“The Autopsy of Jane Doe”

Here we are again. Another year. Another October where I, once again, do not have 31 posts relating to my favorite holiday for each day of my favorite month. I have about four. So, here is my first post for Typical Jenn Loves Halloween But Also Loves Procrastination So Instead Of Reading A Halloween Post Every Day You’ll Get One Every Sunday.

One thing I feel like I got semi-right was my horror movie intake. I watched a ton of the mainstream stuff but this year I took in a movie that had a limited release in 2016 and I only heard about because my mom and dad happened to watch it on Showtime out of boredom. As is the case with most movies like this, it turned out to be one of the creepiest movies I’ve seen in a very long time. Underground movies are where it’s at. FACT.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is one of those movies with a twist, but a twist you won’t see coming. After a body is brought in to a mortuary, the owner and his son begin to conduct their autopsy, each cut bringing on a new strange occurrence – each worse than the last. If I’m not mistaken the movie is currently On Demand, so if you’re looking for a good horror movie to watch I highly suggest “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”. You will not be disappointed.

Photo cred: thefourohfive.com

Haunted dollhouse, part 2. — The Bloggess

Because I’ve run out of Halloween things to write about and the replica Freddy Kreuger house (from Nightmare on Elm Street 3) I’m building will definitely not be finished by Tuesday I thought I would share a creation that blows my Krueger house out of the water. Here’s part 2 of this incredible house created by The Bloggess.


Yesterday I shared the first room of my haunted dollhouse and you gave me some INCREDIBLE ideas I’m working on, so keep them coming. Today I’m showing you the tarot card room. PS. I made the Babadook book last night … Continue reading →

via Haunted dollhouse, part 2. — The Bloggess

The Bloggess Haunted Dollhouse Part 1

Because I’ve run out of Halloween things to write about and the replica Freddy Kreuger house (from Nightmare on Elm Street 3) I’m building will definitely not be finished by Tuesday I thought I would share a creation that blows my Krueger house out of the water. Here’s part 1 of this incredible house created by The Bloggess.

I’ve been working on building a haunted dollhouse for like 14 years. The dollhouse itself took more than a year and I’ve been adding furniture and such ever since. It’s an homage to all the horror and fantasy books and … Continue reading →

via Haunted dollhouse…an update. Part 1. — The Bloggess


Another Year, Another Blown 31 Days of Halloween

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve managed to blow yet another year of Typical Jenn’s 31 Days of Halloween before the 31 days was even up, and I was off to such a good start! My goal was to post something Halloweeny every day and then I got to day 8 and fell off. How does this happen? I guess I should be happy that I’ve gotten this far because I’ve wanted to do my 31 Days of Halloween for a while and this is the first year I’ve actually done it, or at least attempted to.

I love Halloween. I love all things horror. I love videos that show proof of the paranormal and I love hearing people’s stories about their paranormal encounters – which is why I love the YouTube channel Top 5s. I love it all. But every year it seems like Halloween becomes more and more… meh. Not to me, that’s just the overall feeling that I get. I partially blame it on being a grown up and having to do grown up things (I do not use the word “adulting” because that word is fucking stupid). When I was a kid Halloween was everywhere, you couldn’t escape it. Every advertiser got into the spirit, every commercial was Halloween themed. Now it feels like the only thing I can rely on is the SyFy network; they played A Nightmare on Elm Street marathon all day yesterday which I happily watched while working around the house. SyFy just gets me.

Yesterday my husband and I went to Lowe’s and there was Christmas shit EVERYWHERE. I mean we walked in to Christmas Snoopy flying his Christmas airplane right at us; it was a great metaphor for their attack on Halloween. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I’m just not ready to get excited about it until around Thanksgiving.) And then there was the Halloween stuff, off in a sad little clearance corner. Halloween isn’t until next Tuesday and they’d already put the Halloween stuff on sale! I shouldn’t be so annoyed because it’s like this every year, but every year businesses seem to start with Christmas just a little sooner than the year before. They might as well make Christmas year round and be done with it.

And then there’s the Hallmark channel. I know, I know, my first mistake is watching that channel but hear me out: I have to sleep with the TV on and I like their night time programming, specifically The Middle. I love that show, and by the time the Golden Girls (love that show, too) comes on I’m ready to fall asleep. Well, you know what these Hallmark jerks are doing? They’re starting their Christmas movie programming next Monday. That’s right. The night before Halloween they’re going to start showing every shitty Christmas movie they’ve ever created. I don’t even know how many that is but apparently it’s enough to ruin my night time viewing until January. TILL JANUARY. For Christ’s sake, how can you possibly come up with more Christmas movie plots? Two people, maybe a kid who helps bring them together, snow, a Christmas tree. How many movies can you make out of those four things?! At a time where every movie seems to be a remake I don’t know whether I should be pissed or impressed. I’ll just stick with annoyed, I guess.

Then there’s having to do grown up things, like work and not let the house burn down. The majority of my posts are written while I’m at work, so naturally I’m infuriated when I’m interrupted by a phone call from a client at my place of employment that I currently need to pay my bills and survive. Don’t they know I’m busy?! And it’s not just work. Earlier I had to call Walgreens which then led me to have to email their corporate office. Below is the actual message I just sent them, it explains everything.

From me to Walgreens: I’m currently sitting on hold waiting to refill a prescription. That’s not what I’m writing to complain about. I’m writing to complain about the on-hold message and music. I legitimately feel like I’m about to lose my mind. First off, if I close my eyes and just listen to the on-hold music I’d swear I was sitting in a funeral home. I’ve heard elevator music that was more pleasant. And good god, is it necessary for that recording to come on every 15 seconds like a goddamn egg timer? The fact that I’m listening to this depressing on-hold music is enough to let me know that the staff is busy and will get to me when they can. I’m OK with that. I’m not OK with that recording reminding me like it’s the hearing version of Chinese water torture.

I was on hold for 11 minutes. Not a big deal, except have you any idea how many times this recording came on? I’m officially insane. Thank you.

In conclusion, ditch the funeral music, get some enjoyable tunes, and limit the recording to once every 5 minutes. You’re welcome.

You see what I’m talking about? Having to call Walgreens took me away from this post for a while (about 15 minutes but still). It’s also things like that that take me away from doing the stuff that I want to post about. Example: I’ve been wanting to post about The Town by Bentley Little, the problem is I’ve been trying to read it for almost 5 weeks. It’s only 327 pages long, and I’m still on page 17. I’m going to finish it, hopefully before Halloween because I’d like to include one more post in my 31 Days of Halloween, and also because it’s almost due back at the library and I can’t renew my checkout because I’ve already renewed it once. ~sigh~

Anyway, I may turn this into Typical Jenn’s 365 Days of Halloween and just post about horror stuff whenever I come across something awesome. Or I may take a page out of Hallmark’s book and get my shit together so I’m more prepared for next year. And I’ve already got the first post: The Town by Bentley Little.

Friday Read – Room With A View by: Hal Dresner

This is another one of my favorite stories from Alfred Hitchcock’s Stories For The Not So Nervous. Enjoy!

