(Continued from Part I)

A couple weeks went by before the first session with psychiatrist was scheduled.  The interpreter was sitting in the waiting room at the Hospital when the Sheriff’s Deputy brought Diaz in for his evaluation. He was wearing the orange jumpsuit and was handcuffed with his arms at his sides.  While he waited for the appointment, the deputy flirted with the nurse, and Diaz played with his handcuffs, managing to slip one hand out.  He thought was funny.  The interpreter told him in Spanish to put his hand back into the handcuff before the deputy noticed.  He looked more like a kid who was cutting up in school; he really didn’t comprehend that he was there on murder charges, and that he might not see the light of day for the next forty years.

Once in the psychiatrist’s office, Tomas began to describe the events leading up to the 14th. He had been suffering from auditory hallucinations since his mother died.  He was very close to his mother.  He was the youngest of all of their children, and was probably the spoiled one.  When she died, he went off the deep end, and the Voice began to tell him to kill his father.  It said:

Shoot him in the head.  Go on!  Nothing is going to happen.  Nobody dies from a bullet in the head. Go ahead and see. Do it!  You have the gun. If you don’t, he’s going to shoot you.  He knows that you have the gun; he knows that you want to kill him; he wants you to do it.  That’s why he turns his back on you.  The next time he does it, you are supposed to kill him. Let him have it. Don’t worry about it! Just do it. All you have to do is pull the gun and let him have it.  He even wants to do it.  That’s why he is turning his back on you right now; he knows it’s coming. So, go ahead and do it.

The Voice was everywhere.  There was no reprieve. He’d been listening to it for weeks and it was pushing him off the deep end.  It came from the television, the radio, from cars that were passing; he even heard it in the airbrakes of the semis that passed his apartment.  It was telling him to shoot his father.  When he first heard the Voice, he knew something was wrong.  He visited the doctor and asked if they had something to make the Voice go away; it was driving him crazy. Soon after, the doctor recommended institutionalizing Tomas up in Northern Illinois where psychiatrists quickly diagnosed him with acute paranoid schizophrenia and prescribed antipsychotic medication. The pills didn’t make the Voice stop entirely, but at least Tomas could tell that it wasn’t real.  The drugs, however, had a serious side effect: he couldn’t maintain an erection. It wasn’t a problem while he was in the hospital, but once he got out he wanted to hook up with the girls he met. So after couple of weeks, he quit taking the medication.

Within days, the Voice moved back into the apartment with him and his father.  It started up telling him not to go to work. If he left the apartment, the police would kill him. When his father told him that he had to go to work, the Voice told Tomas that he father was in on it and to shoot his father. Tomas tried to ignore it, but his father insisted he go to work. He figured if he left the apartment, he would leave the Voice there. But, on his way out the door, the Voice told him that the police were waiting for him outside. “The police are waiting for you outside. If you go out, they are going to kill you,” the Voice said. So, he returned to his apartment, pulled his gun, and shot his father in the head and chest.  The Voice then told Tomas to pack his bags, go to the bank, get all of his money, and catch the next bus to Mexico.

Once he bought his ticket at the Greyhound station, everything was fine.  The Voice told him to be quiet, sit still, and wait for them to announce the departure.  Once he got onto the bus the Voice told him that he should sit next to the passenger who was waiting for him.  Tomas would know who it was because the seat would be unoccupied. He tried to sit next to a woman up front, and she told him that the seat was taken.  She thought he was trying to hit on her, and didn’t want anything to do with him.  The Voice told him to look for a seat near the back.  There was one unoccupied seat next to a black man who seemed fairly nice; Tomas was supposed to sit next to him.  The man offered him a cigarette, but he refused.

As the bus left the city of Chicago and turned south, the Voice began to speak to Tomas again. It said, “Everybody knows!  They all know what you did.  The whole state of Illinois knows what you did! They are going to catch you! You are never going to make it to Mexico. The guy next to you is one of them: you are going to have to kill him.”

Just past Joliet, Johnson, the victim, struck up a conversation with the couple that was sitting in the seats across the aisle.  Tomas didn’t know what they were talking about because he didn’t speak English, so the Voice filled in the blanks. They were talking about him, of course.  They were talking about the murder: Tomas had left his father face down on the floor of the apartment; Tomas didn’t so much as even cry when it happened. They argued and joked back and forth for about an hour about the murder. The Voice told Tomas that he would never get to Mexico if they kept talking about him; they knew what he had done. Then the Voice said, “Kill them all! As soon as the bus stops, shoot them all. Pop all of them. One bullet right in the head is all that it will take to shut them up. Let them have it!

Part III, Part IV

About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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