Ok, let's see, where do I begin. Anyone listening to this will probably want to
know a little bit about me, and then about why I decided to destroy the world
and how that idea arose. So I will try to explain that. I remember the exact
moment when I made the final decision. I was sitting in the office of Doctor
Simmons and he had just told me that I had cancer. I asked him to repeat what he
had said, and he did. The only other thing that I remember is "about three
months to live;" I have no recollection of anything beyond that.
Memories from the next few hours are patchy. I remember walking across the
park in front of the church and seeing children play, watched by their mothers or
babysitters. I remember saying hello to Mrs. Krajicek in the lobby of the building,
and I remember standing in front of the window in my apartment, looking at the
park, and feeling happy. I understand that you might be surprised at this. The
explanation is simple. I have always wanted to do something big, something
eternal and irreversible, and I have always felt anxiety because I wasn't doing it. I
was too comfortable, spending too much time on irrelevant things, all the while
getting ever older and less focused. Good old cancer was exactly what I needed.
I sat down on the living room sofa, picked up a pencil from the jar, tore out a
piece of paper from the notepad that was lying on the coffee table, and wrote, in
big, capital letters: "PROJECT: END THE WORLD." Then I spent a few minutes
contemplating the general plan. Admittedly, I had gone over such thoughts many
times in my mind, so none of it was really new; still, that this time around it was
the real thing infused my thoughts with even more seriousness, as I methodically
considered one option after another.
You destroy the world by exploiting some sort of an imbalance, an existing
conflict, and then trying to fuel it so as to spin it out of control. It has to be a
conflict between evenly matched parties, and needs to involve enough
destructive capacity on both sides. This much I knew.
The biggest imbalance in the world today, I thought, is the one between the rich
and the poor. Just a handful of individuals in the world control most of the
world's wealth, while billions have nothing to eat. We are taught to consider this
situation normal. I immediately discarded this as an option for a promising
conflict, since I knew only too well that, firstly, I could never get the media
machinery to work on it with me, and secondly, the best this conflict could
amount to would be some sort of a revolution after a few years or decades,
where another group of capitalists would take the place of the current elite, and
would not feel like destroying the world at all, given their new‐found benefits.
I realize that I sound like a Marxist, and that my explanation is very crude, but I
don't have time to be too polished today ‐‐ this recording has to be done by
The second option I considered was the Church, the Catholic Church in
particular: a corrupt institution devoted to a deity that doesn't exist, which
engages in systematic child abuse and organized financial crime, all the while
never paying a cent in taxes. This again didn't feel like a good bet, for a variety of
reasons too boring to list right now.
I realized that I hadn't thought precisely enough about what would constitute a
good basis for the conflict. To the conditions of existing imbalance and
destructive capacity I needed to add something else: fear. And fear,
paradoxically, is the strongest, I knew this all too well, when it is a fear of the
unknown. This got me onto the right path ‐‐ the existing conflict that I will be
"riding" will be merely a narrative easy to understand and swallow; what will be
underlying will always be just one thing ‐‐ fear. It didn't take a long time to
decide what exactly this fear should be: the fear of losing the comfortable life
that middle class America had become so accustomed to. Their cars and
mortgaged apartments and IKEA furniture and Apple gadgets and similar stuff. I
want to clarify straight away that I purport to be no societal critic or a cynic
"shocked, shocked" at the tenets of the consumer society. I merely wanted to
annihilate this society, and I was analyzing its weaknesses. You don't need to
hate your opponent in chess to play them aggressively, or so I've heard ‐‐ I don't
Having identified the fear as the epicenter I now had something to work with. It
didn't take a long time to come up with the general narrative either: The
American (Western) way of life is being fundamentally threatened by XYZ. Now
who are the XYZ? They need to be someone with nuclear weapons. First, no Jews,
no brown people (no offense to either one of those groups, but we are looking for
a bit more serious players here), which leaves us with either the Russians or the
Chinese. The Russians are a shaky bet ‐‐ more bark than bite; they are more
capitalist than capitalism itself, their politicians laughable photo‐op machines,
their upper class too consumed with yachts and Western football clubs to be
planning a war. Which left me with the Chinese, and the Chinese seemed perfect.
What does an average person think at the mention of the Chinese? First, they are
fundamentally foreign. Sure, there are Chinese all around us, serving us chicken
chow mein and such, but they remain a different culture, with their ching‐chong
language, their ching‐chong religion(s) and their ching‐chong habits of spitting
around and talking loudly, which we have come to tolerate but not understand or
really accept. I speak from the point of view of Joe Average, of course. Personally,
I respect Chinese culture like no other, and Confucius sees me off to sleep
So I started to conjure it all, just as a draft ‐‐ the Chinese are up to something.
What are they up to? They want world domination, they want to overthrow the
capitalist system once for all. Ok, that doesn't sound too far‐fetched. They are
communist after all, or at least they are supposed to be, let's not go into that. To
achieve their evil plans they will tap into the one important resource ‐‐ the many
local Chinese communities that exist in each sizeable city on this planet: these
communities have secretly been working, like terrorist cells, with Beijing,
undercover, pretending to be all nice and friendly with the local people and
authorities, but actually preparing for D‐day, for that blitz offensive. What
offensive? Ok, maybe not offensive, but let's say these cells have been gathering
information about structural weaknesses of their host countries; they have been
infiltrating the hierarchies of power. Can you be sure that your yellow‐skinned
coworker isn't in fact a drone that has been gathering information on you and
your family for the last seven years, programmed to go berserk and slit your
throat on that fateful day when someone from Beijing plays the correct
frequency into its ears? Ok, still needed a little polishing, I realized.
I understood that I would not be able to destroy the world completely alone.
