Thursday, July 24, 2008
MY FRIEND SAL
Sal lived a block from me growing up. He was the kind of kid that all parents instantly loved due to his polite demeanor and friendly, smiling face. But, like my mom and dad and most parents of my other friends, no one but us -our little group- really knew Sal. No, it was hard to know Sal. Sal had a really sadistic side. In fact, it was such a sick, dark, evil side that he'd often frighten me. Those times we sat alone in our tree fort built in the big woods behind our house, Sal would just sit there, reposed, and monotonously retell the horrors that befell him each and every day. Sal was abused, beaten, screamed at, and locked away night after night by his drunken, uncaring, monster of a father. Each day when Sal came home from school, his mousy and submissive mother shoved him out the door to wherever he could find to go in order to protect him from the potential early arrival of his marauding dad. But Sal couldn't stay out forever; at some point, he had to go home. Sal had collected quite a surplus of pent up ire and rage and he carried it with him like a crippling monkey. Normally, he could suppress it; keep it contained and at a dull roar. But, sometimes, it burst forth like a hundred bottle rockets. At school, quite a bit, when Sal was punished or otherwise overtly spoken harshly to, he would seethe and blast forth waves of curses and threats that would routinely make other children cry. One time, while on a field trip, another boy splashed mud on Sal. Well, as eye-for-an-eye goes, Sal kicked out six of his teeth and broke his nose. Sal was wolverine, no doubt, no matter how small he actually was.
One day, it all came to an abrupt head. Sal was at my house for the night. My parents left us with my sister while they went out. Sal was acting rather odd to begin with, so his sudden escalation to all out bizarre behavior was no surprise at all. When my sister snapped at him for whatever reason, I knew the shit was about to coat the fan. And it did. Sal became someone else entirely; he lapsed into a side of himself I had never, ever seen - and I'd seen some of the worst moments. Sal pinned her down and, while I stood by and tried in vain to remove him from her, he crammed his hand down her mouth and suffocated her. I sobbed uncontrollably while Sal continued to bludgeon her with his fists. This wasn't how it was supposed to go, no matter if Sal (twisted, wronged, dysfunctional Sal) was involved or not. I had to do something.
My name is Nathan Langston. I watched my best friend kill my sister. And then, with no recourse, I killed Salvatore Garelli. I've lived with the guilt for years. And now, as I relate this story as I lie in wait on death row... you see, once you get the taste for snuffing out a life, it never subsides, I ponder how it all started and wish, and pray, that I'd never met my friend Sal.