Monday, August 31, 2015

THE TEN YEAR OLD KILLER AND HER TEENAGE COUSIN BREAK IN... 9/1/15

They taped the three little glass slats in the louvered window with duct tape. They carefully broke them with a rubber mallet. Cousin Mike carefully shattered the thin, solid glass panel behind the louvers. He draped a blanket over the bottom of the opening so they could squeeze through the twenty by sixteen inch space... but when it came time to go in, he said - You first..... Ca-Ca blinked. She whispered - What? You said you could do this?.. I can - he said, but they got my DNA. It's on file..... From when? - she said..... From when we stole Jimmy Magliani's dad's car.... You were thirteen and a half years old. Does it count?.... Yeah, it counts. What do you think?... How'd they get it?... Ryan's sister, the one who laughs like a goof all the time, smashed my thumb in the door when we came back from goofy golf. Look, they got it! they got it!... Shhh - she said... And they laid there on the cold, drizzly pavement in their black 'mission impossible' get ups for like thirteen heartbeats in the almost icy, two AM air. In a tiny voice,Ca-Ca said - But, Mike, (pause) I killed someone. (first time she said it).... So? - he said. They don't know and you want to run away, don't you? How much you think hiring some whore to be your fake mom costs? Plenty, let me tell ya, if you want a good one. Now go in.... What if there's bugs or mice?.... They'll run away. Don't worry. You got your little nine volt flashlight?... Yeah..... Then go in, or I'm getting up and walking home. There's money in there. Come on! ..... She sighed and slipped in. It was easy for her. She was ten years old. Ca-Ca slid down the blanket onto the old, linoleum floor. A quick click on her light gave her an instant image. Not much clutter. Shelves on one side held boxes of Christmas stuff. Halloween, Easter and Fourth of July stuff too. Then she crept up the cellar stairs. The door to the kitchen was broke. It was broke when 'Pony' used to babysit her. They leaned an old leaf from a long gone kitchen table against it. Ca-Ca knew that. Mike taught her how to ease the heavy board-like thing out of place with a yard stick (the only tool she had with her). She slowly pushed it through the space at the bottom of the door, til she felt it hit the bottom of the rectangular barrier. If she did it slow enough, the leaf would slide out and ease down toward the floor. Still be a bang when it came down, but not as loud as if she just pushed it. The noise was meant to alert Pony and her grandmom, but no one was home. The house was empty. Immigrants rented on both sides, Brazilian and some Belarus people. Who knew if they were even 'legal?' They wouldn't say nothin', even if they heard. Some people are experts at not getting involved. So she scampered through the kitchen (after a quick click of the light and unlocked the back door. It was cold. She was scared. Then she ran out into the tiny, fenced in space (like all the yards) and unlatched the wooden door leading out to the alley. No pit bulls out... too cold... That's why winter break-ins (provided no snow) are safer. Thirty pounding heartbeats later, Mike slipped through. They went inside. But he ran back out to close and latch the yard door, just incase some cops went down the alley. Sometimes they do. But just sometimes. And you can see 'em 'cause they got a big flashlight to flush people out the other end... Mostly bums and kids 'playin'' with each other. After that, they tip-toed up the old squeaky stairs. No use wakin' up them Brazilians and Belarus people if you don't have to. 'Pony's' room was a mess. Not like the ones they used to show on 'Oprah,' but like she was studying the technique and just didn't have it down pat yet. The old lady's room was neat. Smelled from 'old lady,' but neat. Mike opened the closet door.. That squeaked too. A toilet flushed on the Brazilian side. Mike whispered - Now we gotta wait ten minutes for them to fall back asleep.... Ca-Ca thought a few heartbeats and said - What if somebody goes by and sees the broken cellar window?.... Mike goes - What are they gonna see? I brushed it all inside. A little, pitch black 'square.' What are they gonna notice? 'Sides, the shadow from the steps hides it.... She nodded... Then they just sat. A small cuckoo clock made noise. She peed a little.

Then, when the ten minutes was up, they momentarily clicked a bit of light into the closet...

There, on the floor, behind some shoes, a pile of old Confidential magazines from fifty years ago and a colorful, shiny 'shopping bag' lazy people use to wrap presents in was the safe... a seventy nine dollar special from Sears...

And Mike knew all the tricks....

<to be continued>

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Sissel - Going Home<~~~ A FAVORITE AT VAMPIRE FUNERALS ..8/31/15





The vampire, Jonathon ben Macabi, also known as Tomas de Macabea speaks..... I hope they sing this at my funeral, whenever that may be. The song has been a stalwart of 'noble' life-eater passings for approximately a century. Before that, many used a passage from Mozart's Requium. I wish I could spell. But it's hard for me to pin down words, when I have spoken so many languages. And Vahmperigo spelling is so fluid. Some follow Catalan rules, others Portuguese or Spanish, or the Savoyard dialects of Northern Italy. It is all very confusing. But I speak from the heart... a heart that has been nourished with many lives. And if you know me (and a lot of you do know me) I tried always to cull only the bastards and scoundrels of the world. Were there lapses? A few. Though in a thousand years, so very few.



Now I prepare for the coming of The Biblical New Year... A time to 'die' and be 'born again.' In the past, believing Jews wore plain white garments to 'The Feast of Faith,' The Yom Kippur Service. They dressed as if for the grave... even shoes were white canvas or some such fabric. I still slip in for the evening portion of the liturgy whenever I can. There's an old 'Rite of Spain' (Sephardic rite synagogue) in Philadelphia and I love the ancient Castilian prayers. Sometimes the cantor confers with me on minute points of  authenticity. Does he know my true nature? Well, he never says. And I present myself as a student of religion... which in a sense, considering what I do... I am.



Sometimes, when I'm at the seashore, I pray by the moonlit surf. What better choir can there be than the song of the sea?



And in more traditional prayer sites, at the end of the observance comes The Clarion Call... the rams horn, just as it will sound on the Day of Judgment...'Stand and go forth! The Lord has raised you up!'... and the newly 'resurrected' go home for 'First Food' (the breaking of the fast) with family and friends.



Do you think it odd that a vampire relates this? Well, there are many reverent vampires of all communions. God takes all comers... even righteous atheists.