His frail body covered by blankets and cushioned in six of the thickest pillows money could buy, Jacob Bauman watched with disgust as his butler set the bed tray before him and opened the curtains, drenching the room in morning.

“Would you like the windows open, sir?” Charles asked.

“You want I should catch a cold?”

“No, sir. Will there be anything else, sir?”
Jacob shook his head, tucking the napkin into the space between his pajama top and his thin chest. He reached to uncover the breakfast plate, stopped and looked up at Charles, who was standing like a sentinel by the window.

“You waiting for a tip?” Jacob inquired sourly.

“No, sir. I am waiting for Miss Nevins. Doctor Holmes said you were not to be left alone at any time, sir.”

“Get out, get out,” Jacob said. “If I decide to die in the next five minutes, I’ll ring for you. You won’t miss a thing.”

He watched the butler leave, waited until the door closed and then lifted the silver plate cover, revealing a single poached egg, looking like a membrane-encased eye, resting on a slice of toast. A miserly pat of marmalade and a cup of pale tea completed the menu.
Ach! Jacob regarded the food with distaste and turned to the window. It was a glorious day outside. The great lawn of the Bauman mansion lay green and even as a billiard cloth, inlaid with the gleaming white gravel of the horseshoe driveway and dotted here and there with small bronze statuary, a flirtatious goddess cloistered in cherubs, a wing-footed messenger, a grim lioness in congress with her cubs; all very hideous but all very expensive. At the left end of the horseshoe, outside the small brick caretaker’s cottage, Jacob saw his groundsman, Mr. Coveny, kneeling in examination of an azalea bed; to the right of the driveway, before the prohibitive iron spear gates, the doors of the two-story garage were open and Jacob could see his chauffeur polishing the chromium grill of Mrs. Bauman’s blue convertible while talking to Miss Nevins, Jacob’s young day nurse. Beyond the gate the outer lawn stretched unbroken to the road, a distance so great that not even Jacob’s keen eyes could distinguish the passing cars.

Poor Jacob Bauman, Jacob thought. All the good things in life had come too late. Finally, he owned an impressive estate but he was too sick to enjoy it; finally, he was married to a young woman who was beautiful enough to turn any man’s head but he was too old to take pleasure from her; and finally, he had gained a shrewd insight into the mysteries of human nature, but he was bedridden and limited to the company of his servants. Poor rich Jacob Bauman, he thought. With all his wealth, luck and wisdom, his world was bounded by the width of his mattress, the length of driveway he could see from his window and the depth of Miss Nevins’ mind.

And where was she? He turned to the clock surrounded by bottles, pills, and vials on the night table. Six minutes after nine. Peering out the window again, he saw the girl in the white uniform look at her watch in dismay, blow a kiss to the chauffeur and start walking, hurriedly, toward the house. She was a robust blonde girl who walked with a gay bounce, arms swinging, an exuberance of energy that tired Jacob vicariously. Still, he watched until she disappeared beneath the porch roof and then turned back to his breakfast. She would stop to say good morning to the cook and the maid, he calculated, and that meant he would just be finishing his egg and toast when she knocked.
He was chewing the last dripping crust of toast when the knock came; he called “Go away” and the nurse entered, smiling.

“Good morning, Mr. Bee,” she said cheerily. She put her paperbound novel on the dresser, glancing with no special interest at the chart left by the night nurse. “How are you feeling today?”

“Alive,” Jacob said.

“Isn’t it a terrific day?” the girl said, walking to the window. “I was standing outside talking to Vic before and it’s just like spring out. You want me to open the windows for you?”

“I don’t. Your doctor friend warned me about getting a chill.”

“Oh, that’s right . . . I forgot. I guess I’m really not a very good nurse, am I?” She smiled.

“You’re a nurse,” Jacob said. “Better you than the kind that never leaves me alone.”

“You’re just saying that. I know I’m really not dedicated enough.”

“Dedicated? You’re a pretty young girl, you’ve got other interests. I understand. You say to yourself, ‘I’ll be a nurse for a while, the work is easy, the food is good. So I’ll save some money until I get married.’”

The girl looked surprised. “You know, that’s just what I said to myself when Doctor Holmes offered me this job. You’re very smart, you know that, Mr. Bee?”

“Thank you,” Jacob said dryly. “You get old, you get smart.” He took a sip of his tea and made a bitter face. “Ach. Terrible. Get this away.” He kicked feebly under the covers.

“You really should finish it,” the girl said.

“Get it away from me,” Jacob said impatiently.

“Sometimes you’re just like a little boy.”

“So I’m a little boy and you’re a little girl. But better we should talk about you.” He began to re-arrange his pillows but stopped when the girl came to help him. “Tell me, Frances,” he said, his face very close to her, “do you have your husband picked out yet?”

“Mr. Bee, that’s a very personal question to ask a girl.”

“So I’m asking a personal question. If you can’t tell me, who can you tell? Am I going to tell anyone? Is there anyone I could tell? Your specialist-doctor won’t even let me have a phone by my bed to call my broker once in a while. Too much strain it would be to hear that I lost a few thousand dollars. He doesn’t know I can tell what I make and lose to the penny from the newspapers? . . . So tell me,” he smiled confidentially, “what’s your lover like?”

“Mr. Bee! A prospective husband is one thing but a lover . . . ?” She plumped the last pillow and crossed to the window chair. “I can’t imagine what you must think of me.” Jacob shrugged. “I think you’re a nice young girl. But nice girls today are a little different from nice girls fifty years ago. I’m not saying worse or better. I’m just saying different. I understand these things. After all, you’re just a few years younger than my wife. I know men like to look at her, so I know they like to look at you, too.”

“Oh, but your wife is beautiful. Really. I think she’s the most stunning woman I’ve ever seen.

“Good for her,” Jacob said. “So tell me about your lover.”

“Well,” the girl started, obviously pleased, “it’s really not definite yet. I mean, we haven’t set the date or anything.”

“Yes, you have,” Jacob said. “You don’t want to tell me because you’re afraid I’ll fire you before you’re ready to leave.”

“No, really, Mr. Bauman . . .”

“So you haven’t set the day of the week. But the month you’ve decided on, right?” He waited a moment for contradiction. “Right,” he said.

“Believe me when I tell you I understand these things. So what month? June?”

“July,” the girl said, smiling.

“So shoot me, I’m a month off . . . I won’t bother to ask you if he’s handsome. I know he 
is . . . And strong too.”


“But gentle.”

The girl nodded, beaming.

“That’s good,” Jacob said. “It’s very important to marry a gentle man . . . But not too gentle. The ones that are too gentle let themselves get stepped on. Believe me, I know. I used to be a very gentle man myself and you know where it got me? No place, that’s where. So I learned to be different. Not that I still don’t make the mistake now and then . . . but every time I do, I pay for it . . . A bad marriage can be a big mistake, maybe the biggest. You’ve got to know what kind of package you’re getting. But you know, don’t you?”

