“What, am I being weird?” asks serial killer Gabriel Miller, better known to local news outlets as the Jacksonville Ripper. The disheveled sixty-six-year-old Caucasian man with a scraggly salt-and-pepper beard has asked to remain anonymous. “Tell me if I’m being weird, but I thought this shtick was all the rage nowadays.”
Miller lives in a handmade underground shelter in the woods outside of town and has lived for decades without internet access—until recently. “My nephew’s family got me a smartphone for Christmas last year, said they miss me and want to get me on the grid. Ain’t that sweet? I don’t want anybody knowing where I live for obvious reasons, but it turns out lots of young folks in the family post about bagging skins once in a while. Makes me think the world is becoming a little more accepting. Maybe soon, my lifestyle will be totally legalized, just like gay marriage and the marijuanas.” Despite the killer’s apparent connectivity, one of our reporters is desperately trying to get a signal.
Mr. Ripper provides us with a tour of what he calls his most prized possession: his skin collection, most of which correlate neatly with unsolved disappearances in and around Jacksonville, Florida in the past thirty years. “Got a few gays and stoners in here, matter of fact. Yessirree, I don’t discriminate.” Another reporter discreetly grips a nearby steak knife and hides it behind her back, just to be safe. “Brings a tear to my eye knowing that the next generation of serial murderers is out there, casing lonely apartment buildings in the dead of night, forming a parasocial bond with unlucky strangers and quietly abducting them while the world has its back turned. That is what they’re doing, right?”
We didn’t have the heart to explain to Miller that most, if not all of the youths he regards so fondly are actually using virtual and real-world currency to purchase ownership of digital cosmetics in online multiplayer games, not brutally snuffing out the lives of countless undeserving civilians in secret.
As Gabriel is dragged away and forcibly wrangled into a straight jacket and muzzle, he attempts in vain to argue with the officers. “Wait! What about the children? Please! Overwatch! I thought I was cool now! What did I do wrong? Fortnite!”