In addition, such urban legends are serve to make sense of otherwise senseless acts of violence. Why did this crime happen? Because the initiation required it.
According to Brunvand (2001), a variant of the "Slasher under the Car" legend began circulating in 1999, with the slasher hiding beneath cars at gas stations. Which brings us to our scene in The Billionth Monkey. For me, the most fun part about writing this book was re-imagining these urban legends into fantastic, larger-than-life, Hollywood-blockbuster versions. The description of the Slasher on page 132 as “the biggest Mexican they had ever seen” is a quote from the opening scene of the movie Desperado (1995):
My comment about the Slasher making the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs (page 132) references the Star Wars cantina scene, as does the conclusion where Belanger flips a coin to the attendant and says “Sorry about the mess.”
For Further Reading
Joel Best and Mary M. Hutchinson, “The gang initiation rite as a motif in contemporary crime discourse,” Justice Quarterly 1996, 13(3): 383–404.
Jan Brunvand, “The Slasher under the Car” in Encyclopedia of Urban Legends (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2001), 388–9.
Barbara Mikkelson, ”The Unkindest Cut,” Snopes, March 29, 2011.
Eleanor Wachs, “The Mutilated Shopper at the Mall: A Legend of Urban Violence.” In Gillian Bennett and Paul Smith (eds.), A Nest of Vipers: Perspectives on Contemporary Legend V (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990), 143–60.