No Gein II: A Second Helping Chapter Thirteen

Posted: October 25, 2021 in No Gein II: A Second Helping, No Gein Stories
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No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Thirteen: Bloody Reunions

Pine Grove Wisconsin 1954

“Keep your chin up kid.” Mary wasn’t the crying type, but tears welled up in her eyes as she wrote these words before stuffing the paper in a white envelope. Upon sealing it, she placed the envelope in a small bag filled with what was left of the family jewels then hid it under the floor boards in her bedroom. Placing the floorboards back in their proper place, she remembered the last time she hid something in a spot like this. Saved her husband from a lot of trouble when cops raided. Looking back on it, maybe she would have been better off if the cops caught her crazy ex. Who knows, maybe Marilyn was better never getting anything from her at all. What she did know was that in that moment she needed to get out of the house. 

Stepping outside into the Wisconsin plains, she marveled at how It was so open out here, it was like you could see off into forever. This definitely was Kodak country. Someone could be watching her from miles away and she would never even know. She didn’t like to think about that as she drove to her establishment which she’d opened with the money she grabbed from her crazy ex. Figured for all the insanity she’d endured, she should get something for her troubles. 

Plainfield Wisconsin, 2003

Milton wasn’t about to find any literary magazines at the hardware store, but his mother was happy as she browsed the wrestling magazines. Milton couldn’t quite understand his parents’ love of this glorified carnival show, “It’s Shakespeare for the masses!” his mother once explained to him. 

As Milton’s mother flipped through one of the grappling magazines she came across a special report from Japan. There was a large photograph of a wrestler standing in the middle of the ring holding a chainsaw. Clarice walked by and grew excited upon seeing the picture. “Wow.” she exclaimed. “That looks like you Uncle Milton!” 

Milton didn’t care either way for the picture, but Clarice’s grandmother complained “That bastard stole your uncle’s bit! We should sue!” She said jestingly. 

“I don’t understand why you still like that stuff.” Milton complained. 

“Well,” his mother answered, “they say wrestling is in your blood. I don’t know about that, but I once had a wrestler in my belly!” she cackled.

“May I help you?” Milton and his family turned around to see a very elderly woman standing before them.

“Do you work here?” Milton said, not hiding the surprise in his voice. This woman looked even older than his own parents.

“Oh heavens no, I’m long retired.” The woman answered. “But I owned this store a long time ago. I still like to visit sometimes.” The woman introduced herself as Bernice, spying the magazine, she added. “Oh, are you a wrestling fan?”

“All my life!” Milton’s mother said. Then, pinching her son’s cheek as if he were a newborn, she said “When this one was just a little baby we used to watch Gorgeous George on the television set.”

“I remember him, he was such a scoundrel!” Bernice recalled. Her wrinkled cheeks then blushed as she added “I was a fan of Lou Thez. That man was a tall glass of water!” Then she revealed with a giggle. “Used to make my husband so jealous!” The ladies shared a laugh before Berncie said “Well if there’s anything I can help you with just let me know.”

“Actually, we’re in the market for a new chainsaw.” Milton said.

“No problem, right this way.” Bernice immediately led them to the section that held chainsaws. She detailed what they had in stock as if she were still an employee. Milton gazed at the selection, and there, hanging up high on the shelf, was the one for him. It was a ferocious looking farm and ranch saw like the one he had in his heyday. “That’s our newest model.” Berncie said as she watched Milton eye the particular saw like a kid in a candy store. “The 74 Hooper. Runs 20% longer than other saws before refueling, has a built in shock absorber, throttle trigger, and a pre-separation air filtration system. A few of the rancher’s around here picked this one up and I haven’t heard any complaints!”

“Imagine the damage you can do with this Uncle Milton.” Clarice said in awe.

Milton reached his hands up to the saw and firmly gripped its handle. It felt very comfortable in his hands. It had been so long since he’d held a saw blade, he was like Arthur withdrawing the mythical sword from the stone, proving by that act alone that he was the rightful King. Staring at the blade as if it were an extension of his own body, he only said one thing. “I’ll take it.”

Kristina sat alone in the police station waiting room. She wasn’t sure what to expect. Since the local news broke a lot of reporters and curiosity seekers were descending on this small little town. It hadn’t occurred to her that con artists and attention seekers might come out here to tell a similar story to what she had. She hadn’t come out here for attention, she just wanted the truth.

“Kristina.” The secretary said. “He will see you now. 

She walked back to the officers office where she found the Officer who’d previously introduced himself as Jonathan sitting at his desk and on the telepone. “OK see you soon Henry.” she heard him say before he hung up. Seeing her, he stood up and gave back her driver’s license and the stack of papers back that belonged to Kristina’s mother. “Here you go ma’am.” the officer politely said. “Please understand, there’s been all kinds of weirdos coming out here since the story broke, but your story checks out.”

“So do you have information about my grandmother?” She asked. 

“Ok, here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna give you directions to this address.” Jonathan said in a low voice as he handed her another slip of paper. It’s my friend Fred’s home. I want you to go there in about a half hour. He’ll be expecting you. Myself and some others will be there shortly. There won’t be any prying eyes there, so once we get settled in, I’ll give you some information.”

