Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Junkman Cometh

It’s been a funny couple of weeks since I last posted. We’ve all been stunned and sleepily trapped in endless days of 100 + temperatures. I’ve just been trying to get through the days with the most minimal effort. I don’t have a/c, so I try not to stir up any more sweat than absolutely necessary. My bed stinks because the bed linens never quite dry from the nightly drenching I give them. I keep three fans trained on me even after I turn the lights out and yes, it gave me a horrible summer cold, just like your mother said it would...

Two miles from my house, someone murders the local junkman at 5:30 pm. Who murders people at 5:30 pm, during the summer when it’s still light and people are driving by on the way home from work? A very sloppy criminal that doesn’t know the meaning of the word covert, that’s who.

The first murder of 2010 in my little town of 10,000 and it’s so near my house. Kinda creepy, but not as bad as the guy that committed suicide six feet from my doorstep when I lived in DC. Now, that was creepy, folks! I opened my door to leave for work one morning and this group of cops came rushing over to find out if I’d heard anything the night before. Shots? Arguing? Crying? Nope, nope, nope, I answered them quickly and looked over at the blanket-covered body before I left for work. At that time I was drinking pretty heavily and could have tripped over his body on my stoop the night before and truly wouldn't have remembered a thing about it the next day. It seems my poor neighbor had got into a disagreement with his girlfriend and blew his head off on my doorstep to get back at her. “Good God, dude! Why my fuckin’ doorstep?” I wanted to scream, but I guess if you’re in that much pain, one place is good as the other to end it all…

The word around town was that the junkman was weird, freaky and extremely eccentric. He always seemed to be in the local news because the police were constantly arresting him for not paying his tax or having the proper permits for running a junkyard within the city limits. People in the South don’t really appreciate and smile fondly at the neighborhood's lovable old kook as they might in a more cosmopolitan place.

Being “different” and too colorful can be downright dangerous to your health. Sadly, they usually want to squash and rub-out that which they do not understand. 

The junkman was sort of a white, hillbilly version of Fred Sanford but in denim overalls.  People constantly bitched about what an eyesore his business was. I have to admit that I’d almost drive off the side of the road when I drove by his junkyard because I was so distracted by the massive quantities of junk that came all the way up to the sides of the freeway. He even had this 6-foot, fiberglass Ronald McDonald fastened to chimney that seemed to be holding his hand up in jaunty salute to all the passer-byers on highway 150.

 I personally didn’t know the man, though I constantly passed him on the road in his old 70’s Ford pick-up painted the color of an old swimming pool bottom. He was a large man with abundant white hair and always seemed to be spilling halfway out the windows of his old truck as drove along on his quests for more and more junk. He was a nice old man or so it has been said since his murder. People have stepped forward to offer up stories about his largesse. A neighboring man even claims that the junkman often paid for his chemo. Who knows? It’s funny how everyone becomes a saint once they die, right?

People who frequented his business said that the junkman had the bad habit of carrying a fat, bulging wallet and didn’t mind flipping it out in front of customers to make change. This, I think was his undoing (see note). Somebody thought they’d easily relieve the old junkman of his fat wallet but he put up a struggle and ended up dead in the process. His body was doused with gasoline and then set on fire at 5:30 pm. The police and fire department get there twenty minutes later to find that the damage has been confined to the room where the smoldering body is located. The fire had already mostly extinguished itself and the rest of the building is untouched by the fire. But for a few limp strips of crime tape across the driveway, you’d never know that something horrible had happened here. Last I heard, the police have a lead and are searching a location in the neighboring town of Cherryville for the murder weapon.

Take care, guys and be good, okay.

Note: One of the things my father taught me was this: always be very discreet about the amount of cash you carry on your person and to be very discreet about opening your wallet in front of strangers. My father had this pounded into his head by his sergeant before he was shipped off overseas at the start of his military career in 1952 because it seems that those crazy, wacky foreigners in third-world countries liked nothing better than robbing drunk American G.I.’s on pay day. Go figure.


ÐƎΓΓΛ ƁƎΓΓƎ© The Kewpie Doll said...

excellent post!

and yes, after folks die, then everyone has smoething good to say.

Mark Stephens said...


I am Mark and I am from NYC. I like your blog a lot. Very quirky and funny. We are in similar situations. If you can, perhaps you could follow my blog: Looking forward to further posts. Take care buddy.



Adventures In Gay Dating said...

Thanks, Mark. Welcome. I checked out your blog and added a link here.

Geoff said...

Wonderful post as usual, and a nice tribute to the junkman as well. Everyone has a story, and is more than what people perceive them to be from the outside.