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Idle Hands

Idle Hands

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Published by Joe Kalicki

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Published by: Joe Kalicki on May 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Joe KalickiWriting About LiteratureJohn PekinsApril 20, 2011Idle HandsThe dispatch reached the office two days after the murder took place. A young boy ridinghis bike home had discovered a wrecked car in a backwoods Georgia ditch; in the nearby pines,five partially nude bodies were found, all executed with single gunshots to the head. Twochildren, two parents, and a grandmother. Decomposition had not occurred yet, so everyone wasidentified. There would be a sullen, mass funeral soon.He sat in his dimly lit office at the end of the hallway in the Atlanta Federal Bureau of Investigation branch. The copper nameplate on the door still shone brightly: JAMESFILLMORE, HOMICIDE. He had only been there a short period of time having transferred fromthe P.D. in Savannah. He had been recruited by the Bureau because of his ingenuity andefficiency in Savannah, yet he took the job mostly to get away from his father, who was still alieutenant there. The vapidity and stupidity of humanity shook him. He encountered case after case of human desecration. He drank. The bureau chief didn’t know about the bottle of JohnnyWalker that lived in his desk drawer, nor did he know about theirs. They didn’t speak about howthey coped. They simply coped.The Misfit’s file sat on the desk. Seemingly unstoppable, untraceable, he had ambleddown the Eastern Seaboard claiming lives in a patternless, careless manner. There was nomotive, no reason. Only a dark human being. The layout of the bodies and the single shot death
to each made him draw a conclusion that there was no way this was the work of one man. It wasclear the family had been led to the woods; there was no sign of struggle, no sign anyone tried torun.
 I know that there is at least one other with the Misfit 
, “another ‘misfit’”, he mumbled.Tomorrow, he will leave for Eatonton, Georgia, the town nearest to the bureau’s predicted paththat the Misfit was taking.James Fillmore arrived in Eatonton at 3:30 pm. His black Chevrolet Bel Air pulled into adrab motel on Highway 129. James checked into his hotel room, a cold, concrete block roomwith a bed draped in linens and a tan blanket. James sat on the bed and opened the file containingvarious papers and descriptions of the Misfit’s murders. A letter had shown up at the AtlantaPolice Department with no return address. It contained a barely legible page long note. A typisthad made it more sensible:“Dear sirs:I first got drunk at age 12. My ma died when I was young and my daddy worked all day. I tell people I had it good, but it wasn’t that good. I skipped school most days, but I went sometimes tostare at the girls. Every couple of months my daddy would drag me to church, saying it was the“sinner’s rite”. When I skipped I went and played in the creek behind our small house outside of town. My daddy worked at a sugar refinery. He came home at 7pm and drank his whiskey andlistened to the radio. He’d sit in his chair and drink until he got quiet. One night I wanted to bequiet like daddy, so I stole a glass of the brown liquid when he was asleep and drank it in myroom. I cried myself to sleep. So many emotions poured out of me, never to be seen again. Ihated myself for looking so damn weak. I was never quiet. I was always fussing aboutsomething, nothing quite made me happy like complaining. Daddy’s grey eyes looked sad. I
knew he missed ma, but it wasn’t my fault, what was I to do about it? When I was 16 my daddydied. This is when I knew Jesus wasn’t nothing but a fool’s paradise. He had never shownhimself to me, and all my family had left me, why would Jesus do that to me? I didn’t have any brothers or sisters that I knew of, and my grandparents were long dead, so I took to the road andhitchhiked to Charleston. When I arrived to Charleston I didn’t really have anywhere to go, so Iwent to the port. The port, being very busy, was full of some really mean, nasty people. Therewere always prostitutes around. This here is where I learned that being bad was the only way for me to feel good. I would wait for ships to pull in to port, waiting to be unloaded, then when thedockworkers would scurry over to work on unloading I’d go too. We all looked dirty and angry,so no one ever really questioned what we were doing. After carrying whatever it was to thestock-house, I’d grab whatever I wanted (bananas were my favorite) and stuff it into myrucksack. Anything that wasn’t food, I would take to a store and sell. Then I’d go to one of the bars in town. If I had really wanted to, I could’ve gone to fight in the war. Judging by my looksthey wouldn’t have questioned my age, but I certainly am sure I would’ve died mighty quickly.Killing no German is worth an early death to me.Since I didn’t take to learning that much in school when I should’ve, I couldn’t read toowell, but I tried whenever I could. Thing is, the only subject I cared much about were the banditsof the old West. I read about Billy the Kid and the like. I didn’t care much about their exploits,robbing trains seemed like way too much work, But, one thing I certainly did love, was their nicknames. One or two words tacked on at the end of their name and they sounded like anentirely different person. A much more interesting person, if you ask me. I had always hated mygiven name, and I can barely remember being called it. Ever since I pissed off a sailor in a

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