Actually, that is not the best way of putting it ‐‐ of course I would need to
manipulate the world into destroying itself, rather than ending it by myself, but
what I am trying to say is that I knew that I couldn't remain the only person
knowing about the overall plan. Or, to put it simply (I should learn to put things
simply when I speak, it is just hard to keep my thoughts continuously connected
while speaking into this machine), to put it simply: I needed help in fine‐tuning
the plan. So I picked up the phone. Then I hung up and picked up my coat. It was
about noon from what I could estimate. I didn't look at the watch.
I walked back across the park and up the Northern Boulevard. As I was walking I
imagined bombs falling and rocking hitting the buildings, and the buildings
crumbling to the ground. I imagined people burning in the streets, and I heard
screams. I wondered about the temperature at which asphalt melts. A kebab
shop owner smiled at me ‐‐ he was Arab or Arab‐looking anyway; for a moment I
considered what a shame it was that the Arab countries had no nuclear arsenal ‐‐
they would have been an ideal adversary.
I walked for about 45 minutes until I reached 10 Oxford Street. I ignored the
doorman and he didn't dare stop me ‐‐ I was too well dressed for that. I was
going to call the elevator but apparently you needed a keycard to do that. In a
spur of total madness the thought of climbing up to the 23rd floor via the
staircase seemed completely plausible to me, so I opened the door with the fire
escape sign above it and started climbing. As I pushed upwards and became
more and more tired I also became ever angrier. By the time I reached the 15th
floor I was already ready to crush things with my bare hands and burn villages
with laser beams in my eyes.
On the 23rd floor there were only two apartments, meaning they must have been
huge. I couldn't recognize either of the two name tags. I knocked randomly.
There was no answer. I knocked again, and I thought I heard voices somewhere
in the interior, perhaps behind several doors, speaking to each other. Two male
voices. I knocked again after a few moments. I was sure I heard footsteps,
barefoot footsteps on thick carpet, almost inaudible ... but I was sure I heard
them, approaching the door and then moving away. I knocked again, even more
violently; this time I felt I almost broke the hinges ‐‐ an exaggeration no doubt, as
the door was massive and made of metal.
I waited for a while longer but there was simply no reply. Pondering what to do,
almost absent‐mindedly I touched the doorknob; it moved, and the door opened.
I saw into a lavishly decorated penthouse apartment that resembled something
out of a period film. The spacious hallway was lined with massive gilded frames
carrying portrait paintings. I recognized one of them to be my mother.
I walked through the candlelit hallway, hearing the same two male voices. Now
they were not so much talking as moaning what could only have been sexual
exclamations. The little English that was spoken is best not mentioned.
The black man screamed when he saw me at the door. His partner didn't
understand at first, and giggled at the scream, only to turn his head and scream
himself in turn upon laying his eyes on me. They were lying in a huge bed, one of
the biggest ones I've ever seen actually, with white sheets embroidered with gold
and with a red emblem of a bird, presumably a phoenix, stretching across the
duvet as well as each of the four pillows. There were several dozen candles on a
handful of candelabra, lighting the scene better than strobe‐quality lights could
have. I wondered if that was the idea, or if they had perhaps overdone it with the
The black man, the dominant one from what I cared to deduce from the position
of their bodies, not that I cared much, wore a leather mask with a zipper on the
back and was now trying to take it off. The white man had a ball gag in his mouth,
with leather (or plastic) straps leading back across his face, connecting at a point
at the back of his head, where an improvised leash was connected which the
black man had been holding. They were both now trying to take this contraption
off the white man's face.
Then followed some shouting, and both men stood up and moved towards me,
and the black man started waving his fists, about to punch me in the face, when I
"I need to speak to you, little Brother," I said.
The big guy stopped, and looked back at his partner. In the other man's face I saw
a start, and then in quick succession of terror, disbelief and recognition.
He stood up, fully naked, revealing his tanned, overly skinny body, and grabbed
the silken gown with tiger motifs that was hanging from the two meters tall
He came over to me and touched my face. He smelled of semen.
"It is really you," he said, and his knees gave in, the black man grabbing him
under his armpits at the last moment, and lowering him back down onto the bed.
The man looked at me inquisitively. He asked if he should bring anything or do
anything but little brother only said, "No, just leave us," and kept repeating it
even at his partner's insistence that he would remain and make sure Brother was
ok. Finally the black man got hastily dressed and disappeared from the
apartment. I detected a certain anger in his demeanor, no doubt at being so
cruelly neglected all of a sudden, right in the middle of ... whatever it is that they
When the black man left Brother was still sitting on the bed with his face in his
hands, trying to come to. I hadn't moved from the spot where I was standing
when I originally saw them. I felt it the most natural to just continue the
"I want to destroy the world, and I need your help," I said.
He smiled, and proceeded to laugh out loud.
"Of course ... of course you do," he said.
"This is what I have so far," I said. "The Chinese seem as the easiest to sell
adversary. They are powerful, therefore plausible, but also fundamentally
foreign. Conveniently, they have 'cells,' so to speak, operating in most of our
cities: these cells we can portray as working as spies in order to undermine..."
"I remember now ... I remember the last time I saw you," Brother interrupted me,
"and that expression of pure madness in your eyes, an expression of satisfaction
as they were reading the verdict, of pride. It terrified me. I couldn't believe you
and I had anything in common, not even the earth we walked on, the air we
breathed, let alone the same father and the same mother, and the same blood
flowing through our veins. It horrified me to my very bones to think that there
may be a part of you in me, and that this seed might someday grow to overcome
my senses and turn, me too, into a monster that you had become. And ever since
that day that fear has stayed with me, watching over me my every waking
moment. If you only knew what it felt like."
