Dr. Dennis L. Siluk’s has published 72-International Book. He is a poet since twelve years old, a writer, Psychologist, Ordained Minister, Decorated Veteran from the Vietnam War, Doctor in Arts and Education, and Doctor Honoris Causa from the National University of Central Peru, UNCP. He was nominated Poet Laureate in Peru. One of his books, “The Galilean”, took Honorable Mention at the 2016 Paris Book Festival and received an award from the Congress of Peru, for his cultural writings.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A Thimble full of Poison
narration of a murder story
is loosely formed into a film scenario
See Back for
Will Wick (1918/2010)
Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c.
The Wick House
Scene: —is taking place in the kitchen of the Wick
house, it is the summer of 1967.
C. Wick daughter to Mrs. Joan A. Wick are making cookies, while John and his
brother Dick are sitting at the kitchen table, John drinking a Hamm’s beer, and
Dick drinking a black cup of coffee, smoking heavily on a Luck Strike cigarette)
(JOAN looks at the kitchen clock over the stove, it is midnight)
a drunk, the youngest of the three children in the Wick family, at twenty-four.
Dick, his brother, is the senior child by two years, now twenty-nine years old,
his sister Joan C., is the in-between, child at twenty-seven. Both Dick and
John work at a slaughterhouse, in South St. Paul, Minnesota. The Year is 1967, and Dick is making $3.50 an
hour, John is making $3.00, an hour, and John is up for a promotion, he’ll be
making over $4.00 dollars an hour, with his new position. He tells his brother
he could be making the same as him, should he stop his nightly drinking. And
thus, this irritates his brother John.
Matter of fact, Dick kind of pushes this on him a little too much.
family lives in the Wick house they dress in old fashion garb close of their
ancestors (strange it may be,
but strange is this family); the
mother: Joan A. Wick and the daughter being Joan C. Wick. And the grandfather
who seems always to be sitting in the living room with a pipe in his mouth,
putting away, while resting in a sofa chair, watching television, a newspaper
on his lap; he is kind of the odd person in this story, he later will be living
with the Pals family: Grumpy Grandpa Gruffer is what they call him (a nickname). Will
Wick is the father to John and Dick and Joan C. and the husband to Joan A.
Wick. They are middle aged and then some, and Will is a bigger drunk than his
son John. Will likes to drink downtown at the Wabasha Bar. That is normally
where you can find him if you are looking for him. For John, he’s more
adventurous and unpredictable if looking for any permanent location for his
alcohol habit, you’ll never find it. John and Dick seem to fight over a lot of loosely
knitted, minor issues, things that are just stuff that gets in each other’s
way; but it is getting more serious by the day, and more physical.
Wick, John’s mother, tells John to go find his father downtown at the Wabasha
Bar, bring him back home. Dick is apprehensive, says:
“Ma, he’s too drunk, I’ll go in his place.” (Dick goes towards the door)”
“If he’s not there mother, he’ll be
laying someplace in the back, I’ll check on that also!”
(Joan A. Wick, laughing) “Low and
behold, if you find him in the back there, leave him lay, he be going on
sixty-nine years this October; and he do like his beer, leave him be ef-in he
be drunker than a skunk!”
“Pa be a good old chap Ma, I know he
be, sly as a fox too, but he bite your hand, like a wolf, right off, if you
disturbed him. A drinking man with merriment, until you wake him from a drunk,
then he be scornful liken to a wildcat.”
“Yes, he be an old sinful soul, sly
like the devil, and love his whiskey more than he be taken to me!” (The door shuts behind Dick.)
and Dick have stopped giving each other the evil eye over the task, and Dick
now has left the house, and his brother John, is right behind him about a
minute or so, and he now is standing outside the front porch of the house, as
soon as Dick is out of sight, and down the road in his car, John jumps on his
Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, and takes off, out of the front yard, and leaves
his mother standing, and there she is standing in the kitchen looking towards the front
porch, as if to be thinking: What Next? John, is a strange character, even to those
other’s willing to admit, and they are strange, in this somewhat strange
family: he, being like his father, drinking all he can earn, thus the apple
does not fall far from its home. John,
takes a shortcut, across grassy fields, and down narrow alleys, and even on and
across, and alongside buildings next to sidewalks, and gets to the bar before
(John Enters the Bar)
“John, what you be doing here son?” says his father, sitting on a barstool elbows on the bar, a shot of whiskey by his
right hand, a cold beer on tap, to his left, a Camel Cigarette, smoking away in
are several folks in the bar, some playing cards, and a waitress looking on.
