Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Thimble full of Poison

(The Champion Drunk) 

The dark narration of a murder story
The narrative is loosely formed into a film scenario

See Back for Character Names/dates
Will Wick (1918/2010)

 By Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c.
Poet Laureate 

Revised Edition
Part One
Chapter I

The Wick House

The Scene: — is taking place in the kitchen of the Wick house, it is the summer of 1967.
(Joan 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)

John’s 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.

The 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.

Mrs. 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.)

John 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 Dick.

(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 an ashtray.
There are several folks in the bar, some playing cards, and a waitress looking on.
       “Pa, I was thinking about you.” Said John
       “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

Mr. 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,
       “He’ll show up sooner or later, he always does!” As if it was not 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 names.

       “I couldn’t find him at the bar,” Dick tells his ma upon his return, “he wasn’t in the back either.”
       “Beer, 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, that’s him!”
John 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.

    Joan A. Wick (1920-1967)

The 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 the coming speech:

Part One
Chapter II

Dead Murdered

Dick Wick, in his coffin
(Buried: 1967)

Says 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.”
Dick 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…!”
Dick is a single parent, his wife died of cancer a few years back.
The mother now declares her innocence:
       “This is all an invention, can’t you Father Marcello, and Tom, see this?”
Dick 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.
Says 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.”

The County Jail is Insight
(The doors to the jailhouse are being opened as they arrive)

The 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 among them)
       Now they are giving them their names, one by one to the Sergeant.

A Week Passes

And 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!”

John 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 the jail)

Part One
Chapter III

Joan C. Wick, in her sunny days

Before 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.

I 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 yells.
       “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.”

But 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 shaking.
       “I 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.

The 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 took all of two weeks, but I made it.”
       “That sure is a story, you could write a book on that premise!” said Tom.

Part Two
Chapter IV   (1968)

Joan 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 dies.

Part Three
Chapter VI

Roger Lameman

Grandpa 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 essence.

  Sam Wick (1957-1973)

Sam 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.

Sam 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 event.

Roger 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:

        “I expect you to announce your marriage to my daughter, not that girl whose father was a murderer...”
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 giving you.”
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.

Part Three
Chapter VII

Grumpy Grandpa Gruffer
 ((1973) (six-years later))

It 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.
A 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.”
Roger 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 all this.
       “So now you’ve discovered my father’s innocence, and this is a man’s worth!”
Not 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.”
       “O.K.,” she says, “but we’ll give the money to Betty!”
“Is that really necessary?” he asks.
Just 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 check.
Grandpa 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.
Now Roger comes closer to Sam, as if he has not gotten a 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.
Then 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.
Betty is saying to her husband: “Keep that check hidden.”

Grandpa Grumpy Gruffer’s Diary

—Grandpa Grumpy
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 further. 
        “I 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 played chest, 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 (Born 1942)
Dick Wick—Died 1967, death by hanging (Born: 1938)
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 (died 1967)

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
Roger Lameman (died, death:  murdered 1973/born 1948) womanizer

Locations Mentioned:

Battle Creek, St. Paul, Minnesota (along the Mississippi)
St. Paul, Minnesota (where the Wick and Pal families live)
Minneapolis, Minnesota (where Will Wick, ventures off to) mentioned
Wabasha Street in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Chicago (mentioned)
San Francisco (mentioned)

No: 1047/ 12-1 & 3-2014
By Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. h.c. / Art and Story:  Copyright © Dec 2014: “A Thimble full of Poison” Revised 12-7-2014
Note: the revision required 1315 (?)-additional words, form 3050 to 4365 words