He looked up and straight into my eyes.
"But at least I had the consolation ‐‐ you were gone, you were dead, you could
have been a bad memory, a mirage, a construction of my imagination; you may
have not been real ... and now you are here!"
"Yes, I am here," I said, feeling uncomfortable.
Brother stood up and walked past me and into the bathroom. Then he walked
out and asked if I wanted some coffee. I said "sure" and followed him into the
kitchen, which looked like you would expect the kitchen on a spaceship to look;
not the current cramped spaceships but one of those futuristic ones. For half of
the appliances I couldn't deduce the purpose. Everything was the color of gold,
"Perhaps I should explain," I said, as he handed me the coffee in a golden mug.
"Nineteen years and four months," he said, appearing not to listen to me.
"How is Mom," I asked, remembering Brother's weak spot. That ought to cheer
him up ‐‐ they were always so close.
He looked at me with a glance full of hatred.
"She died a few weeks after the sentencing, after they executed Dad. She cut her
wrists. I found her in the bathtub."
"Oh," I said, "I didn't know that."
"What do you want from me, Brother?" he asked coldly.
"Well, as I was saying, I want to end the world, and I was ..."
"Oh, right, you already mentioned that. I'm sorry, I don't want anything to do
with that. It is an insane idea just as you are an insane man. I don't know how
you escaped your punishment back then but I know that you don't deserve my
help; you don't deserve anything in this world other than to be put to death like a
dog, to pay for all the lives you have taken, back then and, I have no doubt, also
over all these years that you have spent hiding."
I should perhaps explain here what my brother was referring to. It is a long and
boring story but without having at least some knowledge of it you won't be able
to understand some of the things that happened later, so bear with me for as long
as you can. If it gets tedious you can always skip ahead in the recording.
When I was in my early teens my father took me around the world on what
people in the press called a "murderous rampage" but what to me was more like
a journey aimed at exploring the world. My father decided that he had made
enough money to retire. He had just divorced my mother ("A woman is like a
stone tied around a man's neck, boy,") and the court decision was that I was to go
and live with him, while the little brother would stay with my mother. I think
everyone preferred it that way, I included, since my mother, while a very loving
and caring person in general, was incredibly boring and unsophisticated. She
was obsessively superstitious and got all her knowledge about the world from
women's magazines. My father once said that the best thing that could have
happened to her would have been to have died at childbirth ‐‐ it would have a
been an honorable way to go, and she would have had every excuse for doing so;
after all, it's not every day that one gives birth to identical triplets ‐‐ it's a
monumental feat by any measure.
But, I'm digressing. So while Mother and Brother stayed at home, Father and I
went on a trip around the world. We started off in London where we went to a
couple of football matches and drank heavily at local pubs. The first interesting
thing that happened on the trip was when some of my dad's former business
associates invited us to a dinner in their countryside mansion one evening.
During the conversation they mentioned that they would be going hunting a few
days later and they invited us to come along. I thought nothing strange of the
proposal since the people certainly looked the kind that would be engaging in
hunting. When Dad and I showed up the following Tuesday, reaching the
designated point by taxi, there were already about a dozen people there, dressed
like a SWAT team, nothing like I imagined British upper class gentlemen of the
fox hunting type would dress like. My dad spoke to them briefly and they handed
us a couple of state of the art high‐capacity magazine rifles, the assault kind,
which I already knew how to use since dad had bought me one for my twelfth
birthday, just a few months prior. The rifles had laser scopes and silencers and
were generally very easy to operate.
We proceeded into a forest which, in the middle of the night, had a very
disorienting effect; it wasn't from the lack of light, because we had night vision
goggles, but because everything in the forest essentially looked the same.
Constant code words that were being spoken back and forth on the radio only
compounded the confusion in my mind; I was getting bored. I mechanically
followed my dad as we were sneaking through knee‐high bushes trailed by a
couple of big Scottish guys (the rest of the group had spread out; that was the
idea of hunting, I was told).
When action finally happened it happened quickly. I heard a muffled gunshot
fired from another group, to our right, and when I raised my scope to look ahead
I saw a man running past a tree, about 50‐60 meters ahead. Then I saw another
one behind him, this one dragging his left leg. I thought for a moment that I was
looking at one of the other groups, but I quickly realized I was wrong. My dad let
off a single shot and I saw the head of the man dragging his leg burst into pieces
like a pumpkin. The Scottish guys let out an exclamation of approval and
excitement. Then I heard a couple more shots and saw the first man fall down to
the ground. I didn't really see what exactly had happened to him. "Delta down,
will proceed on manual," someone said on the radio. "Roger that," Dad replied.
Then I saw a couple of guys in black SWAT suits go over to the man lying on the
ground, take out their long army knives and bend over him. I didn't want to look
We hunted down about 10‐12 people that evening. Our host would later say that
they were "just some homeless rubbish nobody will miss." As we were walking
back Dad kept his hand on my shoulder and kept repeating how "proud" he was
of me, even though I had not done anything in particular. I hadn't fired a shot in
fact. The others joined in and talked about how there was "future in front of me,"
since I was starting with the hunting so young. "I wish my boy was anything like
you," one of the Scottish lads said pensively.
We had dinner later on at the mansion, and everyone ate with much appetite.
The topics of the table were whether anyone had ever tried human flesh, and the
consensus seemed to be that most had, but that eating hobos would be
"disgusting" and "bad for you," so, thankfully, we were feasting on beef and
pheasant instead. Another topic casually brought up was the number, namely
how many people the lads around the table had killed. Our host, a man called
Worthington, in his sixties, said that he had killed, all in all, about two hundred,
which he considered "average." Others seemed to agree. A mustached man with a
Spanish accent claimed up to five hundred, but admitted that most of those came
in the rural parts of South America which, everyone agreed, were much more
conducive to trouble‐free killing. The Scottish blokes didn't say anything.
