By Jeff Davis
Halloween This Year
Halloween wasn’t the same this year. Sure we went to the same craft brewery and restaurant as last year and had great food and drinks. Sure, the live band was awesome and we were only a couple of blocks away from our hotel, so we could stay as late as we liked.
But under the overpass, across from the brewery, there wasn’t anybody sleeping under a tarp in a makeshift homeless camp. There was no bully coming to attack the homeless man lying on the concrete in that camp. There was nobody to rescue. Not this year.
Not like last year, when I checked on the guy sleeping under the overpass and got into a fight with a guy named Earl. Not like last year, when in self-defense I ripped Earl’s left ear off his head and then fled the scene after Earl fell and died when he hit his head on the concrete.
I still have the ear. But I hid what happened from my wife. I didn’t even google “Earl” and obituaries in Nashville to find out who the guy was.
Christmas This Year
“Welcome to Nash-Christmas-Vegas!” I said when we saw the first Nashville exit sign on I-65 South.
“You call that new material?” my wife said.
“I guess not.”
When we went to Nashville for family Christmas, I was anxious. One part of me wanted to go out and stake out a Salvation Army Santa and wait for some scumbag to come and try to steal the cash from the kettle.
But what would I do if a scumbag showed up? Chase the guy into an alley where no one could see us, then rip off one of his ears and taste his blood, like I did with Earl? There’s no guarantee this guy would oopsie! fall during the fight and die from blunt trauma to his head, like Earl did.
So if the guy doesn’t die, wouldn’t he be able to identify me as the person who ripped off his ear?
“I’ve lost my mind” I said to myself. I can’t kill someone. When Earl died, it was because he was trying to kill me first, right? It was self-defense. Right? “What is it with me and the ears and the taste of the blood?” my mind kept asking.
This Christmas, I was sitting in my sister-in-law’s house, going through the motions of the gift exchange and the jocularity of the holiday season.
Inside, I was obsessing over the fact that I didn’t call the police to report the death. I kept thinking about how I moved a dead guy’s body and then just disappeared.
There weren’t any cameras running to capture the events of what happened under the overpass that night. I could have “gotten away” with it and no questions asks. But that didn’t matter, because I knew what happened.
So when we were in Nashville celebrating Christmas with family after the one-year anniversary of The Halloween Event, I made a life-changing decision. I would turn myself in and tell the police what happened that night.
I called the Nashville Police Department and told them I had information about a couple of deaths that occurred under the overpass by Tennessee Brew House a year ago Halloween.
The guy asked me to come downtown to make a statement, and on December 26 I went. They asked for and I gave them a DNA sample.
Bada-boom, bada-bing, my world came a tumbling down. I was interrogated and then arrested for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. I’m so stupid that it never occurred to me they’d find “unidentified DNA” on Earl’s body and that it would be a perfect match with mine.
I tried to tell my wife why I didn’t tell her what happened the night that the homeless guy and the homeless guy’s killer both ended up dead. I apologized. I told her I had to turn myself in because it was the right thing to do. Trying to process these events caused her a lot of pain, and I hated myself that I’m the cause of that.
Turns out when I ripped the ear off Earl’s head, I left a piece of my fingernail or blood or something on Earl’s head that showed up as “unidentified DNA.” Turned out that the sample I gave them matched what they found on Earl.
They now had reason to believe I caused Earl’s death. “Self-defense,” I cried like Kyle Rottenhouse. I was defending myself!”
The prosecuting attorney for Davidson County was not amused, my friends. Oh no, he decided to make an example out of me, a middle-aged, entitled white man who ripped the ear off of an African-American man in an act clearly motivated by racism! The “self-defense” defense wasn’t defensible. The prosecutor sought the harshest penalty under Tennessee and federal law.
They didn’t need to try me for any culpability in Earl’s death. What they got me on was leaving the scene and failing to report the death. To be honest, they were right. Why wouldn’t I, had I been in a normal state of mind, reported what happened and accepted responsibility for my role in what happened? The worst two words in the world, I thought to myself, “what if?”
Christmas The Following Year
I’m a convicted felon. I have appeals pending, but for now, I’m stuck for what feels like an eternity in a federal prison. What used to be my pretty face isn’t any more. Merry Christmas, you sons of bitches. I know I’m about to get another year or two added to the eight years I’m already serving.
As I sit in my cell, I think about how delicious my cellmate’s blood tasted when I applied eight pounds of pressure to his ear and licked my sweet prize. His blood didn’t give me the extreme, body-buzz rush that Earl’s blood did, but it gave me a crazy sense of Zen and self-control.
My cellmate started the fight. Now he was the one moaning and groaning and puling and whining about why in the hell I ripped off his ear. I clutched the ear tightly in my right hand and thought about maybe hiding it in my mouth when the staff comes to cart my roommate off to the infirmary.
I thought about the time they’ll probably add to my sentence. I didn’t give a flying fuck in a rolling donut. I thought how I’ll probably get a new cell mate. I wondered what his blood will taste like.
Read Jeff’s entry in the Flash of Halloween “8 pounds of pressure” here.
Jeff Davis is an enterprise risk manager by day and a part-time standup comic by night. He loves his wife, their dogs, playing piano, playing saxophone, laughing, and eating and drinking like a pig. He wrote for The Cobb Group and TechRepublic.com, where he had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Wallen, or as Jeff liked to call Jack, “The Linux King.”