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Ripped From the Headlines of Fiction

At approximately 8:00 a.m. on February 14, 2005, Valentine's Day for you curable romantics out there, a young, 19 year-old man departed his residence in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. He told his family he was going to have his taxes done. He didn't come home.

For four days there was no trace of him. In the very early morning hours of February 18, a worker was walking the tracks about 200 feet from the Nostrand Avenue subway station on the A Line when he came across a blue plastic recycling bag. Inside the bag were two human legs and an arm. Fingerprints indicated the remains belonged to the missing young man.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, the 23rd and the 24th, two more bags were found at a recycling plant in Brooklyn. Those bags contained pieces of human torso. The recycling plant processes trash collected from subway stations. The cops believe the newly-found body parts also belong to the missing young man, but DNA testing is continuing in an attempt to confirm their suspicions.

Detectives were informed that the young man had planned "a tryst" with another man, but they tracked that fellow down and the cops now say the man had nothing to do with the young man's disappearance. Police are checking phone records and scouring computers which the young man might have used to see if he'd arranged other meetings.

The authorities believe that whoever dismembered the body had expertise in this sort of thing. The remains were cut cleanly and whoever did it seems to have a thorough knowledge of anatomy.

As one of the detectives in the article says, "There is a crime scene somewhere, we just haven't found it yet." So, you know, I guess you should keep your eyes peeled for neighbors in your apartment building who have been doing a great deal of serious floor-scrubbing of late.

I'm not going to mention the young man's name out of... I don't know what. I just don't want to is all. He looks, in his picture, like a decent enough kid. Obviously he had a job and a family that cared about him. I feel bad for them. So, you know, if you want the details of his identity and such, I read all about it in this morning's New York Times. The article is here.

Apart from the fact that we know the Law and Order episode is most likely already in pre-production, it's kind of hard to know what else to say about all of this. It's just so astonishingly True Crime Fiction-y. What we have here is some sort of Jack the Ripper on the loose, a genuine fiend. And yet, of course, the Naked City is not particularly terrorized. I suppose that's because the victim is not of the right demographic to make the people of the City feel They Might Be Next.

I'm always amazed when real-life events are ripped from the headlines of crime fiction. I can never escape this vague feeling that "the work is so derivative". What are things coming to when you can't even rely on fiends to come up with something original?

Well, I guess we can hope that whatever script this monster is working from is a particularly cornball and predictable one. With any luck, a crack team of NYPD detectives will track this guy down pronto, just like on T.V. I mean, we should at least be able to rely on that, right? That real life should resolve itself before the credits roll, just like on T.V.? I'm willing to go with that. I don't mind a little predictability here. I promise I won't get bored and change the channel. Cornball it up. Please.


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