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girlsfun.jpg
Art by Sean O'Keefe 2012

 

Girls Want to Have Fun

by g emil reutter

 

     They scraped their windshields while looking at the house in the middle of block. Red and blue lights flickered in the early morning darkness as EMS workers circled the house looking for a point of easy entry. Neighbors began to gather on the front lawn as the sound of breaking glass cut through the air. Inside the house they began their search.

“Hello!”

The three men moved from room to room until they found her on the third floor seated in the corner. Her blouse and jeans were crimson as were her hands. A large smear of blood covered the floor just in front of the room located to the left of where she was sitting.

“Are you injured?’

She shook her head indicating she wasn’t and pointed to the room. The man lay unconscious on the floor, blood streaming from his right thigh. They tied it off, administered oxygen as the police arrived.

“What happened?”

“We don’t know—she was sitting there in the corner and this guy was laying in here, we have to transport him, she says she’s okay.”

The cop stayed with her as his partner guarded the front door after they took the man away. Neighbors were talking on the lawn and as is the case with people who don’t know anything the gossip was running rampant about what happened. Detectives and crime scene units arrived and spent quite a long time in the house. News vans arrived, clogging the street, interviewing neighbors who expressed displeasure at what happened in their neighborhood. A short stocky man with a full beard looked into the camera, “The old man used to bring young girls home all the time, I figured they were hookers. Maybe a pimp got a hold of him.”

    Detective John Gallagher interviewed the woman at the top of the steps and told her they would ride to the district. She was quiet, she never said a word.

 

II

 

     The woman sat in the interview room, her clothes were taken and a female officer provided her with a new set. Gallagher and his partner, Ben O’Neil, entered to interview her.

“Teresa, it is Teresa isn’t it?”

She nodded.

“We found your purse and know who you are now. We would like to ask you a few questions, now you don’t have to answer us if you don’t want too and you can have a lawyer if you want.”

She shook her head no.

Gallagher and O’Neil left the interview room and received a call from the crime scene guys. They turned up a video recording system in the room where the old man was found.

“Don’t touch anything. We need to get a search warrant.” The detectives called the District Attorney to get the okay for the search warrant application for the house and for Teresa’s residence. While awaiting approval the detectives reviewed photographs of the crime scene.

The first two levels of the house seemed normal. It was well kept. Oddly there weren’t any pictures of family in the house. The third floor room was another story. Shackles were bolted to the walls, leather whips hung in the closet with dog collars. Boxes of sex toys filled the floor of the closet. A set of kitchen knives sat on a small book shelf. The rug in the center of the room was covered with a plastic tarp. Background checks were conducted on Teresa Burns and the victim now identified as William King.

     King’s record dated back to the seventies, with numerous petty offenses that began with five indecent exposure charges, twenty arrests for soliciting prostitutes, escalating to five aggravated assault charges in the 80’s, all dismissed when the victims didn’t show for preliminary hearings. His record was clean for the last decade. King was living off Social Security for the last twenty years. Teresa Burns had no record. The search warrant was executed on her apartment and yielded no new information on Burns, with the exception of a few pay stubs from a local bar. Burns was a bartender.

     Gallagher looked at Burns through the mirror in the interview room. Teresa Burns was forty years old, she didn’t look like an aging bartender, and her skin was fair. She had long brown hair and was a fine-looking woman. There was nothing in her apartment to indicate she lived with anyone. All John Gallagher knew was Teresa wasn’t going to talk and King was still unconscious. The 911 tape didn’t help at all and why King had a phone in that room of horrors was a mystery. The call came in at 5:30am. “I need help, my leg is bleeding and I can’t get up.” The phone went dead after that.

     Five boxes of CD’s arrived at the squad room from William King’s house. Gallagher and O’Neil placed the CD from this morning in the player. There was William King all of eighty years old dressed in leather pants and boots strutting around the room. A chain connected to his nipples by piercings and Teresa Burns fully clothed staring at him. “Come on baby, you girls like to have fun, take it off!”  Teresa Burns looked directly into the camera and didn’t say a word. King grabbed a whip, “I said take it off, do it now!” King slapped the floor with the whip. Burns just stood there on the plastic tarp. “You’re a quiet one ain’t you!”

King moved toward her, grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her on the wall next to the bookcase. “You see those shackles there, girls love them, that’s where I am going to put you and if you don’t talk will violate you with everything I have in this room, bitch, do you hear me!” Burns didn’t say a word, she dropped to one knee. “That’s better. You belong on the ground, bitch!” King grabbed her hair, pulled her head back and exposed himself. Burns grabbed a knife off the bookshelf and plunged it into his thigh twisting it back and forth.

“Fuck, you fucking bitch!” The old man grabbed his thigh as Burns ran from the room. King fell to the ground, pulled some books from the lower shelf and picked up the phone he had hidden there.

