Last night I had the mother of all nightmares. Mind you, my dreams usually feature a tsunami or two, angels, and deceased Cantopop stars, so on a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 10. Perhaps it was induced by all the arse-burning sambal I consumed on Friday and Saturday, and the conversation I had with my friend, Janaki, as she drove us down to the Gold Coast. Her husband, Mehan, was riding with His Royal Highness and Amanda.
Let’s cover this dream first, so you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I am travelling downhill via bullock-cart along a bumpy country road. The next thing I know, I am in my friend’s house where she promptly informs me that my boyfriend is a serial killer and he’s left all his hacked bits around as usual. She thought I needed to know – that he is so messy. And she would appreciate it if he were to clean up after himself.
Right, good thing she’s telling me so I don’t end up as a hacked bit too. No, we wouldn’t want that. Whaddaya know? I hear crazy serial killer boyfriend in the house.
“Quick,” she says passing me a dress and shoving me into the shoe closet. “Get dressed. You’re supposed to be going out for dinner. You don’t want to make him mad.”
Certainly, now that I know he’s a serial killer. Where did I put that pepper spray?
“Oh honey, I’m home,” he says to me in a silky voice on the other side of the door.
Why is there no button on the door handle to push in? I spy a bolt and just before he can open the door, I slide it across, my heart almost breaking out of my rib cage. I can see him through a small gap between the door and the wall. Who built this stupid house?
“I can still see you,” he says in a slow spine-chilling drawl. “What are you doing in there?”
“I am uh…getting changed. I’ll be out in 5 minutes.”
God, where is the phone? Where is the police? My heartbeat is now deafening. In the far distance I can hear something ringing. Thank God it’s my mobile phone’s alarm. It’s 7am. I bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat.
I don’t know how we ended up talking about serial killers, but Janaki and I are of the agreement that being killed by one’s husband is the worse fate that can befall a woman. Yes, I think I remember now. We were discussing that poor woman, Allison Baden-Clay, whose husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, has been accused of killing her. She was a mother of three, much loved by the community in which they lived and he was a respected realtor, Lord Baden-Powell’s great grandson. Her body was found on the banks of Kholo Creek, 11 days after she vanished.
“Their poor children,” said Janaki.
“What astounds me is him killing her. To think, in all the world I choose to be with you and you turn out to be a killer!”
“It wouldn’t be as bad if he was a serial killer.”
“Yes, that’s because victims of most serial killers don’t know their killer intimately. This is an astounding level of betrayal.”
“If he were a serial killer, at least you could say, ‘Well, I didn’t know about his psychotic tendencies. When he was with me, he was a very good husband.’”
“But when he’s your husband!!! Of all the bad luck in the world, you had to choose to marry your murderer.”
It made me feel sad for the institution of marriage, for love. How do two people go from wanting to spend their lives together to one wanting to take the life of the other?
“It’s a pity they abolished the death penalty in Australia. They should reintroduce it for wife-murderers and child abusers.”
“Definitely. Why lock them up when they can pursue a law degree at the tax-payers’ expense, then file a case against the state for supposed miscarriage of justice? What about the victims? Have you heard the latest, about prisoners complaining about the quality of their food? Hello, goal is not the Shangrila, ok?”
“In cases like these, I admire Singapore. They just execute murderers.”
“Me too. Forget about damn prisoners rights. Why support murderers and pedophiles for years on end when there is no hope for them in the outside world?”
What do you think? Is there any crime worse than murdering one’s spouse and is a prison term – however lengthy – fair punishment for crimes like these?