Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#HomicideWanderers - Ten Year Old Murderers Are Really Quite Fragile... 9/9/15

Timothy and Ca-Ca talk in Ca-Ca's little backyard again....

It's almost dark. This time it was cold...maybe ten or fifteen days into November. They had coats and gloves and scarves. Sometimes it's fun to bundle up, sit outside and look at the clear, night sky... but not this time.

Timothy said - My uncle came over last night. He comes over all the time. We eat dinner together, 'cause he's all alone and my mother says he'll kill himself on the lid to a can or something. But this time felt different. He didn't joke around so much. We just ate...chopped steak with onions and gravy.....

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! - went Ca-Ca. Did I ask you that? He's a cop! He's a cop! What did he say? I am gonna go down in the subway and jump in front of a train. I mean it. I can't take this. Now tell me....

He made like it was natural... Like he was just tellin' stories from work. Couldn't tell all of it, 'cause it's police stuff. But he tells us things all the time. Not me maybe, but my mom and dad. Only this time he wanted me to hear too. I could tell. I knew it.

How could you tell? - said Ca-Ca.

'Cause how he looked at me. He said - We're getting close in that 'little girl' case.... You mean 'Esther?' - said my mother... He nodded. She said - Such a terrible thing.. He nodded some more. My dad just ate, but he looked different... more mean, or more nervous. I don't know. I can't tell the difference. He don't like chopped steak night. Says it's just crappy hamburger, only he has to pay more for it (in a small voice), but I like it.

Ca-Ca just sits there looking at the cement in the tiny, fenced in space. She could see it a little, 'cause of the light from the kitchen window. She wanted to say something, but she just sighed.

Timothy went on. He said - My uncle goes - We got some 'bum,' some homeless guy who saw something. Found him jimmying the lock on Rocco's newsstand down the avenue. Cops look out for Rocco, 'cause a the stroke and all...

You remember it all? - asked Ca-Ca.

Yeah, every word. How could I forget. The guy saw 'it,' Ca-Ca. He described your coat. He described me. Not as much as you. Boys' coats are more the same. Said we looked about nine or ten years old too. You know what they did? They went to the school... to all the fourth and fifth grade teachers. Showed them pictures. You know when the cops draw those pictures?... the ones that look like comic book bad guys?.

She quietly said - Yeah...

Well, they got ones of us - Tim said.

Then why didn't they arrest us? He said that? Your uncle said that? - she whispered....

No, he didn't say they were of us. Just two kids.. But they're looking and they're talking to people. They're talking to kids too. I feel like I'm gonna throw up every time I walk into that place, even the schoolyard. I feel like I'm gonna die. (silence) Are you still gonna run away?

Yep - she says

Your cousin get a whore to be the fake mom?

Nope - she says.

Can I go? Is there enough money for me?

She just looks at him...

Five heartbeats later he quietly begins to cry...

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MURDER KILLS MORE THAN THE 'VICTIM'..... 9/9/15

This is gonna be about Donna and her daughter, Esther and how it was for them before the murder. They had an apartment in the first floor of a converted row house. Maybe it was always a 'duplex.' They got places like that in Philadelphia, usually at the ends of blocks but not always. Esther's mother paid a guy to put bars on the windows. She asked the landlord. He said - OK, but he never does it. So she gave a guy a hundred and sixty dollars. He got four sets of bars off the windows of an old funeral parlor and jimmied 'em up so they'd fit. There was a little bit too much space on the sides, but no person could get through, 'less they wanted their head to get crushed.

When you went in, you saw the living room, with some cleaned up kitchenette unit from an old Holiday Inn along the left hand wall where Mrs. Gibbs, the landlord's mother, used to have her piano. Not a fancy one... just a big upright.. there was a little table where maybe two people could sit and eat. Between the living room - kitchen and the two bedrooms was a bathroom. Not exactly up to code. No window, or anything. Just an exhaust fan. Tiles were white, but old and dingy... not shiny, 'cause the glaze was all worn off. The old dining room was a bigger bedroom. The original kitchen was now a long narrow bedroom. You had to go through the big room to get into it. Both faced the back alley.

Donna (the mother) paid eight hundred dollars a month for the place. At night, when it was all locked up and the unmonitored alarm system (five plastic boxes...one for each window and one for the door) from the Five Below store was turned on they felt safe....shades down, curtains closed. They had a TV stand that looked like a fireplace. Esther's mother bought flameless l.e.d. candles to put in it. The little fake flames made it cozy.  She found furniture and stuff in a Big Lot store... area rugs... towels for the bathroom... bed spreads... little lamps... pictures and all. She wanted Esther to have a nice place... Bought books from the library when they had their sales.... a little off brand flat screen TV from the appliance store on the avenue. Nobody bothered them and they didn't bother anybody else.

Since it happened...since Esther was killed, Donna never went out. She goes to work...rings up sales...gives out change...eats her tuna fish sandwich and goes home. Don't take her medicine no more (blood pressure pills) 'cause she don't care. Only reason she still goes to work is to get money for a tombstone... and to pay off the funeral and all. After that, she wants to die too.

Sometimes she lays on Esther's bed. Sometimes she just stands in the doorway and looks at the room. It's real quiet in that place. Donna don't talk. Who's she gonna talk to. Some nights she eats... some nights she don't.

Looked at pictures from Atlantic City. Took Esther down there almost every week in the summertime. They rode a casino, day trip bus. Driver never charged them. Knew Donna from when they were kids. If the bus was crowded, Esther sat on her mother's lap. They'd walk the boards... maybe go down on the beach and wet their feet... sit on a bench and get some sun.. didn't cost too much for a pork roll sandwich and a root beer. Esther's mother had a little satchel... really a pocketbook for extra tops and underwear... You never knew what might happen. Sometimes Esther went on a ride, or bought a little souvenir, maybe a quarter pound of salt water taffy...That's how they lived.. before Esther died, I mean...

What? You think life is fair?

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