Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Day, A Week, Whatever

I once lived near a small crossroads in Kansas called Dover. There were probably not a hundred folks in the entire village.  

But there was a church. I knew the pastor, Bob Keller, very well. His pretty wife, Traci, was what might be called a "health nut." She relished riding her bicycle through the rolling countryside as much as any thing in life, as did her pride and joy, a twelve-year-old daughter named Brenda. One day, while trying out a shiny new bike, the little girl was stopped by a man at the edge of town. He was a convicted criminal, free on bond while awaiting his sentence. He was staying in a nearby home. The man dragged Brenda into a barn, raped her, beat her, mangled her, and finally, he killed her.

There was a desperate search throughout the night for the missing girl. I knew the young farmer who found the child's body the next day, a Sunday. Like everyone else in Dover, I too heard the terrible sounds that Sabbath as the sirens converged on the little crossroads. One week later, almost to the minute, again I heard sirens scream into Dover. It was horrible. Although the sounds were unrelated to the week before–-perhaps a fire or heart attack–-it was terrible and startling.

A few minutes later, as I stood staring out our window toward the little gravel road that ran past our house, I saw someone flying down the hill on a bike. It was Traci Keller. Behind her, on his own bike, was a young son shouting at his mother, begging her to stop. Traci's blond hair was flowing in the wind like some ghostly spirit and I could see that her face was streaked in red from a rain of tears.

A few years later, Bob asked me to write the story of his daughter's death. I suppose it had something to do with closure. I thought about it for some time, and really wanted to do it, but in the end I had to refuse. I never could escape the image of myself sitting across from the murderer in prison, trying to smile, ingratiate, and coax from him his side of the story. In the end, I felt I must become a part of him, perhaps even grow to like him, if I were to truly understand him. And this I was unwilling to do. My books have been about events that took place a long time ago. All the participants are dead. That makes it easier, but not easy. I lived and breathed each of my books and unavoidably became a part of the characters within. In this case, I could not allow myself to become an actor in something so horrible as what happened to Brenda Keller. Simply put: I lacked the guts.

Well, perhaps it was the passing of years and a certain callousness one acquires with age, but in a few days or weeks or whatever a story very similar to the one above will be available on Amazon, as well as kindle books.  In this case, the duty I felt to tell this young woman’s story overcame my horror of reliving it again and again.  The e-book will be called, Toledo Blade—The True Story of the Abduction, Rape and Murder of a Cop’s Daughter.  Over the next few days, weeks, whatever, I hope to post a few chapters of the book on this blog.


Decent Exposure—Well-filled bikinis, boobed and bootied, have taken over the beaches on this island, and good enough for this child.  Don’t wanna see no mo big-belly-gross-guts or double-wide butt blobs, nor no mo fifty pound chicken wings or other grotesque sights.  Mercifully, those with ugly bodies mostly spare our eyeballs by covering up their mess with lots and lots of swimsuit material.  Long live the skimpy bikini (of which Michelle fills one out perfectly—whew!  Had to get that in there).


Yet Another One--Alice M. Muenchausen of nearby Port Charlotte “lost control” of her car the other morning in a bank parking lot.  “Lost control” must be neo-speak for “confusing” the gas for the brake pedal.  Whatever, Alice’s car rocketed over several curbs before smashing flush into a palm tree and bursting into flames.  Alice was plucked from the car and raced to a hospital but was pronounced DOA.

“It is not yet known whether alcohol was a factor in the crash,” wrote the bird-brained reporter. 

Alice Muenchausen was 91-years-old.


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