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                                  The Strangler

Randy Newman had been a happily married man for many years. As a young man, Randy committed horrible and unspeakable crimes. He was tormented, corrupt, and evil. As time passed, Randy suppressed his rage. However, the police continued to pursue Randy for many years. Randy wanted to have a family, but he knew that the police would never let him forget his past. In the end, Randy Newman remained a killer. 

Bettie Jackson loved her husband, but she did not know about his troubled past. Unlike Randy, Bettie was kind and compassionate. Despite her love for Randy, Bettie wanted a better life. Randy was a good lawyer, but he did not make enough money. Bettie wanted wealth, status, and fame. The sun was going down as Randy entered the kitchen. Once there, Bettie politely kissed him on the cheek.

"Darling, how have you been?” Bettie asked.
"I’ve been better,” Randy replied.
"Is there something wrong?”
"Bettie, why did you marry me?” Randy asked.
"What kind of question is that?”
"Do you love me, Bettie?”
"Sweetheart, of course I love you. Why do you ask?”
"I’m quitting my job,” Randy said.

Bettie was shocked to learn that her husband was giving up his career. In that moment, the room became silent and all happiness died.
"You’ll do no such thing!” Bettie shouted.
"I can’t continue to live like this,” he said.
"What are you talking about?”
"Bettie, you’ve been asking for too much. I wish I could spend all of my money on you, I really do. You’re asking too much of me, Bettie. I’m a man, not a bank account,” he stuttered. 
"Since when have I asked for too much?”
"Do you remember the night we went to the opera?” Randy asked.
"Yes,” Bettie answered.
"I spent a fortune that night, Bettie. Why do you have to go to the opera every month?”
"I love quality entertainment,” she replied.
"Bettie, the opera is for the wealthy and privileged. When I was a boy, live entertainment was much cheaper. Opera is a wonderful art form, but it’s strictly for the wealthy. In many ways, the theatre industry has isolated itself from the rest of the world. Live entertainment is meant for everyone, not just the wealthy!” Randy exclaimed.
"What’s your point?”
"My point is that we can’t keep spending money that we don’t have,” he answered. 
"Is that why you’re quitting your job?”
"I wish I could say yes to that question. Bettie, I’m not who you think I am!”
"What do you mean?”

Randy was tired of keeping his past from his wife. He wanted her to know, even if that meant risking his own life and reputation. He looked at Bettie’s soft blonde hair and realized how much he loved her. Randy knew that she was trash, but he didn’t care. In that moment, all restraint left Randy Newman. 
"Do you remember the murder of a psychiatrist named Julie Lamarr?” Randy asked.
"That happened five years ago, didn’t it?”
"The murder is still fresh in my mind,” he stammered. 
"What are you trying to say?” Bettie asked.
"I killed her, Bettie. I wish I could say that she was my only victim, but that would be a lie. As a teenager, I murdered my fellow classmates in a high school massacre. I went to jail, but I escaped and killed Julie Lamarr. Like you, she loved me. I wanted to love her, I really did. She was a good woman, a wonderful woman. In the end, I destroyed her. I’ll destroy you too, Bettie!” Randy screamed.

Bettie was shocked to learn that her husband was a murderer. In that moment, her love for Randy diminished. After several seconds, Bettie backed up against the wall and prayed for her life.
"Bettie, don’t be afraid of me. You see, I have to quit my job. The police are getting close, so close that I’m afraid to leave the house. I’m leaving America tonight, Bettie. Are you coming with me?” Randy asked.
"I can’t, Randy. You need help, help that I can’t provide. Why did I have to marry you, Randy? You’re a psychopath, not a normal man. I should’ve seen it from the very beginning! You’ve always been odd, Randy. My mother said that you were a homosexual, that you were a weirdo. I hate to admit this, especially after I’ve spent so much time trying to turn you into a real man. My mother was right, Randy! You’re weird, disgusting, and vile! I don’t want to see you, hear you, or feel you ever again! I’m a good woman, a proud woman. You can’t make me go with you! I won’t be your slut, understand?”

Randy never knew that his wife was capable of being vicious and nasty. After several seconds, Randy cornered Bettie and placed his arm around her throat. Despite Randy’s cold heart, tears fell from his eyes.
"Bettie, you don’t know what it’s like to be me. I’m a criminal, a fugitive. What does it mean to be a criminal? It means that you don’t belong to society, that you’re alone. Some criminals are good, some criminals are bad. It’s impossible to know if a man is truly good or bad. In the end, our justice system can never judge the character of a man on trial. I’m sorry it had to be this way, Bettie. I love you, but I can’t allow you to leave this house,” he stated.
"Why not?”
"You would go to the police,” he answered. 
"I would never do a thing like that!”
"Don’t lie to me!” Randy shouted as his animalistic nature consumed him. 
"What do you want?” Bettie pleaded. 
"It’s not about what I want. I would love to spare your life, I really would. Unfortunately, I don’t have any mercy left,” he laughed.
"I don’t want to die!” Bettie screamed. 
"It will be fine, Bettie. Despite the pain, death isn’t so bad. At first, you’ll feel a slight discomfort as my arms squeeze tighter and tighter. Eventually, your mind will become dark and empty. God might be waiting for you, but I doubt it!”
"No!” Bettie screamed.
Randy started to squeeze Bettie’s neck. Suddenly and without warning, Bettie’s leg kicked Randy in the chest.
"Leave me alone!” Bettie shouted as she grabbed a knife from the kitchen table.
"I'll kill you!” Randy shouted as he came towards her.

Without further hesitation, Bettie plunged the knife into Randy’s shoulder. After several seconds, Randy ran from the house and into the darkness. Randy was bleeding, but he would live. As time passed, Randy realized that no woman could ever love him. He was a murderer, a criminal. Because of that, he would always be alone. In the end, Randy remained the product of a violent and corrupt society.



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