"Figured you would ask that at some point. Fine. Suppose partners deserve truth. I will tell you on the way. I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
Jon did not reply. He and Fort set off as Jon told his story.
"Used to be police officer named Alex Sharpe. Worked on lots of cases. Caughts lots of bad guys. Until one day, July 1983, had to investigate crime scene. Was a large abandoned warehouse, few miles outside town. We Found lots of bodies, 3 dozen at least. All missing some body part. Arm or leg, foot or head. Squad searched entire building, never found missing body parts. Was so horrified by crime scene. Worst thing I had ever seen in life. Also the best. Warehouse opened my eyes, allowed me a brief glimpse under the mask worn by the real world, making you think it's all nice and good. What I saw drove me crazy.
Resigned from job,
And made a mask that I could stand to look at in the mirror."
"Oh..." Fort said, unsure of what else to say. "That's why you wear the mask. Was this when you started...uh...doing what you do? As Kovacs?"
" No. Wasn't Kovacs when I started. Was Sharpe pretending to Kovacs. All bodies from warehouse were victims of serial killer, named Joseph Swanson. First kill in 1975. Dead now. Spent next few years looking for him. Got sidetracked alot, busting other criminals and scum. Battling the city's symptoms, not its disease. Was being soft. Soft on crime. Letting criminals live instead of teaching them unforgettable lesson.
Then I found him. Found Swanson's hideout. At last, my goal was in reach. Did not bust through ceiling or jump through window. Walked in front door like respectable visitor. Searched premises. Swanson wasn't home. In time, found his kitchen. Examined sink, bone sticking out of garbage disposal. Picked it up & examined. Realized was not bone of consumed poultry. Was human phalange. Next, opened fridge & found something worse. Severed body parts of all shapes and kinds. Not limited to appendages, several organs in ziploc were there too. It was Sharpe who whispered "Dear God...." and closed his eyes.
It was Kovcas who opened them.
Waited for Swanson to get home. When fe arrived, beat him down, cuffed him to radiator, and set house on fire. Stood in street and watched it burn. Swanson didn't get out. Then I knew the truth of life in its entirety. Then I understood. Understood man's capacity for horror and monstrosity. Saw the world's black underbelly and did not run away. Once a man has seen, is impossible to turn one's back and pretend you did not see. No matter who orders him to forget. I do not do this because it is permitted. I do it because I have to. I do it because I am compelled.
I am sorry."
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