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April 15, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

A compliment from a serial killer

“Doctor Winter…” A disconcertingly long pause followed as he considered his question. He scratched his nose again before continuing. “Doctor, what kind of a man is Daniel Davidson?”

“In what regard, Mr. Pitcairn?”

Bemusement came into his voice. “Well, if I met him on the street what would I think?”

Winter allowed silence. Then in an assured voice he said, “You would find him utterly normal as to appearance. His demeanor would seem a bit serious and strained. Daniel is not particularly social. When he spoke, he would be articulate, obviously quite intelligent and witty.”

Pitcairn heard him clear his throat, perhaps reluctant to proceed.

“Mr. Pitcairn, Daniel Davidson is, in fact, a pleasant man. You would probably like him. Then when you heard his tale, you would be struck that he was quite unlike the monster portrayed by the media. If you are the thoughtful type, it would be a disarming experience.”

Pitcairn’s next question rushed from him. “Do you like him?”

A soft, gentle laugh filled the line, “Yes, I do Mr. Pitcairn.  Yes, I do.”

Pitcairn smiled to himself. “Thank you for your time –”

Winter interrupted. “Will you be responding to Daniel’s request?”

“Funny you should ask. It wasn’t exactly clear what Davidson wants of me. Do you know?”

Again the psychiatrist laughed. “Mr. Pitcairn, Daniel very much enjoys your columns. He describes you as erudite, but more importantly, he finds you to be open-minded, which is quite unlike his experiences with the press.”

“I’m not sure how to take that,” he replied.

“A compliment from a serial killer, you mean?” queried Winter.

“Yes, but it’s more than that. It’s uncommon to receive such praise from any quarter, and rather disconcerting to have it come from someone sentenced to die for their crimes.”

The doctor responded, “There is that, isn’t there? But Daniel hopes you are as open-minded as you seem, and will perhaps put your thoughts into print.”

Pitcairn replied thoughtfully. “Dr. Winter, I may or may not be any of those things, but I am afflicted with compulsive tenacity that doesn’t allow much to pass me by.”

“That would probably be a good thing. It likely serves you well if my senses do not deceive me.”

“Indeed,” replied Pitcairn in an attempt at wit.  “Thank you Doctor.”

“You’re most welcome.”

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