Maybe it's because I watch a little too many Law and Order: SVU marathons. Maybe I've been jaded by the 64,000 college-kids-get-brutally-murdered-in-alien-slug-infested-hostels-run-by-cancer-patients movies that have come out in the past six years. Whatever the case, the story of this murder failed to baffle me the way it apparently did journalists across our great nation.
According to sources such as ABC.com and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, French Quarter residents were "shocked" (and, I assume, "awed") by the details of the murder, first announced last Thursday. For those of you too lazy to read the article (I know, it's long, but it talks about sex! with a dead person !), the basic facts are that Zack Bowen, 28, originially from California, committed suicide on Thursday night by jumping off the roof of the Omni Hotel. He was discovered on the roof of the parking garage by a hotel guest and police found a suicide note in his pocket which directed them to go to his apartment, where they would find the aftermath of a "murder most foul" (quote from Shakespeare, not suicide note). Upon arriving at the address indicated in the note, police found not only another, 8-page note detailing the murder and Bowen's subsequent actions, but a feast awating them in the kitchen! Maybe my mom could take some hints from this guy next time I come home from school.
In the notes, Bowen confessed to strangling his girlfriend of one year, Addie Hall, after a dispute on Oct. 5. He then proceeded to "sexually violate" (read: totally bone) her body several times before getting piss drunk and passing out on the floor. The next morning he woke up and went to work. Over the next two weeks, he kept her body in the bathtub and otherwise went about his daily life. He worked on chopping up her body, but apparently eventually decided that the best way to dispose of it would be to cook and eat it. When police got to the apartment, they found two pots on the stove, one containing Hall's head (apparently charred enough that police reporters were initially hesitant to commit to saying it was Hall, but if it wasn't, then I think we have a much bigger problem. Namely, that Bowen has no fucking clue who he murdered) and another containing her hands and feet. In the stove were her arms and legs in turkey basting pans. Some reports claim that all of the limbs were seasoned, others say only one leg. In the refrigerator was a garbage bag containing her torso. All of this seemed to shock police less than the fact that Bowen had cleaned the bathroom, which was "spotless" despite the fact that he had dismembered a corpse in there. No shit, guys. He still needed someplace clean to brush his teeth.
Journalists would lead readers to believe that the read tragedy of this story is that Bowen and Hall's love was ignited during Hurricane Katrina, and that they were among the few scores of people who refused to leave the Quarter in the weeks after the storm. Apparently the couple hung around their flat, committing such noble, endearing deeds as "petting stray cats," "sharing cigarettes," and "flashing breasts at patrolling police officers." Journalists seem to suggest that if the pair could make it through several weeks without electricity or showers, it is a shame to see the relationship end over something so trifling as an argument over an apartment lease (which, according to their landlord, seems to be the last disagreement they had before Bowen decided to do her in and then do her some more.)
Over the weekend other details have emerged which, according to news sources that love America, make the story all the more heart-wrenching: Bowen was a veteran of the armed forces, allegedly having served in Iraq. I believe the actual phrase preferred was "hero of the Iraq war," which obviously just means that he had already committed several dozen uninstigated murders and probably "sexually violated" hundreds of other bodies. I shouldn't say that, it's just speculative. But seriously.
Other details, important to the human interest orientation of most reports, include Bowen's rugged good looks, his penchant for Jameson Irish whiskey and Miller High Life, and the couple's place of residence as a flat over a voodoo shop. The British source I've linked to referrs to the store as the "shop of a voodoo priestess," but I think that's a pretty liberal term for "store that sells incense and 'I Got Fucked on Bourbon Street' t-shirts."
Now I know you're asking, "What relevance does this story have for me? I've only been to New Orleans like one time on spring break and I never read newspapers." For the 0.07% of you who either live in New Orleans (enjoying the rain much?) or pay attention to national news, I'm sure you have already figured out that this is the most important murder story of the century. (I'm not speaking in hyperbole when I say that. I think it's extremely viable, considering not much other necrophlila has been publicized these past six years.) Bowen, in the spirit of a true, patriot, has done the nation a great favor by choosing to commit a quick and painless murder and then play around with the body for weeks afterwards. The country has not seen a story this grisly in some 50 years. I mean real stories, guys. Like with actual people. I know this shit happens all the time on TV. Apartment full of body parts, and right before Halloween! Bowen is too thoughtful.
