James and John

Crandall Houghton was the name on the door over the title Warden, but Jameson’s group called him James. He administered a medium security, juvenile detention facility in western New York that housed only males. A perfect playground for the covetous psychopath.

James was unhappy with his lot in life. He deserved to be wealthier, more successful, more admired, and better looking. While he was well off in many of those areas, he was an ugly man, hook nosed, blotchy, bald, and vulture-eyed. His railings at the vagaries of fate were exacerbated by the existence of his brother and fellow psychopath, Adam, whom Jameson named John.

The supply of ugly that James had hoarded for himself had been spent by the time John had been born. John was movie star attractive in a way that was overgenerous to movie stars. It was painful to leave his presence.

There wasn’t much more to say about John. He knew how good looking he was, and he didn’t have a conscience that could have prevented him from the Sherman’s march he cut through the female population of the city. He had considered modeling as a career to exploit his advantage, but that would have actually been work, something he wasn’t interested in. Why work when you can have a string of women, young and old, but not too old, give you whatever you desire. The proper application of flirting up to sexual gratification, depending on the woman, was all it took to get new cars, rent, and spending money.

If that had been all he was looking for, John’s activities would have been seen as narcissistic of that he was trading on his attractiveness, but that wasn’t all he would do. His belief that the women were there for his amusement and use caused him to discard them in the most harmful ways imaginable. Most just ran out of money, so he ran out on them. The ones that became needy, he liked to string along until he knew leaving would do the most damage. There was a certain fun in turning them into sobbing, quivering piles.

The ones that rebelled needed more handling. Some women didn’t see his temporary presence as a gift, as he did, and tried to make trouble for him in the community. These he had to destroy socially to prevent his wells from drying up. In these cases, the relationships he had cultivated with the more powerful social brokers served him well. The scorned couldn’t spread lies about him if they had nowhere important to do it.

It was the ease of John’s success with women that made James’ difficulties that much more infuriating. He didn’t blame John. John was as much a possession of comfort for James as was his BMW and fine clothing. It was still unfair, though, and James took out his frustration with the injustice on those around him. Every handsome guard and fair-haired inmate came to some misfortune, although they never knew why. As the warden, with so many targets in play at the same time, and the assumption that the facility was a dangerous place, no one could see the pattern of events and trace it back to him.

What made him more dangerous in that setting was the ring of administration and guards that agreed with him about the need for a strong hand over the inmates. Prisons breed sides. It was the guards vs the prisoners. It was the whites against the blacks against the browns against the yellows. A playground to a psychopath.

Playtime was interrupted a couple years back by a man in a tweed jacket. The man, a professor, derailed an investigation into some financial trouble John stumbled into after bedding another of his middle-aged widows. The professor smoothed things over with the widow, who hadn’t really lost much at that point, and a law enforcement friend did the same with the local authorities.

Keeping John out of jail was enough to warrant an introduction. The Professor’s insistence that he could offer advice to keep John free in the future warranted consideration of the invitation to join a little group.