William Todd is not to be praised. William Todd hurt some folks. William Todd is a bastard. But goddamn, nobody has ever been as high as William Todd.
Todd's spree started, like all good sprees, when he got off a Greyhound bus in Nashville, Tennessee. That's how you know you're in trouble, right there: "Got off the Greyhound in Nashville, Tennessee" is a damn fine start to a heartbroken country song. No story starts "Got off a Greyhound in Nashville, Tennessee" and ends with "won the Nobel prize." Todd stepped off his bus for a nine-hour layover, and instead went on a raging, nonsensical crime spree you'd need some fucked-up mods to replicate in Grand Theft Auto.
First, he "broke into the Slaughterhouse and stole a Taser, revolver, and shotgun."
That's first. That's how it starts. That's just his opening act.
The news story capitalizes that phrase, by the way -- "the Slaughterhouse" -- which makes me think it's the name of a business. Maybe a gun store with a morbid sense of humor. But no, basic Googling says the Slaughterhouse in Nashville, Tennessee, is an annual haunted house containing, for some reason, a Taser, revolver, and shotgun. Apparently Nashville is extremely serious about the authenticity of fear in its holiday events. Well, I should say "was extremely serious." Whatever the Slaughterhouse was, William Todd burned it to the ground. But not before stealing one more thing: a T-shirt. So, just picture everything that happens from this point onward being perpetrated by a man wearing a shirt that says "THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE" in giant bloody letters on the front.
Todd then found a random group of people leaving a bar, whom he Tased, pistol whipped, and robbed. Five entire minutes later, William carjacked a taxi, took it to a Walmart, and bought $200 worth of food. Holy shit, he's operating on video game logic: He was low on health after getting caught in the fire, so he immediately jacked the very first car he found, drove it into a store, ran inside, and bought $200 worth of food to restore some bars.
Todd then broke into a law office, where he pooped on the desks and rubbed it into their law degrees. I don't know what the point of that was, but honestly, I just don't think it ever occurred to him to wipe his ass with anything but the law itself. Todd then wandered around a hotel knocking on doors, pretending to be a housekeeper. A female housekeeper, mind you, funny voice and all. He robbed another couple while crying the entire time. Todd was sobbing, not his victims -- just absolutely weeping into THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE shirt. During all of this, Todd somehow found time to shave his head completely bald, and then ran his stolen taxi into the side of a parking garage, totaling it.
SO HE STOLE A NEW ONE.
When police finally found William Todd, he was submerged inside a water tank on top of Opryland, just his eyes showing above the waterline.
And now it's worth clarifying that this was not an entire criminal rap sheet, cherry-picking the craziest examples from a few years of depravity. This wasn't a bad month, or an eventful week. Even after all of these crimes, should he have found a paint shop and lost his wanted level, William Todd would have made his bus.
This all happened in a single night. Nine hours. 540 minutes.
You're a dick, William Todd, but let nobody say you're unproductive.
Read Brockway's piece about real-life car jousting for Car and Driver. Or just buy his stunning, transcendental, orgasmic science fiction novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here. You could also buy Robert's other (pretty OK) book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.