I went to his house the next day. He lived on the edge of the Paumanok woods, in a single-level glass and cedar home with a set of double doors big enough for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
I rang the bell, waited. No answer. Rang two more times and was seven seconds into the next waiting period when I heard the scream. A woman’s voice. I was trying to look inside the house when I heard the scream again. It was coming from around the back.
“I want it to stop!” he shouted, staring at the woman with a mad-panic look that was pure electrical voltage. “Make it stop!”
“I can’t get out! I can’t get out of this!”
I saw what it was. He had a razor blade in his hand. I understood—he was a cutter. He’d been slicing up his own arms. Fortunately, he had plenty of blubber to work with—those cuts were only surface deep.
The woman noticed me. She was a haggard, harried, sad-eyed person with Christmas-red sweatpants and a face gone dark purple from screaming.
“Quinn McShane. Real Story. Louisa Collins sent me here to talk to him.”
She didn’t have to tell me she was his wife. I could hear years of grievance in her voice.
Wooly wasn’t paying attention to our talk. He was caught in some primal nightmare, and all he could hear were the batwings beating in his head.
“Get inside,” said Genevieve. “I’ve had enough of this. I want you in the house right now.”
“Once I get him inside, he’ll be better. He says the pain actually calms him down. He says it’s a kind of cleansing this, a kind of letting go. Trust me, this isn’t his debut performance.”
“He’s here to see you.”
“I think he can see that.”