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Travis Jon Mader


audio deposition by Mr. A___ , former companion of suspect

"...first of all, let's get this straight. I was his lover. JD and I had sex together, all right? We were gay together. (Laughs, pause.) It's just . . . I can't fucking believe all this, people calling me all hours for interviews, statements. . . I mean, he was just my boyfriend. Two measly months. It's not like we were married or anything . . . not our fucking silver anniversary . . . Christ. Ok, maybe I'm a little bitter. But Iím telling you, he never tried any of that shit with me—no handcuffs, no studded collars, I swear. We went out before Madonna wrote the book, ok? When my stuff started getting published and his didn't, he got real weird on me. I mean, he started calling me Joe—like Joe Orton? You know the story, Joe Orton the famous English playwright of the early sixties, the stunning overnight success bludgeoned to death by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in the wee hours of the night . . . that's the one. JD had even bought The Orton Diaries and that movie they made out of it, the one with Gary Oldman. He played that tape all the time, rewinding and fastforwarding. . . . Then he started leaving notes to me from "Ken," started talking with a British accent. When he left the hammer on my dresser with a big pink bow around it, I took that as my cue. I got out fast. See, Halliwell killed Joe Orton with a hammer—nine blows to the head, brains everywhere. I was pretty fucking scared by then, afraid he might try to track me down, stalk me or something, but he never did. I had almost forgotten he even existed when I saw his picture on the news. I couldn't believe it. I guess I was kind of sad for him at first, but then I guess it was good they caught him. He was pretty screwed up you know. Hey, I'm sure the courts will make the right decision. Look, that's all I have to say right now, how do you turn this damn thing—" end tape. ***


audio deposition by "Mario" a sex worker

". . . man, when I saw his picture in the paper it was like, 'oh, thatís what happened to him' yknow? I guess I had sorta hoped he got lucky, found some rich old faggot to take care of him, only he wasnít so lucky . . . He worked here just like the rest of us, at The Wall. Itís easy work, yknow, just look hot and act like you donít see them driving by real slow, act like you donít care, donít even fucking look at them when they stop in front of you, just to tease them. They love that, oh they get off to that, man. I usually get forty an hour, that's pretty standard . . . just in case you wanted to know. Last time I saw Tony was I canít remember when. I donít have a good remembery. He got into lots of cars, just like me. We all do. It coulda been any of us, but Iím glad they caught the guy. Fucking faggot. Shit like that pisses me off, how can a guy make a few bucks when heís gotta worry about crazy homos with razor blades? Pretty fucking sick if you ask me. They say there were thirteen, just like Tony. But weíre not scared, nothingís changed, yknow? And the 5-O's canít catch us so donít think Iím blowing some fucking cover or something. . . ." ***


diary of suspect, fragment (12/03/92)

"I went back to see him by the wall. He was just standing there like the others and I just parked in front of him and watched him watching me from out of the corner of his eye. He was smoking like the others and kept frisking himself for cigarettes, but he didn't have any I guess and he stepped towards the car like he was going to ask me for some and I couldn't help it, I flipped into reverse and pulled out of there, my heart was beating so fast. It wouldn't stop until I got some Seconal down at the stoplight. He helped me though, I wrote a little tonight. He's going to be one of my muses, I can already tell. Soon I'll be able to bring him here. After I wrote, I read some W.S. Burroughs. It was very interesting, he wrote that words are a virus that infects the reader and reproduces an image in him. I thought about that a long time, and it sure sounds like a good way to get some readers . . . expose them to my text and watch them squirm. Sally came by tonight with some heroin, but I didn't want to shoot up with her because I don't trust her. She's looking really bad, strung out, and her arms are full of holes. She pulled out her strap and shot up and I gave her the money for more Seconal, then she left. I hate it when she comes here, but sometimes I wonder what I'd do without her." ***


related police report (12/11/92) additional notes:

". . . the body of the female was stuffed in a large garbage bag in the dumpster behind the Hendley apartment building 1298 Carver. Extensive track marks on both arms indicate an IV drug user. No signs of struggle found in cursory examination. Likely death by overdose." ***


phone taping, UPI, attempted interview with Mr. F--- S----

FS: No, I am not his agent any longer. I was for a period, but I no longer represent JD. [UPI: Give us some idea of his writing.] FS: I don't think that would be appropriate. If you'll excuse me— [UPI: Please, just for our investigation. This is standard questioning procedure.] FS: I'm sorry I can't help you, but I don't make it a policy to— [UPI: Uh, this should hit the presses by the evening edition, and we want to make sure we get your name just right, Mr. ...?] FS: Okay, okay. His writing was very . . . homoerotic. That's all I'm saying. [UPI: Thank you.] FS: That's Mr. F--- S---. end tape ***


diary of suspect, fragment (12/04/92)

