My dad told me before he died that he bought that house as an investment. Development was happening in the area and it was just a matter of time before the investors came knocking and Pop would make a mint, he hoped.
“If we could just bide our time till then,” he told me wishfully many years later.
How could so much bad come from something that promised so much good?
* * *
My second older brother, Jerry, couldn’t escape the apparent black magic that oozed from the walls of the house either. Jerry had a knack - or should I say a curse- for finding dead people.
The river banks of the
Our family often spent weekends on the
“Look out! Sumdin’ is a floatin’ rat by you” Jerry cried out in his best
Floating within arms reach of Della was a dead man - number one. We called the Ohio Coast Guard but they were of no use. They threw a ski line, the yellow neoprene kind, around the corpse to pull it ashore but the line sliced right through an unidentifiable part of the body. Everyone then threw up their lunch – except the dead man.
“Leave it be,” the Ohio Coast Guard said as they pushed the lever forward on their cruiser and sped away.
The Kentucky Coast Guard had seen worse, I suppose, because they quickly dragged the corpse up to the shore. The body was terribly bloated, that is until it touched dry land. Like air from a punctured balloon water exploded from its torso. More lunches were lost. One redneck coast guard sailor pulled off a boot from the dead man; the skin on the leg came with it leaving an exposed tibia. There was no more making fun of those
Oh, what Jerry had found. The body stunk so bad we could still smell it two weeks later. The legs were gone, except for that one bone, that is. Seaweed had grown around the arms such that you could not tell where the arms stopped and the body began. The face was eaten away and we could see pieces of the skull. We could even see the stink. It was foul, it was wretched, and it was loathsome. It was later speculated that the man had fallen off the front of a ‘Naw’lins’ bound coal barge on its way from
On another weekend trip, it was Jerry’s turn to be pulled on water skis and his friend, Gil, obliged. Jerry reached down in the water to pick something up to show his friend. A face stared back at him. Jerry was the second person in history to walk on water as he scampered into the boat. They circled around to discover another corpse floating nearby. The dead man had been tied up, shot and dumped into the river with a 25 lb anchor and apparently left …for Jerry to find … dead man number two.
Yet another time, Jerry was with a friend on the little
A fourth time he was on a service call in his job as an on-call plumber. He knocked, the door opened by itself. No creaks, no omens. The door just opened.
“I’m coming in. I’m gonna fix your toilet!” Jerry said this time with no hillbilly in him.
It was possible then to just enter a house and Jerry found his way into the bathroom. Just as he was getting ready to work he noticed the door leading to a back bedroom was opened. He hesitantly peeked in where he saw half on and half off the bed dead man number four. He had been stabbed 21 times. Somebody other than me counted the wounds. When Jerry stumbled upon him he was still bleeding freely. The gruesome murder had apparently taken place mere minutes before Jerry had arrived and he may have caught a glimpse of the slayer in the stairwell on his way in.
The police arrested Jerry! The cops figured the person who found the body was most likely connected in one way or another to the crime. Jerry was later released, but he soon gave up his livelihood. At least he is still alive. With my four older siblings, the house showed no mercy.