A Novel by Tenzin McGrupp
Here is an excerpt from the NaNoWriMo novel:
The flask, nearly 90 years old, originally belonged to a local county Sheriff in Mississippi who was bootlegging moonshine back in the days of prohibition. The flask used to ride shotgun with him as he, and the help of local Klansman, busted up make shift bathtub gins and strong armed rival bootleggers. It was his to fill with his grandmother Justine’s famous moonshine until after World War II, when he lost it in a crooked poker game to an Army Drill Sergeant who cheated the Sheriff out of three hundred and forty six dollars and walked away with all his money, his Stetson hat, and his flask.
The flask did not stay in the hands of the Drill Sergeant for very long. The very next night he was shot dead by a milkman who came home early to ironically catch his wife in bed with another man, that man being the Drill Sergeant. He got shot in the back by the disgruntled milkman, and decided to shoot his wife as well. After urinating on the dead naked bodies of the Drill Sergeant and his wife, the milkman went through the Drill Sergeant’s clothes, stole his pocket watch, his money, and flask. He also stole his car and headed to Atlanta.
The Milkman's two Mississippi murders were just the beginning of one the worst crime and murder sprees ever recorded in the post World War II American South. He killed twice more in Mississippi, heading east through Alabama, where he murdered and raped three college students in Mobile, before striking again near Montgomery, where he held hostage and terrorized a group of nuns in a small farmhouse. The Milkman repeatedly sodomized and tortured the nuns in true Draconian fashion, before he eventually shot all of them, one by one, face down in the ground, their cries muffled by hay shoved into their mouths, their silent prayers to God going unanswered.
Next up on the Milkman’s mayhem of a route was Georgia. One night as a young man dropped off his girlfriend at her house, the Milkman followed him home and savagely killed and dismembered the popular, Buck Applewhite, an all-state football player at Emory University in Atlanta. Buck was the "Golden Boy of Emory," an academic all-American in two sports, the 1946 Heisman Trophy runner-up, and President of the Local Chapter of the Association of Atlanta Birdwatchers. He was the quick witted, handsome, laconic son of the mayor and richest man in Lilburn, Georgia, the white haired sage, the honorable Dr. Les Applewhite. Dr. Applewhite was crushed by the news of the murder of his only son, whom he had been grooming to become a future Governor of Georgia.
The news of the tragic and senseless murder of Buck Applewhite prompted the largest manhunt ever in the history of Georgia. Unable to find or catch the real murderer, the "Milkman Serial Killer", had baffled and eluded the local police. The incompetent bunch of inbred misfits couldn’t even catch a cold, let alone a serial killer. They buckled under intense pressure from the Mayor and the media, and they were desperate.
The local district attorney, himself concerned with the poor media attention his office was getting, devised a scheme to save his job, the reputation of his town, and ease the pain of his friend and cousin, Dr. Applewhite. The district attorney railroaded and framed a young black man. The patsy was a drifter from Oxford, Mississippi, called Latrell Johnson. Evidence was fabricated, false witnesses were paid off, and the fix was in. The all white jury in Lilburn unanimously voted that Latrell Johnson was guilty of murdering Buck Applewhite, and the judge, Harry Applewhite, also a cousin of Mayor Applewhite, handed down a swift sentence: death by hanging.
Latrell Johnson was hung later that month, and the Milkman Serial Killer knew he got off without a hitch so he headed north to Virginia, and got a job teaching English to reform school kids. A year later, while visiting a whore house in Richmond, his flask was stolen by one of the girls, Bubbles, a charming, self destructing, petite, curly haired nymph from Texas. She held onto it for thirty more years.
Not much is known about the time the flask was with Bubbles. She herself was an odd mystery, but it is known that she was a call girl for fifteen years in Virginia before she married a truck driver and moved to Memphis where she attend dog grooming college. She stashed away the flask in an old box in her garage, and it wasn’t until her death in 1976, that her adopted son, Reginald, found the flask while going through her things. He was frantically looking for something to sell to feed his thirty dollar a day heroin addiction. He took the flask to his drug dealer, the Reverend Henry James, and traded it for a small hit of Mexican black tar.
Reverend Henry James, a black minister at the Christ Episcopal Church outside of Memphis, was a former special operations soldier in Vietnam. He served for seven years and participated in the Phoenix Assassination program, where the CIA had arranged, funded and approved of the deaths of thousands of men and women whom they deemed were dangerous individuals and posed a threat to the national security of the United States and it’s allies, so they approved of the extermination of politicians, secular leaders, military men, intelligence officers, spies, and journalists all over South East Asia, in Cambodia, Thailand, North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia.
The Revered Henry James soon found God after his thorny time in Vietnam. He also found a solid opium and heroin connection, thanks to his friends in Air America, civilian pilots on the CIA payroll who ran guns, money and dope in and out of South East Asia, during and after the Vietnam War. He became a wealthy man importing heroin and built no less than sixteen churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Florida.
The Reverend Henry James never did drugs. He smoked marijuana three times a day, but he didn’t do real drugs. He refused to touch the stuff he was selling. He loved to drink more so than smoke pot. He held onto the flask for several more years after trading some smack for it, sipping Jim Beam out of it everyday. He loved and cherished the flask, and held it so close to his heart that in fact that the paramedics had to remove it from him when they had to quickly try to revive him after he passed out in the middle of a prayer service during Easter Sunday mass.
One of the paramedics stole the flask and his wife took it to the pawn shop one morning after they ran into financial difficulties. It had been sitting in the pawn shop for four hundred thirty-five days...
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.