Idle Hands by Joe Kalicki The dispatch reached the office two days after the murder took

place. A young boy riding his 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. Two children, two parents, and a grandmother. Decomposition had not occurred yet, so everyone was identified. 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: JAMES FILLMORE, HOMICIDE. He had only been there a short period of time having transferred from the P.D. in Savannah. He had been recruited by the Bureau because of his ingenuity and efficiency in Savannah, yet he took the job mostly to get away from his father, who was still a lieutenant 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 Johnny Walker that lived in his desk drawer, nor did he know about theirs. They didn’t speak about how they coped. They simply coped. The Misfit’s file sat on the desk. Seemingly unstoppable, untraceable, he had ambled down the Eastern Seaboard claiming lives in a patternless, careless manner. There was no motive, 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 was clear the family had been led to the woods; there was no sign of struggle, no sign anyone tried to run. 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 path that the Misfit was taking. James Fillmore arrived in Eatonton at 3:30 pm. His black Chevrolet Bel Air pulled into a drab motel on Highway 129. James checked into his hotel room, a cold, concrete block

room with a bed draped in linens and a tan blanket. James sat on the bed and opened the file containing various papers and descriptions of the Misfit’s murders. A letter had shown up at the Atlanta Police Department with no return address. It contained a barely legible page long note. A typist had 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 to stare 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 and listened to the radio. He’d sit in his chair and drink until he got quiet. One night I wanted to be quiet like daddy, so I stole a glass of the brown liquid when he was asleep and drank it in my room. I cried myself to sleep. So many emotions poured out of me, never to be seen again. I hated myself for looking so damn weak. I was never quiet. I was always fussing about something, 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 daddy died. This is when I knew Jesus wasn’t nothing but a fool’s paradise. He had never shown himself 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 and hitchhiked to Charleston. When I arrived to Charleston I didn’t really have anywhere to go, so I went to the port. The port, being very busy, was full of some really mean, nasty people. There were 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 the dockworkers 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 the stock-house, I’d grab whatever I

wanted (bananas were my favorite) and stuff it into my rucksack. 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 looks they 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 too well, but I tried whenever I could. Thing is, the only subject I cared much about were the bandits of 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 an entirely different person. A much more interesting person, if you ask me. I had always hated my given name, and I can barely remember being called it. Ever since I pissed off a sailor in a particular Charleston saloon, I had a nickname, too. The sailor tried to talk to me; he was drunk. I just stared off into the distance; I didn’t like being bothered. He kept trying to tell me some story about a prostitute in New Orleans, and I just kept starin’. He got mad and got in my face, calling me a “fucking misfit”. He got angrier and started to rough me up; I wasn’t very big and didn’t want to fight. He pushed me into the bar and hurt me pretty badly. I pulled out a small knife I had in my boot and stabbed him several times in the upper chest. The crimson fear that trickled out of him had no effect on me. I didn’t want to stop stabbing him, but I did. We were in the back corner of the bar, and it was so loud barely anyone had noticed. I saw the back exit into the alley. I didn’t stop running until I was far from the scum near the port. I couldn’t go anywhere else, really. Normal folk didn’t like me anymore than the scummier folk. That was a long, long time ago. There wasn’t a place for me in society. I was, and currently am, the Misfit”. He awoke in a daze. James Fillmore had unwittingly fallen asleep in his hotel room. He leaned over and clicked on the small lamp on the nightstand. The clock clicked. 8:55. Driving into town, he had noticed a dive bar

