>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

February 27, 2008

Steve: I don’t care who died how gruesomely, I love eating this stuff.
Nathan: Death doesn’t always mean a loss of appetite. But…I mean, she was your mom.
Steve: And she was always telling me I didn’t eat enough so fuck you, I’m honoring her wishes.
Nathan: Cruller?
Steve: Don’t mind if I do.

On the morning of September 15th, 2003, Johnny Walters woke up ready for high school. He had already packed his book bag with three text books, his cell phone, and two loaded nine millimeter semi-automatic hand guns.

He showered, made and ate his breakfast alone (his parents’ work started before his classes). By 8:30 or so, he stood listlessly at the bus stop, preparing for the best day of his life.

On that same day, Nick Catcher woke up an hour late for school and lit a joint. He wasn’t a very dedicated student. In fact, Catcher had never been much of a student of anything beyond quarterbacking, and as such, his grades kind of made themselves. But he wasn’t just a quarterback. Nick Catcher was starting quarterback for the Lyndonville Patriots, who had won state the last year, after all.

“Unlike all those other student-killing assholes, Johnny Walters had no plans for suicide.”

A more dedicated scholar would have felt guilty for all the favoritism, but Catcher was an idiot, and never saw great results when he tried studying, so not trying didn’t seem to him like much of a loss. He had a great life though, to which the naked 19-year-old girl in his bed could attest.

“You gonna share that?”

Catcher handed her the joint and put on his shirt.

“Where you going?” she asked.

“School.”

“Why?”

“Haven’t been there in a while. Think I may have a test or something.”

Catcher pulled on his pants and walked out of his house to his car without even saying goodbye. The girl, as was her custom, went back to sleep.

By the time Nick Catcher had started his engine, Johnny Walters had shot three high school football players in their heads, successfully ending their lives. Police had been dispatched and they zoomed by Catcher as he drove, thumping the dashboard to a Sepultura song from one of his CDs. Catcher didn’t wonder what the cops were getting into. As I mentioned, he’s an idiot. But he was happy that the police didn’t pull him over. He had a half-smoked joint in his ashtray that he planned on hitting later.

The three boys shot by Johnny Walters were Hunter Davidson, Tyler Forsyth, and Danny Davis. The boys teased Johnny for going on three years. They dipped his head in the toilet and flushed it, they knocked his books out of his hands, stole his money, and beat him regularly. They weren’t alone though. There was a fourth asshole. A kid named Nick Catcher.

Johnny had caught all three of them in their jock-filled history class, conveniently taught by their football coach. Johnny hated the sight of all of them, laughing and smiling and chatting it up when one was supposed to be teaching and the others were supposed to be learning.

He had peered through the little rectangular window in the classroom door, had spotted the boys all sitting together in the back (a station of honor to be sure), had opened the door very quickly, and then, with the kind of precision and fine motor skills that can only be learned from hours upon hours of practice with guns, Johnny Walters fired three successive rounds into three heads of the high school football elite.

He couldn’t remember feeling happier.

Unlike all those other student-killing assholes, Johnny Walters had no plans for suicide. In fact, he had an escape plan.

He ran as fast as he could, guns in his backpack, and screamed, “Gun, gun, he’s shooting!” at the top of his lungs.

By the time they realized they’d been duped, it was too late. Johnny Walters was slipping out one of one of the huge high school’s basement exits and chugging through the parking lot.

The officer on duty in the lot had conveniently rushed inside the school to see what was happening and ran past Johnny on his way up the steps.

The big metal door flew open. Johnny’s feet churned as fast as they could, making every effort to get through the parking lot and into the cover of the nearby woods, which would lead him to the surrounding neighborhoods, which would hopefully lead him to a bus stop. He didn’t know where he was going, but it didn’t matter.

Nick Catcher knew where he was going and it did matter. Nick was not allowed to park in the school. A chubby police officer informed Nick that the area had been cordoned off and no one was allowed in or out.

“But I think I have a test,” said Nick.

“No you don’t,” said the officer before he asked Nick if next year’s squad would have as much talent as last year’s.

“We’ll see,” said Nick. “A lot of big shoes to fill.”

Nick turned the car around and took a left at the first street. He could get into the school from the neighborhood parking lot. He had no idea what was going on in the school, but he knew that if he didn’t even try to take the test, he could get no help on it from teachers who understood the complexity of the spread offense.

He pulled in front of his center, Lyle Van Hook’s house. Van Hook’s parents loved Nick and he was sure they would recognize his car and not call for a tow. After all, no one tows the quarterback’s car. Well, not in this town anyway.

Nick grabbed a single piece of paper from his glove box. On that paper, in childish pen, were the words: “Test, 10 AM Tuesday.”

“I knew it,” he said to no one.

The walk to the school parking lot involved three minutes or so on a trail in a small patch of woods. Catcher came to this chunk of land all the time to get high and skip class and knew the walk was easy in dry weather.

It’s hard to say who heard the footsteps first, Johnny or Nick. But within a few microseconds, they both spotted each other through the foliage. About eighty feet apart.

“You shouldn’t be walking this way,” called Johnny.

“Why not?” asked Nick, picking up his pace toward the douchebag who had the audacity to tell him what to do.

“Because there’s been a shoot… ing.”

Johnny Walters recognized Nick Catcher and smiled.

“What you smiling at, Pencil Dick?”

Johnny reached into his bag, removed a nine millimeter and shot Nick Catcher in the chest without so much as a word.

Two minutes later, and Johnny was driving through the neighborhood in the quarterback’s car.

Yup, thought Johnny, without a doubt this has been the best day of my life.

“Only thing left to do now is lose my virginity,” he said to no one.

He turned up the stereo and smiled from ear to ear as he eased the beat-up Mitsubishi onto the highway, the whole time wondering where he could find a hooker.

Three weeks later, in his confession, Johnny Walters wrote that he murdered for humanity, that he did what he did to remind everyone that actions have consequences and that people have feelings, and that we all better learn to treat each other with respect or else get fucking shot. They loved him in prison. Literally.

The Lyndonville Patriots went 5-6 the following season, missing the postseason entirely. Their coach, a hotheaded 34-year-old named Brian McKinney, was arrested for assault after strangling an out-of-town reporter who had suggested that the Patriots’ season had been a tragedy.

The chick in Catcher’s bed woke up around three o’clock in the afternoon and went to the mall to talk to her best friend Suzy, who worked the Orange Julius counter. Later, she wore a black mini-skirt to Catcher’s funeral. She went home that night with Brian Modine, the Patriots’ starting linebacker and owner of a two year old Lexus.

The fat cop, having been the last one to see Nick alive, was interviewed hundreds of times by the television media. His portly obese body, double chin, saggy jowls and chubby fingers were a part of the reason that many locals had problems eating after the killing.

His love for pastries, however, would not fade.


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