Forgive my ecclesiastical musings. But for one such as I, who in early times heard the blessed Maimonides himself, preach in The Great Synagogue of Cordoba, it comes natural.



I saw dried, fallen leaves under trees all over town this evening. Although summer's after glow lingers for a moon or two, the old year dies. And however you 'pray' may you and yours be inscribed in The Book of Life and called to Godly Service in the coming year.



God needs all of us......



<the Ca-Ca part of our story will post a bit later>



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to keep the mood going...google Kol Nidre (an eleven hundred year old prayer) on You Tube... and look for (yes its true) Barbra Streisand's Hebrew payers on You Tube as well. She does a great job.



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BILLY KRAVITZ needed a rest..NO LIE... PLEASE UNDERSTAND 8/31/15

Couldn't post for a few days. Needed to decompress a bit. Spent time at sea shore with family and friends... I LOVE shore towns... could live there all year round... Like nice little Mayberries but with city amenities.

NEXT TIME ~~~ Ca-Ca and her shady cousin, MIKE, break into 'Pony's' grandmother's house.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused by my few days off.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

TWO BLACK SHAPES ON AN EMPTY STAGE SET STREET... 8/28/15

Three nights later, it rained... a cold misty drizzle. The streets were deserted. Everyone cocooned inside the narrow, row houses. Cops will tell you most nighttime break-ins occur in bad weather... icy cold.. rain... Not snow, though. Too many foot prints. Plus, if it's cloudy, the light bounces back and forth creating a false, deep, dusk that never goes away. Kids sled all night. No, snow is bad for burglars. Ca-Ca's cousin, Mike, understood that. He was what you call an instinctive crook. And he had a kit... a few screw drivers... a small hammer... something like an ice pick... rubber gloves... two towels... some other crap. Hey, I don't know. I'm just the narrator. They tell me and I tell you. Ca-Ca saw some old reruns of Honey West on cable and said they should wear black, so they got these sweatshirts, wool caps and jeans at Kmart. they were having a sale on burglar clothes. Mike paid for it.

Ca-Ca's mother said - Where you gone?.... Ca-Ca said - I'm gonna watch scary movies with Mike and Aunt Connie.... And that was no lie. They were gonna watch scary movies. She watched scary movies there all the time 'cause they had cable. Would fall asleep on the sofa... the 'parlor' sofa... not the 'down the basement' one. Aunt Connie went upstairs at one, or one thirty. Ca-Ca and Mike watched til four. Then they fell asleep. She took the big 'man's chair.' He stretched out on the sofa. That's what they did. Liked ghost stories the best... old ones... creepy ones... But this time, when Connie goes to sleep, they're gonna slip out and go get that safe. Mike knew how to break it open and everything. I mean they have sites that tell you how to break open small household safes on You Tube. Not hard to do. The people who manufacture them call them 'fireproof strong boxes,' but they look like safes and everybody calls them 'safes.' Only they're not so safe. If you drop one from a second story window onto a hard surface, like cement or something, the lid'll pop right off. Cub scouts know it... even Brownies. Just gotta be sure you put the safe into a big, tied shut, plastic bag so the money inside don't blow away. Mike broke open safes before, but never one that was supposed to have so much money in it.

Ca-Ca watched as Connie went upstairs. Mike watched too. Figured they'd give her a half hour to fall asleep. She'd close her door. Didn't want to hear the movies. And they'd have three, maybe three and a half hours til she took a pee. Plenty of time.

They heard the bedroom door click shut. Mike looked at his watch and mouthed the words 'a half hour.'... Ca-Ca nodded. Then they watched the movie, The Uninvited, Stella By Starlight and all that. Good theme, actually. Ahead of it's time (1944). Look it up on You Tube. You'll see. Thing is, all these ghost movies made Ca-Ca think about Esther's ghost. Ghosts like to confront their killers. Must think about that a lot. I don't know what they think about after the killer's dead too, but who cares?....

After a bit, Ca-Ca whispered. She said - What do you think hell's like?........ Mike goes - Not my problem. I'll be dead..... She gave him a look and exhaled. Smart he ain't.... Then she said - I read that back in the nineteen fifties, Jews in Israel grabbed some German Nazi guy and buried him underground, like under a hundred feet of cement in metal cube, like a little room. It was dark...pitch black. Food & water came down a tube. There was like a drain, you could take the cover off, for piss and shit to go down. If he missed the hole, he had to push the shit down with his hands. And the water came down like a little shower. He had to stand under and drink it, or else he wouldn't get none til the next time. And if the food bounced onto a piece of shit... ewww, can you imagine what that was like? Ceiling was twelve feet high and German Nazi guy was naked. He lived for eighteen years, sleepin' curled up on a metal floor. They kept it just barely warm enough, so he wouldn't die. And he survived down there almost twenty years. Guy probably thought he was dead and he WAS in hell. God I hope it's not like that.....What do you want? Do you want fire? said Mike..... Don't be a shithead! - goes his cousin.

Then the half hour's up and it's time to go...

Mike gets the sweat shirts... They pull 'em on and slip out. He closes the door real careful. Hardly makes a sound. Almost all of the houses are dark... like a stage set. And from up above, the Eyes Of God, or perhaps one of His lieutenants, watch as two black shapes make their way down the shiny, wet street toward their prize.....

<more next time>

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

TWO CRIMINAL COUSINS STRIKE A DEAL... 8/25/15

Sometimes, if they want to, Ca-Ca's cousin Mike shows his clients something else they can do, like if they're jealous of the people they're robbing, or hate them, or something.  He'll show them how to plant bedbugs. Exterminators have 'em. They got every thing and they'll sell you some, if you want them. Mike has a guy on South Broad Street. Three generations in the business he is. That's who he gets them from... the bedbugs, I mean. Puts 'em in little empty pill bottles. Pop the lid and throw it in a corner, or under as bed and it'll be itchy season real fast. And if the student-thief already has bedbugs, all he has to do is rub an old t-shirt all over the effected parts of his bed, tie it up in a small plastic bag and ditch it in a ransacked bedroom. Some thieves shove toothbrushes down their pants and spit in whatever they find in the refrigerator.