near the hotel. Grabbing his hat and duster, he locked his hotel room and walked down the sidewalk to Mickey’s Tavern, which appeared to be no more than a dingy shack on the side of the road. Rotting exterior, no windows. Besides the unruly gentlemen loitering outside the bar, it looked no different than the usual small town drunk shack. As he neared the building, he could see by the dimly lit, back entrance there were two fifteen or sixteen year old boys, dressed practically in rags, standing, looking very out of place. He dismissed this as nothing more than the shortcomings of a small town. James had better things to deal with anyway; he had a terrible headache and needed a drink badly. Upon entering the bar, he noticed the lack of patrons. This shouldn’t have shocked him, but it did anyway. James had always hated the smaller towns in Georgia. Savannah always had been buzzing with life, at least the nightlife by the bars near the river. It at least gave him something to do. People stopped talking when he entered a room. He did enjoy the authority, but usually laziness prevented him from being too much of stickler for the law. Sitting down at the bar, he barked to the bartender for a whiskey sour. Staring at the oak bar, he thought, silently. A portly, nervous man was sitting to his right. He had eerie bloodshot eyes and some strange stains on him. The man to his left was tall and gaunt. He wore an oversized, button-up shirt that was much nicer than the other, more tattered clothes he was wearing. “Dance With Me, Henry” was playing on the jukebox. A somewhat ironic song to play in bar occupied solely by men. And at that, sad, lonely men. If his district chief knew he was sitting in a bar right now, he would probably be fired. But how would he find out? No one knew him in this town, and he certainly didn’t know anyone. Turning to the man to his left, he mentions something about the weather. Benign, it might have been, the man was quiet. By his body language he almost appeared offended. The man on the left turned his weathered, sun-burnt face towards James, after a few moments of silence: “What are you doing in this town, mister? Passin’ through, I reckon?” “No, I should be here for a few days, probably head south soon.” More silence. “You don’t seem like the normal type

to be stayin’ in a town like this for a few days. Iffin’ you don’t mind, what might your business be here?” James wasn’t about to be frank with a stranger. “Trying to find someone.” The man nodded understandingly and turned his head away, back to the desolate gaze he had occupied previously. A thick haze had started to cloud James’ vision. He probably wasn’t drunk, but certainly wasn’t sober. He had been running over the Misfit’s file in his mind for the past 45 minutes. And also had been running through several whiskey sours at a relatively obscene pace. Tomorrow, James would go into town and speak with a man who had reported some strange behavior about 40 miles north of Eatonton. The man was a truck driver. It was late. Almost 11 o’clock, and he knew he’d have to stave off a hangover in the morning, so getting out of Dodge early probably wasn’t a bad idea. He examined how much the crowd had dwindled in the bar. The man to his left was gone, the nervous guy was still there, and most of the other patrons had left as well. James stood up; gathered his coat and hat, tossed a 5 dollar bill on the counter and walked out of the bar. The warm Georgia air was quite discomforting with his heavy coat on, so he took it off and carried it. The world was tilting slightly. About 600 feet down the sidewalk he could see the buzzing neon-lit sign of his hotel. About 100 feet behind him he could feel the presence of a speeding car and a roaring engine. Before he had even comprehended what was going on in his near-drunk state, something had jumped out of the car and hit him over the head. Black. Pain. He awoke in the back of a speeding car, his head covered in a potato sack, his hands bound, and the stab of a pistol barrel in his side. He could feel the presence of two figures on either side of him. No one was speaking. The weight of his gun in its holster wasn’t present. He could feel his own gun now, a Smith & Wesson .44, jutting in his side. The car came to a screeching halt. The two figures pulled James out of the car, still groggy and in horrible pain, he hadn’t the resolve to fight back. Someone kicked him in the back and he

tripped, rolling down a short hill. He could feel the impact of loose dirt and plants. He was in a field. Probably cotton. The two figures held the limp James by his arms. One of the figures ripped off the sack on James’ head to reveal the two figures to be the teenage boys from behind the bar, and none other than the man who had been sitting to James’ left in the bar. It didn’t take very long for James to deduce who the man was. It was of course, the Misfit. “Now, we can’t have people comin’ and ruining our fun, right,” the Misfit crooned. The boys nodded. “Kill him.” A look of defeat washed over James’ face. The boy holding James’ Smith and Wesson hesitated for a moment and then fired. Killing James instantly with a shot to the head, unceremoniously. The Misfit started walking towards the car, the boys proceeded to follow him. About 10 feet from the car, the Misfit whipped around and shot the two boys point blank. The shots rang out in the wide open Georgia sky. The Misfit carried the three bodies to the car and placed them inside. He needed to dump the bodies and Lake Oconee was but a few miles away, so he drove towards it. The silence of the passengers in his car did not disturb him. The Misfit knew they were getting closer. Soon enough there would be an eye witness. One can not run forever.