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SERIAL FICTION: D.U.O. (Chapter 2)

This is Chapter Two of an ongoing work of serialized fiction by Brewerytown resident Michael Ferrence. Check out Chapter 1 here.

  I didn’t know it at the time, it took a while to figure out, for him to confide in me, but immediately following the attack, Dutten snapped, ‘became someone else’ as he said, initiating and perpetuating one of the most, if not THE most notorious crime sprees the city has ever known…

   And outside of his inner circle, nobody knows he’s behind it but me. I’ve questioned how much they even know, but he keeps me guessing, always deflecting, says it doesn’t matter who else knows. He’s probably right. For a guy with no criminal record, no prior documentation of mental illness, no history of violence, and what he describes as ‘a fairly typical upbringing for a guy my age’, Dutten is a monster; his enthusiasm for violence is boundless. I don’t know how he hasn’t been caught. I’ve been saying for years that it’s just a matter of time.

Illustration by Luke Cloran

Illustration by Luke Cloran

   As Mayor, he is meticulous, a perfectionist, he out works, out talks, and outdoes everyone; he’s obsessively prepared, deliberate in every action and reaction, demanding but fair, he is well-liked; with a sky high approval rating not for what he says but for what he does; the city of Philadelphia has never been in a better position. He’s brilliant. He seems to know not only what everyone wants, but also what everyone needs and how to get it done. He doesn’t take shit from anyone, is a man of the people, is connected to union leaders, activists, lobbyists, politicos, business men and women, celebrities and other heavy-hitters, and he is one with the common man, the lesser-knowns and nobodies. It’s a complicated, interconnected circuit of decisions, relationships, behaviors and actions, none of which could be attributed to just one person but hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people pulling in a similar direction, but under Dutten’s watch, the economy is surging, environmental conditions have improved dramatically, education- perhaps the most challenging, critical area of all to get right- has at worst been stabilized and at best caused us to radically rethink our view of intelligence; and even factoring in his ‘sporadic violent outbursts’ as he refers to it, violent crime is way down.

   When compared to his professional behavior, Dutten’s approach to revenge is diametrically opposed. He is a madman. He is singular. He does not think. He does not feel. He does not premeditate. He simply explodes. As a result, I have diagnosed him with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, categorized in the DSM-V under the umbrella, “Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct” disorders. Dutten originally disagreed with my clinical diagnosis, saying he doesn’t meet the criteria, that his actions do not cause impairment in occupational or interpersonal functioning. “Look at me. Look at this city. Does any of this seem impaired to you, huh?” He pointed to his head with the index and middle fingers on his right hand then out the front window of D.U.O. with his left. Yes, it does. I said. I told him if he wants to stay out of prison, if he wants to live, he should listen to everything I say.

   Michael Ferrence has written 3 novels, dozens of short stories, and hundreds of Hall of Fame caliber rock songs. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and son Jack, and works as a teacher. Read more from Michael at www.milkfuzz.com 

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