The GodPlay Dare
As the journalist widely considered to be the leading media expert covering the twelve-year criminal investigation into the murders of the serial killer known as Bedroom Friday, I was not at all surprised when I was approached about writing this book. I realized long before the case had come to an end that a manuscript chronicling its events was, on some subconscious level, already in the making. It was indeed the stuff from which Hollywood fiction is sculpted, and if I didn’t write it someone else surely would. My concern was that if I wasn’t going to be the one accepting responsibility for the endeavor, any author who ultimately stepped up would unlikely possess the intimate understanding of the minutiae needed to do it justice. That, in my opinion, would have been very unfortunate.
It may come as a surprise then that for nearly eighteen months I consistently declined the invitation to put this project together or head up the effort. This wasn’t because I lacked a genuine interest in seeing it come to life; it was for a few other altogether noteworthy reasons.
First, after the investigation ended, we weren’t sure that the case had really been solved. The only way to know with any degree of certainty was to allow for a considerably long passage of time without any more killings taking place. From a purely-business perspective, the last thing I wanted was to bring this book to market just when new victims were beginning to turn up. This would have been a clear indication that the breadth of the research and the scope of the analysis used in compiling the book was erroneous…and that a killer was still on the loose.
As you may recall, or will learn in the following pages, the way this case came to its conclusion was as murky as its brutally long history had been. It felt to many, myself included, that when it was all said-and-done—for lack of a better way of putting it—something was left very unresolved. I simply needed a certain amount of time to pass to be reassured that I was in the clear to make the necessary assumptions about the case’s finality: that Bedroom Friday was gone for good.
Secondarily, out of respect for the families of the victims, as well as the law enforcement officers whom gave so much of themselves to the investigation, there needed to be a pause for some much-needed healing to occur. It was imperative that this happened before the drafting of the book could officially get underway. I realized that, even-though I already had a case file that was probably larger than the FBI’s and the NewLima Police Department’s combined, in order to give the process the dedication it required, I’d ultimately have to re-interview most everyone involved, and probably multiple times. This included the victims’ families, the officers working all the angles, the agents from the FBI, other journalists, key witnesses, etc. But I also knew quite well that until the dust settled, my ability to get the additional information I needed would be hampered, to say the least, without first allowing for the passage of some desperately-desired healing time.
Lastly, I simply needed a break myself. I’ve always believed that if one is allowed to step away from a major challenge like this for a short pause, one should eventually be able to return to the work with a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of duty. I hoped a break from the story would help me attain the level of quality and the meticulous workmanship that I sought to accomplish with the book. So, after about a year and a half had gone by—which by most expert accounts was a period outside the killer’s normal interval between crimes—the urge to get this project underway became overwhelming. The time had finally arrived to put pen to paper; or in my case, fingers to keypad.
I began structuring the outline. I initially intended it to be a nonfiction piece that focused on the entirety of the twelve-year investigation, documenting the hoard of facts and details that had consumed over a decade of my life. The whole effort, however, quickly evolved into a swollen, 1,500-page volume. Once more, from a commercial viability perspective (and again to the relief of my publicist and agent), I had to start looking for a better way to tell the story that would more suitably hold the attention of my readers.
Moreover, as the vision of this book continued to evolve, the facts of the story started having less significance, and the characters themselves—their personal struggles; the gut-wrenching events they experienced; what they were internalizing; and how these trials were compelling them to question long-held beliefs—began telling the real tale. There was just no way my original outline was going to do the story justice. But how was I to write the book as a case-study, based on a factual investigation that stretched over a 12-year time-period, that really needed to be told from the personal perspectives of a few select characters? And how was I to keep the whole thing under four digits in page length?
Adding to this dilemma, in the days following the announcement that law enforcement had identified and apprehended a suspect, I was approached by women claiming to have some new and profoundly intimate information about the case. My first response was to direct them to the lead investigators of the NLPD and FBI, but I was quickly informed by each of them—and in very clear terms—that they adamantly opposed going to the authorities or going on the record in any manner whatsoever. In fact, they all threatened that they’d deny everything they had to say if any part of their discussions made it into the official case file.
Although I thought this a fascinating turn of events, I initially believed it highly unlikely that these women had actually encountered the same man the authorities had identified as Bedroom Friday. Perhaps this was an altogether new story that was unfolding? But, after more than a handful of these claims were made, I began to suspect otherwise. For one thing, their accounts were similar in almost every regard. These women each closely fit the victim profile, and each of their personal descriptions of the suspect were spot-on. Not only the physical characteristics, but his many personality traits—right down to the man’s indistinct accent—were consistently cited by all of them.
Because of the unwavering conviction they commonly shared, and their stubborn demand to remain “off-record”, they had soon earned my attention. Moreover, all these women were from influential families, and most came from positions of wealth. I quickly became convinced that these were not women looking for a book deal or trying to cash in on the notoriety aspect of the case. I began meeting with each of them, individually, over a period of several months. The information that I gleaned from these interviews opened up a whole new perspective for me that rocketed my level of interest up to an even greater height.