“Pa, I was thinking about you.” Said
“You were, what about?”
“Three, there now, pa, don’t be taken on
now!” In a way parroting his pa.
(Will, taking the whisky down quickly,
and chasing it with a beer)
“Ah! Speak up and say what’s on your
mind boy!” The looking at the bar keep,
yells, “…a beer for my boy!”
Wabasha Bar, recipients
Will Wick was not to be found at the bar when Dick arrived, and there is a
rumor he was murdered in the back of the bar and is laying in some ditch in the
city. And when this is told to Mrs. Wick, at 2:00 a.m., she simply says,
show up sooner or later, he always does!” As
if it wasnot a big thing, rather a fair shame of some
sort; him being like John a drunken lot, and not so unlike Grandpa Wick, also,
although let us say, the grandfather sleeps more than he drinks, and is known
to be “a lazy sot!” among other crude identifying character
“I couldn’t find him at the bar,” Dick tells his ma upon his return, “he
wasn’t in the back either.”
beer and wine, again and again it’s going to kill him yet!” Yells, Mrs. Joan A. Wick, “perhaps has,
who’s to say! He be a slice of old buts, all never knowing where he be. He be an old rotten fruit too, a drunken dog,
has not showed up, and the Mrs. Wick is tired, and heads on upstairs to her
bedroom to go to sleep, it is near 3:00 a.m.
following morning, John has brought the Chief of Police (Tom Farringdon) along with the priest, Father Marcello, to
the house, having told them, he had news concerning his father’s disappearance.
He will not tell anyone anything until
all are in the kitchen, except Grandpa Gruffer of course, he’ll not leave that
sofa chair except for dinner, he is smoking his pipe, a newspaper on his lap,
and giggling away as if he is privy to something. Thus, the whole family now is
in the kitchen and John explains in thecoming speech:
Wick, in his coffin
John, to the police and priest, and his family members:
“My Father was murdered—and I, my
brother Dick, and my mother were all in on it.”
is taken back some in his chair hearing this, and the mother puts her hands
over her mouth, in disbelief, and Joan C., stands simply unfoundedly, and
amaze, in place.
“What are you saying John;” says Dick,
“I have a girl Sam you are condemning along with us, she’ll have no father…!”
is a single parent, his wife died of cancer a few years back.
mother now declares her innocence:
“This is all an invention, can’t you
Father Marcello, and Tom, see this?”
knows he has crossed John, kind of threw him now and then int the muck, over
his drinking, but would he go this far to get even?
“You are a liar,” says Dick, straight and forward, with a high grinning sneer!
“I’m your elder
brother, and your better, what are you doing!” Says Dick, unable to hold that last and forevermore, conduction.
Now John pulls out the cord his father
was strangled with, and tells the police and the priest:
“I don’t know where they buried him, but
we all pulled on the death cord. But I think it was someplace down around
Battle Creek, along the Mississippi.”
“Can you not see through this lie?” cries Mrs. Wick to the Priest and Police.
Tom (swatting a fly away
from his face, as he deals with him):
“If it is a lie, then John is condemning
himself also, therefore it is most likely not a lie: most likely not, otherwise
he’d call an end to this charade.”
County Jail is Insight
(The doors to the
jailhouse are being opened as they arrive)
whole family is now being taken down and placed is the county jail, into
separate cells, they have walked up the flight of stairs, and to the Sergeant
at the Desk,
“What’s all this?” asks the sergeant, to Tom.