Ca-Ca says she don't want to mess with no bugs. Mike shrugs and goes - Your loss... She asks him if he has bedbugs... He laughs and makes like he's gonna tickle her. She gets off the old sofa and sits on the cold linoleum floor.... Then he asks her if she really killed Esther, or is only afraid the cops will think she killed her.... She tells him to drop dead and go to hell..... Mike says - If I drop dead and go to hell, who's gonna go with you?... She sits there... He goes - Yeah, you didn't think of that. Did you, you little shit..... Ca-Ca says - Lemme alone. I don't need you. I can do it by myself..... You shit can do it yourself - goes the cousin. What if there ain't nothing under the window? What if it's a six foot drop to the floor, a hard floor, a cement floor? What if they got rats ? How you gonna open the safe? You sure she has a safe?..... She says - Yeah, I'm sure.... He gives her a look..... I know! I know! I know, you friggin' son of a bitch! Pony talked about it all the time, from when she used to babysit me when my mom was makin' all them pierogis! I know from BEFORE I killed Esther! You SHIT! You SHIT you!..... Mike's mother (Ca-Ca's aunt) yells down - Jesus Christ! What the hell's gone on down there!?....... They get quiet, but Mike gives her a look and it makes her feel funny... He says - I'm gone in with you... and I get half.... She just sniffs and nods her head. Then she starts to tear up. Mike gets down on the floor and hugs her. Not because he feels sorry for her. He doesn't want his mom to hear her crying.

When he walks her home, her mother's already dragged herself up to bed. Ca-Ca double locks the door and turns on a battery powered dollar store phony burglar alarm. Then she sits on the sofa and sees a copy of their neighborhood weekly. It's all about Esther's 'senseless' murder. God, her mother looks so sad.

Ca-Ca doesn't cry. She just sits there... Forty nine minutes later she quietly puts out the light and goes upstairs....

<more next time>

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JUVENILE CRIMINALS LEARN FROM THEIR COUSINS ... 8/25/15

Now Ca-Ca's cousin Mike was basically a good guy. He did stuff for people. Helps 'em fix their cars... babysits their pit bulls. Stuff like that. But if something wasn't nailed down when he needed money, or you weren't lookin'..oh well. He wrestled in high school. Knew how to get out of tight places. After they let him out of 'Moko' (an old Philadelphia slang term for prison... who knows what it means) he went into business for himself as a consultant... a breaking and entering consultant. Taught 'em how to do the shim-sham-shimmy... how to get into them tiny, cellar windows old Philadelphia row houses have. Back in the nineteenth century they were meant to accommodate coal chutes. But a couple generations later, when people switched to gas, they started putting little windows in 'em. Ditched all the coal bins. Laid down linoleum. Painted over the cement walls. Maybe painted the rafters too. Not exactly the 'family rooms' we have today. More like their great grandparents. But I digress.

The openings were about twelve inches high by sixteen across. Ca-Ca was small. She was ten years old. Once climbed into a dog house... a little dog house, like for a cocker spaniel. This was at a cousin's house in Jersey. Took 'em forty five minutes to find her. Had to lift the roof off to let her out and by then all the chicken and hamburgers were gone. All see got were hotdogs.

And there was more too it than shimmying through a horizontal 'dog door.'  Mike had a whole system. First you criss crossed all the glass with duct tape. Then you break the duct tape coated glass with a rubber mallet. That way it keeps together. Less chance of cuts. You want to avoid anything that might draw blood, 'cause most times the cops don't run the DNA, but sometimes they do and DNA is what gets you locked up. That's why crooks bring a blanket. They drape it through the window frame (once the glass is broken) and let it hang down inside. First thing you do once your in is go up into the kitchen and open the back door. Houses without dogs are best. Cats will just leave you alone. And as for time, one to three o'clock on a drizzly night is best. Streets are real quiet on rainy nights... nobody outside..maybe a cheater comin' home late, but they don't wanna be noticed either.

Mike had a whole mock-up down his cellar. Aunt Connie, his mom, yelled - What are you doin' down there?!..... He said - Nothin.' I'm 'consultin.' Now shut up and suck a butt you old lady you!... Ca-Ca laughed. She liked her cousin, Mike. He was cool. She could smoke around him and everything.

Next night he taught her how to break open a small safe. Didn't charge or nothing. But she was gonna give him a nice kick-back depending on how much Pony's grandmom had... even more if he found a good pretend-mom whore. That must be like bein' an actress, Ca-Ca thought. 

When her mom asked her where she was, she said 'Watchin' zombie crap with my cousin... Ca-Ca's mom never asked which cousin, 'cause some were just pretend cousins, but she did ask for the box of Rosemary and olive oil Triscuits.

Ca-Ca threw 'em at her and ran upstairs.

She prayed for God to send them a nice make-pretend-whore-mom...

Then she went to sleep...

<more next time>

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

GHOST TALK AND PREPARATIONS FOR HOUSE BREAKING... 8/24/15

They thought about Esther's mother. Ca-Ca and Timothy sat in the tiny backyard and talked. It was easier to talk at Ca-Ca's house because her mother didn't move around much. She sat in the chair, climbed up to the toilet, spent maybe a few minutes in the kitchen making tuna fish for lunch, spaghetti and hamburgers (not meatballs) for dinner (that took a little longer) and that was it. Most days they used paper plates. On Friday afternoon she ran the vacuum. Ca-Ca dusted. Chores got done...sort of. Ca-Ca's father went to the market on Sunday. That was like a big outing. Sometimes she got a coloring book...Ca-Ca, I mean. Actually whole house liked coloring books. She could tell which pages her dad did, by the thick, heavy, dense blocks of color. Her mom was more subtle, shading in the crayons like paint. There was an old round can from Christmas cookies filled with broken crayons. She had it 'out back' now. Timothy liked to color too. But he only did it when he was with Ca-Ca. Then it was all right. They sat on the cheap, dull, white vinyl chairs resting the books on their laps. He had BARBIE ON VACATION!. She had BABIES & PUPPIES! They got them from the sale bin. Who cared? Ten year olds weren't supposed to color anyway.

