You've done your research. You've read the signs. You've figured out that your neighbor shows Serial Killer or Serial-Killer-Like Tendencies! Knowing how vital it is for you to proceed with caution, I have put together this little post in order--I hope--to help prolong your life.
Incidentally, even if you haven't come to suspect that your neighbor may be a serial killer, it's probably in your best interest to take these tips to heart anyway. Because sometimes serial killers blend in. Sometimes they're handsome, intelligent, hardworking professional-looking men who occasionally indulge in seemingly selfless acts such as volunteering at crisis hotlines while also occasionally killing people on the side.1 So you just never know.
Better to be safe than sorry.
How to Respond to the Realization that Your Neighbor May, in Fact, Be a Serial Killer (Formerly Known as a 'Mass Murderer'):
Step One: Stop Inviting Him to Neighborhood Cookouts. First, it's just not safe to have him around all of those people. Who knows what/whom he will fixate on next! It could even be you! Second, there's really no telling what he may have slipped into the barbecue. Sure, it may smell like chicken, but... Remember Jeffrey Dahmer?2
Step Two: Hire My Mother to Keep Watch. Okay, so it doesn't have to be my mother, per se. What you're looking for is someone with a keen eye for detail, a lively interest in what's going on across the street, and an ability to remember the usual pattern and routines of others. In this way, you will be able to keep track of his movements at all times without having to go through the difficult and often frustrating task of attempting to hide a GPS tracker on him without his knowledge.
Step Three: Invest in some giant magnets. Everyone knows that serial killers tend to choose from a limited array of weapons, some of which could be formed of iron and/or stainless steel (i.e. knives, ball peen hammers, certain types of guns). The idea here is to line your driveway, sidewalks, windows, and door frames with these magnets, which will create a safe path to and from your house. It wouldn't be a bad idea to line the walls of your house with magnets, either. Imagine your serial killer's surprise when his weapon sails right out of his hands! Sure, this may mean that you will have to alter your wardrobe accessories a bit (and, if you are an American, never have a working credit card strip ever again) but this is your life that's at stake. Obviously, sacrifices must be made.3
Step Four: Invite him along for a group camping trip to a remote cabin in the woods on a stormy weekend. According to every every scary movie I've ever watched (both of them) there's no better way to force a killer to show his hand. This is a bold move, and I applaud your willingness to go to any lengths to prove to the authorities that your neighbor is, in fact, a psychopathic killer! Just try to ensure that you are one of the last two campers to make it out alive. Otherwise you won't be able to gloat when he finally meets his demise. Unfortunately, in this scenario he probably won't live to stand trial, meaning that he will never be forced to confront his sense of moral responsibility. No, in this scenario he's more likely to be accidentally electrocuted or have a giant oak tree crush him just as he's finished ripping off a creepy laugh.4 But the good news is that the neighborhood will be much safer for those who do make it back from the trip.5
Okay, so maybe Step Four isn't such a good idea... especially if you don't like camping.
The truth is that every time I'm struck with the horrifying reality that serial killers walk among us, I comfort myself with the realization that hundreds of thousands of people have unwittingly lived in perfect safety side-by-side with serial killers, sometimes for years at a time.6 They've lived near them, shopped with them, attended social functions with them, and waved to them in the street.
Honestly, there are many things in life that I find are easier just not to think about, and the existence of serial killers is only one of them.
- how airplanes stay up
- light being both a particle and a wave
- the national debt
- the continuing popularity of Nicholas Sparks novels
- reality TV
- string theory
- synchronized swimming
- boy bands
- serial killers
1. Um, Ted Bundy, anyone? But seriously, if you don't know much about his case, I encourage you to drop everything and read this and/or watch this really excellent documentary. Just don't click on THIS if you plan to sleep well tonight.
2. In case you don't.
3. If your serial killer happens to be one of those poisoners or stranglers, though, this will probably be a waste of money. Worse, it will give you a false sense of security. In that case, you can invite him to the cookout, but only to feed him something with iron filings in it. You know, just to hedge your bets.
4. Also, take plenty of flashlights and batteries, because I'm pretty sure the power in the cabin is going to go out almost immediately. And update your insurance, because something bad is going to happen to your Jeep.
5. At least, until the sequel comes out.
6. Judith Ridgeway even stayed safely (if not happily) married to a serial killer for years, claiming that she'd never even had a clue. But, come on. I've read a little bit about their relationship. She should have had at least an inkling that something wasn't right.