Archive for the ‘No Gein Stories’ Category

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.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Twelve. Campfire Stories

The victim’s carcass hung from a spit over the fire as the family camped out in a secluded area of forest just off the highway. Milton was grateful his mother packed bread in their cooler. He made himself a nice little sandwich. “Oh my god, this is the best meal I’ve had in years!” he said, taking a bite of the freshly cooked flesh packed between the two wheat slices. Looking at his niece he said through a mouth full of food, “I’m telling you, don’t you ever go to prison. The food there is awful!

“Don’t worry Uncle Milton,” Clarice giggled while using her fingers to eay a piece of  meat off a paper plate, “they’ll never take me alive!”

“They better not. By the time you’d get out I’d be dead.” Clarice’s grandmother cackled.

“You’ll be dead a lot sooner if you don’t stop using so much salt!” Clarice’s grandfather said as he ate his freshly made stew.

“I’ve been making it that way since before I met you and don’t you forget it.” She barked back.

“Wait,” Clarice said, “I thought the family recipe was from Grandpa’s side?”

Pointing to the old metal pot in which chunks of flesh floated from their latest victims, Clarice’s grandmother explained, “The meat stew is from his side.” Then holding up her own sandwich she said “I’ve been eating this since the great depression.” Watching the flames dance around the remains of their victims she recalled “Daddy went and died, and mom and I could barely survive on the farm in Oklahoma. I remember being so hungry I cried. Must have drove my poor mother mad.” Her voice shook from the sting of that pain she still felt decades later. “We had a loaf of bread, but not even a lousy vegetable to put between two slices. One night a straggler came by, tried to take advantage of my mom. She killed the bastard dead.” Grandmother had the full attention of her audience as she finished her tale. “We were starving, and next thing you know,” she held up her sandwich triumphantly. “Bon appetite!” 

“Wow.” Clarice marveled at the story. “So did you introduce the appetite to grandpa””

“No, I already had it.” Grandpa answered his spouse’s question. “In fact, when we first met, I kept it a secret!”

“So how did you find out?” Clarice asked.

“Well actually he caught me!.” Grandmother laughed. “I kept the appetite to myself when we’d first met. One day he was away on business, and I was at home starving. We had plenty of food mind you, but the appetite was overpowering. I went and out and got somebody tasty, but loe and behold he came home early, I thought I might have to kill him!”

“I almost killed you when I saw how much salt you were using!” Grandfather reminisced.

Looking at his niece, Milton laughed, “They’ve been fighting about that all my life.”

“Aww,” Clarice fawned, “So the appetite kept you together. That’s so sweet.” 

“Yeah, my first wife couldn’t take the heat,” Grandfather recalled. “So she got out of the kitchen so to speak haha.”

“Wait” Clarice was shocked. “You had another wife?”

“Yeah, her name was Mary, tough old broad, just like your grandmother, but she didn’t like our family’s peculiar, uh appetite, as we say.” Grandpa explained before eating another mouthful of his stew. 

“What happened to her? Clarice asked.

“Actually, this is why we’re heading out west.” Grandfather revealed. “I had this old set of jewelry, it was my mothers. Bunch of diamonds and shit. That bitch took it all along with some cash and took off. Never saw Mary again.”

“Wait,” Clarice asked, “so did you just find her?” 

“Well someone did!” Grandfather laughed. “You see the news about those bodies that turned up in the plain states?

“No really?” Clarice wasn’t one to keep up with the news.

“Too busy on that internet shit!” Grandmother complained.

“Hey,” Clarice protested, “rotten.com is an awesome site! I’m telling you you love it.”

“Look I don’t give a dam about gotten.com or whatever the fuck your talking about!” Grandfather said, agitated. “Those jewels belonged to my mother, and I always wanted to kill that bitch for running off with them. Well it turned out some Psycho beat me to it like 50 years ago. Apparently she had a home out in Wisconsin.”

“And you think you’re going to find these jewels 50 years later?” Clarice wondered out loud.” She probably pawned them off.”

“Maybe, but I just gotta know. Mary always hid shit in the space under the floor boards some old houses had.” Grandfather laughed as he recalled. “Actually, Mary saved my ass one time during a police raid. If her old house is still standing I bet that at least some of that shit is still in there.

