belongings on the couch, and sat down. Grabbing my laptop beside me, I powered it on, the familiar whir of the machine comforting my loneliness. Some people watch crappy reality television to feed their guilty pleasure, I lurk on true crime forums, and judging by everyone else, I’m not the only one with this particular guilty pleasure. I scroll through the topic titles: “I think my neighbor killed his wife”, “What Do I Do? I have A Stalker!”, “I matched on Tinder with a serial rapist”, and so forth. I came across one title that stopped me mid-scroll: “I Want to Write to Charles Manson — Will I Get a Reply?”

I rolled my eyes, sure, write to the infamous Charles Manson, who probably gets a hundred letters a day — that’s original. I entertained the thought for a moment, what if I did write to someone in jail? Someone who is not as well known, but has had significant amount of media coverage? The thrill of it all excited me as I proceeded to do some Google searches.

I found someone: Rob Caygon. He was convicted in 2006 for second-degree murder, and would be released shortly for good behavior. He had one hell of a defense team, because after reading all those reports, it sure sounded like the three murders he was pardoned of was done by him, and not whomever else they accused. Picking up some spare paper from the coffee table, I began writing – no thinking, just writing. Twenty-minutes later I was sitting in the midst of crumpled paper balls, staring at two words on the paper in front of me: “Hello Rob, my name is Anna” – that was it. I was hit with a massive writer’s block.

I sighed and walked to the fridge, taking out an open bottle of wine. I looked in the sink, there were a couple dirty dishes, but I didn’t have the energy to wash a glass. So, I drank from the bottle — very classy. Walking back to the couch, I sat down, pushing the crumpled papers away. I took a couple sips and began to write:

‘Hello Rob, you don’t know me. My name is Anna, and I am a high school guidance teacher. I find out what makes people tick, and how I can fix them, so maybe that’s why I’m writing to you. Do you get many letters? Letters from your victim’s family? I can’t imagine what that must be like.’

I read over my letter, it wasn’t detailed; it was more like an introductory letter. I shrugged; I didn’t even think the letter would get to him in the first place.

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