Excerpt: The Inquiry into the Death of Fred Jones

The Inquiry into the Death of Fred Jones

                (As transcribed from the complied interviews of several witnesses.)

The Testimony of Mrs. Barbra Halcott: How was I supposed to know they’d find a dead body? They only told me they were going fishing. Down in some dingy pond in the sticks. Ten minutes later the two boys, my son and little Tommy Burlson, come bolting up to the house screaming about, they found a man in the water.

The Testimony of Dillon Halcott: It were just me and Tommy goin’ down to the fishin’ hole. And I knews that something was wrong. Something was different. And there in the water was a body. All wrinkly and white, just like my grandpappy looked at his funeral. It was just a’floatin’ along with the snakes and the fish and the crickets.

Mrs. Halcott: After I ran down to the see the truth with my own eyes, I rang the police and they sent down Millord Cotton. I used to remember he’d sit behind the town sign and run his radar. After he got to my house, near half the FBI shows up. I think they thinks it’s murder.

The Testimony of Tommy Burlson: Jumbo was leaning over all that green water, poking the corpse with an alligator pole. We called him “Jumbo” course, cause our parents called him Jumbo, and they called him that cause he’d been near three hundred pounds since infancy.

Dillon Halcott: Leanin’ over like that, I thought he’d woulda fellen in. And soon as he flipped that man over, I knew who it was. Jumbo too. I knew it was Fred Jones, the guy who always offered to buy cigs for all the kids in my grade. And boy, he was dressed sharp. Except although he was for the most part recognizable, there was something really wrong with him. His face.

The Testimony of Millord “Jumbo” Cotton: I don’t know why he was dressed so nice, cause usually he was a bum. Like he was goin’ to a wedding or funeral or something. More likely, a funeral. But his face was mutilated beyond imagining, as if scraped off with a field knife or burned off with boiling water. It was a sickening sight.

Tommy: They carted us off to the local police station and stuck us in these windowless rooms. A guy come in, introduced himself as Detective Salinger, and questioned me. He asked how I knew Fred Jones; how me and Dillon found him killed dead; how he looked; if I ever seen this man? The detective had held up this photo of some old guy, all ugly and scarred. Nope, never seen him.

Jumbo: Fred Jones was a peculiar guy. He used to make amateur horror flicks in high school. And with such a low budget, he sure was creative. Mix corn syrup with red food coloring, maybe add chocolate syrup for thickness, you got fake blood. Mix cooked macaroni noodles and red gelatin and you got fake, mutilated brains. He was a peculiar guy, but awfully creative.

Mrs. Halcott: I waited for some time in this white little room before a suited man entered. In some frenzy, he asked if I knew Fred Jones. I told him Fred was the lowest of low you could get. Got stuck here after high school and grew up to be one of those infamous, legendary hobos.

The Testimony of Bill Green: I seen the guy who done it, the guy the detective kept asking about. I work at the quick stop, see, where ole Fred Jones hangs out. Sleeps on a bench in the back and offers to pump peoples’ gas for dimes and nickels. So one day last week, comes up this sleek, black Porsche. A real beauty it was. And Fred’s a’runnin’to it, clambering over that car. And the window rolls down and Fred begins to pump. When he’s done, I see ‘em shouting at each other. Maybe Fred was ripped. So’s not to be nosy, I go into the back and smoke a stick. When I come back, that nice car was gone. Fred too.

The Testimony of Detective Gene Salinger: From the interviews, I deduced that this has just the right amount of sickness and twisted mess to be Martinelli’s work. Now that he’s back he’s just cruising over the countryside in a stolen sports car. Fred Jones isn’t the first one to end dead on account of Martinelli. Won’t be last neither if we don’t stop him. He’s still the same monster.

Jumbo: I never seen so many cops before, not even in the movies. Don’t tell nobody, but I heard Fred was just the first of many. Salinger goes on about, that the guy who done it is Martinelli. Remember him? ‘The Gentleman of Gore,’ they called him in the Gazette. A man near myth. Escaped a few years back before he was supposed to be sent off to some prison no one’s heard of. Like, a mad house or something. More secret than Quantico or Guantanamo. With more concrete and iron bars than Alcatraz. Just Martinelli and a bunch of crazies in some cell in the mountain. But before they got him, after they accused him, he done escaped. And now he comes here, looking to kill. And he strangles Fred Jones, he does. And dumps the body after stealing his clothes. And dressing him up in some tuxedo. Salinger says this is Matinelli’s killing. He says, no one can duplicate his madness.

Dillon Halcott: No one did know what was about to happen. One day after they find that body, they wrench him out of the brackish and load him in an ambulance to take him to the morgue. A couple of the FBI in the ambulance, Jumbo says, began to take off the tuxedo. Buttoning down the shirt, they sees a blinking light. And then, boom.

Detective Salinger: A detonative device where his heart should have been. Bastard.

Bill Green: They say, Martinelli cut out his heart and wired a bomb to the inside of his shirt. When the fourth button was undone, boom.

Jumbo: Just imagine the carnage. The back of an ambulance explodes, slivers of crumpled metal shattering the glass of a Civic as it passes, the upholstery then splattered with paramedic guts. Imagine that ambulance, an inferno on wheels, and the siren still working, flyin’ down the highway and slamming into another car, flattening it. Ended up a six automobile wreck, all these vehicles strewn with body parts and cotton fluffs from a scattered, shredded cummerbund.

Bill Green: This guy was a real sicko. Like this guy who come into the quick stop. Took a piss and then ran the faucet. When he came out the bathroom, though, I seen his hands were dry. The guy pretended to wash his damn hands and then he purposely touches my hand as he checks out. This guy got off by spreading germs.

Sicko.

End of Transcript

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About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on January 26, 2012, in Fiction, gore, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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