“And if there’s any people in that house?” Clarice asked out loud, knowing full well what the answer was.

Grandmother ate the last bit of her sandwich before answering. “Well we’ll get hungry again I’m sure!”

Then Clarice wondered, “So how did you get the appetite Grandpa?”

“It was the war.” Grandpa remembered. “ We were on a fishing boat off the coast of Iceland. One night a German Uboat took us out. Our boat was partially afloat, and myself and a few other soldiers clung to the wreckage.” Taking a sniff of the night air he could recall that peculiar scent from so long ago. “I remember the scent of the ocean mixed with that distinct smell. It was the smell of cooked meat. A few bodies floated by, I remember one in particular. Part of it was blown off, and the heat from the explosion burnt some of the flesh. We could all smell the meat. I bet we were all thinking it, but I was the first one to say it out loud. Of course, the other survivors thought I was mad.

Grandfather finished off his meal as he came to the conclusion of his story. “As the night passed, one by one the other survivors faded one by one. By the time the sun came up the next morning, I was the only one left, all the others sank into the sea. I could feel something, something in my whole body. I can’t describe it, almost like I could feel my soul about to leave. As the sun was coming up, I saw a vision on the surface of the water. I could see my parents. They were at their old home in the highlands, sitting on the porch waiting for me. I knew what was about to happen, but I didn’t want to go. One of the bodies floated past me, big burly guy, his frame could have filled up a whole doorway. Part of his arm was blown off from the night’s explosion, parts of his flesh looked like they were partially cooked. I looked down at the flesh. I bit in, and I stayed alive.”

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Eleven: Road Trip From Hell

Milton missed driving. When they first embarked on their journey his parents insisted on taking the wheel, as Milton couldn’t even remember the last time he drove. His folks were getting up there in age though, and he could tell they were getting tired; so after some persuading, at long last he had his own foot on the gas.

  After living in a box for so long he was now On the Road with the whole country open before him. He felt like Jack Keroauc and Neal Cassady, zig zagging around the country with no end in sight. Milton especially appreciated this part of the country. New Jersey was so cramped and crowded, but once they got past Chicago, they entered that part of the nation where you could see for miles. Far off in the distance, the sun was slowly setting, it was so far away, Milton pondered how he was probably watching the sun set in the next time zone.

The blare of the semi-truck’s horn awakened Milton from his daze. He had unknowingly drifted ever so slightly into the next lane. “Watch the road moron!” His father shouted as Milton yanked the van back.

“Watch your speed too.” His mother nagged. 

“I’m not speeding!” Milton insisted as he glanced at the speedometer.

“I know but we’re coming up on the spot.”

Milton had forgotten, but his memory jogged once he saw the road sign his mother told him to look for. Hitchhikers were common out here. Dangerous thing that is, especially for a young girl, and there she stood. Her golden locks bounced in the setting sun as her thumb pointed in the air. Her midriff was bare sexy like Shania Twain, and she was decked out in cut off jean shorts and cowboy boots. To top it all off was her sign. On it was a pair of thick red lips with a tongue sensually slithering out, a drop of saliva falling from the tip. Above it read “Head for Food.”

As soon as Milton saw this his foot pounded the breaks. The van door swiftly slid open as the woman stood there grinning. “Young girl like you shouldn’t be out here hitchhiking,” Milton heard his mother say, “could be dangerous you know.” 

“Dangerous for who?” The woman shot back. 

“Get in here.”  Milton’s mother took the young girl by the arm and pulled her into the van.

Her arms wrapped around the elderly woman “Grandma!” 

Milton’s father turned around from the passenger seat and patted her on the head saying. “Good to see you Clarice.”

Confused for a moment, Clarice asked “Wait, then who’s driving?”

Milton gave a polite little wave as he pulled back onto the road. Clarice beamed like a child on Christmas morning as she saw the scarred face in the driver’s mirror. “Oh my god, Uncle Milton!” From behind she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him on his scarred cheek. “They finally let you out!”

Milton patted her niece’s hand as he continued driving. “That’s right baby, I’m finally out.” Looking at her reflection in the rear view, a flood of memories came rushing back to him. Taking a deep breath, before setting his eyes back on the road he said “You look just like your father.”

“Awww.” Tears welled up in Clarice’s eyes as she again kissed her Uncle on the cheek. “That’s so sweet.”