Somebody asked me how many people I wanted to have killed by the time I
retired, and I said that I didn't know.
I killed my first man a couple of weeks later, in Munich, Germany. It was a similar
operation, but organized by a different Hunting Club (that was what we called
them), and we were allowed to use only handguns, bows and arrows, and knives.
What facilitated matters was that this hunt was being done during the day, so we
could always see where we were going, and follow the trail of the prey in the
fresh snow. There were only four of us ‐‐ two German hosts and we. I really
admired the beauty of German mountains and forests ‐‐ they looked and smelled
as if they had spent centuries untouched, just waiting for our arrival; only faced
with something so grand and timeless does a man realize how transient he is.
But anyway, philosophy aside, I the man I killed surprised us, jumping from a
tree above us, and landed on my dad's back. But he fell down soon afterwards
(my dad needed just to jerk slightly) because his frozen hands and feet
prevented him from gripping tighter or inflicting any sort of damage. He fell onto
the ground and started begging for his life, or at least that's what I thought he
was doing, that's what it looked like anyway, and, on his knees, put his hands
behind his head.
My dad took out a chain from his backpack while the others kept aiming at the
man. The man had a blue baseball cap on and a yellow scarf. One of the Germans
came from behind him and cuffed his hands behind his back. My dad put the
chain around the man's neck and the German tightened it. He had his knee
pressed against the man's upper back, for leverage. My dad instructed the
German to pull tightly, and then he knelt down in front of the man and looked
into his eyes as he was gasping for air. "Let it go," Dad said as the man was falling
unconscious, and then gave the "go ahead," signal again with his hand the
moment the man came to. Every time he gave the "tighten" signal the strong
German would almost lift the man from the ground just by pulling on the chain.
The man's cap fell off and he was bleeding from his mouth and nose. My dad kept
his face glued to the man's face, looking straight into his eyes. The other German
was standing a few meters away, and I could see him rubbing his crotch gently.
This went on for a few minutes, until a gunshot interrupted it.
The gunshot had been fired by me. It took everyone by surprise, and sent blood
and pieces of skull and brains flying into the air, spraying my dad's face and
clothes with it, as well as those of the German man who was standing behind the
dead man's back. The German lost his balance and fell to the ground, releasing
the chains. What was left of the dead man's head just dropped forward as he
arched his back slightly, remaining in the kneeling position. His brains poured
out, and Dad had to jerk himself backwards to avoid them.
There was silence for a while and nobody said anything. I didn't allow myself to
cry. They all looked at me and I said that I was hungry. My dad smiled.
Over the next few months we traveled around Western Europe, not always
engaging in hunting ‐‐ sometimes we would just travel around, spend money on
luxury hotels, expensive dinners, go to museum and such. My dad kept talking
about how he wanted me to become a "complete person," but I never understood
what exactly that meant. He would have me read books about the renaissance
man ideal, and about the people they called polymaths, who were supposedly
well‐versed in many different fields of human enterprise, from languages to
engineering, biology and music. My dad kept telling me that I had I had limitless
potential and that I needed to learn a way to unleash it. He was being biased, of
course, although, thinking of it, almost everyone that we met along the way, if
they ended up speaking with me for a while, seemed to come up with the same
conclusion, from hunters to museum guides, to hotel staff. I think this was partly
due to the speed at which I was picking up languages (say by the time we
reached Marseille, after having spent only three weeks in France, I was already
speaking French pretty well; the same went for Dutch, German, and later for
many others), and partly because Dad somehow always steered the conversation
in that direction so that people felt obliged to make the remark.
I only spoke when around other people. With Dad I almost never exchanged a
word; he was usually the only one speaking. I know that we traveled for months
and months but I remember very few individual things about Western Europe. I
was reading about one book per day at that time, indiscriminately, from
Medieval Serbian poetry to car fixing guides for WM Golf to treatises on
contemporary foreign affairs. If I didn't know the language of the book then I
learned the language first and then read the book.
The last particular incident I remember took place in Budapest when, on a rainy
night that we spent in the hotel room, Dad finally tried to do what I anticipated
he would try much earlier. I was having a shower and the door was unlocked,
and he walked in, completely naked, and pulled the shower curtain so that I
could see him. He grabbed me by the shoulder. I turned off the water, slowly
removed his hand, looked at him in the eye and said: "Let's forget this incident. If
you try something like this again ‐‐ I will kill you."
We never spoke about that event again. I spent the rest of that night thinking
about my siblings, and seeing them in a totally new light. I wished I had been
By the time we reached the Middle East I was starting to get seriously bored. In
Doha, Qatar we were supposed to do another hunt. The night before we went to
have dinner with the Club, and Dad again spoke at length about how he brought
me up from 2 months old to be a warrior, a merciless fighter of impeccable
intellect and judgment, destined to conquer the world. He said how I had
completed high school with two years to spare, and how I spoke 20 languages,
and how I once bit off the noses of a group of three bullies who tried to steal my
pocket money, having to chase the third one down as he was running away in
horror so as not to "let him off." Many of the stories he told were not true, such as
that I had been to a correctional facility five times (only twice) and that we had
gone skydiving together when I was two years old (I was six).
