Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Willie Horton’s Brother From Another Mother

[Update! Hey, they caught him this morning. According to a friend at town hall, he was caught in my yard, more or less. We slept through it. He’s going to pray for the death penalty, what with the poison ivy out there.]

Hey! A fugitive murderer let out on parole is running around my neighborhood. Ah, it’s just like old times here in Massachusetts. Is Mike Dukakis running for President again?

I’m sure all the people reading this in Detroit or Cleveland or New York are asking “Only one? Pikers.” Yep. Mass pikers, at that.

Well, you’re right, fugitive paroled murderers aren’t all that common around here. Any kind of people aren’t all that common around here. There’s only 4500 people in the town I live in. That’s only like .002% murderers by volume. He’s 6 foot 2, 230 pounds, so by weight the ratio might be higher. If New York City had .002% murderers, there’d be about 18,000 murderers there. Actually, that sounds about right.

He actually escaped from the police in the next town over, Mattapoisett, about a half-mile from my mom’s house. He was driving a delivery truck to an industrial park I go to fairly often, and bolted into the woods and left the truck in the parking lot. The police arrived shortly after. They wanted to talk to him, over what is being termed a “domestic dispute”. Someone must have warned him they were coming after him. Someone’s always looking out for murderers in Massachusetts. If he keeps walking straight through those woods, the first thing he comes to will be… hmm… let’s try Google Earth. Hey, that’s funny! That’s my house. Not funny haha. Funny like saying: President Dukakis.

We found out about all this because we received automated messages by telephone, first from our son’s school, and then from the police. I leave it to you to imagine what your first reaction might be upon hearing a school administrator’s voice telling you that a very dangerous man is on the loose in town. Why is the school telling me this? They wanted to suggest that for today, perhaps it might be better if our grade schoolers didn’t go home to an empty house. Just today?

For a while they wouldn’t say what he had done to end up in jail. Eight hours after he escaped, the news babe said he was a second degree murderer out on parole. The messages told us right along he was to be considered armed and dangerous.

Really? Silly me. Why would I figure someone considered dangerous, who is likely to arm themselves, wouldn’t be out on parole? I forgot where I live.

He’s not the first murderer I’ve encountered here. I bought the plot of land to build my mom’s house through a realtor a decade ago. I made an offer. He said: “I’ll go put it in the drawer, and see what he says.”

“The drawer?”

“Yeah, in the maximum security prison it’s got to go in a drawer in a bullet-proof wall, I can’t hand him the paper.”

“Whah… what are you talking about?”

“Oh, the owner’s in jail for killing his wife a while back. Never did find the body.”

I remember laying out the foundation hole and trenches for the drainage, and instructing the excavating contractor:

“No matter what you hit, man, just keep on digging.”

When that guy got out of prison (he got life, which I believe is fifteen years here; I think he only did eight, somehow) I was told he moved in more or less next door to me. You have to understand that next door around here means one town over about a quarter mile away. His family owned a campground on a local lake. That campground was — a more wretched hive of scum and villainy… People don’t camp at campgrounds any more. Lowlifes live there.

Our local area police blotter has no crime on it, more or less, but they were always going to the campground. Fights, drugs, the usual. A developer wanted to buy it and put houses there. People protested at the town meetings that the developer would be ruining the town by turning out the campground freakshow and building single family houses there. I actually saw the word “evil” used. About the developer, not any murderer. The developer prevailed, and I’ve never seen another police cruiser.

Until today. They’ve got roadblocks and helicopters. They’ve announced that they’re calling off the search at dusk, though.

You see, that’s why I love Massachusetts. You’ve got your murderers out on parole, and when they try to arrest them, they run away into the woods, and the police stop looking for them when the sun goes down. In our magic state, he’ll no doubt turn into a toadstool at sunset, and they can just pick him up tomorrow at dawn.

I’ll be right back. Someone’s at the door.

12 Responses

  1. I see Chris Byrne has been to happy hour on the cape once or twice.

    For the uninitiated, Cape Cod was full of nightspots where glorified buskers would sing drinking songs in bars for vacationers all summer. I know, I was one of them.

    There was a guy I knew who called himself Dennis W. Harwich. He named himself after the exit sign on the midcape highway for the towns of Dennis and West Harwich.

    JC- They really are words to live by, ain’t they?

  2. Sitting with my ear next to the old Philco radio, staring into the glowing dial, wondering axiously who is at the door.

  3. Macphisto- Interesting question.

    I must admit it’s never occurred to me to ask anybody what I’d be allowed to do in such a situation.

    I picture it as a sort of a George Costanza post-instance thing:

    “Was that wrong? Should I have not done that…?”

  4. “Do they still let you defend yourself from serial killers in Massachusetts”

    There haven’t been any since the Boston Strangler. I don’t think serial killing is the kind of thing that people do in Massachusetts.

    “Cape Cod was full of nightspots where glorified buskers would sing drinking songs in bars”

    Sippican, there are still quite a few of those. My brothers are inexplicably fond of Molly’s in So. Yarmouth, which has had some pretty unglorified bar singers. Of course, they have lots of bar singers in Provincetown, too, but that’s a different story.

  5. tjl- There was a serial killer in New Bedford about fifteen years ago. He killed prostitutes and dumped their bodies along Rt. 195 near here. They suspected a local lawyer. He claimed he didn’t do it, but the killings stopped after they questioned him.

    I remember the Boston Strangler business from when I was a kid. My fmaily lived in Dorchester and Roxbury then.

    By the way, everybody knows Molly’s is in West Yarmouth, not South Yarmouth. Really, try to keep up.

    And as far as Provincetown goes, I must tell you that about 7 or 8 years ago, I was on the float that won best of show in the Provincetown 4th of July parade.

  6. “everybody knows Molly’s is in West Yarmouth, not South Yarmouth”

    At what point does one turn into the other?

    Directional names of Massachusetts towns are so arbitrary and confusing. Think of the Bridgewaters, whose names bear little relation to where they are on the map.

  7. All directions in South Yarmouth are given by counting miniature golf courses. In West Yarmouth, by counting how many package stores you pass.

    I hope that clears that up.

    Now someone will ask: What’s a package store?

  8. What's a package store?
    Just kidding!
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about West Harwich to share on our site and I came across your post…If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂

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