[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."
"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.