“Don’t say a word,
just process them in Sergeant,” says
Tom, it is not to his liking, you can see that on his face, “Sit down all of
you, when you’re told to, and they’ll fingerprint you one by one,” says Tom (pacing
Now they are giving them their names, one by
one to the Sergeant.
within a week’s time all are found guilty of murder, as charged, and are
assigned a date and time to be hanged by the neck until dead. As the hour draws
near, Dick and Joan beg (with
quivering voices) John to
repel his statement, and tell whatever the truth is, before it is too late:
“Ah, my dear boy, my youngest one John,”
says Mrs. Joan A., Wick, “you’re a disgrace to the Wick family, such a shame,
why do you not stop this make-believe! It has gone far enough, I beg you, take
me and let your brother go, so he can take care of Sam, you are mad, vexed and
sore and just plain mad!”
admits to Dick—on the sly, during a moment between cells, when just he and Dick
are within whispering distance—:
“Okay, so I killed our father, but we
are all going to hang for it, although
it is just you I wanted vengeance of! Do
not hope for hope and mercy, I want to watch you bloody, and as for my boozing,
I’ll be cured as you wanted me to be, ha, ha, ha!”
‘Thus, out of revenge he does this,’
Dick contemplates: for his constant
boasting and cutting him down, as a no good boozer. Dick tries to tell the
police Tom, and the priest, that John has advertently, told him the truth on
the sly, that it was out of envy, and he is doing this. But the police are
unwilling to take it into consideration at this late hour: that is to say,
without John’s verbal or written confession to this. For still John is willing
to die for his pride, or vengeance on his brother, or for that matter, whatever
reasons he may have. But he asks the
priest for absolution, a few minutes before he is hung.
“John” said Dick,
“you will die sober, but you still go to the hangman’s noose, a drunk—think,
think of what you are doing!”
John remains the same. He is actually
humming some tune. (You can hear the car tire sounds outside
Joan C. Wick, in her sunny days
Dick is executed, he asks Tom, to take $1500 dollars he’s saved up, and fined a
foster home for his daughter, Sam, she is ten-years old now. It is not much he
explains but it is all he has. And Tom agrees, although somewhat apprehensive
about taking the money, but he will do as asked.
repeat, they are all hung, at which time, two weeks after the hanging, Joan C.
the daughter, discovers her father in the living room with grandpa drinking a beer; she per near faints.
“By gosh where have you been!” she
“I’ve been in Chicago,” Will explains, then in a harsh voice says
“I’ll clarify to you why I went, but it’s our little secret, and should you
whisper it to anyone, I’ll kill you!”
“Well,” says Joan C. “explain away.”
before he can explain, Joan needs to clarify the hanging.
“You are aware are you not, your two
sons and wife were hung? Do you not know this dad?”
“Of course I do,” explains Will, “I was given $1000-dollars to go to Chicago and
drink it us, so what do you think I’d do with a gift of that sort?”
“But,” says Joan, “Your family is dead over beer, beer, and wine!”
“Well,” said Will “I’d have done it for half a thousand.”
“Did you know they’d been hanged?” asked Joan, in tears, her whole body
really didn’t think John would go through with the charade that is all I
thought; I guess he decided to play the game to its very end!”
“You were only
400-miles from home, you should have called or returned!” said Joan, full of tears.
police, Tom, and the priest Marcello now stop on by to visit Joan, hearing the
father is back. And Will tells them a whopper of a story of what took place:
“I was kidnapped in Minneapolis, and brought
to Chicago, and bought as a slave by a Japanese Merchant, and was going to be
shipped out the next day by train to San Francisco, but I escaped and made my
way back home here, it tookall of two weeks, but
I made it.”
“That sure is a story, you could write a
book on that premise!” said Tom.
Chapter IV (1968)
has went to her bedroom, she has a headache, she’s holding her head, swaying
back and forth, she has a thimble full of poison in her right hand, and she moves
it to her lips,
“I’m ready to meet my God,” she cries, and cries and cries, going
deeper and deeper into a depressive mode. And sways some more, drinks it down, and
in a choking voice, eyes wide open, mouth drooping, holding her stomach, searching the room as if to say, ‘when’ and
Gruffer (born 1894) he and Sam, now seventeen, Dick Wick’s daughter,
who was placed in the home of Betty Pals, sister to Joan A. Wicks, and given
that $1500-dollars, has been carrying for the seventeen year old girl, for some
seven years now. She has not been kind to Sam, having her do all the chores she
can possible find, as her daughter Jenifer Pals, is given less, and Sam being
scorn because of who her father was, and what he had done, a murderer, in
Sam Wick (1957-1973)
is outspoken as is Betty Pals likewise, and Jenifer, is rather passive, reserved
and a weakling, her mother although protects her. And Mr. Samuel Pals, is quite the opposite of
his wife, much more laidback, sedate.
