Angel of Death Chapter XI


My Dysfunctional Brain

I wished the happiness I felt could be permanent. Sadie was the primary source of my positive mental change. For the first time, I thought this could be possible. I also thought of getting help from a psychiatrist or even a priest.

I had to allow myself to clean up my act. I was in a vicious circle, and I never knew how it all started. If my shyness caused an inferiority complex, or if it was my dad with his absurd assumptions that I was gay.

Priests and psychiatrists have the same objective: they help to control fears and wrongdoings. My sins needed exoneration. Maybe I could get rid of my repulsive thoughts.

I was thirteen years old when my dad and grandpa forced me to become an adult. That’s when my childhood ended. There wasn’t a transitional period, just a drastic traumatic change. That’s when I lost my innocence and my faith.

How could I confess my sins and crimes without expecting any punishment? Even if I knew they wouldn’t denounce me to the authorities, I couldn’t dare expose my homicidal record. Deep in my mind, I wanted to have a clean soul. I would feel so much better if I could erase my past.

I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. Maybe she could fix the mental disarray and anarchy I carry in my brain. I did it because I saw a remote possibility to have a regular life. Sadie opened the door to that possibility.
 I chose a female psychiatrist. I thought a woman might be less aggressive and more patient than a male psychiatrist. 

When she asked me to explain the reasons I was there. I told her about my irrational thoughts. I spoke for an hour, mostly about my dad and how he raised me.  
At some point, I felt ridiculous. I thought nobody could help me but me. I knew there what something wrong with me. I knew that all I had to do was to stop killing people. But there I was, thinking about ways to kill my shrink. I thought about going behind her chair, removing my belt and strangle her, or hitting her in the head with the oversized crystal ashtray she had on her desk.  

Instead, I decided to give her a chance. If she succeeded with her treatment, she would live. If she didn’t, she could die with the heavy ashtray that’s always be available on her desk. Her life was in my hands, but she didn’t know it.

She was in her forties, and she looked very professional and elegant. I’ve never seen women like her in my butcher shop or my AA meetings.

The reason I was there was that I wanted to get rid of the absurd feeling I had . . .  that I could kill anybody. I just wanted to be a regular person. 


I took Sadie to Sequoia Park. We were on the same bridge where my dad pushed grandpa. Sadie and I were lying down on our backs with our feet hanging from the bridge. 

“I read somewhere that God hides behind the clouds when he’s ashamed to see the things we do, but I think he hides because he is unable to help us. If he sees us killing each other, why doesn’t he intervene? He’s been watching endless wars, catastrophes, and injustices for centuries, but he never intervenes. It seems He doesn’t care. What do you think, Sadie?”

“All that you’re saying makes sense, but maybe, He intervenes and ends all wars we start, but we keep creating new ones. Or maybe he’s just taking a nap,” she said.

“Or maybe we’re just puppets, and he’s just pulling our strings?”

“I don’t know Angel, but I think he did at least one thing right. He brought us together.”

When she finished that sentence, I felt happy. It was great having her next to me in the same spot where I had the worst moment of my life. 

Then she said, “I told Joy about us. She was a little upset, but in the end, she accepted it. I’m glad she did because I didn’t know what I would have done if she had opposed it. I love her so much. She’s like a mother to me. Did she tell you somebody raped her?”

“Yes, she did,” I said.

“I remember my dad went to pick me up at school that day. My mom was at work. When we returned, we heard noises coming from Joy’s bedroom. My dad grabbed a big knife from the kitchen. When he opened the bedroom door, we found a guy with his pants down on top of Joy. The man had his hand over Joy’s mouth. Then, my dad stabbed the man on his back. Dad used such a force that in the end only the handle was visible. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, not even at the butcher shop. For a moment, I thought Joy was dead too. She had so much blood on her. After dad pushed the man to the floor, we noticed a puncture on Joy’s chest. The knife went through his entire body and reached Joy’s body too. If the man had been a little skinnier, my dad would have killed them both.”

I’ve seen that scar between her breasts. When I asked Joy about it, she didn’t answer and changed the subject.

“The police interrogated dad, and they concluded he was not guilty but spent a few months in jail anyway. Joy remained in shock and couldn’t talk for a few days. Two months after that man raped Joy, mom moved to California with her new boyfriend. She left us when we needed her the most. After mom left, Joy quit school and started to work. She was sixteen years old. I was twelve.”

I thought my life had been hard. What a fool.

The story broke my heart. I felt compelled to tell Sadie about the events that happened on that bridge. I told her about grandpa’s plan to retire to Mexico, to the place where he met grandma, and I also told her the story when my grandma’s mom disappeared from her hand and died under the legs of  horse. And I told her about the way my grandpa died.

Sharing our stories brought us even closer. Sadie learned that day to love my grandma even more.


My shrink started each session with a question, and then I talked for an hour. It was good therapy. I didn’t mind being judged or criticized. There was so much to tell, even if I didn’t include the crimes. 

“Of all the movies you’ve seen, who’s your favorite villain?” My psychiatrist asked.

I loved that question. Right away, I thought about all those moments I had spent hiding in my room. The only thing that could help me deal with my vulnerable mind was to watch movies. Almost all the villains in all the movies I’ve seen were my heroes too. I was always on their side.

“Without a doubt, Nurse Ratched,” I replied. 

“Wow, what a choice. She was so mean and cruel. And what about your favorite heroes?” she asked.

To me, superheroes were super false. Superman, Iron Man, and Spider-Man never came to my rescue. In that case, my only superhero would be Grandma. My grandma had been a real hero, just like my dad had been a supervillain, even worse than Nurse Ratched. Now that I think about it, my dad was the only villain I hated.

“Wait, I have more favorite villains, I also like Hannibal Lecter. I love cannibals.” I said.

“You do?”

“I mean, I love stories about cannibals, zombies, vampires, and all those bloodsuckers.”

I had to control myself. She was making me talk too much about things I shouldn’t talk about. I almost forgot that that was not a regular conversation. She was analyzing me, getting information to make me sane.

“What about your heroes. Who are they?” she asked.

“I don’t like heroes; I always wanted the villains to win. I’m always on the loser’s side. That’s why my favorite movies are One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Silence of the Lambs. The villains win in those movies. I don’t like heroes. I hate them.” 

“What would you like to be, a hero or a villain?” 

“A villain of course.”

I knew I fell into her trap, but I didn’t care.

Edmundo Barraza
Visalia, CA. 12-05-2012

Author: Edmundo Barraza

I was born in Mexico. I moved to L.A. in 1978. I became a USA Citizen a few years later. At the citizenship ceremony, I had to swear that I would fight against all foreign enemies (including Mexico) in favor of my new country. I beg God that never happens. I love music, Rock, funk, punk, soul, pop. Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Clash, The Temptations, and all you can fit in between. Playing pool, listening to rock, and having a beer is great, but reading a book, writing a story, or watching a good film is even better. I hate guns, bad people, and evil leaders. I thank God I'm not a racist person. I hate all kinds of injustices. I love good people. I would give my life in a second to save any child. Children are the most precious thing in the world. My ultimate goal is to shoot a feature film based on one of my stories. Every day I work a little more to be able to reach that goal.

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