I grew up in foster care. Not my entire childhood, but a significant portion of it was spent in the homes of strangers. Never having my own things, never having my own memories, no common thread but change and the expectation of it.  From the ages of nine until 18, the people who inhabited my life were there by government mandate, paid a salary to house me, ask me questions, take note of my wellbeing or lack-thereof.

Office of the Warden, California State Prison, Corcoran

It can be hard sometimes to work out why any of them would admit to additional crimes. Usually they are looking for some kind of leverage, some extra privileges or reduced time. Though reduced time would only apply if the crime was someone else’s, and if the information proved useful, which it often doesn’t. And anyway, people as a general rule don’t do something for nothing, prisoner or civilian.

But Hanssen was here for life, many lifetimes in fact, assuming he could somehow figure out the secret to living longer, buck biology and physiology and the aging process and make it 350. He would die in prison for his crimes regardless.

His crimes were numerous and explicit, a long list of things he had done and been convicted of and an even longer list of things he was suspected of and implicated in.

It was possible of course that he was boasting. Or even lying. And even if neither was true, and the information could be relied upon for any kind of accuracy, was there really anything to be done about it? Was there any kind of justice in naming it, letting it enter into the public consciousness? Who would it serve, the victim or Hanssen? There was no doubt in the warden’s mind that the only person Hanssen ever served was himself.

Full of doubt, but nonetheless feeling the appeal of discovery, he reached for the phone. It wouldn’t hurt to look into it, after all. Quietly and carefully.

The warden couldn’t get the name of the victim out of his mind.

California State Prison, Corcoran

The chair made a guttural scraping sound as he pulled it towards him. The same sounds, always, everyday. Rubber soles. Keys jangling. Rustle of institutional clothes that made you hyperaware of the sound of everyday clothes. The same smells too, antiseptic but with food smells mixed in. A floor cleaner that your school used from back when you went to college. Not unfriendly, nostalgic even.

Here, where everything is labelled and in its right place.

Oscar is waiting. Not uncommon, really, there is a procedure here to everything, and sometimes those procedures take time. The waiting time is a good space for thinking; Oscar does some of his best thinking at these times.  During one of these thinks he realized that his organization system for files could be more efficient if focused on index crimes, rather than last name. Or that the mouse models for behavioural systems simply had no relevance to solitary confinement prisoners in supermax.

Or that his marriage was over.

When the prisoner is finally ushered into the room Oscar finds the sound of his shuffling feet comforting. Stable and predictable. He expects to wait some more as the prisoner makes himself comfortable, but prisoner Hanssen is ready in no time, eager to say whatever it is that he has come here to say.

Well Mr. Hanssen, what can I do you for today? Oscar is convinced that his casual manner wins him points with the prisoners.

Hanssen stares at him: I want to confess to a crime.




When I was younger, before I married, I dated quite a bit. I think that would surprise you if you knew me, which you don’t. Yet.

Every date I went on was the same date, with only the male protagonist swapped out.  It became so routine that I would wear the same clothes, same hair, same makeup, each and every time. Routine, and efficient. Easy.

Some of these dates would be a one-and-done deal. Some, would become a relationship, lasting months, and on four occasions, years. I would have these relationships concurrently, because after all, it would simply take too long to run this sort of massive dating experiment by dating men one after the other.

Not a single person I dated ever posed to me the question: Are you seeing anyone else? I think it never occurred to them that I could be. Or would be. That I would cheat on them many times over. They made this assumption about me. So you could say that the only thing I’m really guilty of is letting them have their assumption, which isn’t much.

Hardly my fault at all.

Part 1: Mark

On our third date my wife told me she had no friends. It was dark and quiet and she spoke the words softly. We sat together in a car park, not touching each other. The less she let me touch her, the closer to her I felt.

It was slightly too warm in the car and her face was shiny from the heat. It gave her a serene glow, like a child, and I couldn’t picture anyone not liking her. She was sweet and quiet and poised and I’ll always remember that moment because it was the moment that I fell for her. Her cheek was slightly damp and I was moved by this show of emotion. I felt love cramping my stomach.


I am going to kill that bitch.