Journalists focus, with feigned (or maybe real, I don't know how stupid they are) astonishment, on the "mystery" of Bowen's descent from a normal member of society to the committer of a heinous crime. Much to my dismay, several of them speculate that the cause may be (drumroll) lingering distress from Hurricane Katrina. The problem with this hypothesis is their blatant disregard for two important facts:
1) Not everything that happens in New Orleans is a direct or indirect result of the hurricane, you asstards. Granted, some things are. The fact that the Saints and the Green Wave, football teams with notoriously poor records, are not completely sucking dick this season is probably a direct result of the Superdome being haunted. Some dude murdering his girlfriend 14 months later is not.
2) Journalists somehow fail to see the obvious similarities between this crime and Brett Easton Ellis's masterpiece American Psycho. If they would take a moment (or about 20 hours) and read this novel, the would doubtless find the correlation that I have found, leading me to the main purpose (3000 words later) of this update, which is that:
Zack Bowen was emulating the shit out of Patrick Bateman. Imagine, if you will, this scenario:
Your long-time girlfriend thinks you've been cheating on her. Why? Because you have been. You've just decided to move in together in a new apartment, and before the lease is signed, she accuses you of unfaithfulness and threatens to kick you out. You have no other place to live, and in the heat of a passionate verbal battle, you strangle her to death. Crime's already committed. Shit, you think. I just murdered someone. I'm going to go to jail and get assfucked for the rest of my life. Your future isn't looking so bright. You're thinking that maybe just looking for another apartment wasn't such a bad idea. Oh well, let's see the bitch try to kick you out now. You'll have to get rid of the body somehow, but first you decide to fuck her a few times. Just to show her who's boss, and also because you've been fighting for like three days and it's high time for some make-up sex. Then you realize that you just had sex with a dead person, and that last time she was even starting to stiffen up a little (not much different from every other night, am I right? Eh?) so you drink until you pass out on the floor. The next day you wake up next to a corpse (and with a pounding headache. Thanks a lot, Evan Williams! Maybe next time spend more than $4 on a handle.) and while you're at work, think of ways to get rid of it. Don't want to leave a trail? Can't stand the thought of incarceration? Eat her. I know you never did it while you guys were together, not matter how many times and asked or how many blowjobs she gave you, but it doesn't seem like such a bad idea now. Especially with some Creole seasoning. I mean, she didn't work out much. Her thights are probably marbled like Kobe beef. So you chop her up, but her on the stove, baste her arms and legs and stick them in the oven, save the torso for later (good call saving the boobies and twat in case you get lonely again), and then, just when the apartment is starting to fill with the fragrant aroma of roasting human flesh, you realize that you're contemplating EATING A FUCKING PERSON, Dr. Lector, and that's just crazy. So you take all the cash you can wheedle out of your bank account ($1500. Isn't that pathetic?) and spend it, by your admission, on "good drinks, good food, good whores" and then jump off the roof of the Omni.
It doesn't sound that insane to me. I mean, it's crazy. I'm not saying I could do it. I'm just saying, I can see how he'd get to that point. God know Pat Bateman did the exact same thing, and he was just doing it "to be different."
spends his days working and his nights having sex with chicks, then murdering them, then having sex with them some more, then drinking some whiskey, then, weeks later, trying to cook them. indeterminate amount of time later, calls lawyer and confesses everything in detail.
spends his days working and his nights having sex with his girlfriend, then murdering her, then having sex with her some more, then drinking some whiskey, then, weeks later, trying to cook her. a couple days later, writes 13 pages of suicide notes confessing everything in detail.
Wow that's weird. exactly the same. Interesting. I've gotta say, if you want to murder just one person during your lifetime, for whatever reason, it's probably a pretty sweet idea to style your crime after Pat Bateman. Good call, zack bowen. I hope you're in heaven right now having drinks and mud soup with Paul Allen, and I hope he's saying "Why didn't we go to Dorsia? I could have gotten us a table."
I guess maybe you're not in heaven. Then again, I guess Paul Allen probably isn't either. On account of him being a fictional character and all.