Ca-Ca said - That detective-cop-guy was lookin' at us... Timothy didn't say anything.... Ca-Ca said - You want them to come get you? I don't want 'em to get me. You know, Jimmy What's-His-Names father is a cop and he curses like a drunken asshole. Once broke his mom's arm too. They said she slipped in the kitchen. Yeah, right. I hate cops. They're like them fat asses at school but with guns. You got a gun at your house?... Timothy went - I don't know.... Ca-Ca said - We do. He has 'em locked up down the cellar. One looks like a cowboy gun but not as long and black. One looks like an army gun. The other gun's a rifle. He goes to a gun place where they let you shot 'em. they got targets and keep score. Like Goofy Golf only with bullets...... Then silence... They color... Eight heartbeats later she says - How do you know it was Esther's ghost? How do you know it was real?..... Timothy shrugged and said - I just do... Your mom smelled her farts? - asked Ca-Ca..... He nodded. She thought for a while, then spoke - I saw a ghost once. Last winter. I went to sleep early on a Friday night, 'cause it was cold and all. Plus they were watchin' crappy shit on TV. So I took one a them High Lights magazines we get from school and got in bed. Goofus and Gallant should drop dead and go to hell....Them or the guy who draws them... Get to the ghost part - said Timothy.... She gave him a look and went on... Must have fallen asleep. Woke up later and turned off the lamp. Then, you know how my bed is right on the wall with the window? I sat up and raised the shade. Sometimes Mitzi from across the alley has guys over. When my light's off I can spy on 'em..... Tim giggles.... She says - So what? She's a tramp. It don't matter. Probably wants people to watch. But that night her house was dark. It was late. They were all dark. And it started to snow. You know that real quiet, light snow? Like that. That's when I seen it, the ghost, I mean. A kid comes walkin' along the top of all the back fences along the alley. Like a tightrope walker he was. Holdin' out his arms, keepin' balance and all. Only his clothes were funny, like what kids wore in an old Shirley Temple movie I once saw. Like from an old black and white movie where everybody's dead. That's why I don't like watchin' black and white movies, you know. Looks like ghosts are in 'em. I see him, the real ghost, I mean. And when he gets to our back fence he looks up like he sees me. Snows coming down. Sky's all nighttime gray, like it gets in the wintertime when it snows. You know what I mean? That's when I see he ain't got no feet. Got legs, but no feet. Walkin' on stumps he was. Then he makes a face like a crazy maniac and goes WHOOSH! right up toward my window. I scream. My father bangs on the door and goes - What happened? You all right?.... I say - I'm OK. Must a had a dream.... He says - All right. Go back to sleep.... I don't want to tell him about the ghost and all, 'cause I don't wanna go back to that mental place. But when I look out the window, the ghost ain't there. Still snowin', but no ghost.... Timothy doesn't say a word. Neither does Ca-Ca... Then she goes - Pony's grandmom had chest pains. Ambulance took her to the hospital. Didn't you see?... He goes - No. We went to see my new baby cousin..... She nods. Then she goes - Pony don't like to be in the house by herself.  Shaky Head said. She was talking to Big Tits. I heard. Gonna stay at her friend's house. Nobody gonna be there, the house, I mean.... Timothy goes - So?... So the money's in there and I know how to get in. Right through the cellar window. You know that. Then we can run away..... You got a whore to pretend she's our mom yet? How we gonna check into motels? We need a whore. You said - he asks.

Ca-Ca finishes coloring in a baby and goes - My cousin, Mike, knows a whore. So mind your business. Shut your face and quit using up all my silver crayon.

The two of them sit there in the late afternoon November gloom, till Ca-Ca's mother drags herself into the kitchen and starts supper. You can hear the whine from the can opener outside....

 Timothy puts back the crayon, closes the Barbie coloring book and leaves by the back fence door. Then he runs down the alley to the street and across to his house.

Ca-Ca just stares at the sky...

<to be continued>

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

TIMOTHY HAS A WEE HOUR VISITOR... 8/23/15

In case you've been with us since the beginning of the #HomicideWanderers arc, think of Ca-Ca as a ten year old Jodie Foster and think of Timothy as a ten year old Lucas Haas...That is unless you have ideas of your own.

Timothy stayed downstairs to watch an old movie. I think it was the 1939 ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. He liked it, even though Robin Hood looked like Peter Pan, by way of The Burger King. Everyone else in the house was sleeping. So it was him, Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHaviland  in a dim, almost dark living room. He burrowed under an afghan. It wasn't like the fleece throw from Walmart Ca-Ca's mother had. This was a thick, warm, crocheted work of art. His Great Aunt Josephine made it when she was laid up with her new hip. Only she got an infection and died. Now it was like a relic. Timothy felt warm and protected, whether by Aunt Josephine or a whole lot of high grade acrylic he couldn't tell.

But he fell asleep right after Robin Hood sword fights the bad guy... and when he woke up the house was dark, because the little lamp was on a timer and the TV turns off if nobody changes the channel for a few hours. Timothy was afraid to move... even to breathe...The dark made him remember.... Esther was dead and he knew why.... He hoped someone would go to the bathroom. He'd run up in the few seconds between the time they switched on the light (a little would wash downstairs) and the time they closed the door. But nobody had to pee. The little imitation French carriage clock his mom found on the bus chimed 'three.' That made it worse...

He thought about Esther. Maybe he thought too much. He couldn't help it. He trembled. A tiny sliver of watery, gray light from the pole by the corner snuck in between the drapes. He studied the point where it hit the rug. That's when he saw the shoe... A little girl's shoe from the Thom McAnn Collection at Kmart slid out of the blackness and under his not so rigid, little boy's sternum a nectarine sized heart skipped a beat.

Esther was there. She was with him. She raised her arm and pointed right at him. He saw the shoe. He saw the gray-white hand, but the rest was in darkness, though he could see the outline of her thin, meek form. She didn't make a sound... She just stood there, maybe six feet from his nest on the sofa.

Timothy prayed, not out loud, but in his head. Basically all he said was - God is with me. God is with me.... but he didn't feel that way. Then he hiccupped and she was gone... Was it a dream? Was it real? Does it make a difference? But he sat there, curled under the afghan, til dawn. Then he ran upstairs and peed his brains out.