It was from my dad that I learned to lie habitually. When I first discovered lying I
could not believe how simple it was. You could simply say whatever you liked if
it would get you some sort of a benefit. I could never understand that there were
some people, most people would think "most people" who still prefer to speak
what they think is "the truth," whatever that means, even in situations where this
puts them in a disadvantage. I could never see the relation between my words
and the real world ‐‐ why should there be a law connecting what comes out of my
mouth and some arbitrary judgment of what is "true" and "real?" Should we not
be constantly trying to optimize our gains with our words, like lawyers do for
Anyway, lying isn't that easy, or at least isn't easy at first. Lying takes practice. To
be really good at it one needs to make it a habit, a lifestyle. You can't just lie two
times a month and expect to be good at it. You need to practice it all the time,
even when you are not trying to get anything out of it, or perhaps exactly then.
I've heard people say that lying is hard because you need to remember what you
lied about next time you speak to the same person. This is true in general, but the
task is made much easier by the fact that you typically have just a handful of
different lying "narratives" so to speak, floating around, and you just need to
remember which one you sold to which group of people.
For example, when I started going out with girls, I would tell them that I was in a
band and that in that band I played the guitar, and that I knew whomever their
favorite singer happened to be. I told them I could read palms and that their
favorite book was mine too, or that they looked beautiful or that I knew someone
in the fashion industry interested in their type of look, or whatever came to my
mind that would increase the chances of me sleeping with them.
This kind of approach can be generalized and applied to any social situation in
life, I quickly understood. When you are speaking to person A trying to obtain
objective B your best bet is to present yourself as a person of the profile C. Say
you want to work as a cardiologist in a prestigious clinic. They probably want
someone with years of experience in cardiology, who went to one of the best
medical schools in the country and has some great references. So you forge a
couple of diplomas from Harvard and Yale, write a resume where it says that
you've spent years (how many depends on your age) working in a prestigious
hospital, take a few hours to prepare for the interview (this you must do; "fail to
prepare ‐‐ prepare to fail!" as they say) and off you go. References are always the
most difficult thing to secure. At first you just have to trust your luck and hope
the people won't check the references, and cite either some really well‐known
people in the field or give some bogus names that don't exist.
Someone would say "but you need to know how to do the work!" and that is true,
but a smart person can learn to do about 90% of all the jobs out there with only a
few weeks of practice. However, they don't even have a chance to try since they
lack the famous education and work experience. So I found a way around it. In
my years I've worked as a chemistry teacher, forklift operator, cardiologist (yes),
professor of linguistics, park ranger, chief economist at a think tank and
marketing executive, just to name a few. How did I do at all those jobs? Really
well, thank you.
Of course, to really optimize this kind of lifestyle in our proverbially
interconnected world one needs to be ready to play with one's identity a little.
This is nothing out of the conspiracy theory novels ‐‐ all our data resides on
servers, these servers have access points. They can be either hacked or,
preferably, accessed directly via the person in charge of updating them ‐‐ this
person also has their human needs, and can be paid, convinced or blackmailed to
do what you want him or her to do. A resourceful and connected person can gain
access to any number of identities from a variety of locales around the world.
And nobody will notice one person disappearing somewhere and appearing
somewhere else. In my mind I call it the "no splash" lifestyle. Make as small of a
splash as possible entering a new context and as small of a splash as you leave. A
handful of friends missing you, a couple of "loves" lost, a few old coworkers
reminiscing about you until you are forgotten by all a few months later.
And so you make your way across the world, changing identities, switching
languages, coming up with water‐tight background stories, learning how to be
different people, polishing your character: the simple Turkish herdsman, the
geeky land surveyor in Ireland, the god‐fearing Russian math teacher who has
one too many vodka shots on occasion, they all exist in your mind, neatly packed,
with their well defined personalities and characteristics, and you can pull them
out at will if you choose to. Of course, there are limitations ‐‐ you can't look much
different than you do, and some accents you can't hide as much as you try.
If this sounds outlandish to you, which I imagine it does, then you are so
mistaken. There is no other thing in this entire recording about which you are
more mistaken. We tend to think, actually you tend to think, that other people
are like you, which is natural I guess, but very incorrect. The difference between
you and the people that actually do something is that you are sitting there
thinking about your morals and hesitating while those who do things are out
there, in single‐minded pursuit. Do you think the politicians ruling your
countries are obsessed with the truth in electoral campaigns? Do you think CEOs
never lied on their resumes? Do you believe the rags‐to‐riches stories of you
favorite actors? Of course not. It's even worse than that, much worse. But you
wouldn't believe me.
So the next evening in Qatar we went on buggies, chasing after a group of
Indians, or Pakistanis, I forgot. It was still hot in the desert, but getting
increasingly chilly as the night was falling. I was holding an AK‐47 and wearing a
We caught up with the prey after about an hour. They had tried to run in
different directions so as to confuse us and spread us too thin, hoping that at
least some of them would not be followed. The Arabs were herding them back
into one solid group. There were four jeeps, two persons per each one, except
our where it was me, Dad and another English guy named Bernard. When the
prey finally gave up on trying to escape and collapsed into one giant ball on the
ground (there were about 15‐20 of them) those in front of us stopped the cars,
carefully parking them so as to corner the prey, blocking their escape, lighting
them at the same time with our car lights. We parked a little further behind.
A few people started shooting into the air. They didn't have silencers. Nobody
cared round these parts of the world. As we were walking out of the car Bernard
was completing the story that he'd been telling me, about how hunting was the
purest form of living, how it was just you and the animal, eye to eye, and how
everything depended on your survival instinct, agility and character ‐‐ the
makings of a man. He weighed about 140 kilograms and could barely walk.
People in front of us had already separated a few Indians from the pile and were
now manhandling them. Someone shot a guy in the foot and laughed as he the
man screamed. I threw a glance at my dad who was already watching me with a
serious look on his face. I signaled him to drop behind a little. All the others were
already in front of us, forming a six‐man line like a firing squad, watching their
shadow fall onto the crumpled prey.