“Yes. He’s wonderful. Really, he is. You can’t tell, Mr. Bauman, because you don’t really know him but if you ever sat down and—” she stopped and bit her lip. “Oh, I didn’t mean—”

“So he’s someone I know,” Jacob said. “Now that’s very interesting. I would never have guessed. A friend of mine, maybe?” t

“No. No, really, I didn’t mean to say that. It just came out wrong. It’s not anyone—”

“Doctor Holmes?” Jacob guessed.

“Oh, no!”

“Maybe someone who works for me?” Jacob asked slyly, watching the girl’s face.

“Charles? . . . No, no. It couldn’t be Charles. You don’t like Charles very much, do you, Frances? You think he looks down on you, right?”

“Yes,” said the girl, quite suddenly indignant. “He makes me feel that I’m some kind of a 
. . . oh, I don’t know what. Just because he thinks he’s so elegant. Well, if you ask me, he’s just a fish.”

Jacob chuckled. “You’re absolutely right. Charles is a fish. A cold pike . . . But then who could it be? Mr. Coveny is much too old for you so that only leaves . . .” He paused, his eyes bright and teasing, his mouth open. Then he looked past her, out the window, and said, “No, I don’t know. Give me a hint. Tell me what business he’s in . . . Stocks and bonds, maybe? Oil? Textiles?” His voice rose. “Transportation?”

“Oh, you’re just teasing me now,” the girl said. “You know it’s Vic. I bet you knew all the time. I hope you’re not mad. Really, I would have told you before but—” A knock on the door interrupted her.

“Go away,” Jacob called.

The door opened and Mrs. Bauman, a truly stunning red-haired woman, looking more like twenty than thirty in a daffodil-yellow sweater and provocatively tight tan slacks, came in.

“Good morning, all. No, sit down, dear,” she said to Frances. “How’s our patient this morning?”

“Terrible,” Jacob said.

His wife laughed falsely and patted his cheek. “Did you sleep well?”


“Isn’t he horrid?” Mrs. Bauman said to Frances. “I don’t know why you put up with him.”

“For the money,” Jacob said. “Just like you.

Mrs. Bauman forced a laugh. “He’s just like a baby, isn’t he? Has he had his orange pill yet?”

“Yes,” Jacob said.

“No,” said Frances. “Is it nine-fifteen already? Oh, I’m—”

“I’m afraid it’s almost nine-twenty,” Mrs. Bauman said coolly. “Here, I’ll do it.” She uncapped a vial from the night table and poured a tumbler full of water from a silver pitcher. “Open wide now.”

Jacob turned his head from her. “I can still hold a pill and a glass of water,” he said. “You don’t even look like a nurse.” He popped the capsule in his mouth and swallowed a sip of water. “Where are you going, dressed up like a college girl?”

“Just into town to do a little shopping.”

“Vic has your car all ready,” Frances said. “He polished it this morning and it looks just like new.”

“I’m sure it does, dear.”

“If it’s not shiny enough, buy a new one,” Jacob said.

“I was thinking of doing just that,” his wife countered. “But I thought I’d wait until you’re up and around again. Then well get one of those little sport cars that only have room for two people and we’ll go on long drives together, just the two of us.”

“I can’t wait,” Jacob said.

“My!” said Mrs. Bauman. “Isn’t it a marvelous day? Why don’t you have Charles open the windows?”

“Because I don’t want to get a chill and die,” Jacob said. “But thank you for suggesting it.”
Smiling tartly, Mrs. Bauman touched her fingers to her lips, then pressed them to her husband’s forehead.

“You don’t even deserve that much of a kiss today,” she said coyly.

“If he stays this grouchy,” she said to Frances, “don’t even talk to him. It’ll serve him right.” Her smile invited the girl into a woman’s conspiracy. “I’ll be back early,” she said to Jacob.

“I’ll be here,” he said.

“’Bye,” Mrs. Bauman said cutely and left.

“Close the door,” Jacob said to Frances.

“Didn’t she look beautiful?” the girl said, crossing the room and then coming back. “I wish I could wear slacks like that.”

“Do your husband a favor and wear them before you get married,” Jacob said.

“Oh, Vic wouldn’t mind. He hasn’t got a jealous bone in his body. He’s told me a hundred times how much he likes it when other men look at me.”

“And how do you feel about him looking at other women?”

“Oh, I don’t mind. I mean, after all, it’s only natural, isn’t it? And Vic has had—” she colored slightly. “I don’t know how we ever got talking about this again. You’re really terrible, Mr. Bauman.”

“Let an old man have a little pleasure by talking,” Jacob said. “So Vic has had a lot of experience with women, has he?”

“Sometimes it’s really embarrassing. I mean, some women will just throw themselves at a man. We were at a nightclub two weeks ago Wednesday. On Vic’s night off.”
Jacob nodded and again looked past the girl, who was starting to talk more rapidly. His wife had just become visible walking across the lawn toward the garage. She moved in a way quite different from Frances, much more slowly, almost lazily. Under the tan slacks her hips rocked, undulating, but just slightly, like a scale seeking its balance. Even the languid swing of her arms seemed to subtly reserve energy, not expend it profligately as Frances did, but rather save the strength, storing it, for the more important motions.
“. . . she was really a frightening-looking girl,” Frances was saying. “I mean, I was actually startled when I saw her come over to our table. Her hair was this jet black and looked like she hadn’t combed it for weeks and she had so much lipstick on she must have used up a whole tube getting dressed . . .”

Jacob listened absently, his eyes still on his wife. She had reached the convertible now and stood leaning against the door, talking with Vic. Jacob could see her smile widen as she listened and then, tilting her head back, she laughed. He could not hear the laugh but he recalled it, from years before, as being sharp and light, a stimulating, flattering laugh. Vic, one foot contemptuously propped on the car bumper, thick arms crossed, smiled with her.

“. . . really think she must have been drunk,” Frances said, fully involved in her story. “I mean, I just can’t imagine a woman having the nerve to just sit down in a strange man’s lap and kiss him. I mean, right in front of his date and all. For all she knew, I could have been his wife.”

“So what did Vic do?” Jacob asked, turning from the window.

“Well, nothing. I mean, what could he do? We were in a public place and everything. He just tried to laugh and pretend it was a joke or something. But I couldn’t. I mean, I tried to, but the girl didn’t move and Vic couldn’t just push her off. I mean, everyone was watching and I was getting madder and madder and—well, to tell you the truth, Mr. Bauman, sometimes I’ve got a terrible temper. I mean, when it comes to personal things like Vic, I just can’t control myself.”

“Like with Betty?” Jacob said.

Frances sucked in her lower lip. “I didn’t think you knew about that,” she said. “I’m really awfully sorry about it, Mr. Bauman, but I just walked into the kitchen to get my lunch and she had her arms around Vic and, well, I guess I saw red.”

“So I heard,” Jacob said smiling. “I didn’t see Betty before she left but Charles told me she wasn’t so pretty to look at any more.”

“I guess I did scratch her up terribly,” Frances said, lowering her eyes. “I’m really sorry about it. I tried to apologize to her but she wouldn’t even listen to me. As if it were all my fault.”

“And what did you do to the girl in the nightclub?”