When his mom got up to make pancakes (a Saturday tradition) he was still wrapped up in bed. But he heard her say - What smells like farts down here? as she passed through the living room... Esther, as we know, had a flatulence problem. That's why they killed her.

Later that day, (cold & gray) he sat on the frigid, marble steps in front of his house waiting for Ca-Ca to come out of her place. But just as she did... just as she opened the door and stepped out... a plain, black car rolled down the block and the detective guy from school was in it. He looked at them both.

Some things are worse than ghosts....

<to be continued>

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

#HOMICIDEwanderers .. WE GOTTA GET OUT A THIS PLACE ... 8/20/15

The next day was a Friday. They made 'harvest' decorations in class. You couldn't call them Thanksgiving decorations anymore, since that referenced The Divine and any mention of religion, save in the most passing and general manner, was forbidden. The student teacher, a skinny, personable girl from The Main Line, passed out stencils so those lacking artistic ability could have nice leaves too. Everyone was quiet. Kids like 'art.' And Friday afternoon is art time.

Timothy and Ca-Ca sat right next to each other and they were quiet too... almost calm. Cutting through two or three layers of construction paper can do that to you. Science doesn't know why. It just does. If you listened, you could hear the hum from the florescent lights. Esther's desk was still unoccupied. Her books and some personal things were still in it. She had an open ended desk. If you leaned to the side, you could still see them. Her mother said she'd come in to get them, but she hasn't done it yet. Timothy and Ca-Ca never looked over that way. Once a water bug did a crazy dance 'round Esther's desk. All the kids pointed and laughed. Some girls screamed... some boys too. Timothy looked over. His eyes scanned the interior of her desk for an instant, but he saw Esther's little, orange haired troll doll smiling back at him. He almost shit himself.

Right after restroom break (ten minutes, after two o'clock) a man entered the room. He gestured toward the teacher and she got up and followed him out into the hall. Ca-Ca looked. He wore a suit. Male teachers never wore suits. They wore big Hawaiian tops, or button down casual shirts with the sleeves rolled up. The suit-guy made her nervous. Her stomach started gurgling again. Since it happened...the murder, I mean... Ca-Ca'd been farting almost as bad as Esther. Nerves will do that to a person. Now she knew.... Then the teacher came back into the room, went straight to her desk, opened a drawer and took out the roll book. Ca-Ca watched as she returned to the hall and gave it to the suit-guy. A few other kids watched too, wide eyed and silent. Tim saw, but he pretended not to. The man was a cop. They all knew that. Kids from that neighborhood could tell. The teacher came back in. She looked sad. They heard the cop-guy walk away.

The 'bum' must have said something....

Forty five minutes later, as they walked home, Ca-Ca whispered - I can get in 'Pony's' house. Pony was the fat girl from across the street with the 'rich' grandmother. Her name was really Penny, but everybody called her Pony.... Timothy said - How?.... Ca-Ca said - Through the window, through her little basement window. They got them glass slats. The kind you crank open. Three of 'em. If you break the top one, you can slide the other two out. Then you twist the wing nuts and push in the regular glass..... What's a wing nut? - said Timothy. ... Ca-Ca told him to drop dead.

That night it was cold and drizzly. All the window shades were pulled down tight. Everyone sat in watching television. Some houses with two working people in them watched cable. They were the lucky ones.

Ca-Ca laid on the sofa looking at one of them programs where they show Saturday Night Live clips in prime time. Her mother snored from the reclining chair throne. Ca-Ca covered her up real good with a fleece throw from Walmart. Cozy people sleep longer. Everybody knows that. And Ca-Ca wanted to think, so she laid back down on the sofa and thought. Will Ferrell's face flickered on their old 'fat screen' TV. He made 'goof' faces, but she wasn't watching... The three-way bulb in the lamp by the sofa was on low. She felt safe... almost. The little Sears & Roebuck strongbox with all the money was maybe twenty five yards away... But how would she open it? Maybe her cousin Mike would help her. Mike was in juvvie hall. He knew. Old guys learned him lots a things.

Then an icy rain began to hit the windows. She switched stations... Some 'Buy these '60's hits' infomercial. Eric Burden and The Animals sang WE GOTTA GET OUT A THIS PLACE.

Ca-Ca pushed back into the soft old cushions and listened... She listened hard... real hard.

<to be continued>

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#HomicideWanderers Consider Larceny ... 8/19/15

They sat on old, dull, white, cheap, vinyl patio chairs... the kind they sell in supermarkets for like $5.99 a piece. There were two of them. It was cold, not bitter cold, just early coat weather, like you get in November. The yard was quiet... a sixteen by sixteen foot concrete square, imprisoned by a seven foot tall, vertical board, privacy fence. The boards were painted dark green. A door led out to the four foot wide alley... more like a cattle chute. Can you imagine cutting through one of these alleys late at night? People do, but can you imagine it? What if some rats were running down from the opposite direction? What if it was a drunk, psycho? What if it was a night-ghoul? Yeah, it's an urban legend, but so what? Who cares? People hear the shrieks. Once they found a lady (or what used to be a lady) with her hands, feet, nose and lips all chewed off. Cops said it was sewer-side. Lying bastids.

Ca-Ca wore her dirty, pink ski jacket with the matching knit cap. She had her hands shoved in
the pockets. She always sat that way. Timothy had on his black, pleather, bomber jacket with his black Nike baseball cap. His dad thought it looked cool. They were still... real still. It was quiet... real quiet. Not like Ca-Ca's mother was gonna bang open that kitchen door. She already had her bowl of pretzels and twenty ounce cream soda. Ellen was on. She was set.

For the longest time they just sat. The two little killers just sat... watching the shadow of the 'weed' tree in the corner play across the old cracked, concrete surface. You know what weed trees are. You see them by railroad tracks.

Then Ca-Ca said - A bum gave me a funny look today..... Timothy goes - A bum? Which bum?.... How the hell do I know, you shithead you? A bum! A bum! I don't know which one. They don't sell bum cards. You can't identify 'em! - she said..... He didn't answer, but they both knew. Somebody saw them do it. Somebody was there behind the old Kotex factory.

