Tag Archives: Murder

Blockbuster

26 May

BLOCKBUSTER • BY TOM MEEK 

They were on their way to buy wine and cheese and pick out a movie at the video store. It was his first time meeting her parents and he wanted to impress them even though she had said they were the cause of all her problems. He didn’t know what her problems were; she was tall, angular and adored. He had worked hard to gain her favor after they met on a whitewater rafting trip. He took her to arty movies that he thought were like the ones he had heard her talk about and cooked her the kind of dishes he saw in the magazines on her coffee table. She took him camping and skydiving and they made love in the woods on moss covered logs and rocky outcroppings overlooking the city.

“Alcoholics and liars,” is how she described her parents. He expected horrible people, but they were nice and welcoming during the brief five minutes they popped in to drop off their bags. “Maureen says you have great taste in movies,” her mother said giving his arm a gentle squeeze, “Why don’t you pick something out for us.”

They sailed down a country road past artfully masoned walls and immaculate lawns. There wasn’t a rogue leaf anywhere.

“Here! Here!” she said tapping on the dashboard frantically. “Turn here!”

He swerved hard right, the font wheel left a muddy rut across one of the manicured lawns. The Corolla skidded back onto the road and righted itself.

She tugged on his sleeve. “See that house up there?”

Up a long rolling lawn dotted with boulders sat a large stucco structure.

“A murder happened there, about three years ago. A doctor and his wife, who had just moved here from India, got hacked up by their own meat cleaver.”

“God that’s grim,” he said, “I hope they got the guy.”

“They did, but they shouldn’t have,” she said explaining that a boy she knew from school who grew up in the house and was abused by his alcoholic father, had gotten drunk and broke into the house. “They couldn’t figure it out for a long time,” she said, “but he was trying to get clean and said something at an AA meeting and somebody went to the police.”

“Sounds like they did the right thing.”

She slapped the dashboard. “That’s not the the point, godammit!”

“Okay, then what is?”

“AA’s all about recovery and having a system of trust. They violated that trust. It was wrong.”

“C’mon, Mo, it’s not like attorney-client or anything like that.”

“He was getting help, he was finally clean.”

“What are you saying? That his recovery is more important than their lives? That it justifies murder?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Well, then, what?”

She slumped hard against the passenger door. “You just don’t get it, do you?”

The Corolla crested another hill. Below he could see the neon blue from the video store. He wondered what he should pick. He knew he had to choose wisely.

 

***

(published May ’19 in Everyday Fiction)

Remembering a solid citizen

12 Jan

Paul Wilson: Big guy with an even bigger heart whose memory will outlast headlines’ violence

The life of Paul Wilson, 60, will be celebrated Jan. 26 in Danvers. (Photos courtesy of Cindy Amor)

Last week a brutal crime took from our city one of its kindest, gentlest souls. Paul Wilson, 60, was a stand-up human: generous, respectful, friendly and imbued with a deep sense of humor.

I knew Paul on and off for two decades but didn’t know of his death until the day after the Jan. 2 assault on him in Danehy Park, which has yet to be solved. I was in New York on a business trip when my wife texted and told me to check the news back home. The thing that struck me in all the reports was the prominent underscoring of Paul’s appearance – 6-foot-6, and wearing shorts and a red winter jacket in the dreary cold of the New England winter.

Anyone who ever met Paul knew that wearing shorts in the dead of winter was his thing. I never asked Paul why he did it, because as a guy who wore shorts well into November and slapped them on after the first thaw, I got it. And it was shorts and not our mutual employment at Lotus/IBM that brought us together. I was playing Ultimate Frisbee at Danehy Park, where Paul was on his usual evening walk, and he paused to take in our game. He approached to ask about the rules and I said, “Hey, you’re the only guy in the office who wears shorts more than me.” We learned that we lived close by and, when IBM shipped us both 30 miles west to Littleton, sometimes commuted together. I’m a talker, and so was Paul – we talked some politics, and at the time of our commutes we were both going through the loss of our parents. He also loved good food and off-the-beaten path establishments that stood the test of time. The Out of the Blue restaurant in Davis Square was a favorite of his, and we often had a post-commute snack at the under-the-radar Italian eatery Gran Gusto, across from his apartment, or a beer at Paddy’s Lunch just up the street. 

Paul Wilson in a Danvers High School yearbook.

In reaching out to other people for this piece, including Carla Bekeritis and Cindy Amor, who went to Danvers High with Paul, the unanimous sentiment was that he was a deeply loved and valued member of the community. Paul attended the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and studied music, but like many from that era with creative leanings and sharp minds, he found his way into software and worked for IBM for nearly 30 years.

I last saw Paul three days before the new year on Massachusetts Avenue outside Changsho restaurant – it was 20-something degrees out, but he was wearing shorts and telling me proudly that he was now a card-carrying member of the Blue Bikes share; IBM had landed him back in Cambridge for work, and that was his new means of commuting. We made a pledge to get together soon. Soon would obviously not be soon enough.

Paul was a big guy, with an even bigger heart. Justice and closure on the mystery of his death can’t come soon enough. Still, though the nature of the crime may be what seizes headlines, in time that will fade and his memory will carry on in the hearts of those he touched. 

A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Paul’s memory to Doctors Without Borders.

A community meeting about the homicide investigation and safety concerns is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Peabody School, 70 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge. Representatives of the City Manager’s Office, Cambridge Police Department, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office will be on hand for questions.