“I pulled her off Vic by her hair,” Frances admitted sheepishly. “And if he hadn’t stopped me, I probably would have tried to scratch her eyes out, too. I mean, I really went crazy. It was worse than Betty, because she was actually kissing Vic. I think if there was a knife or something around, I would have tried to kill her.”

“Really?” Jacob said. His look left the girl and returned to the window. Neither his wife nor Vic was in sight then. His eyes scanned the expanse of lawn, passed the statues glinting dully in the sun, to Mr. Coveny, who was still probing at the azaleas, and back again, resting on the blazing grill of the convertible. He saw an odd shadow on the car’s hood and, squinting, defined it as the polishing cloth Vic had been using.

“And how do these little fights affect your feelings about Vic?” he asked casually.

“Oh, they don’t. I mean, how could they? It’s not his fault that women throw themselves at him. I mean, he certainly doesn’t encourage them.”

“Of course not,” Jacob said. He narrowed his eyes, intently focusing on the dark window above the garage. He thought he had seen a flash of bright yellow there. Or was it just the sun reflecting off the lower pane? No, the window was open; it couldn’t have been the sun. There it was again, among moving shadows, a very solid square of bright color, narrowing now and rising slowly, as if it were a piece of fabric, a bright cloth perhaps, being slowly removed from something, someone. And then it was gone and not even the shadows were visible within the frame of the window. Jacob smiled. “I’m sure Vic is very faithful,” he said. “If there’s anyone at fault, it’s definitely the woman. Your jealousy is very understandable. It’s only right to fight to hold on to what you have. Even if it means destroying some other part of your life.”

Frances looked puzzled. “Do you think that Vic doesn’t love me as much because of what happened? He said he understood.”

“I’m sure he does,” Jacob said. “In fact he probably loves you even more for showing your devotion. Men like things like that . . . No, I was just talking before. Just an old man’s talk. After all, what else can I do besides talk?”

“Oh, you could probably do a lot of things,” Frances said. “You’re very intelligent. I mean, at least I think so. You should find a hobby. Crossword puzzles or something. I bet you’d be great at those.”

“Maybe I’ll try them sometime,” Jacob said. “But right now, I think I’ll try to sleep for a while.”

“That’s a good idea,” Frances said. “I brought a new book to read today. I started it on the bus coming over. It’s really terrific, all about this Frenchwoman who made a fool of a lot of kings.”

“It sounds very good,” Jacob said. “But before you start, I’d like you to do me a little favor.” He turned and opened the single drawer of his night table. “Now don’t be frightened,” he cautioned as he withdrew a small gray revolver. “I keep this around in case of burglars. But it’s been so long since it’s been cleaned that I’m not sure it still works. Would you take it down to Vic and ask him to look it over?”

“Sure,” the girl said, rising, taking the gun gingerly. “Hey, it’s light. I always thought guns weighed about twenty pounds.”

“I think that’s a woman’s gun,” Jacob said. “For women and old men. Now be careful, it’s loaded. I’d take out the bullets for you but I’m afraid I don’t know very much about those things.”

“I’ll be careful,” Frances said, holding the grip experimentally. “And you try to get some sleep in the meantime. Should I tell Charles to come up while I’m gone?”

“No, don’t bother. I’ll be fine. You take your time with your fiancé. I think I saw him go upstairs to his room a minute ago.”

“He’s sleeping,” Frances said.

“Why don’t you sneak up and surprise him then,” Jacob said. “He’d probably like that.”

“Well, If he doesn’t, I’ll tell him that it was your idea.”

“Yes,” Jacob said. “You tell him that it was all my idea.”

He smiled, watching the girl leave, then nestled back in the pillows and closed his eyes. It was very quiet and he was so genuinely tired that he felt himself unwillingly starting to doze when the first shot, immediately followed by the second and then a third sounded across the lawn. He considered sitting up to watch the activity from the window but it seemed like too great an effort. Also, he reasoned, there was nothing he could do, bedridden as he was.

Some Good Halloween Reads

I stumbled upon this post the other day and thought I would share; he’s assembled an awesome list of great reads. Enjoy!

There is nothing more Halloween than a good scary story. In fact it is the most Halloween thing there is. While some of us pretty much treat the entire year like All Hallow’s Eve; October is a fine time to break out the good stuff. If you happen to be looking for a good book, […]

via A nice little list of Halloween stories — Michael R Collins

A Funeral Story

While this story isn’t chalk full of the paranormal it’s still about a funeral so I thought what better time to share this story than during October. The funeral was my great-grandmothers and my family still talks about it to this day, primarily because it was the weirdest funeral we’d ever been a part of.

A quick back story on my great-grandmother: she was super hip for her age. Every two years for nearly two decades she would trade her car in for a new one. Side note: she was 96 when she passed and, I love my great-grandmother, god rest her soul, but I have no idea why this was even allowed. I’m not sure how long they were together but at the time of her passing she was living with a man named Jose who was a complete asshole. A little over a year before she passed my grandmother found out that Jose was verbally and mentally abusing my great-grandmother; if there was any physical abuse we still don’t know but the fact that he was being a dick was all my grandmother needed to hear. She told my dad what was going on and they made a special road trip to set Jose straight. My dad is retired law enforcement and is also an Army vet, but it was my 4’10” Native American grandmother who brought Jose to tears. She. Don’t. Play. After the confrontation my dad took everyone to lunch (everyone except Jose because fuck him), and when he noticed my great-grandmother struggling a little to walk he asked her why she wasn’t using her walker. Her response was “it makes me look old.”

Her passing was tough enough, then we found out that Jose wasn’t going to pay for her funeral and was basically going to let the city bury her. My dad told my grandmother not to worry as he would pay to have her cremated, but right before he finalized everything Jose got his head out of his ass and decided to pay for her funeral. Well, let me tell you, you know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Yeah, that applies to EVERYTHING.

First, the funeral home he picked was tiny, rundown, and in a scary part of town. On top of that Marty McSmarty the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet so I had to MapQuest the directions – which means that I basically had to guess my way there. When I arrived my grandmother, dad, and aunts and uncles were already there, but other than Jose and a friend of his nobody else was there. He didn’t include an obituary for her so her friends didn’t even know she’d passed. We. Were. Pissed.

Wait. It gets better. About an hour after I arrived Jose got up, walked over to my grandmother and started telling her that he was missing a watch and he thought one of my uncle’s had taken it. I swear to god I thought my grandma was going to palm his head and smash it through one of the chapel windows, a sight I’m sure no one would’ve batted an eyelash at because, and I’m just being honest, we were in the ghetto. My Aunt D politely told Jose that if he didn’t go sit down she was going to throw him in the grave with my great-grandma. Now, I’ve been a part of funerals where people offered us their condolences and then tried to steal our thunder by telling us about their family members passing, but the threat of physical violence was a new one.

Anyway, you know what this jerk did after my aunt was nice to him? He found the funeral director and told him he didn’t want us there and that we needed to leave. The funeral director made the mistake of reciting Jose’s request to my aunt D and well, you can imagine how that went. We didn’t move. Then, during one of Jose’s frequent breaks from the viewing my Uncle A asked the funeral director if he could close the casket and load up my great-grandma so we could all be gone by the time Jose got back. The funeral director just stared at all of us and then walked away without saying a word. I know what you’re thinking: it can only go up from here. The answer to that is no, it did not.