is seventeen-years old now, near the age of consent. Everyone is at home, and
preparing for Jenifer’s graduation party, she is one grade higher in High
School than Sam, simply because she is eight months older than her. They have
invited several guests over, for the luncheon is soon to begin, and Roger
Lameman, is coming. Jenifer likes him, but Roger likes Sam, and Betty wants
Roger to like Jenifer more, and she wants him to select Jenifer for his mate,
and wife to be. Matter of fact, this is why she invited
him over, so her daughter will be matched up with him once and for all—and she can announce an engagement, at this very
has arrived and has asked Sam to marry him. He has said all the right things to
Sam, and they’ve now kissed. Betty is
aware of this and confronts Roger:
you to announce your marriage to my daughter, not that girl whose father was a
This is something
Roger was unaware of, something Sam did not tell him yet. Yet he plans on
forgiving her that little slip. And Betty
does not like this.
“I’ll tell you father you’re going to
marry a murderess mistress, and he’ll cut you out of the fortune he plans on
How true this is, he
would be penniless, and agrees to her foul play.
Roger now breaks the
news to Sam, and not too gently either, matter of fact, harshly, and demeaning.
Which pleases Betty.
Sam is angry as three
devils caught in a glass jar, and confronts Jenifer, and she starts to cry,
having no power over the situation, she trembles at Sam’s anger, crying for her
mother, but her mother is with some of the guests and does not hear her. She,
Jenifer is afraid Sam is going crazy over this situation, and will harm her,
but Sam hears a knock on the door, and leaves to investigate.
((1973) (six-years later))
is the Policeman Tom, and he is with Father Marcelo.
“We have important news for you Sam, we
need to have you sit down, and I’ll explain, matter of fact, if the whole
family can sit down, we’ll explain it to you all.” Said Tom.
few of the guests have arrived, and so Betty takes Sam, Tom and Marcelo into
the kitchen, and Betty whispers to Sam,
“I know that you frightened Jenifer, and
I’ll take care of you later.”
Jenifer and Betty Pals
“Well,” said Tom, “We are aware that your father Dick Wick, did not kill
the late Will Wick, and the county wants to award you $25,000-dolalrs in
compensation for that mistake of hanging him.”
happens to be in the kitchen also, overhears what Tom said. And Tom now hands
the check over to Sam, and she is told she needs to sign it, and put it into
the bank. And so she does sign it, and
leaves it sit on the table for the time being, and has something to say about
“So now you’ve discovered my father’s
innocence, and this is a man’s worth!”
much can be said, and now Roger wants to talk to Sam alone, and so with a
gesture or two, they both go outside for fresh air and conversation:
“I really wanted to marry you,” he tells
Sam, “but I was put out because I heard your father was a murderer. But it is
you I adore and love, marry me.”
says, “but we’ll give the
money to Betty!”
“Is that really
necessary?” he asks.
then, Betty comes out asked Sam to invest in their farm, with the money, and
she’ll pay it back, little by little.
And Sam refuses. And Betty gives her a sour attitude, but Sam is used to
it, and Betty goes into the kitchen, tells her husband Samuel, to hide the
Gruffer is laughing in the living room, he was reading a paper that now sits on
his lap, while resting in his sofa chair, calls Sam over to his side:
“Kill him, kill the goofball, kill them
all!” he says.
Roger comes closer to Sam, as if he has not gottena
solid enough: yes or no, to his proposal of marriage: and Sam picks up a letter
opener by her grandfather’s elbow side sitting flat on a standup ashtray where
he left his pipe burning, and stabs Roger in the gut several times with it,
until he drops all bloody onto the floor. Grandpa simply, grimaces, and rocks
back and forth with his back.
she goes to the china cabinet, near the television, and takes out a thimble,
and goes into the kitchen pulls out a can of the rat poison, puts some into the
thimble, and drinks it down, and drops dead, onto the floor.
is saying to her husband: “Keep that
Grandpa Grumpy Gruffer’s Diary
Gruffer Wick(the scholar)
“One could only gaze at the moment the passion-twisted
features of Sam, when she had killed her sweetheart Roger, and thereafter when
she took the thimble of poison, stepping into a darker world.
