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Danielle van Dam
B. 9.22.94 Texas / D. 2.2.02 San Diego
Homicide / Assault

Wondering where I put things takes no time at all relative to the hours I spend looking. Action with me, hop into action—action like a war, what I see when I picture myself in the midst of a search for something that’s missing from the place it should be. Why should—why missing? Not for me to say or wonder—robotic, emptied of thought, frenzied but cold, indifferent to bruises from door jambs—I look. When did it happen—I wonder—what day did I give up retracing my steps, have enough of deducing, decide that I’m no mastermind—only a grunt? Fit only to look. . .

Maybe I have lost my mind. That (above) was what I wrote tonight at Writing Group and this is what I did today, while the Westerfield verdict came through—I got so IN to Beth Karras of Court TV. Long before midnight I’ve already mentally wooed and won her dozens of times. Our Own Beth Karras, as my Nancy Grace calls her—and Hey Friend!—I knew she’d been impressing me, but who would have thought? A new love!

Guilty. You know I was undecided? Very late in the day before yesterday “Her blood on his clothes” got trapped in my head, where it set up an echo. Yet through its persistence I still wasn’t sure; and the thing was, I hadn’t spent any time in the same room with Westerfield. Sure I respect the system but primarily I trust the skin, the nose, the nerves, the sheathes of sensation to know and sing true. I trust the instincts of my fellow animals on the jury. Guilty.

How swiftly the facts fall into place. So he’d downloaded and saved a few live child-rape scenes along with a hundred thousand pieces of wholesome pornography—like it could happen to anyone. You know how those websites are. Thus the Westerfield trial. Starts the Westerfield penalty phase, there it is, plain as day, where I never saw it before: the hundred thousand other pieces of pornography were nothing but leather binding—respectable, misleading—a hollow volume of Boccaccio hiding his real collection from view.

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