It began on a night born of blood and terror, in a small town named Hicksville, Iowa; Zack’s father was drunk again.
"Who the hell drank all my beer?" The answer was obvious, but of course nothing was ever the fault of Zachary Sr. He began to throw the food carefully bought by Zack’s Mom across the kitchen. Sometimes it began like this, other times he just went straight to the hitting.
But this time was different. This time Zack had taped a filleting knife to the small of his back and steeled himself to end it all, for his father as well as for himself. His mother deserved a better life.
Surely he could never live with himself after committing the sin of patricide? But Zack hadn’t counted on one thing. What if he liked it?
After blindly, furiously slashing his father’s throat in a frenzy of what could only have been self defense, something insidious was released in his mind. When he continued to stab at the body of what had been his father, it took on a life of his own. And finally, it was so bright + clear + perfect it became the lodestar that he would follow to the end of his days. Zack was born to murder. And as he turned to his Mom, she finally lost her customary deer in the headlights expression and began to scream.
Zack embarked on a killing spree so brutal, so indiscriminate, it dominated the media for months. As the net began to close upon him in Philadelphia, after the slaying of a coed, Zack booked package on a slow freighter to Belgium, with $50 to his name and two truths in his heart. First, that foreign cops are less intelligent and tenacious than American cops, and second, the Henkels Pro 7" Chef’s knife (wide) was a tool of sublime craftsmanship. Not coincidentally, he was bound for Europe with a 7" Chef’s knife (wide) taped to the small of his back.
The boat trip was long, and the seas were rough. The up and down motion was making him nauseous but he clung to the railing and managed to hold on. Swearing revenge upon the captain all the way.
One hour from landfall in Belgium, he made his way to the bridge. Once there, he said the only words he would speak the entire trip, to the Captain.
"You are a cruel and malevolent person who likes only whales." And buried his knife in the Captain's flabby neck.
As he had so many times before, he left his victims wondering , with their final thoughts, what they had done to upset him.
After killing the Captain, Zack did two things he had never done before. He left witnesses, the rest of the crew on the bridge, and he left his knife behind, still glistening with his bloody fingerprints.
Prosecutors in both Belgium and Philadelphia attributed this lapse to the sea sickness (‘mal de mer’ in Belgium) that had plagued him for the entire trip. Whether they were correct or not, both juries sentenced him to death, in absentia.
While he was on trial, Zack was making a home for himself in Granbalconé, a small town in rural Provánce. He found a job as a traveling salesman for a medium sized corporation which made paté. The owner, a young widow named Delilah, was tolerant of his idiosyncrasies and allowed him to kill some of the fatted geese used to make Granbalconé’s famous paté.
At times, he still killed some innocent, most often while traveling abroad, but his inner fire was for the most part quieted. He even became friends with the town’s Constable, André.
André was an old man, the son of peasants, but with finely honed intuition. And that intuition was telling him that something was very wrong with Zack. Fortunately for us, André was just as tenacious and intelligent as any American cop, if not more so.
As the seasons past, two significant events approached fruition. First, Zack and Delilah had perfected a breed of goose for their paté. Their goose would have a high tolerance for fattening agents and preservatives for their paté, and a brittle neck for Zack’s pleasure. The first brood had finally finished incubating. With sinister grins upon their faces, Zack and Delilah were delighted to see each one hatch, right there in front of them.
Across town, the second significant event was already occurring, as André finally finished his report, tracing Zack’s trail of bodies across two continents to their small town in France. It had become more and more difficult for him to feign friendship with Zack and his girlfriend Delilah, who was becoming more and more like him every day. But it had all paid off in the end and the sound of the mailbox closing on the letter to his supervisor was the most satisfying he believed he had ever heard.
A sound less satisfying suddenly echoed off the buildings of the small town. It was the shriek of terror that could only be coming from the young widow Delilah.
Cursing in French, Andre snatched the cleaver from the table and sprinted out the open door. Zack had finally turned on Delilah.
As he kicked in the door of their shared home, he was shocked to see Zack and Delilah naked, entwined on a straw bed on the floor, covered in goslings still damp from the hatching. It was the most obscene thing he had ever seen, and more than enough to turn him off the Granbalconé paté forever.
André apologized profusely and left, hoping that Zack had not realized how much he knew about his bloody past. Trusting his friend, Zack had decided nothing was amiss, assuming that André had confused Delilah’s cries of passion for some sort of accident or perhaps a burglar.
But Delilah was not as trusting. Zack had long since shared his past with her, and rather than being repulsed, she had been aroused and excited. But she had not been ready to join him, until now. Next week was Zack’s birthday.
André decided that his apologies had been sufficient and decided not to call in an emergency. Zack’s arrest could wait until reinforcements arrived.
The following week Delilah prepared an extravagant feast for Zack, and in the middle of the room was a large trunk with a pretty pink bow on it.
Zack could barely taste his food, he was so excited to see what was in the truck that smelled of death. After dessert, Delilah allowed him to open his present.
Zack dropped to the ground as he realized that the stinking heap of blood and bone in the trunk was once his friend André. When he arose, the smile on his face stretched from ear to ear.
"I’m sorry he isn’t fresher, but I wanted to make sure I had him for you in time."
"I never minded the maggots much, responded Zack, with only love in his voice.
That night, they disposed of the body in the forest behind the town. Zack showed her how to bury the body deep, so no one could ever find it.
The next morning a French paramilitary team broke down the door to their home. Zack and Delilah began to scream, "We surrender! Don’t shoot!" The sergeant took one look at their naked defenseless bodies, and shot them both in the head.
It is an interesting quirk of French law, that they are legally not allowed to extradite anyone sentenced to death in absentia. It dates from World War II, when Germany tried to have people who fled the Nazi regime brought back to be executed. Zack could never have been brought back to Belgium or the United States to receive his just punishment. And the sergeant had been fully briefed.