"He's a prostitute like all the others, but it's not his fault. Kids these days don't have a lot of options. He calls himself Tony. He said he liked my apartment, said it was minimalist. It's really pretty empty, but I can tell he's a highly intelligent young man. I tried to explain to him what minimalism really was, but by that time he was already taking off his clothes. Writing this as he sleeps in the other room, I can still taste that moment. His flesh was strong and supple and slightly greasy, and when he took off his underwear you could see the marks it had left around his waist. Then he said he wanted me to fuck him and all I could hear was music and lights flashed past my face like a wildly spinning carousel, pushing past faster and faster and faster until it was over and all I could see was the red of the curtains pulsating and glowing like a fucking aura. Then we washed up." ***


audio deposition, S---- H---- , former companion of JD

". . . JD didn't buy me like all the others I read about in the paper. No, I liked him, I picked him up in the laundry room of our building. He was pretty shy, said he didn't cruise often. I suspected he hadn't ever cruised, so you can understand when I wanted to show him a good time, you know, fuck the shit out of him. Afterwards, he smoked and told me about his muses—he was a writer you know—said they were beautiful boys that flew around his apartment blessing his manuscripts. I pictured these little fat cupids, but then he said they were beautiful like me. I didn't believe all the muse shit, but I thought it was sexy when he talked about it, so I kept seeing him. One night he told me that I had become his muse and that I was better than his angels because I was flesh and blood, alive . . . After he said that, he held me. And it was like no one had ever held me before, no one had ever touched me like that. If I could've fallen in love with him it would have been at that moment. I could've really loved him, but it didn't work. He called me Bon— Bonsetsen? No, Bonstetten. Told me Bonstetten was Thomas Gray's muse, you know, the English poet. Then he told me to call him Thomas and read that fucking poem about Eton College every night. It got on my nerves, so I took off. The longer I stayed away, the less I wanted to go back. I just kept thinking about how crazy it was that he wasn't happy being JD. I had almost loved JD, but by the time I was ready to tell him, he wasn't JD anymore, he was Thomas Gray. And I was Bonstetten. I wanted to be me, and I wanted someone who would let me be me. Anyway, my new guy is a psychoanalyst, and I guess you could say heís showed me a new perspective on things. I never went back to see JD. I passed up my chance to be someone's muse, but then it looks like he found a few anyway. Thirteen." ***


coroner's report, fragment

". . . catalogued as items 2101-2209, Number 13 is the most recent dissection, discovered in its entirety at the time of the suspect's arrest. All items recovered were tagged. Some were wrapped carefully in plastic food wrap, others thrown in paper lunch sacks. An analysis of blood and tissue samples indicates the presence of high levels of Seconal, Valium, and Nembutal. Other than the actual incisions, which were made with scalpel-like precision, no bruises or subcutaneous lacerations to indicate any violence or struggle. . . . Only the genitalia were preserved intact (item 2176)." ***


diary of suspect (12/06/92)

". . . Deconstruction is naturally followed by reconstruction while rebirth immediately follows death. In addition to WSB, been reading about the New World depopulation at Contact due to disease from the Old World. I'm trying to tie that in with the Burroughsian virus metaphor. The Europeans created America on the ashes of the Native Americans, and they didn't even have to kill them, just breathed on them, gave them the flu. My mind is so busy. I want to write, but I can't with Tony here. He distracts me. Sometimes I just sit him up on the couch, prop him up with pillows and stare at him. He's so beautiful, and that blank look on his face reminds me of the New World, waiting to be conquered and filled. My words are a virus that infects his waking moments. Deconstruction followed by reconstruction, it keeps running through my mind. Deconstruction is such a pain in the ass though. It's not time yet, I have to wait a while longer. I have to tell him all of my stories, then I can rearrange the text. . . . Heís wise to how I keep him so docile, and yesterday he refused to eat, so I didn't give him any food or water all day. He finally begged me for something to drink, his eyes were so wild. I made him promise to eat his meals like a good little boy and not give me any more headaches. I crushed up the valium in his milk, so everything's back to normal. No more headaches." ***


coroner's addendum (partial)

". . . Number 13 has been identified by family as Anthony Garcia, age 16, who had been missing two weeks. Identification based on a nearly-intact birthmark on a skin section 3.4 x 6.2 cm. (item 2163). Also, jaw fragments positive match with dental history though some teeth seem to have been removed and are missing." ***


initial evaluation of suspect by Ms. S. Roberts, police staff counselor (12/13/92)