It was time for the procession except SYKE! Jose didn’t pay for that so, no joke, the funeral director walked up to us and said that because that was not part of the funeral package we couldn’t follow the hearse but he would give us directions to the cemetery. I didn’t even know they could tell you that. Naturally we didn’t listen. Unfortunately what was supposed to at least look like a funeral procession ended up looking like a high-speed chase because damn if that guy didn’t try to lose us. And either he was lost or was still trying to lose us because when we finally made it to the cemetery we drove around for about 30-minutes before we made it (i.e. located) the grave site. My cousin (who I was living with at the time) and I had been in contact throughout the entire ordeal and prior to me leaving the funeral home she sent me a text saying she would be able to make it to the burial, which was great because she was working as a paramedic at the time and wasn’t sure she’d be able to leave during her shift. Once we made it to the cemetery I gave her the best directions I could but she was pretty much on her own.

The service began and by the tail-end of it I was thinking there was no way my cousin would make it, because I’m sure my directions couldn’t have been shittier. Right when they started lowering the casket into the ground, I saw it, in my peripheral vision. Oh nah uh. Off in the not-so-far distance was an ambulance heading straight for us. People visiting their deceased loved ones stopped to stare at us while we stopped to stare at the ambulance. Nothing to see here people, that ambulance is with us! If I had to take guess at what they were thinking, I think it would be “oh my god they’re burying the wrong person and the ambulance is delivering the right one.” At least that’s what their faces looked like. Even the grave diggers looked at us like we were bat-shit crazy, which I thought was a pretty uppity expression to get from people who work for a cemetery that contains a children’s burial section called “Baby Land”.

My cousin got out of the ambulance and my family and I had a nice laugh, even my grandma got a kick out of the whole thing. It was a refreshing, much needed light-hearted moment considering what the rest of the day had been like. The funeral director did not enjoy this as much as we did as his reaction was to once again stare at us and then leave, which was a real pisser because none of us knew how to get out of there. I guess in retrospect, the funeral director had the last laugh. Well played Mr. Funeral Director, well played.

Are All Insane Asylum’s That Were Built in the 1800s Haunted?

What better day than Friday the 13th to talk about insane asylum’s? I’ve spent the last week researching a local state hospital that was built in 1892, a hospital originally known as the Southwestern Insane Asylum, with a goal of delivering on the assumption that places like this are haunted. Here’s what I discovered:

First, the back story. The rumored haunted asylum was established in 1892 and in 1925 the word “asylum” was dropped from the title and the facility became the San Antonio State Hospital. The hospital accepts patients with mental illnesses regardless of the severity or the patients ability to pay. So, as you can imagine, with any state-funded facility come the usual problems. They are severely understaffed and because of this had to turn away patients in 2014, causing some of these individuals to be jailed. Former and current employees complain of poor working conditions, a lack of training, and low pay, according to comments I found on Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com. Patient deaths are not rare and in some cases have led to lawsuits, two of which I found transcripts for. Additionally, the facility itself isn’t in the best condition. While it’s had its share of expansions and renovations, some of the buildings are the original buildings from 1892 and are in total disrepair. The fence surrounding the facility is falling apart as well, aiding in the escape of patients, with the most recent being a paranoid schizophrenic who dismembered his wife back in the 90s and was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

I first found out about this place about 8 years ago and began researching it immediately. I did a really shitty job because I didn’t even know it was still open and at the time, found documents stating that it had been abandoned in the early 90s, with equipment and patient files being left behind. There are even pictures and YouTube videos of the facility that people claim to be haunted. Here’s one of them from onlyinyourstate.com.


Here’s the problem: this isn’t the insane asylum turned state hospital. It’s close to the state hospital but this is actually the old Bexar County Juvenile Facility for Boys and from what I could find it was abandoned because of all of the asbestos it housed. How true that is I don’t know, that was a comment from someone on a forum and I couldn’t find any evidence to substantiate it.

I searched all over the Internet and it’s important to note that some of what I may be looking for may be documented at the county library or something other than an online database. I wanted so bad to scare the shit out of everyone with stories but here’s what I was able to find.

First, if you look this place up there are a lot of false reports about this being the original insane asylum. I found one girl on a forum who said she actually did some amateur ghost hunting and that’s how she discovered it wasn’t it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if this building is haunted because I could not find A THING on the place. Again, I’m sure I need to dig deeper than online but I was surprised that nothing came up. Also, it’s owned by the county so if you trespass and get caught you will get ticketed and also this is Texas so you’ll probably get murdered by snakes. You never know.

I found a website that talks about the state hospital, it’s origins, and stories about some of its patients. I researched the stories but couldn’t find anything to substantiate them either. I’m not saying they’re not true, I just couldn’t find anything on the ol’ interweb and would probably need to do some offline research. The website also features a few comments from an employee and people who have children at the hospital. Two of the comments I found and are paraphrased, and one I couldn’t find. I read every employee review I could find but unfortunately none of them mentioned the place was haunted. One day I’ll interview some of them because I’m sure Indeed.com isn’t trying to scare potential employee away by letting other people terrify them with ghost stories. Here is the link to that website. https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/san-antonio-state-hospital/

Now, here’s what I did find that creeped me out a little. The actual state hospital has two cemeteries around it; one is called East Mount Calm Cemetery and the other is South Mount Calm Cemetery. South Mount Calm Cemetery has over 1000 individuals who were abandoned and passed away between 1892 and 1924. The majority of the graves are marked with only a block and no information. A few have numeric ID’s and fewer than that have actual headstones with their information. I actually found an event that took place on the 5th of this month that was a re-dedication for the cemetery. However, I couldn’t find any information on who was hosting the event and there was no way to contact anybody. And yeah, I wasn’t going to try because that was a little creepy. East Mount Calm Cemetery has individuals who passed away after 1924. Apparently it’s incredibly hard to get on the grounds, even if you believe you have a relative buried there. Out of all the research I did, finding out about these cemeteries was one of the most unsettling pieces of information I found. If it’s haunted I don’t know. In all of the sites I found about the hospital not one person mentions the cemeteries. But with its back story, what do you think?

I’m bummed that I couldn’t deliver more. What I found justifies calling this place scary but I’m not sure it’s for the paranormal. However, if, god forbids, it were to ever close down, I would like to request the Ghost Hunters investigate. And I will probably decline their offer to join them.