From their accounts, I was exposed to intimate details surrounding the ritualistic nature of the sex acts that they all endured during their encounters. This information would have otherwise been largely unattainable, a most unfortunate outcome, because it ultimately turned out to be such a crucial part of the story. All of these proud women professed to have had intimate relations with the man the authorities had concluded was Bedroom Friday; but all had walked away alive, able and willing to speak of their experiences. When probed again about their original decisions to not come forward, I was consistently told that during their encounters, while deep in the sexual act and admittedly being asphyxiated, something life-altering had happened. When they woke up sometime later—alone in their beds, groggy, and reeling from the whole encounter—with only one exception they were left little desire to report their experiences to the authorities. As I dug for explanations, they mostly implied that the real reason they were only then coming forward—and to a journalist rather than to the officials—was because they felt a deep sense of duty to tell another side of the story.
I quickly made two crucial decisions that would significantly impact how the tale eventually came to be told. The final weeks of the investigation happened to be a period of time when its most pertinent details coalesced. So, I began redrafting my outline around that specific period of case history, which soon became the central focus of the book. Additionally, the biggest consideration of all started to cross my mind: that the only way to put the reader at the epicenter of the tale—and allow for the intimate internalization of what the characters really went through—was to tell it from a limited, third-person perspective. So, with those two key decisions finally made, the first chapter of the book quickly began finding its way onto the blank screen of my word processor. The rest is now history.
Before closing this introduction, however, I would be remiss not to include a few words of warning for anyone considering reading further into the morass of potentially controversial subject matter that this story relates. The content within these pages deals with three topics that for many readers may not be easily digestible. To begin, the killer, Bedroom Friday, has been described in many different lights, but one thing that we know for sure is that, in my opinion, he’s a sexual predator above all else. Given the detailed information I’ve gathered through numerous witness accounts, I felt obligated to tell this story the way I truly believe it transpired, regardless of the explicit nature of the content.
Though I’ve made several past attempts at writing fiction during my career as a freelance investigative journalist—several short stories and a novella that never saw publication: never anything bordering on erotica; definitely not snuff fiction—I was committed to telling the story without pulling any punches. As such, I was forced to push myself out of my comfort-zone and produce a piece of literature by which—upon rereading my own words—I was left shocked and astounded. On some level, I believe I was somehow channeling a subconscious alter-identity—my muse, no doubt—that at times commandeered my hands and took me along for a story-telling joy-ride. So, my first warning to the reader is that if you’re not amenable to graphic content of an explicitly sexual nature—including descriptive accounts of rape—then reading this book is probably not the best way to spend the next several hours of your life.
Second, not unlike the point just mentioned, these crimes were also disturbingly violent, and I did not back away from offering up a genuine depiction of the atrocities that were committed. Though I shied away from including any unnecessary detail surrounding these brutal acts of homicide, anything I deemed pertinent to the story—including descriptions of the torment that the victims undoubtedly suffered—can be found in the pages that lie ahead. So, again: reader beware!
And finally, when I first accepted the responsibility of writing this book, I hadn’t a hunch that anything of a religious or spiritual nature would inevitably be woven into the subject matter. I was very mistaken. I’ve always appreciated when reading the work of another author who brings up matters of faith and spirituality (or a lack thereof), that they first disclose any devotion to their own personal beliefs—if only to make sure the reader is openly aware of the potential for hidden bias that may exist in the writing.
That said, my spiritual/religious affiliations are such: though I was raised under the guise of a Protestant-Christian background, I was never really exposed to church or other religious activities much as a child; in fact, I rarely remember seeing the inside of a church growing up. Therefore, I’d classify myself early-on as having a dispirited degree of belief in Judeo-Christian philosophy and in GOD Himself. During my college years, however, with exposure to typical liberal-arts coursework in materialistic-reductionist science and existential philosophy, my belief in something larger than ourselves, especially a God personal to me, lessened even further.
At some point in my early twenties, when asked, I routinely began professing agnosticism as the best descriptor of my core thinking (which in truth verged on the atheistic side of the equation). This viewpoint is something I maintained until only recently. I would now, however, be more inclined to say that my former belief in atheism as the most probable explanation for Universal Truth has been eliminated from any real consideration. And in the spirit of full disclosure, this was likely influenced by the weight of my involvement on the Bedroom Friday case, which has opened my eyes to new possibilities.
Nevertheless, for the purposes of this book, concerning any topics of religious, spiritual, theological or divine orientation, I’ve attempted to remain as neutral as possible and allow various opinions to materialize through the personal perspectives of the characters depicted herein. So, at last, these are my final words of warning before we begin. If, as a reader, you’re so inclined to take offense at anything that may speak in contradiction to your own personal religious affiliations or faithful alignments, you should be prepared to be offended by the time you’ve made it halfway through this book. And again, if you anticipate that this may end up being the case, I’d advise that you select a different subject with which to occupy your time. Either that, or simply approach the material entirely open-minded. The choice is yours.
On a final note: some, but not all, of the names of places and characters in this narrative have been changed in an attempt to preserve whatever privacy remains of these individuals. Though, because of the very public nature of this investigation, it’s understandably easy to research for yourself the actual persons depicted herein, I implore you to leave it alone and allow them the space they deserve to get on with their lives free of condemnation. I wish them all a peaceful future and much happiness on the boulevard to wherever their journeys take them.
Please enjoy the read…
Daron Everett Jones