Dead Girl Show

Rachel Kincaid

We were all shocked to hear the news. She was such a pretty girl. We can’t imagine who the killer is, but we know it wasn’t us. She was a troubled girl, but none of us ever thought this was how she would end up. Her poor parents, how can they go on? If it could happen to her, it could happen to all of us. In a way, it did happen to all of us. We can’t escape it, her face every night on the news. They’re saying the police are at a loss, there’s nothing to go on. How risky, to be a pretty girl. Didn’t we always kind of know this was how she’d end up? Maybe someone could have stopped what happened to her, but it wasn’t us. Maybe someone should have noticed what was going on, but if anyone was responsible for that it wasn’t us. Do you believe what people say, that when something like this happens it says something about all of us? Think about the reality of her body — her straight teeth, her long throat, her delicate membranes — didn’t you know right from the start this is how she’d end up? Do you trust that FBI man who says the investigation is ongoing, the clip they keep replaying on the news? Sometimes we’re not sure it’s really so much of a tragedy; after all, there are other pretty girls. You understand, obviously, that at some point we have to chalk it up to the enigma of violence and go on? That’s what she’d want, we’re sure: for our lives to go on. Does it matter, really, if it was or wasn’t us? What do we owe, really, to a pretty girl? Isn’t the more important question what she owes to all of us? Most of us don’t even remember anymore where we were when we heard the news. The truth is none of us feel as confident as we’d like about where all this will end up. The best outcome perhaps is for it to not, in the end, end up. For the inquiry to go on and on. How upsetting to find out for sure, to see a familiar face labeled a murderer on the news. The important fact of the case has already been determined, the fact that the one at fault wasn’t us. You see of course how this would be best for all of us. Best for her too, that poor pretty girl. That stupid, pretty girl. How unforgivably naive, not to recognize there was never any other way for her to end up. A lesson, really, to all of us. We treasure her memory, what we still want of it, as we go on. The preliminary reports coming in all confirm what we knew: that while it could have been anyone of course it wasn’t us. Did you see her best friend, so beautiful in her grief, was elected homecoming queen; it’s been all over the news.

All of us are very afraid every waking moment of our day and we are worried that maybe it has nothing to do with the news. Whenever we end up at the same barbecue or town council meeting as her poor sad parents we feel compelled to shout that it wasn’t us, we promise it wasn’t us. Sometimes we are so angry that a pretty girl like that lived at all, let alone died, we are not sure how we can go on.

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