Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jeffrey Dahmer Time

I recall hearing a story some years ago about the extremely fortuitous escape of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's last victim. (I've never found this account in print subsequently, so this might be another instance of false or confused memory, but I hope not - it's a good story. "If the truth and the legend disagree, print the legend.")

It seems he was a young man who was picked up by Dahmer in a local supermarket. Dahmer was at the checkout, paying for a case of beers, got chatting to the guy, and invited him to come home with him and have a beer. Now, I would have been a bit wary, a bit creeped out right away here. But Dahmer was evidently a very charming man. And there seems to be a gay sub-culture of casual - nay, instant - pickups which has always baffled my comprehension.

Anyway, the young man drove home with Dahmer, but reported getting nervous when he reached the house, claiming to have noticed an unpleasant smell - like rotting flesh - as he crossed the porch. It was at this point in his account that he says he thought to himself,"Oh well, one beer, and I'm outta here."

10 minutes later, he was naked, gagged, and handcuffed to a bed. That's pretty quick work - Dahmer must have been quite an operator! But, as it happened, Dahmer left his intended victim unattended for a few minutes, and he managed to detach the bedstead from the bed and, still chained to it, drag it out into the street...... where he was lucky enough to run into a passing cop car, and was saved. Well, lucky for him, unlucky for Dahmer.

Since hearing that tale, I have often cited it as a warning to others, and as a reminder to myself, of the terrible predicaments that just one drink can lead you into; that maybe this bar - or an evening of drinking in general - is not such a good idea, that it might be better to call it a day and go home after a solitary drink.

Of course, it all too often becomes,"One more drink - and I'm outta here." For me, 'Jeffrey Dahmer Time' is more often the final round of a long evening than a sensible declaration of abstinence at the beginning.

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