". . . the suspect was sedated at the time of conference, and I found him very cooperative. I gathered the medication had been administered for the pain associated with his shoulder bullet wound, but one of the arresting officers told me the suspect had resisted arrest and had been given injection. This facet of JD's personality, however, failed to manifest itself in our dialogue, which proceeded smoothly and without incident. ... The suspect refused to explain his crime and showed no visible remorse, but perhaps it is with a certain naivetť that I venture to say he doesn't fully understand what he did was a crime. ... Throughout our dialogue, he kept muttering, "Deconstruction followed by reconstruction, death followed by rebirth" over and over again. When I asked about this, he said, "What do you think it means?" The suspect does not appear to suffer from schizophrenia or fit the patterns of dementia. ... An intelligent man and a writer, I found JD exhaustingly complex and therefore request further sessions with him while he remains in the facility." ***


found carved on the windowsill of suspect's dwelling



diary of suspect (12/10/92)

". . . I didn't mean to. Sally came by and wanted to shoot up with me again, but tonight was going to be the night for Tony. She wouldn't go away she was so high. She told me she'd leave if I'd shoot her up one more time her hands were shaking so bad. She told me how much, and I stuck the needle in the vial and measured it out. I didn't know! She didn't explain it, and I just didn't know. I guess the air went straight to her brain because she just stopped talking in the middle of her sentence and her eyes got this shocked expression. Her face looked like it was on crooked, and she slumped back on the couch and stared at the ceiling. She never did come back from wherever she went. So I canceled my plans with Tony and figured the best thing to do was to put her in the garbage, you know, like she overdosed. I felt bad about everything, but then I knew she wouldn't be needing her drugs anymore, so it was ok after all." ***


second session with Ms. S. Roberts (12/20/92)

". . . When asked about the carvings on his windowsill, JD explained he had been bored one day and idly scratched the paint with a razor blade. He continued on to say he was a great fan of William Burroughs, the Beat novelist, and admired his cut-up technique where text is sliced into sections or lines or words and rearranged to create new text. . . . I got the distinct impression JD was very insecure about his own ability as a writer, and when I asked him about this he got very defensive and refused to talk any further." ***


found carved in the paint of suspect's holding cell (12/21/92)



taped dialogue between S. Roberts and JD (12/23/92) JD: Are you taping this? SR: It's standard procedure, JD. I've been taping you all along. JD: It doesn't matter anyway. (Laughs.) SR: What doesn't matter? JD: Questions, questions. Everything of course. Nothing matters. SR: I understand you're a deconstructionist. JD: I'm a writer. SR: But your emphasis is on deconstructionism. JD: No. Where did you hear that? SR: To be blunt, I gleaned it from the coroner's reports. If you're not a deconstructionist, how do you explain your interest in cut-ups? JD: What are cut-ups? Where are you getting your information? Who sent you? SR: You told me about the cut-ups. Look, I'm trying to get the heart of the matter here. I need to understand what could compel a man to slice up a dozen boys for no apparent . . . (pause). I would like to believe there is a rational explanation for all this. JD: Thirteen. Gosh, they told me there were thirteen in all. Thirteen angels. I didn't think there were so many, didn't keep count. But then I never finished any of them. I never finished . . . SR: Reconstructing? JD: I hope you have the microphone turned up. Because you're putting words in my mouth. I never said that. (Laughs.) Burroughs was right. Words are a virus. SR: I am merely trying to reconstruct what happened. That's my job. JD: Yes, your words are a virus, and I am your host. End ***


tape of JD, S. Roberts presiding (12/24/92)

"Yes, I was frustrated! (Long pause.) I wanted him to talk to me, so I cut back on his dosage a little everyday so he could be cognitive but also docile. I mean, I had already told him all of my stories, and he acted like he didn't even hear them, the little bastard hadn't told me one thing about himself, he had kept it all hidden from me! But I got him talking, took away his food again, and he told me how great it was being young, cute, and available . . . how great it was to have sex whenever he wanted, and get paid for it! Fuck, I was so envious of him . . . I hated him for that. And loved him too. I told him he should be a writer, he should make those fucking publishers listen to his stories because with him they'd have to listen, he was so young and beautiful and had so much passion...! Then he said no he didn't have passion, he was just a dumb whore, dumb enough to let an old dried-up faggot like me take advantage of him. And then he laughed, laughed like all those fucking publishers laughed at me. He laughed so hard. I didn't think he'd have the strength for that. His lip didn't swell much, but I had to force the extra dose down his throat. I guess he just wasn't the talking type. When I lay down by him that night, I saw something in the blue moonlight that speckled his tranquilized back with leaves. The wind was blowing, and the life in him was like the trees, like the roar of millions and millions of tiny leaves, pieces really, roaring through him just under my fingers, just under his moistness, under that boy's greasiness that turned me on. God, then I knew it was the same with him: that insatiable desire that swept through me when I touched him, it infected my sense of reason, and next thing I know I was on the couch with Sally's needle in my arm." ***


police report (12/13/92)

