To: The New York Times
From: Cat Sinclair, 18, Flower Mound, Kansas
I’ve been reading a lot of international newspapers recently and I’ve been shocked to hear that Italy has brought a young woman to trial for murder, claiming that she took part in a drug-fueled violent sex orgy that turned homicidal. As I read the case closely, I had to ask: Why doesn’t stuff like that ever happen in my town? Do crazed, murderous orgies only happen in Italy?
So very often I dream of taking a gap year or wanderjahr to the land of the ancient Romans. But this case has greatly troubled me as I pore over international newspapers and books from the library.
There are so many stories from Italy that can give a person pause: An Italian politician runs rampant with Lesbian foot-fetish prostitutes, or some woman takes off her top at a party in a Fellini movie, or a bunch of Satan worshiping orgiastic Templars go nuts in an Umberto Eco novel and have sex with a blindfolded girl while performing voodoo. Life here in Flower Mound is just so staid by comparison, and maybe I am naïve, but these just aren’t the kinds of things I’m used to where I come from.
What is it about Italy that makes murderous orgies so commonplace that they are immediately accepted with jaded nods by the Italians? Is it some atavistic remnant of Roman culture from the days of its debauched Empire? I’ve never seen Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom, which has been banned by our library here, but when I read the most recent story, I assumed that it was old hat to the Italians–that they must simply be shaking their heads with familiar chagrin at another story about a cannabis inspired cluster fuck gone bad spraying across the front pages of their tabloids like grapeshot.
Supposedly an angel-faced American student went native and is now accused of killing her roommate in a completely spontaneous orgy initiated among strangers well besotted on killer dope. Some people say the forensic evidence points to another person, but the tabloids know better and are having none of it. Evidently this happens a lot: a sweet, all-American girl on the outside, a good student and athlete with an ebullient demeanor who demonstrates no antisocial behavior suddenly goes berserk on drugs and hate sex and begins to kill in a fit of joie de vivre. Is this what happens during one’s sexual awakening in the romantic Italian hills—that the mask is removed and we are all stripped down to our most ulterior and base desires to fuck and kill? Is that what the study abroad program is all about?
We’re just all so innocent in America. No right thinking attorney general here would ever even guess that the motivation for a murder with no forensic evidence was Dionysian thrill-kill lust. But Italy is different. Italians are very alert and cognizant at all times for the possibility of rampant Bacchanalian escapades–they sound, in fact, like they’re always ready for it to happen–the balmy nights, the open cask of wine and the wild abandon that culminates in the all-too-predictable snuff moment. I mean, in Italy these stories pretty much tend to just write themselves, don’t they? “Someone died? Sounds like another one of these crazed orgies we’ve been having during our two thousand years of licentiousness hedonism.” Once the whiff of that Umbrian countryside gets in your lungs, the concupiscence and the sentimental education of co-ed orgy murder cannot be but one or two steps behind, and the Italians simply know that better than we do.
Think of it. One minute you’re smoking some pot with your expat friends and the next minute your flat-mate’s blood is all over the walls, as you wonder, staring through the bars of your Italian jail cell, how you so lost your moral compass. How many a teenager’s summer in Florence, I wonder, ends up this way?
I ask you, New York Times editor, because I was thinking of spending this summer in Florence myself. But now I am very frightened of the idea: If I work for a year at Grandy’s and save 50% of my earnings for a trip to Tuscany, what are the chances that I, too, am going to die in an orgy gone bad? Or worse, what if I, too, swoon at the beauty of the Tuscan hills and in a state of crazed sexual debauchery turn into a psychopathic killer in a sex game? What if there is some base instinct deep within my ovaries that neither my mother nor Our Bodies, Ourselves ever told me about?
This case has made me think that perhaps a young girl is capable of anything–even the unspeakable acts of the Marquis de Sade–if her first experiences of the Tuscan countryside, hash oil and cunnilingus are especially vivid. Not having experienced any of these allegedly beautiful sensations personally yet, I am now afraid of myself. I have become greatly frightened of what dangers lurk in my unknowable heart should I follow its impulses. Perhaps I’m playing with fire by planning to go overseas and perhaps I should instead do as my preacher says and marry this guy from Votech who has a crush on me. I mean, he’s no prize. But sometimes you just have to bet on the goofy refrigerator mechanic when the alternative is orgiastic frenzy and death. Save me from the murderous tendencies I might only belatedly discover and not understand until I’m in an Umbrian jail cell, my mouth covered with blood, doing cartwheels for the paparazzi as they refer to me as “Luciferina,” “Demoness Lover” and “Orgy Girl.”
I’m not sure where I was going with this, New York Times editor, except to say that none of us knows who we really are, and Italy is one dark peninsula where I have decided I will not go to find out. The Italians know what evil really lurks in the hearts of men. I can only ask God to please keep me safe from the heart of darkness that is Italy.
Photo: An Italian police artist’s rendering of the most recent American orgiastic crime scene.
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