 

III

    The detectives briefed their Captain and called the District Attorney. Assistant Robert Goldberg answered. Goldberg agreed with the detectives, it appeared to be an act of self-defense. A call came from the hospital. William King was awake.

 

 

    William King looked like a normal eighty year old man in that hospital bed. The doctor told Gallagher he had ten minutes, no more with King. Gallagher introduced O’Neil and himself to King.

“How are you feeling Mr. King?”

“I know why you are here. It was just an accident. We got carried away having fun.”

“You call that fun?”

“You like cornflakes and I may like oats. It doesn’t make me a bad sort.”

“Do you want to tell us what happened?”

“Nope, just an accident that is all.”

“We have the girl in custody.”

“Well you can let her go. I’m not prosecuting. As far as I’m concerned it was consensual.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“Believe it or not I met her at the 7-11. She smiled at me, so I asked her to come home with me and she did.”

“It was that easy for an old goat like you?”

“These girls like to have fun and I sure do.”

“What are you going to do when you get out of here?”

 “I’m not, they say I only have a few days, my heart is shot.”

    The detectives went back to the squad room and met with Teresa Burns. They told her the D.A. ruled the incident as self-defense and King wouldn’t prosecute anyway.

“Can I leave now?”

“Well, there you go. You can talk.”

“Of course I can, I’m a bartender you know.”

“Can I ask you something else?”

“No, you can’t.”

Teresa Burns began to walk to the door when Gallagher yelled to her.

“His heart is bad. He is only going to last a few days.”

Teresa Burns turned and smiled. She gave Gallagher the thumbs up and walked out the door.

    O’Neil boxed up the recordings and photos of the room of horrors to send them over to sex crimes to see if they could match anything up. Gallagher looked over the old case files they pulled on William King.  There was no connection with anyone named Burns in the files. He paged through again until he came across the name of one of the victims. Teresa Harris, age 14. The case was dropped when the family moved out of town.

 

 

The Day Levittown Changed

 

by g emil reutter

 

It was a different time and place in ’67 when people left

doors open and kids ran from house to house, filled the

streets playing stickball or in the fields playing baseball.

All was safe in the look-alike homes Levitt had built.

 

Mary, Bloody Mary, what were you thinking on that Holy

Thursday in ’67? Did you think of Nancy Glen gurgling in

the mud back in ’38 in West Oak Lane as you pulled the

hammer from the tool box?

 

Mothers cleaned up the morning dishes as children played

about the houses along the streets of look-alike houses

from Quincy Hollow to Plumbridge. Mary made her way

past all of them to Peony Lane. A Lech she lurked on the

street in her son’s clothing.

 

Mary, Bloody Mary, what were you thinking on that Holy

Thursday in ’67? In the darkness of your mind standing

in the morning sunshine, consumed seeking redemption

for your son’s broken engagement. Ethel just two doors

away called him a mama’s boy.

 

Mary slipped into the garage then the kitchen where Lorraine

was doing the dishes. Struck her with the hammer and chased

her throughout the downstairs of the house until she pummeled

her in the bedroom. She turned to the disabled Donald, striking

him over and over until he lay in an upstairs bedroom.

 

Mary, Bloody Mary, what were you thinking on that Holy

Thursday in ’67? What had the Mullerys ever done to you?

And what did you think as they lay in their own blood, it

splattered on your clothing?

 

Mary called Ethel Markham to lure her to the house but

didn’t answer the door when she arrived. Ethel returned

home and sent young Nancy back to the Mullery house.

She entered and Mary said, “You’ll do,” chased her about

the house swinging the hammer over and over again.

 

Mary, Bloody Mary, what were you thinking on that Holy

Thursday in ’67? Did you remember playing board games

with young Nancy?  When you fled, did you think of those

left behind or your own soul when you hid at the convent

in Alabama?

 

And that evening in Levittown the people mourned the

loss of those on Peony Lane. They locked their doors,

held their loved ones, and passed from a time of

innocence to fear.

 

Mary, Bloody Mary, what were you thinking on that Holy

Thursday in ’67?

 

 

 

 * In 1938, five-year-old Nancy Glen was left in the mud to die in the West Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia. Mary Mammon, then known as Mary Keenan O’Connor, was acquitted of murder.

 

**Mary Mamon was convicted of the 1967 murder of Lorraine Mullery and assaults on Donald Mullery and Nancy Markham. She died in State Prison never stating remorse for the murders.