"I have such a hard‐on right now," I heard someone say in Hebrew. A few more
comments came in Arabic and English.
Holding the AK in my right hand I reached for the pistol, tucked under my shirt,
with the left, pulled it out and shot Bernard in the face. The shot was silenced and
inaudible in the roar of the engines of the cars up ahead. When we were just a
few meters behind the firing squad one of them turned around and greeted us.
He asked where Bernard was and then shouted something like "Come on Bernie
you fat fucker!" into the darkness.
I chose to shoot them in the legs first ‐‐ Dad shot his targets in the torsos. As a
consequence, mine were still alive and his were all dead when we stopped
shooting. I wanted to feel whether I felt genuine pleasure at watching people
suffer, especially people I despised. I discovered that I didn't feel any pleasure. I
was merely being annoyed. So I finished them off. The Indians were screaming,
so I fired a few more shots into the air, and told them to shut up. I walked up to
them and told them:
"There are more than twenty of you here. If you had attacked us, even with your
bare hands, most of you would have lived. But you chose to remain victims. May
this be the last night of your life when you acted like victims."
We drove over the Saudi border that night and then to Riyadh and out. It was a
close shave, since some of the people that we had killed were members of the
On the flight from Riyadh to Karachi Dad and I had a little glass of wine to
celebrate my thirteenth birthday.
We then went on around the world killing the Hunting Club members for as long
as it was safe, and it wasn't safe for a very long time since many of the members
were distinguished members of the society who were missed, unlike their
victims. Still, we managed to clean out the chamber in Karachi, Lahore,
Islamabad and a few in Western China, before we needed to lay low. In Urumqi,
in China, I saw perhaps the most fascinating Club. We invited ourselves to a
dinner with some of the core members and, as they were dying from the poison
we had placed in their food, we walked around the temple‐like structure,
perched on a cliff face overlooking a splendid valley of yellow grass, and came
across a library of manuscripts and books. The books were in a variety of
languages. I browsed a few in French, Turkish and Persian and they weren't too
interesting ‐‐ the usual esoteric nonsense these people would be interested in.
One of the manuscripts was standing on a glass pedestal in the center of the
room. It was written in Chinese. I must admit I didn't speak or read much
Chinese, so I took the manuscript with me, more so that I could have some
motivation to practice Chinese than because I had any real interest in the
About two months of study later ‐‐ we were by then in northern Laos ‐‐ I would
start deciphering the manuscript. It was written in the middle of the fifteenth
century, during the Ming dynasty, by a man who called himself Wei. Wei was a
well driller and a land surveyor, and he engaged for over fifty years in the
systematic poisoning of people in the regions through which he would pass. He
used a substance that I cannot translate in English, but that reminds me of
thallium ‐‐ the effects of the poisoning would be delayed, and symptoms would
start with vomiting and hair loss, leading to bone weakening, loss of muscle mass
and eventually death due to heart muscle failure, respiratory complications and
Wei was very impressive in his keeping of records or, more precisely, due to the
fact that he did not need to be keeping any records to keep track of the effects of
his work. The Chinese at the time kept a very good record of everything,
including birth and death rates in each and the smallest little village across the
vast country. As a government employee Wei had access to those records. All he
needed to do was to compare the year‐over‐year death rates for the regions that
he had poisoned with the statistics from before. It was a matter of simple
arithmetic to come to the death toll.
Wei at the same time seemed a man completely dedicated to the art of killing and
the jolliest and friendliest man you could find. He recounts at length his
discussions with the wise people he meets, draws sketches of animals and plants
that attract his attention, and notes down funny stories, the most prominent
being the ones about his apparently legendary snoring, especially under the
influence of alcohol ‐‐ for example, he tells of an incident where his entire
drinking party were thrown out of an inn by the innkeeper because he was
snoring too much; the story wouldn't be perhaps too funny or strange if it wasn't
for the fact that the innkeeper actually didn't live near the inn, but on the other
side of the village. Another incident involved the villagers putting sleeping Wei
on a raft and sending him down the river; he awoke in another province. Surely
some of these stories are exaggerations, but reveal unmistakably a hearty man
who is no stranger to self‐ridicule.
Wei killed for one reason only ‐‐ because death was the only thing that truly
mattered, according to him. In numerous passages he explains how, on his
travels, he has learned that everything is transient, be it wealth, or laughter, or
love, faith, disease and sorrow. They are all changeable and fleeting, and only
death is real and forever. Wei doesn't enjoy the killing at all, and cringes at
imagining the pain of his victims. He doesn't even consider himself a
superhuman for bringing about the death that he does; he merely considers it his
duty as a living and breathing being. There is no mention of power or a feeling of
domination, merely of "doing the Gods' bidding" and "feeling alive." Take this
passage for example:
Tonight Wei goes to sleep and thinks: there is someone who was alive today, shared
a meal with his family and sang a song with his best friend while working in the
fields. But tomorrow he will not be here anymore; he will be extinguished like a star
in the dawning sky. And Wei will be far away, Wei will not see that, but when he
wakes up his soul will have made another mark upon the Earth.
Wei's manuscript got me thinking in general about how many people like him
existed over the centuries, but more importantly about how many people like
him existed in our times. These would not be amateurs huddling around the
Hunting Club; they would be lone wolves going it on their own, having no trust in
anybody else, meticulously planning their routines and then executing them to
perfection in front of the noses of the societies that surrounded them. These
would not be people itching to make that fatal mistake and be caught, with the
victim scenario in their heads ‐‐ no, they would be pure professionals,
conservative and boring in the extreme, slicing away for years, decades, without
arousing the slightest suspicion.