Ca-Ca said - Tim, we have to run away from here... Don't we have to pay a whore to make out she's our mom? You said. - went Timothy.... She just gave him a look like she wished he was dead.... Look, he only stabbed Esther's arms and legs a little bit. He didn't kill her. She did. And if them cops got him alone in a room he'd say that. He'd cry. He'd sob and he'd say that. He'd get ice cream. She'd get cockroach bed in Juvvie Hall for as long as they could keep her. Till she was twenty one years old. Maybe die in a prison fight, or from eating ground glass in her mashed potatoes. That's what she thought. Then she collected herself and said - First we need some money.... How much money? - he said.... A lot of money, you shithead son of a bitch. Now shut up! Just shut up!.... And he did.

Ca-Ca was a shrewd little thing.... always lookin'... always rememberin'.... Few years back, fat girl from across the street used to watch her after school, 'cause her mama worked in a pierogi factory and didn't get home till six o'clock. Fat girl always real mad at her grandmom... Said - That old bitch got more money than God. She could buy me a car. I hope she dies. I wish she was dead....

Well, Ca-Ca remembered that story. She remembered about the little, Sears & Roebuck metal safe in the closet and how it was stuffed with ten and twenty dollar bills. She remembered about the three big coffee cans filled with silver dollars. She remembered all that.

Old lady still lived there. Fat girl still lived there too. She's a little bit crazy now, but that ain't nothin'... lot a folks go crazy. Hell, people gotta do somethin'...

She's hatchin' a plan. He knows it. Timothy can tell. But he don't say a word...just hopes she ain't plannin' to kill him.

<to be continued>

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Monday, August 17, 2015

HOMICIDE WANDERERS Make Plans to Run Away... 8/17/15

Some cop walked through the lunchroom. Kids said he came through for every lunch period. Sometimes he whispered something to a guy in a blue suit... probably a detective. Mrs. Mattioli, was with them. She's the vice principal. Ca-Ca says they're lookin' for the killer, so we ate our chicken nuggets and tater tots and ran out to the schoolyard real fast.

I'm Timothy, in case you forgot. Esther's dead and we did it. I don't feel like we did it, but we did. And I can't eat ice cream no more, 'cause it makes me throw up. When I look in the mirror I get real stiff and I peed the bed two nights ago. Nobody found out. I washed the sheet and sprayed the mattress and the pad with a whole lot of Fabreze. The dog knows. He hates Fabreze. Don't mind pee, just Fabreze. Dad says - Why you so funny lately?.... I say - I'm not funny.... Mom says - Leave him alone..... Then I go in my room and lay on the bed.

Kids walk through the alley behind the old Kotex factory 'cause they know that's where it happened. We went through there too, with a kid named Hickey. That's his last name, but everybody calls him 'Hickey.' They say - Yo, when you were born, your mom got a Hickey. Then he punches them.

Lot a papers blow down that alley. Bums sleep under 'em. The day we went with Hickey, we seen one climb out from a whole mess a papers. Hickey threw a rock at him... not a 'rock,' more like the big pebbles that break off from crumbling cement. Guy goes - Drop dead you f#ckin' little bastid, you.... and makes like he's gonna chase us... We give him the finger and run away.... Go into a McDonalds. Three-way split a large order of fries. Bug the lady for them little 'courtesy' cups so we can get cold water. She gives us a look, but she gives us the cups.

Hickey eats most a the fries. Ca-Ca and I were thinkin.'...... How do we know there wasn't no bum sleepin' down that alley the day it happened?

Every time the phone rings I jump. Ca-Ca says she jumps too, but her mom don't climb out a that chair, so she gets it anyway... But she still jump.

I don't think bums got phones, but Cops do. Sometimes cops grab bums. If they grab a bum who knows something, he'll talk. I know. I watched The Diary of Anne Frank once. It was a robber who ratted them out. Cops grabbed him. What the hell did he care? My dad says - What you watchin' that crap for?... But I keep watchin,'cause its about a kid afraid she might get killed... and I wanna see what happens.

We're gonna run away. I know it. Ca-Ca says you can pay a whore to make out she's your mom. First we gotta find the right whore. No, first we gotta find the money.

We're havin' tuna fish and macaroni and cheese tonight. Thank God I can eat that.

I don't wanna talk no more.....Lemme sit quiet, OK?

<to be continued>

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Ca-Ca Says If She Sees A Cop She'll Die... MORE HOMICIDE WANDERERS . 8/10/15 .

My mom is a witch. Everybody in the family says so... some in a good way... some in a not so good way. But she knows things. She knew Crazy Jack, our neighbor killed Junior, our first dog, because he got Princess, Crazy Jack's little Maltese, all pregnant and everything. Junior wasn't Maltese. We never knew what country, or continent his people came from. Dogs don't talk and the people who breed 'em are liars, so how could you really know? But my mom said - What are you thinkin' about?..... She saw me dittin' on the sofa pretending to watch TV. I said - Nothin.' Why?..... She said - You are such a liar... I slumped down in the sofa and closed my eyes.

Ester was gonna get killed. If we didn't do it, somebody else'd do it. They'd push her onto the subway tracks, or throw a plugged-in hair straightening thing in her bathtub, or punch her in the heart or something. I saw a guy get punched in the heart outside a bar. He spit up pink foam and everything. Cops didn't lock up nobody, 'cause the guy who punched him was married to the daughter of a cop. But one day when she was walkin' home from food shoppin' they throw acid in her face. Now kids call her the Twilight Zone Lady. Cop's family wanna kill somebody from the guy-who-got-punched-in-the-heart's family, but they all moved to some country where they eat ponies... I forget where it is.

Do I feel bad about killin' Esther?... I don't know... A little. She cried like a little bird. I saw her mother through the window, though. She was walking to the Chinese store. It's not a Chinese 'food' store. I mean the people who run it are Chinese. And Esther's mother was goin' so slow. Her head was down. Another lady was with her. I don't know who she was. They came back with a little bag. Esther's mother held it. I felt funny... a little bit.

did you know I want to run away from here? I mean really run away to like where the cops have different cop suits and all. I want to grab some crap and get out of here.. My house is full a low-lifes. I don't care about them. I had a little baby cousin. They gave her Whooping Cough. She died. I liked that baby cousin. Maybe I gave her whooping cough. Who knows? But they're the low-lifes. Not me.

