A Booming Voice (Story by R.C. Peris)

Dear People of the World:

You don’t know me. You will. In a few hours. You will hear lots of things about me. Many people will repeat the question ‘why’. Over and over. Psychologists at the FBI, Interpol, the CIA, MI6 and so forth will evaluate me. Try to understand my mind. My motive. They will get it wrong. They will use all manner of theories to explain me but they will be wrong.

I’m Irish. Boston born and raised. Dorchester. I’m a Southie. My Dad donated to the IRA. We didn’t have much money. He worked on the docks. We lived in subsidized housing. But every time he went to the bar he put money in a bowl. Above the bowl was a sign. IRA. The bartender gave the money to a guy and the guy gave the money to an IRA man living in the North End with the Italians. I was alive for the Troubles. Dad always got angry when he watched the news. Events in distant countries mattered. Victims mattered.

I went to Harvard on scholarship and for my year abroad I went to the American University of Cairo in Egypt. I learned conversational Arabic. I studied Middle Eastern politics. I got angry. I got angry with America. The Muslims I met said it wasn’t my problem. But things mattered. It was difficult for me to be apathetic. Suffering twisted my soul. I empathized with everyone who told me their story.

When I went back to America a man (I won’t name him) approached me in Harvard Square and asked if I wanted to fight. Fight the domination of America. He asked if I wanted to side with those suffering. I agreed. For two years I bought cell phones, passed messages, and followed certain government officials in Boston.

“Will you give your life?” asked the man I won’t name.

I thought about. In some strange way, my life stopped being my own when I empathized. Other people’s suffering became my suffering. I got lost in the feeling. I remembered my Dad, already dead of cancer, so emotional about the IRA.

“I will give my life,” I said with a clear voice.

A week later I was fitted with a vest riddled with bombs. I put it on this morning and slipped a sweater over my torso. At 10:30 AM I will walk into the federal building and detonate the bomb. Why? Feeling is a burden. I never could achieve apathy like normal people. My motive is less political and more personal. I’m sure there is no point to my death and I’m not even sure I will end up in heaven. But I will stop feeling. Maybe that is heaven. Hanging in darkness, awesome quietness, no feeling, no sense of up or down or right or wrong.

You will hear many things about me but just know I died and killed because of feeling. My act was human. Those of you who are apathetic are not even human. You’re the dangerous ones. You’re the ones allowing injustice. You’re the ones wrapped in your own silence while my body was wrapped in bombs. Loudness. A booming voice.


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