For All The Rude People by: Jack Ritchie

A few months ago I read a book of short stories called Not For The Nervous and decided that I would include some of my favorite stories on my site during my 31 Days of Halloween. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

“How old are you?” I asked!
His eyes were on the revolver I was holding. “Look, mister, there’s not much in the cash register, but take it all. I won’t make no trouble.”
“I am not interested in your filthy money. How old are you?”
He was puzzled. “Forty-two.”
I clicked my tongue. “What a pity. From your point of view, at least. You might have lived another twenty or thirty years if you had just taken the slight pains to be polite.”
He didn’t understand.
“I am going to kill you,” I said, “because of the four-cent stamp and because of the cherry candy.”
He did not know what I meant by the cherry candy, but he did know about the stamp.
Panic raced into his face. “You must be crazy. You can’t kill me just because of that.”
“But I can.”
And I did.
When Dr. Briller told me that I had but four months to live, I was, of course, perturbed. “Are you positive you haven’t mixed up the X-rays? I’ve heard of such things.”
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Turner.”
I gave it more earnest thought. “The laboratory reports. Perhaps my name was accidentally attached to the wrong …”
He shook his head slowly. “I double-checked. I always do that in cases like these. Sound medical practice, you know.”
It was late afternoon and the time when the sun is tired. I rather hoped that when my time came to actually die, it might be in the morning. Certainly more cheerful.
“In cases like this,” Dr. Briller said, “a doctor is faced with a dilemma. Shall he or shall he not tell his patient? I always tell mine. That enables them to settle their affairs and to have a fling, so to speak.” He pulled a pad of paper toward him. “Also I’m writing a book. What do you intend doing with your remaining time?”
“I really don’t know. I’ve just been thinking about it for a minute or two, you know.”
“Of course,” Briller said. “No immediate rush. But when you do decide, you will let me know, won’t you? My book concerns the things that people do with their remaining time when they know just when they’re going to die.”
He pushed aside the pad. “See me every two or three weeks. That way we’ll be able to measure the progress of your decline.”
Briller saw me to the door. “I already have written up twenty-two cases like yours.” He seemed to gaze into the future. “Could be a best seller, you know.”
I have always lived a bland life. Not an unintelligent one, but bland.
I have contributed nothing to the world–and in that I have much in common with almost every soul on earth–but on the other hand I have not taken away anything either. I have, in short, asked merely to be left alone. Life is difficult enough without undue association with people.
What can one do with the remaining four months of a bland life?
I have no idea how long I walked and thought on that subject, but eventually I found myself on the long curving bridge that sweeps down to join the lake drive. The sounds of mechanical music intruded themselves upon my mind and I looked down.
A circus, or very large carnival, lay below.
It was the world of shabby magic, where the gold is gilt, where the top-hatted ringmaster is as much a gentleman as the medals on his chest are authentic, and where the pink ladies on horseback are hard-faced and narrow-eyed. It was the domain of the harsh-voiced vendors and the short-change.
I have always felt that the demise of the big circus may be counted as one of the cultural advances of the twentieth century, yet I found myself descending the footbridge and in a few moments I was on the midway between the rows of stands where human mutations are exploited and exhibited for the entertainment of all children.
Eventually, I reached the big top and idly watched the bored ticket-taker in his elevated box at one side of the main entrance.
A pleasant-faced man leading two little girls approached him and presented several cardboard rectangles which appeared to be passes.
The ticket-taker ran his finger down a printed list at his side. His eyes hardened and he scowled down at the man and the children for a moment. Then slowly and deliberately he tore the passes to bits and let the fragments drift to the ground. “These are no damn good,” he said.
The man below him flushed. “I don’t understand.”
“You didn’t leave the posters up,” the ticket-taker snapped. “Beat it, crumb!”
The children looked up at their father, their faces puzzled. Would he do something about this?
He stood there and the white of anger appeared on his face. He seemed about to say something, but then he looked down at the children. He closed his eyes for a moment as though to control his anger, and then he said, “Come on, kids. Let’s go home.”
He led them away, down the midway, and the children looked back, bewildered, but saying nothing.
I approached the ticket-taker. “Why did you do that?”
He glanced down. “What’s it to you?”
“Perhaps a great deal.”
He studied me irritably. “Because he didn’t leave up the posters.”
“I heard that before. Now explain it.”
He exhaled as though it cost him money. “Our advance man goes through a town two weeks before we get there. He leaves posters advertising the show any place he can–grocery stores, shoe shops, meat markets–any place that will paste them in the window and keep them there until the show comes to town. He hands out two or three passes for that. But what some of these jokers don’t know is that we check up. If the posters aren’t still up when we hit town, the passes are no good.”
“I see,” I said dryly. “And so you tear up the passes in their faces and in front of their children. Evidently that man removed the posters from the window of his little shop too soon. Or perhaps he had those passes given to him by a man who removed the posters from his window.”
“What’s the difference? The passes are no good.”
“Perhaps there is no difference in that respect. But do you realize what you have done?”
His eyes were narrow, trying to estimate me and any power I might have.
“You have committed one of the most cruel of human acts,” I said stiffly. “You have humiliated a man before his children. You have inflicted a scar that will remain with him and them as long as they live. He will take those children home and it will be a long, long way. And what can he say to them?”
“Are you a cop?”
“I am not a cop. Children of that age regard their father as the finest man in the world. The kindest, the bravest. And now they will remember that a man had been bad to their father–and he had been unable to do anything about it.”
“So I tore up his passes. Why didn’t he buy tickets? Are you a city inspector?”
“I am not a city inspector. Did you expect him to buy tickets after that humiliation? You left the man with no recourse whatsoever. He could not buy tickets and he could not create a well-justified scene because the children were with him. He could do nothing. Nothing at all, but retreat with two children who wanted to see your miserable circus and now they cannot.”
I looked down at the foot of his stand. There were the fragments of many more dreams–the debris of other men who had committed the capital crime of not leaving their posters up long enough. “You could at least have said, `I’m sorry, sir. But your passes are not valid.’ And then you could have explained politely and quietly why.”
“I’m not paid to be polite.” He showed yellow teeth. “And mister, I like tearing up passes. It gives me a kick.”
And there it was. He was a little man who had been given a little power and he used it like a Caesar.
He half rose. “Now get the hell out of here, mister, before I come down there and chase you all over the lot.”
Yes. He was a man of cruelty, a two-dimensional animal born without feeling and sensitivity and fated to do harm as long as he existed. He was a creature who should be eliminated from the face of the earth.
If only I had the power to …
I stared up at the twisted face for a moment more and then turned on my heel and left. At the top of the bridge I got a bus and rode to the sports shop at Thirty-seventh.
I purchased a .32 caliber revolver and a box of cartridges.
Why do we not murder? Is it because we do not feel the moral justification for such a final act? Or is it more because we fear the consequences if we are caught–the cost to us, to our families, to our children?
And so we suffer wrongs with meekness, we endure them because to eliminate them might cause us even more pain than we already have.
But I had no family, no close friends. And four months to live.
