The Typewriter Murders

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‘The Typewriter Murders’

By Robert Lewis Heron.

 

An old Louisiana town called McFarlane holds many secrets.

Take George, owner of the town’s typewriter repair shop, as an example. All he wanted was love. But that can be complicated.

Sure enough, complications arise when former childhood bullies, and now the pillars of small town respectability: State Senator, town sheriff, school headmistress, and priest, unwittingly unleash his restrained lifetime thoughts for revenge. Unwilling to again accept harassment, he takes control of his destiny and wreaks havoc figuratively and literally on each former bully. His Remington Quiet Deluxe typewriter is the expert assassination weapon: words can be as deadly as bullets, but then again axes can be very effective.

And as for finding love. Well that would be telling.

Copyright © 2016 by Robert Lewis Heron. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Chapter 1

"A small town is automatically a world of pretense. Since everyone knows everyone else’s business, it becomes the job of the populace to act as if they don’t know what is going on instead of it being their job to try to find out."

J. Basinger.

 

McFarlane appears to be like any backwater town in any southern state in any land of the free.

Where thriving cotton mills once created prosperity, where childhood bonds still last a lifetime, where school sweethearts wed, where whispered secrets fester until an outsider asks awkward questions, or an insider lances the putrefying boils—one by one.

 

Occasionally, the aging town square comes alive. From the annual pig-calling contest to the bacchanalian and culinary delights of the Andouille Sausage, Beignet and Gumbo Festival. But, today is not such a day but a day like all the other ordinary days, and a place to walk a dog or walk off a hangover.

The buildings facing the square are nothing special— the Gothic revival Mardi Gras funeral parlor, Miss Mary’s crumbling sandstone library, George’s mildew covered siding of his Clock, Watch, and Typewriter Repair Store, and Danny’s chrome plated sixties diner. The unfortunate thing about the diner is the sign. Someone, probably Danny, measured the frontage wrong, and so the letters do not fit. It reads—Dany’s Diner. The ‘n’ is somewhere round back, lost in long grass, between a brick supported Ford Pick-up truck, and a rusty bullet riddled ‘Whites Only’ sign.

Side streets display a patchwork of rotting nailed-up stores sandwiched between others hanging on by a thread. Blackened boards give an appearance of some derelict wino’s smile—decaying teeth, peeling lips and gray stubble. The plushest and most frequented establishments in McFarlane are the Mardi Gras funeral parlor, and Saint Bernadette on Main.

A snail-paced decay of fading memories of a happier town. A place where once the tap, tap, tap of walking sticks on pristine sidewalks announced the approach of gentile ladies in feathered hats, white arm length gloves, and  occasional parasols fringed in delicate white lace. Times change: sidewalks crack, old folks die, and young folks leave.

Time ticks on, funeral follows funeral, elderly folks sit cocooned in the smell of oldness, of stale urine. Too old to pick up roots and leave, they rock back and forth on the white picket porch outside the Upchuck Home for the Elderly, and wait for father-time to coral them, single file towards the shaded bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River gator swamp that is McFarlane’s last resting place.

If you were so inclined, you might award a civic prize to the one growth industry in this crumbling backwater—to Father O'Toole's Saint Bernadette on Main, a depository for the town’s forgotten memories, crumbling bones and perhaps seeds sown for future generations to profit from. On the other hand, perhaps not.