". . . Initial purpose of call was an inquiry of Mr. JD in relation to his name and address found on the person of Ms. Sally W----, an identified IV drug user found dead in the dumpster behind the apartment building where Mr. JD resided. When we knocked at Mr. JD's apartment, we could hear him blockading the door with furniture and yelling obscenities. We had obtained a search warrant prior to the call and communicated this to him through the door, but he refused to open it. Mr. JD apparently got very upset when Officer Pryor tried the door, and glass could be heard breaking at which point we forced entry. Mr. JD had gone up the exterior fire escape to the roof. Following him, I attempted to explain we had only come to question him. I figured he was strung out or schizophrenic and thought he might be dangerous or might try to jump. I talked him to the center of the roof, away from the edge, at which point he lunged at me with an x-acto knife, slicing my upper arm. Still yelling threats, he lunged again but was stopped by a bullet from my partner's gun. I got him face down on the tarpaper, he was bleeding pretty heavily from the shoulder. Officer Pryor told me what he had found in the apartment, and we immediately radioed for assistance to seal off the area and bring Mr. JD into custody." ***


confession of suspect JD (sedated), S. Roberts presiding, continued

". . . I had become Tony. I had deconstructed him, torn apart his past, bastardized his memories, implanted my own desires in him. (Pause.) My virus goes for the brain first, Ms. Roberts, when that's dismantled it attacks the rest of the body. (Slight laugh, pause.) It was . . . pretty messy, and the cleanup was awful. To keep this to a minimum I had moved the whole operation into the living room, and Tony just laid there on the floor staring up at the ceiling. He never blinked, he didn't feel any pain what with all the pills I gave him. There was no pain. (Pause.) Or maybe he couldn't even scream. (Long pause, carefully) I like to think I would've seen the pain in his eyes if there was any, and they only reflected me with a calm placidity that carried me in its gaze, embraced me like I had held him close at night telling him more stories in his ear like little whispered secrets between us. . . . But I did all the whispering with Tony. He was a parasite, that's what he was! He was worse than Sally ever was, all drugged out, dopey, eyes drooping, drooling sometimes . . . always stoned. He begged for pills now, begged for a handful at night. He liked nembutal best, but he didn't care as long as he got something. He'd promise me a kiss for each pill, and he'd pay up, but he never meant it. So at night I'd kiss him for hours, push my tongue through his silent, dreaming lips. Plus other things. . . (Pause.) But even that wasn't enough anymore. I had to become him. I had to be inside him, really inside him, inside his memories and his dreams. I had to become Tony. (Deep breath) So piece by piece I reduced him to fragments, to words, sometimes to single letters, lining the scraps in neat rows on sheet plastic, wrapping others to prevent excessive leakage, refrigerating others to keep them fresh. (Pause.) Just as I was cleaning up I heard the knocks at my door." ***


diary of Ms. S. Roberts (12/24/92)

"He confessed it all, under sedation. A full transcript of the confession is being printed presently for his defense. Or maybe the prosecution will find a greater use for it. It's all up to the jury now. While I am glad to be past the difficult part of this process, I wonder if it won't be even more difficult to see a truly disturbed man possibly executed. His eloquence was astounding, and I am still not sure whether JD is a very clever manipulator or genuinely unaware of the nature of his crimes. Dissecting his thoughts has drained me. What can I possibly hope to find in his mind, in his unconscious? Perhaps I'm getting my hopes up. Maybe he was right, maybe my words are the virus. I don't know. But it's Christmas Eve, and I should be home. It just keeps passing through my mind, deconstruction followed by reconstruction, death followed by rebirth... This will be the first Christmas since the separation, and of course the kids are spending it with Jerry . . . he has Family Services charmed. Probably sleeps with the director. Sometimes I just wish things were different, that I could just erase him from my life. You know, get rid of all that bad air between us and start fresh again. Chuck that whole chapter. Oh well, shouldn't complain. Looks like I'll be here all night, drowning in my misery with a thought or two of revenge for some added spice. I think I can get another session scheduled with JD for tomorrow. Itís a long shot, but with a little luck and a good jury I think I can get him judged mentally deficient."


Travis Jon Mader is a 30-year-old writer living in Houston, Texas. His work has shifted from playwriting to performance text to fiction and back again. Along the way he has worked with Edward Albee, Tim Miller, Anne Waldman and Elia Arce, among others. He is currently working on a book.

Check out Travis Maderís website:

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