“Just keep your eyes on the road!” His mother interjected.”

Darkness was falling over the plain states as the white can continued down the road. In this part of the country there were almost no other cars around. Only a few lights here and there lit the road, their surroundings otherwise  covered by forest. Far ahead Milton noticed a pair of yellow lights blinking. Driving further forward, everyone in the van could see a car sitting on the side of the road. An older man was inspecting a flat tire, and it looked like two other people were inside the car. Milton’s blood rushed through his body, his breathing grew heavy and sweat began to form on his forward as the possibilities illuminated his mind in this darkness. Milton only had one question. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Whose hungry?” his mother cackled. It was a rhetorical question. 

The van pulled up to the parked car, and the door slid open. “Need some help?” Milton asked as he shined his Mac flightlight on the man inspecting his tire. 

“I could sure use your light if you don’t mind.” The man said. “I can change the tire, but I could hardly see out here.”

“At least someone knows how to change the tire.” A woman, Milton presumed to be the man’s wife, said while puffing a cigarette. She stood on the other end of the car and nodded her head towards her vehicle. A faint light glowed from inside, and for just a moment, a pimply faced teenager turned his eyes away from the screen of his Game Boy Advance. Looking out the window with a dazed look on his face, he asked “What happened?”

Milton’s hands trembled ever so slightly as he held the torch like Mag light in his hand. Here were two people right before him. He knew the dangers of tied being greedy, someone else could have the punk in the car, but once he took out the parents, he would have tied Michael’s record. As the flat tire was finally released, Milton saw Clarice creeping toward the car. He was a little nervous for her, but proud of her too, this would be the first time he saw some action with her. He laughed as she got the dork’s attention. His mouth fell agape as she pulled up her shirt, teasing a flash of her tits. Her hand let go of her shirt before the full reveal as she then made a motion mimicking fellatio before nodding her head towards the woods. The Game Boy instantly fell to the floor as the car door quickly opened and the boy almost fell out of the car.

“Where are you going?” His mom asked, not noticing the girl who already pranced off into the nearby woods.

“Uh, I’m just going to stretch my legs.” He nervously said before bolting off into the woods.

“Ok, well don’t go too far.”

Milton was so proud of her. He could tell already this wasn’t her first rodeo. With that dork out of the way, he raised the flashlight higher in the air. Just as he was about to bring it crashing down he spotted father who had gotten out of the van. He motioned with his hands indicating he wanted Milton to wait.

The few minutes it took for the spare tire to get on the vehicle felt like an eternity, but finally it was done. “Thanks for your help.” the man said. Milton only nodded in affirmation. It was then he heard the whistling. In the moonlight they could all see the female form of Clarice skipping towards the two vehicles whistling along the way, not another soul in sight. She was carrying something in his hands.

“Where’s Troy?” The mother asked, stomping out her cigarette.

Upon hearing that Clarice shouted “Heads up!” before swinging her arm into the air. The object released, and spun like a basketball as it flew through the sky. It was a perfect shot, crashing into the windshield cracking the glass. Both parents screamed as they saw the decapitated head of their son smashed into the car windshield.

Their screams were mixed with howls of laughter from Milton and his family. “That’s my niece.” Milton thought to himself. Beaming with pride he forgot anyone else was even around him. Only the screams of his father snapped him out of it. ‘Oh yeah,” Milton thought to himself as he grabbed the father from behind. Milton allowed him to struggle a bit, let him think he had a fighting chance as he released one of his arms to grab his small blade. His body felt that incredible rush of adrenaline as he held the blade up in the evening air. Once he couldn’t withhold his urges any longer, Milton plunged the blade into the man’s throat, letting the blood wash over his hands in the warm night. Now he was tied with Michael.

He looked at the newly made widow lustfully as her breasts heaved with her deep breaths of terror. “One more”, he thought to himself, “and I beat the record.” Clarice’s laughing was only matched by the screaming mother who ran down the road. Milton immediately followed in pursuit. He didn’t chance throwing the blade. He hadn’t thrown in so long, and if he missed then his blade easily would be lost in the dark. He made a point to exercise while in prison, hitting the weights and walking the track, but he hadn’t run like this . His chest heaved heavily as his thick legs pounded the macadam trying to catch up to his prey. She wouldn’t get away. She couldn’t get away. He had to get her, he had to tie the record. Thoughts of murderous glory propelled him faster down the deserted highway, allowing him to close the distance between him and his victim. She was so close he could taste her fear. Now he would have her, now the record would be his. 