The sun had set and the carnival lights were bright when I got off the bus at the bridge. I looked down at the midway and he was still in his box.
How should I do it? I wondered. Just march up to him and shoot him as he sat on his little throne?
The problem was solved for me. I saw him replaced by another man–apparently his relief. He lit a cigarette and strolled off the midway toward the dark lake front.
I caught up with him around a bend concealed by bushes. It was a lonely place, but close enough to the carnival so that its sounds could still reach me.
He heard my footsteps and turned. A tight smile came to his lips and he rubbed the knuckles of one hand. “You’re asking for it, mister.”
His eyes widened when he saw my revolver.
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Look, mister,” he said swiftly, “I only got a couple of tens in my pocket.”
“How old are you?” I repeated.
His eyes flicked nervously. “Thirty-two.”
I shook my head sadly. “You could have lived into your seventies. Perhaps forty more years of life, if only you had taken the simple trouble to act like a human being.”
His face whitened. “Are you off your rocker, or something?”
“A possibility.”
I pulled the trigger.
The sound of the shot was not as loud as I had expected, or perhaps it was lost against the background of the carnival noises.
He staggered and dropped to the edge of the path and he was quite dead.
I sat down on a nearby park bench and waited.
Five minutes. Ten. Had no one heard the shot?
I became suddenly conscious of hunger. I hadn’t eaten since noon. The thought of being taken to a police station and being questioned for any length of time seemed unbearable. And I had a headache, too.
I tore a page from my pocket notebook and began writing:
A careless word may be forgiven. But a lifetime of cruel rudeness may cannot. This man deserves to die.
I was about to sign my name, but then I decided that my initials would be sufficient for the time being. I did not want to be apprehended before I had a good meal and some aspirins.
I folded the page and put it into the dead ticket-taker’s breast pocket.
I met no one as I returned up the path and ascended the footbridge. I walked to Weschler’s, probably the finest restaurant in the city. The prices are, under normal circumstances, beyond me, but I thought that this time I could indulge myself.
After dinner, I decided an evening bus ride might be in order. I rather enjoyed that form of city excursion and, after all, my freedom of movement would soon become restricted.
The driver of the bus was an impatient man and clearly his passengers were his enemies. However, it was a beautiful night and the bus was not crowded.
At Sixty-eighth Street, a fragile white-haired woman with cameo features waited at the curb. The driver grudgingly brought his vehicle to a stop and opened the door.
She smiled and nodded to the passengers as she put her foot on the first step, and one could see that her life was one of gentle happiness and very few bus rides.
“Well!” the driver snapped. “Is it going to take you all day to get in?”
She flushed and stammered. “I’m sorry.” She presented him with a five-dollar bill.
He glared. “Don’t you have any change?”
The flush deepened. “I don’t think so. But I’ll look.”
The driver was evidently ahead of his schedule and he waited.
And one other thing was clear. He was enjoying this.
She found a quarter and held it up timorously.
“In the box!” he snapped.
She dropped it into the box.
The driver moved his vehicle forward jerkily and she almost fell. Just in time she managed to catch hold of a strap.
Her eyes went to the passengers, as though to apologize for herself–for not having moved faster, for not having immediate change, for almost falling. The smile trembled and she sat down.
At Eighty-second, she pulled the buzzer cord, rose, and made her way forward.
The driver scowled over his shoulder as he came to a stop. “Use the rear door. Don’t you people ever learn to use the rear door?”
I am all in favor of using the rear door. Especially when a bus is crowded. But there were only a half a dozen passengers on this bus and they read their newspapers with frightened neutrality.
She turned, her face pale, and left by the rear door.
The evening she had had, or the evening she was going to have, had now been ruined. Perhaps many more evenings, with the thought of it.
I rode the bus to the end of the line.
I was the only passenger when the driver turned it around and parked.
It was a deserted, dimly lit corner, and there were no waiting passengers at the small shelter at the curb. The driver glanced at his watch, lit his cigarette, and then noticed me. “If you’re taking the ride back, mister, put another quarter in the box. No free riders here.”
I rose from my seat and walked slowly to the front of the bus. “How old are you?”
His eyes narrowed. “That’s none of your business.”
“About thirty-five, I’d imagine,” I said. “You’d have had another thirty years or more ahead of you.” I produced the revolver.
He dropped the cigarette. “Take the money,” he said.
“I’m not interested in money. I’m thinking about a gentle lady and perhaps the hundreds of other gentle ladies and the kind harmless men and the smiling children. You are a criminal. There is no justification for what you do to them. There is no justification for your existence.”
And I killed him.
I sat down and waited.
After ten minutes, I was still alone with the corpse.
I realized that I was sleepy. Incredibly sleepy. It might be better if I turned myself in to the police after a good night’s sleep.
I wrote my justification for the driver’s demise on a sheet of note paper, added my initials, and put the page in his pocket.
I walked four blocks before I found a taxi and took it to my apartment building.
I slept soundly and perhaps I dreamed. But if I did, my dreams were pleasant and innocuous, and it was almost nine before I woke.
After a shower and a leisurely breakfast, I selected my best suit. I remembered I had not yet paid that month’s telephone bill. I made out a check and addressed an envelope. I discovered that I was out of stamps. But no matter, I would get one on the way to the police station.
I was almost there when I remembered the stamp. I stopped in at a corner drugstore. It was a place I had never entered before.
The proprietor, in a semi-medical jacket, sat behind the soda fountain reading a newspaper and a salesman was making notations in a large order book.
The proprietor did not look up when I entered and he spoke to the salesman. “They’ve got his fingerprints on the notes, they’ve got his handwriting, and they’ve got his initials. What’s wrong with the police?”
The salesman shrugged. “What good are fingerprints if the murderer doesn’t have his in the police files? The same goes for the handwriting if you got nothing to compare it with. And how many thousand people in the city got the initials L. T.?” He closed the book. “I’ll be back next week.”
When he was gone, the druggist continued reading the newspaper.
I cleared my throat.
He finished reading a long paragraph and then looked up. “Well?”
“I’d like a four-cent stamp, please.”
It appeared almost as though I had struck him. He stared at me for fifteen seconds and then he left his stool and slowly made his way to the rear of the store toward a small barred window.
I was about to follow him, but a display of pipes at my elbow caught my attention.
After a while I felt eyes upon me and looked up.
The druggist stood at the far end of the store, one hand on his hip and the other disdainfully holding the single stamp. “Do you expect me to bring it to you?”
And now I remembered a small boy of six who had had five pennies. Not just one, this time, but five, and this was in the days of penny candies.
He had been entranced by the display in the showcase–the fifty varieties of sweet things, and his mind had revolved in a pleasant indecision. The red whips? The licorice? The grab bags? But not the candy cherries. He didn’t like those.
And then he had become conscious of the druggist standing beside the display case–tapping one foot. The druggist’s eyes had smoldered with irritation–no, more than that–with anger. “Are you going to take all day for your lousy nickel?”
He had been a sensitive boy and he had felt as though he had received a blow. His precious five pennies were now nothing. This man despised them. And this man despised him.
He pointed numbly and blindly. “Five cents of that.”
When he left the store he had found that he had the candy cherries.
But that didn’t really matter. Whatever it had been, he couldn’t have eaten it.
Now I stared at the druggist and the four-cent stamp and the narrow hatred for anyone who did not contribute directly to his profits. I had no doubt that he would fawn if I purchased one of his pipes.
