On May 20th Alexis de Troyes woke out of a sound sleep and killed his sister Minerva, who was eating breakfast in the next room. They had been sharing an apartment together for over a year, quite companianably, while Minerva finished her art degree at the city college. When she was dead, Alexis called the police and settled in front of her latest sculpture — fourteen iron bars partially rusted and twisted into the incomplete shapes of flames, between which she had knit long rows of bright fabric.

The de Troyes twins were orphans, their parents having died two years earlier in a plane crash outside of Florida. Alexis worked as a short order cook at an all-night restaurant on 5th Ave and wrote short stories in his spare time, two of which had been published by McSweeney’s. Also on the 20th of May the graves of the two de Troyes parents had been bulldozed to make way for a strip mall, though news of this wouldn’t reach the city for another three days. The court psychologists were much intrigued by this news but like everything else it seemed to be a dead end.

Alexis was perfectly forthright about the murder, answering all questions put to him by the police in a clear and unaccented tenor. Later, one of his interrogators was quoted (out of context) as saying, “He’s a nice kid, very friendly, very sincere. We could use more criminals like him.” During the trial, all of the officials involved — arresting officers, prison guards, psychologists, and interrogators alike — went to great lengths to make apologies for the young man, searching for explanations and excuses for his inexplicable act.

He had beaten his sister to death with a heavy porcelain fruit bowl that they had used as the centerpiece of their kitchen table, driving it fourteen times into her head, until the bowl cracked and he called the police.

“I was so peaceful,” he said, during a rare interview conducted from his cell following the trial. “It was the easiest, most natural thing in the world. I was a little sorry I had to stop — but then the bowl was broken and suddenly I could see what I had done. So I called the cops and told them to come get me.” There is a pause on the tape recording, then, more faintly, “They were very nice about everything.”

“You aren’t sorry you killed her?” asked the reporter, horrified.

“No,” said de Troyes, his voice serene, pleasant, and even cheerful on the tape, “isn’t that funny? I’m sorry she’s dead, I mean, but not that I killed her. I miss her.”