I went to bed the night I finished Wei's manuscript thinking about how many
such people may exist. Only every now and then do we hear about a doctor who
has killed two hundred victims with morphine, or a deceased talk‐show host who
had raped 300 plus children ‐‐ these incidents only go to show, given how poorly
their perpetrators hid their actions and still barely got caught, if at all, how easy
it is for activities of this kind to go completely undetected forever. Somewhere
out there, I was sure that night, there was someone who had killed thousands, or
hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps one by one, without ever coming close
to being caught.
Millions of people disappear each year worldwide. Think about that. I am not
talking here about moody runaway teenagers who run off to Grandma’s and
come back in a few days when the pocket money runs out; I am talking about
people who disappear and they are just never found or heard of again. Millions of
people. What do you think happens to them? Check the statistics for your own
country and you will be surprised. For every person that comes upon a violent
death and is found there are ten that are just never found, and it is never
determined what happens to them. And these can be children, women, old
people, but also grown men. Everyone disappears.
Father and I were finally apprehended in Indonesia, about two years into the
rampage. Paradoxically, we had spent the previous six months in perfect order in
Indonesian Papua, Father doing some clerical work with the local Red Cross and
I learning Papuan and Tok Pisin, the language of Papua New Guinea.
Then, one evening, I watched him pull up with his Jeep next to our hut and take
out from the trunk two sacks. The sacks were moving, jerking violently. When he
came in he emptied the sacks in the middle of the hut, one by one, and out of
them, one by one, came two blonde girls of very small build, probably
backpackers or students or something. Their hands were tied behind their backs
with wire, and their mouths were taped, so they were screaming through their
noses, to the extent to which this was possible.
"I told you we were done doing this," I said, lifting my head from the book I was
reading; I think it was something by Heidegger, because it was boring me to
"I know, but when I saw them I thought, you know, for old times sake!"
"Take them back," I said.
My father flipped. He started throwing his massive body around the room,
shouting how he didn't want to be treated like this, and how he could kick my ass
in a heartbeat, and I should watch my mouth, and he used to be a boxing champ,
and how we used to be in this together and now it's all about me, and similar
things. He finished by saying "I'll do what I pretty fucking please boy, whether
you like it or not."
"Take them back," I repeated.
He put the sacks back on their heads, put them back into the trunk and drove
For a few days nothing major happened, but then the bodies of the two girls were
found floating in a pond about 20 kilometers outside the village where we lived.
The bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition, but the coroner still
managed to determine that they had been sexually assaulted. Their mouths were
covered with gaffer tape and their hands bound with wire.
The next day they came and arrested us. It was as simple, as stupid as that. I
don't know how, but they knew everything. We had entered Indonesia on
assumed identities and Swiss passports, so they couldn't trace us back to
anything before that. Still even the Indonesia activities were enough, thanks to
Father's escapades earlier that year in Java (several rapes/murders and one
incident of burning a house with a family sleeping inside it with a flamethrower),
to see him well on his way to a death sentence. The process took a few months to
deliver a predictable verdict. There was much media attention from all around
the country. Swiss television came to interview us, but we declined all requests
since Father was supposed to have been born somewhere in the canton of Zug,
and consequently to be fluent in both German and Swiss German, which wasn't
the case at all; in short, our forged identities would have been discovered,
leading to further complications. I spoke to the Swiss ambassador on one
occasion and said that we didn't want any help.
In prison, awaiting the verdict (and we were held in a full‐fledged prison, no
county jail), we were quickly separated because of our violent acts, since the
wardens believed that would make us less prone to violence. In the first week
alone we had killed four inmates. Separating us just doubled the death toll. After
two weeks I was taken into solitary confinement, and kept there between trials. I
only asked that I be brought books, a request which the wardens miraculously
heeded. I didn't need any entertainment beyond this. My sweetest memories
from prison were Ovid’s Metamorphoses and killing two people with a
I last saw Father in November that year, at the final reading of the verdict. That
was also when I saw Mother last, and my little brother before our meeting
nineteen years later in his apartment. They had received a letter that I had
secretly sent. It contained only the bare minimum of details ‐‐ the rest they
would find out by themselves anyway. They naturally didn't reveal their
connection to us. They sat in the third row from the back, on a wooden bench, in
a cramped courtroom with very damp air and little light. They wouldn't look us
in the eye.
Father cried as they took him away. I was too consumed in thought to even
follow the verdict. It was clear to me that, as a minor, I would not be sentenced to
death, but was looking at years in a correctional facility of one shape or another
‐‐ the exact shape and size didn't really matter to me. I dreamed that I would be
taken somewhere in a different country where all around me would be speaking
a different language, dozens of different languages, and that the walls of the
prison would be made of books. I actually literally dreamed one night my own
version of Hansel and Gretel, but instead of of chocolate the house was made of
books. Every book I had dreamed of was there ‐‐ the collected works of
Anaxagoras, and Archimedes' On Polyhedra and Aristotle's second book of
Poetics and Caesar's Laudes Herculum and the full text of Ovid's Medea and On the
Gods by Protagoras and Classic of Music by Confucius and Shakespeare's Love's
Labour's Won and Saikaku's haikus and Byron's memoirs ... I woke up with a
huge smile on my face and found myself in a prison.
I escaped two months later and, after a few weeks spent arranging paperwork,
found myself on a ship across the Pacific Ocean. I read the news of Father's
execution when I was in Tahiti, visiting Gaugin's grave. After parting ways with
Father I never killed another person again. I never raped anyone either, but then,
I hadn't raped anyone prior to that either.
