I INTERVIEWED A SERIAL KILLER | 1010 Park Place
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I INTERVIEWED A SERIAL KILLER

PHOTOGRAPH ©BRENDA COFFEE, 2018
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If you’re new to my blog this is not the kind of thing I usually write about. I’m more interested in writing Promise Yourself These Six Things, Does Someone Need Your Help to Heal or Fifi’s Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, Did Retirement. I’m writing this because of the number of emails I received about the serial killer I mentioned in last week’s blog. It’s also a reminder there are people like this in the world. Here’s a small snippet of a true story I’ve never published.

While I can’t tell you how or where I met him, I can tell you the last time I saw “Felix,” he’d killed 43 people. That was 15 years ago.

It had been arranged for me to interview Felix on what was to be one occasion–but at my request it expanded to two–in a private office somewhere in the United States. When he entered the room it was obvious my husband–and others–had made themselves clear about the “rules of engagement” for our meeting.

Again I can’t tell you what they were, but Felix and I were alone in the room, and I felt safe.

If you didn’t know Felix’s “resume,” you’d think he was a big, burly, teddy bear of a Mexican who was out of shape. For someone who looked doughy, he was a black belt in karate and had been trained on the finer points of killing and torture by a member of the Israeli Army.

Felix was a walking contradiction of everything I thought about good and evil. His perception of normal had long since skidded off the rails of crazy. One minute he was telling me the details of how he’d killed someone and the next… He was showing me a leather wallet he’d made, whipstitching the edges while waiting in his truck for the lights to turn green.

“I killed my first man when I was 14,” said Felix. “One of my uncles. He was trying to do my sister so I got my grandfather’s .38 Special, and I shoot him. The gun had a curved handle on it. Real pretty like.”

Felix paused to take a mouthful of the chicken dish he’d brought for lunch. His thick stubby fingers were slick with grease, and a piece of rice clung to the side of his mustache.

“I counted nine holes in one side of his serape. Nine holes! I show it to you sometime. (Like the serape, Felix kept other souvenirs from his kills including a finger he preserved in a vile of formaldehyde.) Hit the floor like a rock! Didn’t open his eyes no more. Just bleeding out all over the floor.” Felix dangled a half-eaten chicken leg between his thumb and forefinger. “Dead people have gases. They float if you throw them in water and haven’t opened them up. I don’t care what you put on them to weigh them down, they just float up, again.”

When he finished his lunch, he neatly wrapped up the remains, taking care to wipe off the conference table with a napkin from his sack. He leaned forward and a sterling silver image of Christ, nailed to a small wooden cross, slipped from inside his shirt and swung back and forth on a coarse leather lanyard.

“I have a sister who lives in Corpus Christi. She fixes hair and goes to church. Very religious. Me?” Felix shrugged his shoulders and cocked his head to one side. “It is part of my culture, but the only time I have religion is when I see things getting tight.”

“You may not think it, but my job is hard. You have to do it just right, ‘cause if you start hitting a person again and again… After a while he don’t feel his ass getting kicked no more. You know?”

“No,” I thought to myself. “Thank you, God. I don’t know.”

Love, Brenda

18 Comments

  • Reply Hilda Smith January 13, 2018 at 3:06 am

    Btenda…No words…going back to read your last post…do not know how I missed it

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Happy you’re here, Hilda! xoxo, Brenda

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan January 13, 2018 at 6:16 am

    I can picture him, fascinating.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      He was… Fascinating! He wasn’t the first, and wasn’t the last in a long line of men I met cut from the same mold.

  • Reply Beckye January 13, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Oh my gosh, Brenda!! And you just end the post right there?! You have lived such a varied and extraordinary life, friend! So thankful he didn’t take an unhealthy ‘interest’ in you! Not sure how I missed last week’s post, either, but I am going back to read it! Hope to hear more. That is incredible!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      Beckye, I’ve been silent for decades about my life because there wasn’t anyone left who lived such an “unusual” life. Writing about it is kind of like learning to walk again. Baby steps…

  • Reply jill Anthony January 13, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Brenda, this is fascinating. You never cease to amaze me. I could see you having a dozen books in the works, each as different as the next. Your descriptions are so clear, I can see him sitting across from me.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Jill, Having him sit across from you is one thing. It was a different story when he knocked on the door of my home….

  • Reply Pat January 13, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Fascinating tale told without even flinching. How did you manage to stay calm in the interview?

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      Pat, I’ve lived through much worse than sitting across the table from a man like Felix. To get him to tell me his story, I had to “make friends with him,” if you will. Talk about the things he was interested in… Use the time-tested Dale Carnegie techniques. He admired strength and confidence, and that was what I had. He’d never spent time with someone like me, a person… woman… angle woman who wasn’t afraid of him. That gave me the upper hand.

  • Reply Rebecca E. Parsons January 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I thought I would be more creeped out than I am Brenda. Your insight, and courage, are amazing.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you, Rebecca. I wasn’t afraid of men like that because I’d lived through a lot of things that toughened me up. You can do the unimaginable if you have to.

  • Reply Kim January 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    The details of this exchange made me cringe. It really is a strange world. Why oh why is this guy still on the streets? Are all his victims bad people and he is a vigilante or is he just a psycopath? See more questions because you write so well and have got my mind going a million miles a minute! Thank you for sharing even though I may not sleep tonight!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Kim, I hesitated to write this because I didn’t want to make anyone cringe, but there are so many people in the world who don’t have a conscious and don’t care about right and wrong. I wish I could answer all of your questions, but even after all these years later, it’s not in my best interest to tell you. He was not a vigilante. I believe he was a twisted as a barbed wire fence… The way he grew up made him that way. Normal was nothing like you and I think of as normal. Let’s just say he found his niche with people–good and bad–who appreciated his talents. Thank you for writing, Brenda

  • Reply Mamavalveeta03 January 13, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    My husband and I used to go into the state maximum security penitentiary with a group that did Bible Study with the inmates. We had to go through quite a bit of training, including what to do if there was a riot (Hint: Hit the floor!), things to say/not say, fingerprinting, etc. I was pretty nervous in max security, I’ve got to admit, since there were some VERY well-known murderers incarcerated there. Although the one that most concerned me was not allowed in the general prison population due to his notoriety. Most of the guys were very well-behaved because they wanted visitors and something to break up the monotony of the day. Oh, the stories!!! I found I was much more comfortable at the Federal Minimum Security prison, although the men were more honest in the state pen!

    We’ll compare stories someday, Brenda!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      Fascinating, Val! Yes, I’d love to know more! Two of my friends, husband and wife, minister at a men’s/women’s prison in South Texas. They’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve known them. You’re all missionaries in the best and most difficult sense of the word. I suspect you have to dig deeper to do that than I did to interview “Felix.” I also interviewed a “top Mexican law enforcement official” at a large Mexican prison. Me and my little short skirt, high heels and briefcase, my two bodyguards and “El Jefe’s”and his bodyguards… Now THAT WAS A CREEPY SITUATION! If only I had a “snapshot” of our strange group. What a sicko place… and I was the only woman inside the walls. Not something I would write about on my blog, but I would put it in a book…

  • Reply cindy hattersley January 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Fascinating…powerful…scary…

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 14, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      Hi Cindy, Between my two interviews with Felix, he knocked on the door at my home. I had a child staying with me who was in the back bedroom. It was then I knew I couldn’t lead this adventure seeking life anymore. I couldn’t bring it into my home…

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