Don’t die on me now!

1/21/2014

Uncharacteristically of late, the skin of the lake was stretched tight and still across the horizon and you could see the tinges of pink that embroidered each cloud as they rolled overhead, reflected in its surface. What is it they say? “Red sky at morning…sailor take warning!”

Like that sailor I have now been warned several times that I am placing myself in a very uncomfortable spot in the course of these Dixie Mafia investigations. To be certain, I academically understand the danger of metaphorically unearthing certain bodies that have lain dormant for decades and take great precaution to honor the wishes of anonymity for those who hesitantly follow down this same path with me. Please  know that I appreciate your candor and your singular bravery in sharing what you know…what you have seen and what you fear. Just as with Charley’s case, an entire township and its countrysides have been swallowed up in fear of retribution for decades and struggle to release themselves of the echo of fear.

But let me ask you very frankly, retribution of what?

In Charley’s case, the remaining ‘four in  flannel’ are now old men; sucking on dentures and pulling at their puds to pee. Their days of glory and causing folks to shudder is over and so I beg that the citizens of Valdosta to see these men now for what they are—geriatric a__holes who no longer possess the where-with-all to change their own soiled diapers, let alone terrorize an entire county. To be fair, they once ruled the seedier part of your town-but if that wasn’t your reality- they still had no power over you. Both you and they need to stop living in the past. Social Security is now their only security, don’t you see? Grim measures his Metamucil along with his morals and finds them both to be insufficient to clean out the stench of his rotting insides. Your fears are now his fears…why?

Do you think this man and his two other cronies wish to be seen as the crumbled, egotistical sycophants they truly are? No my dear readers-egos will not allow such! They want you to remember them as they were in their glory days- young, strong, ruthless and virulent. Nothing sucks the fun out a long awaited “perp walk” than a walker or a wheelchair now, does it Grim? I feel for you old pal. Once bright and shiny as your badge, you are both now, worn and tarnished. In fact, there was an article in an AARP magazine recently about one of Valdosta’s oldest friends from your hey-day…Omar Sharif, who used to fly there with Jack Palatin from Hollywood to play high stakes poker with your good old boy Sheriff , who incidentally died in prison. My how time flies when you’re becoming incontinent, doesn’t it, Grim?

You see, time was and is not necessarily your friend anymore old sport. Sure it bought you decades of false dignity and you had the chance to hide and shuffle your wealth from here to there…but did you get to spend any of  it? How about you, Einstein? That was a mighty healthy tax return in 1968, wasn’t it? If only the feds knew where all that money had come from! lol  But seriously boys, you had the glow of abuse and manipulation about you that smelled like pheromones to some and the audacity to lie to your wives about your fidelity and fake honor, while you corked everything but an empty wine bottle out of your pathetic need to dominate…but did that buy you any real manhood? Nope, your carnal lust and need for dominance bought your town  two corpses though- Jessica and Roxanne. So Valdosta…if not for yourselves- how about for them? Two girls go missing in your town in 1966 and nobody cares why? Nobody wants to ask the 47 year old questions of where they went…who was last with them…why were all the records of their existence erased and no funerals ever held? Dang, I’d be asking something if I knew that had happened in my town! You see, these are the questions that keep me up all night. I just can’t seem to let them go…too many reminders I guess.

Like the other day when I was having lunch with some retired law enforcement. They mentioned something from the book and we had a good laugh and I thought of you. Then two days later, my husband took me on a date and I thought of you again!  It was at the movies- the new Jack Ryan film? You see, it was in a really good chase scene and then suddenly… somebody pulled out a pair of bright and shiny brass knuckles with a blade at the end of it. I guess to beat and stab somebody- just like you used to. Good times, good times eh, Einstein? So much to remember…so much to prosecute!

Gosh it’s been fun to visit and reminisce with you and Grim and I hope you get the chance to share some of these stories with the local law real soon- they would really enjoy them! Wouldn’t that be swell! A pow-wow with your fraternal brothers! You could tell them all about the time Einstein beat the shit out of Roxanne and then you, Grim, pretended you didn’t know how she got into that lake and had to hide the scar under your left eye from your wife. Golly-bet they’d love that one! That was tense for a few days wasn’t it, Grim? Or what about the time Einstein beat the crap out of the MOT in the Daniel Ashleigh Hotel and left him for dead…Ahhhhh, the good old days!

Well, I’d love to sit and chat some more about the good old days in Valdosta, but right now I’m up to my tail end in gas cans and car bombs in Barrow and Jackson Counties in the 60’s and so have to run…But we’ll visit again soon you two old farts! Don’t die on me now!

You really should write down some of your escapades for your grandchildren and their grandchildren to enjoy…

Oh wait! I already did that for you!

Buy them the book- read them book- then call the law and ask them to finish the job they started 47 years ago! You can even help plug in a few of the holes I might have left. Forgot the title- just ask anybody in town- they know it!

THE THIN GRAY LINE: A TRUE CRIME INVESTIGATIVE MEMOIR by T.A. Powell

 

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