To a being of absolute power the world can be either endlessly interesting or
endlessly boring, and I found myself gyrating between the two extremes on my
travels. For years I traveled with no aim in mind, learning languages and reading
books, meeting people and speaking to them, learning new skills and being
different people. I would wake up and choose what kind of a person I wanted to
be that day, and then practice that to perfection. I avoided Western people and
Western countries as much as I could. I spent much time in Africa.
The urge to kill would come to me in moments of insecurity, but by then I had
learned to recognize this urge as a weakness, not a strength. The biggest problem
I was facing was simply to decide what I wanted to do with the time I had on my
hands. I was about seventeen years old, spoke more than twenty languages, had
experienced more of life than an average person sees in a hundred lifetimes, and
there was nothing that I saw as a meaningful goal or a challenge, nothing had a
mystique to it, everything was a plain matter of causes and consequences, of
actions and results. A better man in my position would have had the humility to
go around making the world a better place, or whatever that is called nowadays,
but I wasn't that man. I still held resentment for the weak, and I considered
everyone weak. That was the curse that my father had left me with. By making
me stronger than everyone, and by teaching me that strength was the only thing
that mattered, he had condemned me to a lifetime of being alone, and there was
nothing I could do about it. You know how they say that those who can do and
those who can't teach ‐‐ well there's nothing to imply that those who can are also
capable of teaching.
I came back home almost six years to the day after Father and I had left on our
trip. I was under an assumed identity, of course. I bought a comfortable
apartment and for years practically lived in it, not ever going out. I organized my
time around 1,000 hour time slots which I devoted to different skills. I learned to
play every instrument I could find, and learned the history of the world by heart,
almost year‐for‐year. I kept learning languages. Learning was the only thing that
gave me any pleasure. I developed my body and went running at night.
The one thing that was missing from this idyllic picture was the human contact.
And that has been the picture of the last seventeen years.
The question lingering on your mind will be that of women in my life, so let me
address it. Let me start from the question someone like you would consider the
most important ‐‐ have I ever been in love. The answer to that is ‐‐ of course not.
Love is about losing control and idealization, neither of which I am capable of.. I
have told people that I was in love with them and I was perfectly capable of
mimicking every aspect of my behavior so as to convince them that this was the
case; further, I have never personally suffered from the fact that I have never
been in love, so there you have it ‐‐ it was all a victimless crime.
Inevitably, women would bore me one by one, whatever their shape, size or
intelligence. Sometimes I would be interested in a woman in a simple lustful
pursuit, and the interest would immediately evaporate the moment I would sleep
with her, or even if I did not sleep with her ‐‐ two‐three dates with anyone were
enough to destroy every attraction, as I would learn to expect what people would
say, where they would look, how they would hold their hands, when they would
sigh and how many minutes they would be late.
The most liberating, but also the most damaging realization to any man with
relation to women is that there are many women out there, and that if one goes
by another one will come along, equally beautiful and smart, and that essentially
no effort is needed in surrounding oneself with women to one's heart's content
as long as one was willing to go around and talk to them every now and then.
This realization liberates but also forever destroys any illusion of romance,
oneness with each other, or whatever is being sold on TV these days.
A strong woman can be stronger than a strong man, but she needs to be strong in
a female way, not the male way; I have very seldom seen this. I remember once
father kidnapped a Chinese girl as we were passing through Golmud, and he
proceeded to beat and rape her in an abandoned house that we were hiding out
in. The girl's mouth was not taped or gagged in any way but she did not emit the
slightest sound. She kept looking at him straight in the eye, and the more he was
beating her the more unnerving his glance was, until father covered her eyes
with his hands so that he could finish the job but just couldn't get himself to do
so, and had to stop. The girl didn't survive, her cards were badly dealt that day,
but when I think of a woman's strength that is the kind of strength I have in
mind. I call it a female strength because it is the quiet, steadfast, unrelenting
strength as opposed to the outspoken, flashy, in‐your‐face strength that men
exhibit. With time I have come to understand that the female strength is the only
one that exists.
"How did you find me?" Brother asked.
"I have always known where you were. I have been following you, every step of
your life, your career."
He looked at me in disbelief, as if to verify that I indeed meant "every step," and I
nodded. He was shaking.
"And now you are here, asking me to help you destroy the world."
"Why on Earth would I do that?"
"Because, as different as you think we are we have one thing in common."
"What is that?"
"We are bored of this planet, and we wouldn't mind seeing it burn. For you it
would probably have some artistic meaning, for me it would be fun."
My brother had had in interesting life, no less interesting than mine on some
A few months after Father was executed and I disappeared without a trace he
came out of high school, with the prospect of going to college seeming extremely
unappealing due to his complete lack of interest in any type of academic pursuit.
I should mention that in the meantime Mother had also committed suicide,
which, considering how close the two of them were, probably had some sort of a
negative effect on him. In one of his earliest novels, written when he was
twenty‐two, Brother depicts the death of his mother as the "single most shocking
event that occurred in the Universe, and the four Universes beyond this one."
Here's the entire paragraph, in verse form:
"I opened the door and the flash of light hit,
the smell of cradles, of pinewood and of hay,
but razors don't smell, nor does fresh decay,
nor blood solved in water nor an inch‐deep slit.
Her head falling backwards, hair touching the floor,
her arms spread in crucifix for vultures to feed,
the Queen of Maggots delivered from the greed,
lifted into Eden, pristine forevermore..."
Mother died without a will, and since nobody could trace down any of the rest of
the family, eventually Brother was declared the sole heir of all the wealth. He of
course knew what had happened to Father and me, but preferred to keep silent
about it so as not to make the situation any worse, which was the correct
decision ‐‐ we were just two Swiss guys that could in no way be connected to
The inheritance was worth multiple millions of dollars and he could do anything
he wanted with it. Brother at the time, unfortunately, lacked any kind of
character or direction in li