All week long we've been waxing nostalgic about former Mercury columnists. Let us put on our wine- and rose-colored glasses for a look at the beloved and murderous Portland Streetcar. In 2001, this literary mode of transportation traveled from the Old Country to Portland's blood-soaked streets, looking to sate his unquenchable thirst for violence. His tortured machinations were chronicled in his novella Those I've Killed So Far by the Portland Streetcar, and excerpted in our paper's early years.
[Previously in Those I've Killed So Far... After suffering from a temporary crisis of the spirit, the streetcar is ready to begin his killing spree in earnest—but has discovered some competition from an unlikely source...—Eds.]
Chapter 3: MURDER, SHE RODE
Life, it is good. I have regained my taste for blood, and I revel in the sweet saltiness dripping from my grill. Today I amputated the foot of a woman, simply because I found displeasure in her choice of shoe. Yesterday, I crushed the weak body of a bicyclist foolish enough to believe he could cross my tracks. The sound of bones crushing and metal bending as bicycle and owner turned beneath my steel wheels fills me with a... oh. I don't know... JOY. A joy akin to hearing the strains of Wagner. Scream, you pitiless victims. Play the song again and again.
One might think someone... anyone... would attempt to stop my cruel tasks. Happily, I have friends... how you say? "In high places." The city fathers are all too happy to brush my misdeeds underneath the carpet of bureaucracy. Settling out of court rather than having their complicity face the light of day. They close their ears to the blood gurgling in my throat.
However, a troubling thought surfaces. After crushing the trembling hands of an aged citizen in my doors, a crimson-drenched newspaper fell to the ground. Its headline read, "New Air-Tram Considered for OHSU." I know of this tram. He is a butcher. "The Butcher of Switzerland" they call him. Responsible for the grisly deaths of thousands of foppish skiers blessed in this world's gold. Though a butcher, he is also an amateur. Merely dropping his passengers from great heights to fuel his glory, rather than savoring the ecstasy of a slow, grinding kill.
You shall not rob me of my pleasure, butcher. For I shall cut a swath of gore so meticulous and precise, there will be no one left to enter your plebeian trap. The blood of Portland shall be tasted by me. And me, alone.
From the August 23, 2001 issue.