Kristina wasn’t expecting Tom Clancy Cloak and Dagger business coming out here, but given how many people she saw snooping around she could understand why. The directions brought her to the old house on the outskirts of Plainfield, where she was greeted by an elderly gentleman named Fred, Jonathan’s father. He invited her in, where she met another older man, along with a couple who looked around her age.

Fred introduced Kristina to the three then said “This is Henry and Helen Kohler, and this is Helen’s husband Chuck.” 

These three looked familiar, but Kristina couldn’t place it. “Have I seen you before?” she asked. 

“No, I don’t believe we’ve met.” Helen said.  

Kristina was certain though. “No, I’m sure I’ve seen you before. Were you on TV?”

“Helen’s brother is George Kohler,” Helen explained, the film director. 

“Oh wow!” Kristina now remembered seeing them on the entertainment news, but then, understanding the implication of what she just heard, she grew a little worried. “Um, are you going to make a movie here?”

“Hey Dad.” Jonathan said as he walked in and greeted Fred. After greeting the rest of the group he said “To answer your question Kristina, no, they won’t be making a movie. Actually they’re here for a similar reason you are. You might want to sit down.”

Once everyone took a seat in the living room the Sheriff cautioned. “Now what you hear in this room stays here OK? I’m doing my damndest to keep a lid on this thing so this whole town doesn’t turn into a carnival. Understand me?”

“Sure.” Kristina said. She had no desire for publicity, she just wanted to know what happened.

“That pit where they found those bodies” the officer explained,  “about a quarter of a mile away there used to be an old farmhouse. About 50 years back there was a man there by the name of Ed Gein. Ma’am, I’m afraid your grandmother’s body was on his property.”

“OK.” Kristina tried to calmly process this fact. “How do you know this?”

“I had a sister.” Henry began to explain. “Her name was Sally. Long story, but one night she accidentally ran into him. Almost got killed herself.” Pointing to Fred, Henry went on, “Short version of the story is she got a hold of Fred. He went to the house along with a policeman. They weren’t sure what was happening, but they’d found Ed, and.. God.” Henry shook his head as he remembered that horrible night when he learned the truth about his sister.

Fred took it upon himself to finish Henry’s sentence. “It turned out Ed had been grave robbing for years, and he’d kept the bodies in his house.”

“Oh my god!” Kristina explained. “So this man robbed my grandmother’s grave!” 

“No, actually we think he murdered her.” The officer said. “She lived in a town called Pine Grove just down the road. Her old house is still standing actually. Anyway, she had a little tavern which Ed was known to frequent. One day she came up missing, and in her tavern a pool of blood and a bullet cartridge were found on the floor. There were always rumors that she was out here hiding from the mob, so at the time people figured her past had caught up with her. But that night, my dad found your grandmother’s, uh, body.” He did not wish to tell her the awful details of how his father found Mary’s face peeled off and stored in a plastic bag. He could see his father shiver and knew he was reliving that moment. He went on. “We know Ed owned a gun that would have matched that cartridge, and rumors were he joked about having Mary at his house. Dad figured he killed her. I’m really sorry ma’am.”

As much as it was a shock, at the same time it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. The truth was god-awful, but at least she knew what that truth was, and at least she could tell her mother before she passed. “You said she had a house nearby?”  She asked.

“Yes that’s correct ma’am.” The officer said.

“I’d like to see it.”

“You’re perfectly free to do that on your own time.” The Jonathan said. “Anywhere I go now is going to draw attention, but you are free to do that if you want.”

“We’ll go with you.” Henry said.

Kristina was grateful for these people willing to accompany her. The officer gave her the address. She would see this home where her grandmother walked, hopefully this would provide some closure, and then she could tell her mother what she’d learned.

Pine Grove Wisconsin 1954.

Cleaning off the bar, she couldn’t get the thought out of her mind. Maybe Marilyn was better off without her. No, no she needs to see her. Maybe she should leave right now and go see her, but what if she got caught. Her mind bounced back and forth between the possibilities. Luckily happy hour was about to start. The locals came pouring in and the usual conversations kept her mind off her troubles.

Hours later she announced last call. Soon the usual hangers on staggered away, her little establishment was doing well for itself. But as the patrons left, Mary’s troubles rushed back into her mind like the tide of an ocean that never reached this land. The bell rang as the door opened again. “Shit” she thought, “who was coming this late?” Then she heard the footsteps, quiet little footsteps that sounded like they belonged to a small man.

“Hi Mary. You OK? You look upset?” The late patron observed.

“Oh, I just got something in my eye. No trouble.” It was old Eddie Gein. “What are you doing out so late? If you’re hunting rabbits you won’t find any here.”

“Oh I know, I was just having trouble sleeping.” Eddie’s hands fluttered and his eyes darted around the room as he spoke. “Is it ok if I have a drink?”

“Well I’m closing soon, but I’ll give you just one OK?” She then turned her back to him as she poured a short beer. Eddie always seemed like a harmless fellow, if not a little odd. She heard about how he often helps out around town, sometimes plays with the local kids. She also heard about his crazy mom. What she never heard was the gunshot. She didn’t hear her own body hit the floor either, as she was already gone.

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