Soon I'll go see 'Shithead.' Shithead is Timothy's nickname. He's not really a shithead...just sometimes. Maybe he'll run away too? I could steal my mom's jewelry. Get about three hundred dollars. I can boost crap from stores. They don't look at nice little white girls and I can make myself look 'nice' if I want to. You can't do it in big stores though, like Walmart or places like that, 'cause they got electrical stuff. Some little stores on the avenue just got price tags and a fat lady on a stool who looks at everybody. Not the same fat lady. They each got their own one.

My mom wants a hoagie from the WaWa. I don't want to leave the house... not because of Esther and all. I just don't feel like. My stomach hurts. That's all. I don't even want to say 'Esther.' I don't want to talk about her.

Oh, God, I don't want to go outside...but she really wants that hoagie...

If I see a cop, I'll die...

<to be continued>

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

TIMOTHY, WHO HELPED KILL ESTER, TALKS SOME MORE... 8/7/15

Nobody goes to Ca-Ca's house. They never did. It smells from the cats. He mother likes cats. I don't know how many they have... three... four? They lock the door and that's it. Neighbors might say 'hi' when they see them on the block. Ca-Ca's father shovels his snow. The mother gives out good candy on Halloween... decent size Hershey bars... store size, not little snack-bar size. But nobody drinks coffee with her. The dads and stepdads and boyfriends don't talk much, except when somebody's got the hood open on their car. Then they all gather 'round like they know... like male chimps holding a war council. I know 'cause I like nature shows and watch 'em on TV. We don't have cable, but Channel 12 shows 'em.

I wish I knew what's going on over there now. Ca-Ca didn't go to school today. I didn't want to go. I prayed that it would stay night forever. When I woke up at a quarter til two and saw the little red numbers on my clock, I thought I still have maybe five and a half hours. When I woke up again at five o'clock, it was still dark and I felt a little bit safe. Not that I was asleep the whole time between 'wake-up.' But I'd pull the covers around my head like a hood. I'd pull them down low... just enough space for me to peek out into the dark and breathe. Once I had to go pee. I went in my money jar. I slid the coins out real quiet into a sneaker. Not the ones I wear to school, but one from an old pair of bo-bo's.

And I didn't think about Ester. I thought about me. They had grief people at school. Two of them got up and talked in the auditorium. We went in in groups... K to 2... 3 to 5 and 6 to 8. The older kids said by the time they went in, the ladies' voices sounded real scratchy and Mister Grossman had to run up and bring 'em bottled water. I'm a fifth grader. Ca-Ca is too. Nobody talked. But nobody listened. I just looked at my knees and walked around like a zombie or a robot all day. A grief lady came into our room too. She said bad things happen, but they hardly ever happen. And it's OK to be sad. Ester was our friend. Some girls giggled when she said that. Miss Domsky just looked and they shut up. On the way to art class after lunch, one of the big kids said the grief ladies were lookin' for kids who were acting weird, or crazy, so they could tell the cops about them. Miss Domsky gave out drawing paper so we could make name signs before the lady came in. She said it was so the lady could call us by name. But I think it's so the cops will know who to lock up and kill. I still wish I could die, but I don't want them to do it. And I don't want God to do it. I want it to just happen.

Ca-Ca's brother is dead too. Did you know that? Maybe somebody said something? Maybe I did? I don't know. Him and Ester are the only two dead kids I know. Heard about a couple others, but don't really know them.

It's five thirty. I'm home from school. Been home since twenty minutes after three. I walked real fast. Forgot my inhaler in my desk. Maybe that will kill me? I'm also back in bed. Heard my mom whisper to my sister to leave me alone. We don't eat til six thirty, 'cause my dad don't get home til six and he likes to relax and drink beer first. One more hour. I got one more hour. Wish I had a real bad asthma attack and died.

My name is Timothy, in case you forgot from yesterday. My nickname is Shithead.

Now just let me lay here and be quiet....

< tomorrow Ca-Ca says stuff >

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SOMETIMES ETERNAL NIGHT IS A GOOD THING... 8/4/15

It was meatloaf night. I remember it was meatloaf night. I hate meatloaf. It tastes like warm clay and dirt. We sat in  the kitchen. the little portable TV was on. It's a real old TV... No flatscreen. They hooked it up to some kind of a little electric box so it would work. I hate that TV. It's like a Russia TV. I bet they have TV's like that in Russia... in Russia and our kitchen. 

I don't say anything. I just eat. I eat my corn and mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes tasted like paste. I even stop picking at the meatloaf. It tastes like Ester's dead body. I hope she's in Heaven... I really do. My heart is pounding. My sister wants to go to Target. She wants my mom to take her to Target because they got a sale on blue jeans. My dad won't take her. He watches sports at night... any kind of sports. He sits in the livingroom where the big real TV is. He don't talk to nobody... just whoops and yells and curses at the TV.

THEN THE NEWS COMES ON.....

A lady who smiles and rolls her eyes all the time stops doing that. Her face gets real still and plain, like she's gonna say something sad or religious. I don't even move. I stare at the place on the wall where daddy threw the soup. My mom cleaned it off, but it was tomato and you can still see a little bit of the red. The TV lady says - A child's body was discovered down a desolate back driveway on 'Factory Road...'

It's not really named Factory Road, but everybody calls it that 'cause of all the factories that used to be there. I don't know where the factories went. I don't care. The TV lady says more stuff, but I don't hear her. I hear my dad say - Jesus Christ! Turn that up!... My mom reaches over and turns it up. My sister just sits there waiting to see if she's gonna get taken to Target or not. I turn to stone. I wish I was dead. ..... My mommy goes - Oh my God! Ester, she said Ester! I know that girl! Her mother's a checker at ShopRite. She goes to school with Timmy. (then she looks at me) Tim, was she at school today?... I just shrug. My mom looks sad. But I just shrug... My dad watches, but he keeps on eating.... The TV lady keeps talking. They show people holding candles down the cracked up back driveway or alley or whatever it is. Mom sucks her teeth the way ladies do when something is 'a shame.' People put teddy bears and I think a stuffed dog and rabbit where Ester was. I just sit there.

