On television she had seen this killer in America who had locked up his daughter in a dungeon deep below their house. The Evil Dude’s dark secret remained hidden year upon dark year, because he lived on an isolated farm in Nebraska, or Kansas, or some mythical place that made her think of cowboys and cattle and wide open ranges. For ten years he had raped his daughter over and over again. When she gave birth the man locked up his granddaughter as well. On her release years later the granddaughter had never seen any other human being in the whole wide world except her mother and that monster.
On the TV news, they said that the Evil Dude had turned a bit weird after his wife ran off to Mexico with another man. The townsfolk said he began to wear the same clothes day after day so that people would cross the road to avoid the smell. And he didn’t stop in the local hotel anymore for a drink and a jaw-wag. The storekeeper said he must have been mighty lonesome and everyone reckoned his queer behaviour was down to heartbreak. The locals said that before his wife ran away he was a neighbourly kind of guy who always said howdy and paid his bills on time.
‘I can’t believe it,’ said the storekeeper. ‘He seemed like a good Christian man. I guess you never can tell.’
The police found the body of his strangled wife buried under a tree in the backyard.
She watched on T.V as the killer arrived at the courthouse in a black prison wagon with slits for windows. As he was escorted up the steps by a posse of armed guards she was shocked to see that he looked like an ordinary middle-aged man with a balding head and a beer belly. He didn’t have horns and a forked tail. And he wasn’t sporting a swastika tattoo. She figured that she might sit next to him on a bus, or walk behind him on the pavement, and never know how wicked he was. And if wickedness looked normal then perhaps it didn’t take a special kind of person to do terrible things. The face of evil could belong to your neighbour, or your teacher, or your dad.
Evil was ordinary.