Becoming (Act 1) - Walter Crown

 Teen-age years define it all. They shape us whether we are willing participants or not. Years of systematic abuse by parental or governmental entities weave us into unrecognizable images. The warped reflection of a face we once shaved or powdered, now stares back at us with confusion and disgust, for the morality you held so sacred.  Those notions of staying the course no matter how complex the equations got seem like empty promises now. Just another form of self- deluting, meglomania tendencies,  that serve only as pathetic reasons to make you want to get out of bed and give it another college try, only to find yourself in some back booth of a filthy lounge, with the lepers and left behinds' crowd.

As was the case of Henry, a timid lad still amused at his ability to hang suspended in time on any street sign, perfectly horizontal, his stamina unwavering at any sign of fatigue. The girls stood and chattered among themselves, wondering which one of them would be the first to experience him, first-hand. A virgin's wager, to see which one of the small town's eager female's would have exclusive knowledge of the "boy legend, Henry Hangin"

The sleepy little town of Havertown, Vermont has had it share of embarrassment and intrigue throughout the ages  Pastor. Verne for instance, He fathered a child outside of his marriage, while his wife of 32 years had developed a prescription drug problem and even went so far as to steal a prescription pad from Doc Evan's office.  The timid, yet mysterious woman who played that obscene looking monstrosity of an instrument; the pipe organ. It's long-winded chrome pipes choking out each and every note. This woman who had secretly become an addict, sat cheerfully in front of it, pounding on it's many rows of keyboards as the unsuspecting parishioners seated directly below, marveled at this petite woman's talent and respectfully sang along. Her talent to tame the massive melodic beast was her only saving grace among them. For had she been someone else, with no ties to the church,  this quiet little town of New England would have certainly drove her out. Their plans for her persecution were simple. Kill em' with kindness.  Then let them kill themselves.  Offer a empathic ear, while your other gathers up as much information surrounding their unfortunate perdicament. Then as soon as you have enough evidence to prove your case.  You confront the accused with the undeniable truth of their deception and questionable deeds.

  The scandal surrounding her husbands' bastard child spread like wildfire in this small town and the gossip had become so vicious when he left his faith and this woman for a waitress and his son, somewhere in Maine. She fell into a heightened sense of depression, so unbearable she'd considered committing herself into a sanitarium. That's when Doc Evan's began treating her for severe depression, giving her the opportunity later to smuggle a few prescription pads out of his office.

"But, the pastor and his wife, is another matter. Let's talk about young Henry, shall we. Oh, where are my manners? I haven't even introduced myself,   Walter Crown, Ex esq, former convict, notorious killer, and death row, has been.   Let's just say I have detailed accounts of the numerous;  murderous deeds this hallowed town has hid. A spector from the past. I'm allowed to witness, partake, even alter the current state of affairs of the lowly inhabitants of this town. An unseen force.  An appointed judge and jury. Appointed by whom?   Certainly, not by any benevolent being?  So, on who's authority do I condem? I couldn't say, because  I just don't know!   All I remember is the smell of pine, not from the Vermont Evergreens, but from the cyanide crystals they just dropped in the bucket next to me.  An odor of pine so sickening, it burned the lining of my  throat like swallowing battery acid. That's ironic, because all of lovely young ladies lives ended in the same fashion,  Hypoxia!   No stay of execution for me!  Not this time. Oh, Noooo!.....Walter Crown's time had finally come around!"

  "My name is Walter.  My friends, Well?  They just called me crazy. I'd often wondered why they would call me that? So what, If I'd kept a few souvenirs from those lady friends? It helps to keep the love alive, a token of appreciation for  their involvement in my new enlightenment.  After the gas took effect, all I could recall was that perpetual banging, over and over! I finally realized that it was the sound of my own heart, beating so rapidly as if it were a savage's drum. I thought I would lose my mind from the sound! Well, In truth, I already had. In life I was a mess. A first-rate screw-up. That wasn't always the case. Oh, No! Not at first. I held down a steady job at the law firm, married a sexpot and had a great house just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. We had such a charmed life, the both of us.  She graduated from Princeton University with a PH. D in Physics. I passed the New York State Bar exam in 1985 and began working in Downtown Manhattan office, not much longer afterwards. We'd met at some office party for the firm. She was amazing! Great legs, for a scientist.  She walked over to me slowly, those shapely limbs gracefully navigated across the carpet towards me. Her eyes never left mine.  She reached over, then brushed some confetti off of my shoulders that was still lingering around the room. The rest is history. I'd made that sexy, smart gal my wife! We'd had tried for years to have children. She blamed herself at first for this, but then later on, we found out that it was me who was too blame for the absence of children in our lives.  We'd thought about adoption but she was afraid of taking on a child who's mental history would be a mystery. She would always refer to Ted Kozinski. Who is he? He was a brilliant mathematician, physist. Still doesn't ring a bell? How about this? The Unabomber! Yeah, that's right, stark raving madman!  They'd caught up with him in some wooden shack, completely isolated from the rest of the world, secretly creating mail bombs to be delivered by Uncle Sam's own postal service to unsuspecting professors or officials, who's world views he opposed and despised.

After learning the awful truth of my inadequet ability to father children, our marriage no longer seemed like a blue ribbon affair. The thrill was gone!  So, like most married couples that have grown to hate one another,  we spent as much time apart as possible. That's is when I found myself inventing ways to fill in the many voids of my life. Sex was never a problem for me.  I'd kept myself in the best physical shape. While working out at the gym, I began to wonder what it would be like to scare the crap out of those gold-digging females' that hung around the gym flaunting their plastic bodies around as if time hadn't blemished their rapidly aging bodies. Lies! Everyone of them. Breathing lies!  It was there, in that gym, I realized that these barbie dolls were in desperate need of a new look. So, I bought a copy of "Grays Anatomy." I carefully studied the placement of each muscle, tendon, and other vital organs. I created the world's first- "Living Dolls." 

"Well, enough about me.  I was just about to reveal the truth behind the strange happenings in this charming little town called Havertown, Vermont.  Where I am the law! An agent of chaos for the karmatic justice system. I love this job!

Now, Where should I begin?  Henry Hangin' was an average student, although he was capable of so much more,  had he put his best foot forward. He'd rather do just enough to get a passing grade, rather than apply himself to his not-so-promising future. Henry's parents ran the local hardware store leaving little family time together. He could have easily spent more time with them working along side of his father or mother, but he chose to stay at home with the family dog Dutch. He had an incredible mind and like so many of the ones' gifted with intelligence, he also had a dark secret. Henry's mother just called it, "Growing Pains." Yes, that's right! His dear sweet mother knew about her son's disturbing demeanor and by calling it, "natural" this only encouraged it along. Henry now believed that this was part of growing up. That all young men his age suffered through, then sorted out later on in life. The blind leading the blind. This inherit trait for torture of stray woman and animals was this families, "dark secret."

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That's great Dana.  The story cracks along and doesn't waste any time.

Hi Dana,

There is much to like about this piece.  You paint vivid images of the town, complete with the boy who hangs upside-down from street signs, to the avuncular pastor who runs around on his wife. It left me wanting more. There were a few typos and long sentences; like the first one--change the first two commas with periods and it will read better.

Nice work.


I loved the quirkiness of Henry hanging upsdie down and the virgins wondering who would get him first. That's an amazing idea and way to start a story. I loved that this was a town of people with secrets and misdeamours. You have set up a scenario for weaving many tales. Go for it! I look forward to them!

Thank you all.