September 06, 2009

Murder Corner

I'm not one for sitting still very long.  I don't think I used to have this urge to always be doing something, but it's the way I am now.  So, after I was through with mowing the grass this morning, I decided I needed to go pick up a few grocery items for dinner.  On the way out, I passed a pile of books on the table and decided that since I wasn't going to read them, I'd take them back to the library while I was out.  I generally like to read, but not so much during the summer.  This doesn't stop me from checking out a pile of books, but they generally just gather dust until they come due, and then I cart them back to the library, unread.

After dropping off the books, I headed over to Murder Corner to buy the groceries.  Murder Corner has a regional chain grocery store that also has a bank inside, and an empty space where there used to be a coffee shop, but I guess no one liked the coffee, so it was closed and they board up the space with decorative displays of soda cases and Triscuits.  But you can still see the counter and tables inside.  Apparently, no one wanted to cart the furniture away.  Also on Murder Corner is a shuttered-up Burger King.  It has one of those glass encased two-story "playlands" inside, like those at McDonald's.  I don't know why the people at Burger King spend their lives trying to emulate McDonald's.  You would think they would try to differentiate themselves, but they never do.  I guess they're fine with being Number Two in the burger world.

I don't think anyone else calls this little two acre parcel Murder Corner, but me.  I have names for almost every place in this area.  It simplifies it when Jan asks me where I'm going.  I gave Murder Corner its name because there were two murders there.  Well, technically, only one murder.  The other was "death by swat team". 

Earlier in this decade, a young man was being chased by the police for some serious crime that I've forgotten. During the car chase, the young man thought it would be a good idea to stop at the grocery store.  So he hopped out of his car with his shotgun and ran to the back of the store and hid in the meat department.  Human nature as it is, several shoppers flagged down the police and pointed them in the right direction.  Hours were spent in negotiation, but the young man had apparently been watching "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and thought he could shoot his way out.  He was wrong, and was removed in several pieces.

Later in this decade, a middle aged manager, who happened to be a woman, was opening up her Burger King early in the morning to get ready for the breakfast trade.  A former employee followed her in and strangled her with her own necktie, part of her Burger King uniform.  The former employee was arrested about a week later and still sits in jail awaiting trial for murder. Ironically, the woman had just been transferred at her own request from another Burger King because she had been robbed at gunpoint at that location, and wanted a safer work environment.

I like to think that I don't get spooked easily, but I suppose I'm just fooling myself.  After the incident at the grocery store, I wouldn't shop there for 6 months or so, and after I did resume shopping there, I wouldn't buy anything from the meat department.  I know they cleaned up all the blood and body parts, but there's just something about buying raw meat in a place where someone has been blown apart that doesn't set well with me.

The Burger King had only been open a short while when the murder occurred.  They tried to make the best of it for a while, offering free food and coupons, but it didn't work and people stayed away.  There's something about a murder that crushes the happy atmosphere of a burger place.  The business was closed and it remains empty today, with a forlorn lease sign in front.  The husband of the murdered woman shows up on the anniversaries of her death to camp out over night.  The local police used to hassle him, but they leave him alone now.

To me, it's odd how one business stays open, and another closes after incidents of these sorts.  I suppose it's all in how different kinds of deaths are perceived.

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