At times she even seemed hypnotized in a
hush kind of way, thinking too deep for her young girlish age, that is to say:
no one could read a single figure that filled the retina of her mind’s eye, but
me, Mr. Gruffer Wicks, grandpa.
“She did not kill him out of revenge, as
many said she did, but I know why, it was out of her being his prisoner, had
she not. I mean once Sam got the permission from me to go ahead, and to do what
she was planning to do, what she desired to do, once she got rid of the impulse
not to do it, that civilized impulse, and back to the animal kingdom, it was
easy, matter-of-fact, she was perhaps planning unconsciously to do before she
even thought about it, it being part of her nature, and I brought that
unconscious desire to surface, I mean it was always there, I just hooked it
like a fish, and wheeled it up, he was always a dead man, once he met her. Just
a matter of when, where and how. And opportunity knocked. Roger didn’t have a chance, had they married,
he would have cheated on her, and whoops, the means to a new murder, a delayed
murder that is all.
“She went on with it. Roger broke her
heart, pulled her heart-strings to its limits, and when she gave him her heart
to his sequence, she was devoted. You don’t grab a bone out of a wolf’s mouth. Thus,
what else could she do? I suppose much like her Uncle John, they were like two
peas in a pod, like to like. Once he was tortured by his brother Dick, there
became a limit, and he could not pull back from his fate, he was kind of
committing suicide. You see, to both
John and Sam, and perhaps Joan C., likewise, a failure commanded a suicide and
you can add a murder into that bowl of crickets, if necessary.
“It was a death sentence. Nothing was really haphazard, as Father
Marcelo might have thought, or Tom. Madmen and madwomen passing judgments upon mad
family members is what it comes down to. Our families had kind of a
clannishness, which was due to extraordinariness to a degree, mixed with a
little madness, and a few of us asserted ourselves in a fiendish malignancy.
Alas, it was never a nice place to live, to our cost we all knew it, the
strangeness of our family members, it should have been noticeable that Sam,
like John, like Joan C., and like Will, they all put their hands to their heads
now and then, and swayed a moment. What does that mean? I even do it. Also, as you may already know,
our families dress in a strange way, that should prove my point even
remember all I did was nod at the recollection of Joan C., when she committed
suicide, she having a dreadful looking face—unlike her mother’s, vulpine
face—on her day of reckoning. And John, well, he got them first, before they
could get him. Not sure if that was revenge, or he was just tied of peoples
arms swaying this way and that way, at his way of living! Pointing fingers at
him, shaming him, nagging at him, until he put them out of sight, put a stop to
it. The truth being, six people died before their time. And Betty lived on to
spend that $25,000-dollars. Sam should have taken her with him, and Jenifer
never married, became an old maid, old lady in that old house. That was her
penalty for failure. And after that day when Tom and the Priest, Father Marcelo,
came over, I never saw them again, I think they had enough of both families.
And Samuel, he doesn’t play much in the family story here, not much background
to him, he and I playedchest, up to my 90th birthday, and
that is when I died…”
Character names and dates
Births and deaths:
John Wick—Died 1967, death by hanging
Dick Wick—Died 1967, death by hanging
Will Wick (Born: 1918/2010) Father to
John, and Dick, and Joan C. Hung
Grandpa Gruffer Wick
(Born 1894, died 1984, by old age heart
Ms. Sam Wick (born 1957, died, death
by suicide 1973)
Joan C. Wick
(Born 1946, died, death by suicide 1968?)
Joan A. Wick
Beatty Pals (NA)
Samuel Pals (NA)
Jenifer Pals ((born
1956 or 57?)(Died?))
Tom Farrington (Policeman/Chief
of Police) 1902
Father Marcelo (Parish
Priest) born 1902
(died, death: murdered 1973/born 1948)
Battle Creek, St. Paul, Minnesota (along
St. Paul, Minnesota (where the Wick and Pal families live)
Minneapolis, Minnesota (where
Will Wick, ventures off to) mentioned