 


washingmachines.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2015

Washing Machines and Storage Lockers

by g emil reutter

 

      He approached the small apartment house, brick and cinder block, the entry door was unlocked. The inside carpets were puke green and mail was on the foyer floor, the place smelled of burnt eggs. It was rare to find these doors open, he walked the floors slowly turning each knob, and all were locked until he arrived at the top unit. The Ramones were blasting from inside, he looked at the knob, passed this one by. He headed to the basement. Coin operated washers and dryers, storage units with flimsy hasps and keepers. There was just enough light to do his thing. He removed a small pry bar from the inside of his jacket, pried the coin boxes loose, and emptied the coins into a canvass bag. The first machine was easy, the other two were newer and took more time, he pried back the thin metal surrounding the box, threw the boxes intact into the bag. It was heavier than he expected, he headed for the foyer door, slipped out and placed the bag in the trunk of his car.

     The best Joey Flynn could figure there was only one person home in the building. He returned to the basement, sang along to the Ramones, and pried the largest storage unit open. Flynn smiled at his find, it looked like someone was selling on eBay from the apartments. He sorted through the stuff, a couple of lap tops, I-Phones. Flynn stacked all that he could carry on the floor. He never heard the girl standing at the door to the basement.

     She stood there, all five foot one of her, maybe a hundred pounds or so staring at him. The fluorescent lights reflected off her nose and ear rings, even a small diamond in her cheek glistened.  She was dressed in jeans, white shirt, leather vest and knee high leather boots. She didn’t say a word, just looked him up and down.  He knew she was the one listening to the Ramones, an 80’s wannabe he thought.

“I don’t mean you no harm, just let me get on my way.”

The girl remained silent, but didn’t move. Flynn picked up the boxes, he could barely see her. He walked toward the door, she suddenly spun and he felt her leather boot crunch his knee. The boxes flew across the basement, he fell to the floor, looked up at her as she kicked him in the balls. Flynn was hunched over, she grabbed him by the hair, pushed his head back and slammed an upper cut into his jaw. Flynn woke up laying belly down on the floor, his hands in cuffs.

“Where’s the money from the machines?” she asked. She placed her boot on his forehead. “Well, where is it?” Flynn told her it was in the trunk of his car parked on the street outside. With one kick she knocked him out again. She straddled him, removed the cuffs and called for the police.

       Flynn had been sitting in the county lock up for three weeks. Today he would head for his preliminary hearing. He didn’t give anything up to the cops and only faced the charges related to this apartment job. The Deputy Sherriff’s placed him in a van and drove him to the local court with five other prisoners. He walked into the court room, looked about, and didn’t see the girl. He just might walk, he thought. His case was called, he stood next to the public defender. The judge looked at Flynn, all six foot four of him standing at the bar of the court as he entered a not guilty plea. The District Attorney called his first witness, Katie Furness. A small petite woman walked to the witness stand. She was dressed in a long-sleeve white sweater and knee-high skirt and flat shoes. Her hair was long and flowed along her shoulders to her waist. The District Attorney began to ask her questions.

      Furness described how she walked in on the defendant in the basement of the apartment building she owned. She said she was speechless when she saw how tall he was. Furness said he tried to talk to her but she couldn’t answer. The coin box on one of the washing machines was broken open and two others were missing. A storage unit was broken into and he was trying to get away with a number of items.  The District Attorney asked if she was in fear. “Yes, he is a very large man and I thought he might harm me, when he walked toward me, I had no choice but to kick his ass.” Furness smiled at Flynn. The other prisoners began laughing as the judge called for order. The District Attorney said he had no more questions for the witness.

     The Public Defender approached the witness, thought of how Flynn described her, looked into her deep brown eyes and asked how she was able to fight Flynn. “I had some martial arts training and it came in handy with him.” He asked if she had handcuffs. “Do I look like the type of girl who carries handcuffs?” The courtroom erupted in laughter as the judge called for order. The public defender said he had no more questions.

     The District Attorney called two more witnesses, the arresting officer and the man who owned an eBay business. The cop testified that he found Flynn on the floor of the basement knocked out, had a property receipt for the coins and property stolen from the storage locker. The eBay man testified that Flynn didn’t have permission to enter his storage locker. The judge held Flynn on all counts. The Deputies escorted the prisoners from the courtroom, placed them in the van as one looked at Flynn. “You know this is going to get out that a little girl kicked your big ass!” The others in the van began laughing and ragged on Flynn the rest of the way to the jail. Flynn knew it was going to be a rough night in the pokey this evening.

      Katie Furness returned to her apartment, changed into jeans and a sweat shirt. She made some tea, sat on her sofa. She thought of Flynn, laughed at what a bitch he was. The sound of the Ramones filled the apartment as she put her piercings back in place.

     Joey Flynn sat in the cafeteria eating his dinner as two guys sat on each side of him. They told him they heard what happened in court and thought he might need some loving. Flynn stretched out his arms placing them on their shoulders. “You might be right fellas!” They all laughed until Flynn cupped their heads in his large hands and slammed them onto the table. The two fell to the floor as the guards grabbed Flynn and took him into solitary.  

 

g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. His latest short fiction collection is Thugs, Con-Men, Pigs and More. You can find him at https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/

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