SOMEBODY POUNDS ON THE DOOR...

I tremble inside. My dad gets up to see who it is. He's in charge of who gets in and who gets out. My sister quietly sneaks upstairs. My mom stands behind dad. I hear Patsy. She lives across the street. She says - Yeh hear?... Mom nods. They cry a little. Patsy says - We're all gone over to Donna's.... Donna is Ester's mom. It's just the two of them.... she says - You want me to wait and walk over with yeh?.... Mom says - No, that's alright. Lemme clean up .... But Patsy looks like she wants to say something, so my mom yells for my sister to come down and clean up. She knows this is serious, so she does. Mom turns around and says - I'm gone over with Patsy, OK?.... Dad nods. Then he sits on the sofa, but he doesn't watch no sports on TV. He just sits. My sister washes up. She don't pay no attention to me. She never does. Tells me I'm a weird, little, autistic bastid. But I'm not autistic. I just got nothing to say to her. Maybe I am autistic? I don't know.

I'm still sittin' there, in the kitchen, I mean. I want to go out side and get run over by a car, or like a big pick-up truck. I can feel the tires squish my body and press out all the blood. I wish it would happen, but I can't move. The faded, red soup stain on the wall looks like Ester, from when she was all curled up. God, I don't want to get caught.

Ca-Ca must have heard about it too. I wish I knew what she did. I wish I knew what she said. 

My dad yelled - What the hell are you doin' in there?..... I said - Nothing..... Five minutes later he falls asleep. I know, 'cause I hear him snoring.... fartin' too. I hold my ears, because it reminds me of Ester and all. Then I get up, sneak passed him and go upstairs. I'm real careful not to make any noise. I sneak around here a lot, so I can do that.... 

Even though it's only like seven thirty, it's real dark already, 'cause it's November. I get under the covers and turn out the little ship's wheel lamp. If I have to pee, I'll do it in my money jar, 'cause I can pour the coins into a shoe. My door's locked. I'm safe.

I hope it stays night forever....

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

HOMICIDE WANDERERS Talk Again BRUTAL KILLING ON A GRAY AFTERNOON... 8/1/15

In fourth grade Miss Lummis gave out compasses. Not the kind that tell you where Santy Clause lives, but the kind you draw patterns with. We cut triangles in half, drew venn diagrams and big, bubble butts. Miss Lummis never said to do the bubble butts. We did that ourselves. Some kids drew tittie pictures too, but kids always draw tittie pictures, even when they got no special equipment.

Max Freeman said you can blind somebody with a compass, 'cause one part's basically just a long, thick needle. And crazy bastids use 'em to blind people all the time. That's how eye doctors get all their customers. They put this new jelly back inside the eye and sew it up. The scar makes everybody look like they're swimmin' or something, but everybody likes swimmin' so who cares. 

Me and Ca-Ca want to kill a kid. We wanna use a compass. They don't sell 'em in stores no more, 'cause violent kids in 'bad' schools jab kids with 'em. It's true. Teacher claps her hands and goes - Stop it! Stop it! They ain't no God damned stabbing sticks!!... But violent bad kids know better. Now they sell baby stuff. Now they sell some plastic, stencil shit which is almost impossible to kill somebody with,  unless you are a ninja, or like a chimpanzee or something. But I got my uncles old cigar box... his school cigar box... and it's got TWO drawing compasses in it... the metal, jabbing, killing kind, although I don't think the dollar store ever advertised them that way.

You know, Ca-Ca doesn't even know her real name. People tell her it's Catherine, but she tells 'em to go to hell. I'm Timothy. My name is Timothy. That, I know, 'cause they named me after some saint. Saints are dead people who stay in the same room as God all the time. He must play games with them to keep 'em from actin' up and gettin' bored.

Ester's gonna die 'cause she farts in class. She can't help it 'cause she's lactose intolerant, but she loves milk, so that creates a big problem. Her mother took her to a doctor. He said - So what? She farts. It's natural..... Her mother told him to go to hell... Everybody tells everybody to go to hell around my way. But I don't think you can 'go' to hell. I think they have to send you, like they do to a mental hospital, or something.

I gave Ca-Ca a compass. First I showed her how to use it. We killed her three feet tall Barbie doll a few times. She was half bald headed anyway. But Ca-Ca said she remembered from when Miss Lummis gave out compasses in the fourth grade.

So we walked home with Ester and cut behind the old Kotex factory. All's back there is broke cement, weeds and shitty stuff. Once we saw a drunk guy, but he was lying down and crying. Ca-Ca gave him a few Chicklets. She shook 'em down on him from the box. He said - Lee' me alone. Lee' me alone... We ran away.

It was six days after Halloween when we did it. Half dark by three thirty, 'specially on a cold, cloudy day. The Rite-Aid store already had Christmas decorations up. That, I remember. I bought chocolate covered cherries for my mom-mom in there. She had diabetes, but she don't have it no more, 'cause she's dead.

Ester wanted to fart, but she didn't 'cause we were there. I could tell by the look on her face. I said - Hey, Ester, I saw a special guy in a silvery suit who held a microphone up to his ass and farted Give My Regards To Broadway in the circus... no, not the circus... at a carnival. Maybe you could get a job like that? Like bein' a magician, 'cept you don't need no rabbits...... She hugged her books and said - Very funny. Very funny.... Ca-Ca said - That's not funny. You wanna know what's funny?.... Ester said - What?..... Ca-Ca said - This is..... And she jabbed that compass-needle right in her throat. Went in like three or four inches. Ester just stands there. Ca-Ca pulls it out. Ester falls. Ca-Ca looks at the blood drippin' off the point like nail polish. Then she kicks her a few times. Ester curls up and lays on her side. She's cryin'. I can see she's cryin'. But she grunts. That's the only noise she makes. Figure Ca-Ca ripped her voice box or something. Then she jabs her again. Ca-Ca, I mean. Once it went in her eye. Once in her ear. I jabbed her a few times too, 'cause Ca-Ca was lookin' at me and all. But I just jabbed her on her arms and legs, 'cause I figure a kid can live with that. Only thing is she didn't live. Ca-Ca said - No more farts from her.... And we ran away. 

Two hours after dinner they found the body...

< to be continued >

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