But I thought of the four-cent stamp, and the bag of cherry candy I had thrown away so many years ago.
I moved toward the rear of the store and took the revolver out of my pocket. “How old are you?”
When he was dead, I did not wait longer than necessary to write a note. I had killed for myself this time and I felt the need of a drink.
I went several doors down the street and entered a small bar. I ordered a brandy and water.
After ten minutes, I heard the siren of a squad car.
The bartender went to the window. “It’s just down the street.” He took off his jacket. “Got to see what this is all about. If anybody comes in, tell them I’ll be right back.” He put the bottle of brandy on the bar. “Help yourself, but tell me how many.”
I sipped the brandy slowly and watched the additional squad cars and finally the ambulance appear.
The bartender returned after ten minutes and a customer followed at his heels. “A short beer, Joe.”
“This is my second brandy,” I said.
Joe collected my change. “The druggist down the street got himself murdered. Looks like it was by the man who kills people because they’re not polite.”
The customer watched him draw a beer. “How do you figure that? Could have been just a holdup.”
Joe shook his head. “No. Fred Masters–he’s got the TV shop across the street–found the body and he read the note.”
The customer put a dime on the bar. “I’m not going to cry about it. I always took my business someplace else. He acted as though he was doing you a favor every time he waited on you.”
Joe nodded. “I don’t think anybody in the neighborhood’s going to miss him. He always made a lot of trouble.”
I had been about to leave and return to the drugstore to give myself up, but now I ordered another brandy and took out my notebook. I began making a list of names.
It was surprising how one followed another. They were bitter memories, some large, some small, some I had experienced and many more that I had witnessed–perhaps felt more than the victims.
Names. And that warehouseman. I didn’t know his name, but I must include him.
I remembered the day and Miss Newman. We were her sixth-graders and she had taken us on another one of her excursions–this time to the warehouses along the river, where she was going to show us “how industry works.”
She always planned her tours and she always asked permission of the places we visited, but this time she strayed or became lost and we arrived at the warehouse–she and the thirty children who adored her.
And the warehouseman had ordered her out. He had used language we did not understand, but we sensed its intent, and he had directed it against us and Miss Newman.
She was small and she had been frightened and we retreated. And Miss Newman did not report to school the next day or any day after that and we learned that she had asked for a transfer.
And I, who loved her, too, knew why. She could not face us after that.
Was he still alive? He had been in his twenties then, I imagined.
When I left the bar a half an hour later, I realized I had a great deal of work to do.
The succeeding days were busy ones and, among others, I found the warehouseman. I told him why he was dying, because he did not even remember.
And when that was done, I dropped into a restaurant not far away.
The waitress eventually broke off her conversation with the cashier and strode to my table. “What do you want?”
I ordered a steak and tomatoes.
The steak proved to be just about what one could expect in such a neighborhood. As I reached for my coffee spoon, I accidentally dropped it to the floor. I picked it up. “Waitress, would you mind bringing me another spoon, please?”
She stalked angrily to my table and snatched the spoon from my hand. “You got the shakes, or something?”
She returned in a few minutes and was about to deposit a spoon, with considerable emphasis, upon my table.
But then a sudden thought altered the harsh expression of her face. The descent of the arm diminuendoed, and when the spoon touched the tablecloth, it touched gently. Very gently.
She laughed nervously. “I’m sorry if I was sharp, mister.”
It was an apology, and so I said, “That’s quite all right.”
“I mean that you can drop a spoon any time you want to. I’ll be glad to get you another.”
“Thank you.” I turned to my coffee.
“You’re not offended, are you, mister?” she asked eagerly.
“No. Not at all.”
She snatched a newspaper from an empty neighboring table. “Here, sir, you can read this while you eat. I mean, it’s on the house. Free.”
When she left me, the wide-eyed cashier stared at her. “What’s with all that, Mable?”
Mable glanced back at me with a trace of uneasiness. “You can never tell who he might be. You better be polite these days.”
As I ate I read, and an item caught my eye. A grown man had heated pennies in a frying pan and had tossed them out to some children who were making trick-or-treat rounds before Halloween. He had been fined a miserable twenty dollars.
I made a note of his name and address.
Dr. Briller finished his examination. “You can get dressed now, Mr. Turner.”
I picked up my shirt. “I don’t suppose some new miracle drug has been developed since I was here last?”
He laughed with self-enjoyed good nature. “No, I’m afraid not.” He watched me button the shirt. “By the way, have you decided what you’re going to do with your remaining time?”
I had, but I thought I’d say, “Not yet.”
He was faintly perturbed. “You really should, you know. Only about three months left. And be sure to let me know when you do.”
While I finished dressing, he sat down at his desk and glanced at the newspaper lying there. “The killer seems to be rather busy, doesn’t he?”
He turned a page. “But really the most surprising thing about the crimes seems to be the public’s reaction. Have you read the Letters from the People column recently?”
“These murders appear to be meeting with almost universal approval. Some of the letter writers even hint that they might be able to supply the murderer with a few choice names themselves.”
I would have to get a paper.
“Not only that,” Dr. Briller said, “but a wave of politeness has struck the city.”
I put on my coat. “Shall I come back in two weeks?”
He put aside the paper. “Yes. And try to look at this whole thing as cheerfully as possible. We all have to go some day.”
But his day was indeterminate and presumably in the distant future.
My appointment with Dr. Briller had been in the evening, and it was nearly ten by the time I left my bus and began the short walk to my apartment building.
As I approached the last corner, I heard a shot. I turned into Milding Lane and found a little man with a revolver standing over a newly dead body on the quiet and deserted sidewalk.
I looked down at the corpse. “Goodness. A policeman.”
The little man nodded. “Yes, what I’ve done does seem a little extreme, but you see he was using a variety of language that was entirely necessary.”
“Ah,” I said.
The little man nodded. “I’d parked my car in front of this fire hydrant. Entirely inadvertently, I assure you. And this policeman was waiting when I returned to my car. And also he discovered that I’d forgotten my driver’s license. I would not have acted as I did if he had simply written out a ticket–for I was guilty, sir, and I readily admit it–but he was not content with that. He made embarrassing observations concerning my intelligence, my eyesight, the possibility that I’d stolen the car, and finally on the legitimacy of my birth.” He blinked at a fond memory. “And my mother was an angel, sir. An angel.”
I remembered a time when I’d been apprehended while absentmindedly jaywalking. I would contritely have accepted the customary warning, or even a ticket, but the officer insisted upon a profane lecture before a grinning assemblage of interested pedestrians. Most humiliating.
The little man looked at the gun in his hand. “I bought this just today and actually I’d intended to use it on the superintendent of my apartment building. A bully.”
I agreed. “Surly fellows.”
He sighed. “But now I suppose I’ll have to turn myself over to the police?”
I gave it a thought. He watched me.
He cleared his throat. “Or perhaps I should just leave a note? You see I’ve been reading in the newspapers about …”
I lent him my notebook.
He wrote a few lines, signed his initials, and deposited the slip of paper between two buttons of the dead officer’s jacket.
He handed the notebook back to me. “I must remember to get one of these.”
He opened the door of his car. “Can I drop you off anywhere?”
“No, thank you,” I said. “It’s a nice evening. I’d rather walk.”
Pleasant fellow, I reflected, as I left him.
Too bad there weren’t more like him.