Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

That July was typically hot, the growing cornfields, county fairs, watermelon, and sweat blending every summer day into the next.

The year was 1981. But it was anything but ordinary.

Downtown was empty of people, not a soul on the dusty, midday streets. But the whine and choking growl that came from a pickup engine, throttle pushed to the floorboards by a dead man’s foot, made up for the lack of people. The sound permeated the air, building into coughing fits of oil and carburetor until the motor couldn’t take it any longer. Pistons seized and the motor block cracked.

And it was just as dead as the man who sat behind the wheel.

A scene from Hollywood?


Called vigilante justice at the time, the so-called bully of the town lost his life in broad daylight that hot summer day. But there were no convictions, no arrests. No witnesses even though moments before the shotgun blast tore through the back window of the pickup truck, a group of people had gathered to escort the bully out of town.

Thirty years have passed to the day.  

Whispers behind hands, grim faces nod and shrug with tales of who took the shots and how the guns were disposed. But deep wells abound in this farming community, too many to count. How can anyone search them all?

It is a mystery that no one around here wants solved, the day a community fought back and ended a man’s life.


  1. OMG. I was so convinced it was a movie plot. That is both frightening and pleasing, if that makes sense. The people got together and said enough. I'd like to know more, though.

    Have a great week.

  2. I was 8 and 3/4 pregnant at the time so the hubby declined the invite to the meeting.

    Otherwise, maybe we might know who did it.

    But *G*, I probably wouldn't tell anyway.

    The guy that died of lead poisoning was exactly as portrayed in the book and subsequent movie -- a thug, rapist, arsonist, thief, who got away with nearly killing several people.

    The town’s people did what they had to do after the judicial system failed them.

  3. Wow. That's disturbing. It's those kind of true stories that can really shake a person up!

    Btw, I tagged you in a meme so, if you get the chance, come on over to my blog and check it out.


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