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The Diary of Vernon B. McGill – November 18, 1948

I have never killed a man.

It’s not because I cannot stomach the physical act,
nor is it because I consider the morality of taking
another man’s life as something to abhor.

Quite the contrary, there is no moral dung heap for me to sift through.
Slicing the throat of another man,
or suffocating someone beneath their pillow,
or shooting an innocent right between the eyes would bear no different
adjudication than would brushing one’s teeth,
or ordering a steak from a slender diner girl,
or loaning out your lawn mower to a neighbor in need.

Indeed, the only reason that I have not yet killed a man
is that the act’s necessity has not yet revealed itself
in such a way as to garner that action.

But mind you world,
should fate call out the need in my life to murder,
then I would take that man’s life without the
slightest vacillation or the slightest hint of remorse.

There were those wasps in Grandma Clara’s attic sewing room.
The ones who seemed intent on stinging the life out of poor Helen Tate
on this her third visit to the country farm with her mother;
to see my Grandma and my guardian and of course, to see me.

After the welts on her arms and legs lost their sting,
we both returned to that attic room armed with nets.
Fifteen wasps we caught and sealed up in a mason jar filled with water –
lid twisted tightly shut.

How we giggled with glee and power as the last of them twitched and
undulated in awful misery and drowned to our merciless wonder.
When they were all dead, we burned them in the trash pile,
and she squealed when their hard-shelled bodies popped,
just like corn in the pan.

I departed from morality long, long ago
and have yet to see any cause to return
to such a bowelless, insatiable bondage.
Charity and good-will are no longer my Task Masters.
I yield to the only one true thing in this world; me.

Woe to the one who comes between me and myself.

~ VBM 11/18/48, Marble Hill, GA.
~ written on the occasion of dearest Helen’s marriage to that coward, Edmond Dale Emmons.


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