Monday, September 20, 2010

Family Portrait (12/12)

“I guess I’m talking about a twenty-year-old woman named Francine Lockert, or Fran, who worked as a waitress at a café in Batesville. You met her thirty-two years ago. Do you remember? She was a local girl and still lives there to this day. She’s my mother.” I didn’t wait for him to wipe the stunned look off his face—feigned or otherwise—and deny everything. “You might be tempted to say I’m dreadfully mistaken, but my mother told me that she informed you she was pregnant. She was merely a one-night stand for you. She knew that. But she had no alternative, no prospect, and so at her mother’s urging sought your help.  What did she get from you?  Nothing but strong encouragement to get an abortion.”

Though a vein in his temple betrayed his inner state, Sheriff K smiled widely. “You've got quite an imagination. You’re pathetic, and were you not a monster I might feel sorry for you. You really believe all of this, don’t you? What’s worse is that you’ve probably lived your whole life with this false notion—yes, a mistake—in your murderous brain. I admit that I’ve had youthful indiscretions, and my wife is not unaware of these indiscretions; but you, well, you're delusional.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at yet another inane effort to throw a label on me and thereby relinquish any real attempt to understand. “Delusional,” I echoed his word.

“I’m starting to doubt everything you’re telling me.”

“Such as your tryst in Batesville as a St. Louis cop supposedly vacationing with his family?”

“Such as your murderous rampage. Why you would claim to have killed these people is a mystery to me, except perhaps some kind of psychological need for attention, as twisted and sick as that is. You almost had me.” Sheriff K started undoing the handcuffs as he spoke. Did he really think I had nothing to do with the death of Peterson and Melissa? I didn’t expect this reaction from him. Surely he is going to arrest me, I thought.

“I’m going to file a report a station, Mr. McMasters. We’ll keep in touch….” He seemed to speak with little emotion.

“That’s it, then?”

“Don't go anywhere.”  He was clearly agitated and walked out of my studio without saying another word. So much so that he practically plowed through a stack of leaves that I had raked yesterday.

So is this how it all ends? What kind of game he was playing I just couldn’t tell. If he thinks I didn’t kill Peterson—which I seriously doubt—he’ll find out soon enough. As far as him being my biological father, well, I could care less; I have no emotional attachment to the old man. Pathetic, am I? No, I’m only interested in revealing the hypocrisy of a putative pillar of society.

Not long after his Volvo disappeared past the gate of the my drive, I took Shannon the Pumpkinhead and buried her, it, in the woods about thirty meters behind my place. 

I’ve been collecting my thoughts on my laptop looking out the window at another fine autumn day. I feel both a sense of triumph and unease.  Remember that I become quite wistful and melancholy during this season. I inevitably think back on my youth, especially Halloween, my favorite holiday, bittersweet though it might be.  I remember my mother crying and shocked when I came back from trick-or-treating with blood all over my Spiderman outfit.  I had sustained a severe blow to the head when some pranksters threw rocks at me and my friends.  I've never harbored bitterness toward my enemies.

A car pulling up my drive interrupts my recollection of Halloween. It’s Sheriff K. He’s alone again in his personal vehicle. Is he going to plead with me not to reveal his secrets? I would be delusional if I really thought that. Is he here to arrest me, finally? See what makes me tick? Seek some kind of reconciliation with his bastard son? I can’t know for sure, but if this is the last sentence of my “testimony,” dear reader, I’m already dead.