There was a popping sound just before blood squirted from her head. The next sound was her body hitting the ground, and then there was that distinct smell, a smell he hadn’t experienced behind bars. He turned back to see Clarice standing in the moonlight, a whiff of smoke rising through the air from her pistol.

“Dammit Clarice, I almost had her!” Milton protested.

“Bullshit, your old ass wasn’t getting anything!”

“Well since when do we use guns anyway?”

“Come on Milton, it’s not the 70’s anymore. We gotta keep up with the times! “

To Milton, this was blasphemy. “Keeping up with the times isn’t our modus operandi!” He complained.

Holding up the pistol, Clarice explained, “Well this is mine. I’ll have you know this gun was a gift given to me when I was but 13 years old. The motherfuckers who had it before me were the ones who killed my daddy!”

Milton was struck dumb by this truth. He couldn’t possibly respond. He stood still for a moment as he remembered his brother, this wonderful girl’s father. As he reflected, he became bathed in the glow from the headlights of the family van, through which he could see Clarice walking away from him. He also saw his mother poking her  head out the window shouting, “Will you two stop fighting and get these bodies off the road! I’m starving!”

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Ten: On Set

“Cut!”

At that command the cameras stopped rolling while Dan, George’s old friend from film school, removed his Norma Bates wig. Looking down at his “victim” Dan teased, “Anyone ever tell you you scream like a girl?” 

Relishing being covered in fake blood, the director of Psycho II popped back up to his feet and replied “Anyone ever tell you you dress like one?”  

Flipping through the pictures on the dresser. Dan teased his friend saying, “Dude, your sister’s hot!” knowing the woman in the prop photo wasn’t really Helen, but a random model they’d cast. 

“I know right?” George agreed. “Even she were my sister, I’d still wanna fuck her!”

“You sick fuck!” Dan laughed at the director’s morbid humor as they walked out of the room.

An assistant provided George a towel as he entered the house’s working bathroom. George thanked the assistant before cleaning off the fake blood. As water splashed his face he asked his long time friend, “Haven’t had a chance to chat with you lately. How is Vicki?”

“She’s great!” Dan wasn’t sure if he wanted to share the news yet or not, but since George asked he figured he might as well. “Actually, I wasn’t sure when I should bring it up now, but, well we’re expecting.”

George’s face lit up like a child’s. “Wait, you two are gonna have a baby?”

“Yeah.” Dan said with a nervous smile.

“Shit that’s awesome! Congrats man!” Dan received a high five from his friend who continued, “We gotta go out and celebrate!”

“Uh, Mr. Kohler?” George’s assistant returned.

“What’s up?”

“That news reporter is on set.”

“Ah shit!” George exclaimed. “ Hey man, I gotta step out a minute, but we’ll talk about this later. Proud of you man, awesome news!”

“Thanks.” Dan said. As George walked away, Dan thought to himself that he was proud of his friend as well. Even back in film school, Dan knew George had the talent to really make it in this business. More importantly to Dan, he was also proud that his friend scaled back that grating ego everyone remembered back in college. Hollywood success seemed to have had the opposite effect on George. Actually, as Dan thought about it, George actually seemed to have a change in attitude pre-fame. 

A few years back he ran into him at a horror convention, where he seemed to be the same self centered nerd, but maybe a year later George called him out of the blue. Dan was surprised to hear from him, but as they talked on the phone, George asked how he and Vicki were doing, and they had a good hour long conversation. When Dan hung up the phone he told his then fiancé Vicki that George seemed really different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. “What was it?” She asked.

It took a minute for it to finally register with Dan before he answered. “He actually asked how you and I were doing.” 

“So?” 

“He never does that. Back in school whenever he’d call me it was either to brag or complain about something.”

As time went on George and Dan rekindled their friendship, and, while Dan never pressed the issue, he got the feeling something happened to George. He didn’t know what it was, but George very suddenly appeared to be humble. In fact, sometimes it seemed like something really rattled him. George never divulged what it might have been, and Dan never asked.

Outside the Psycho House, George grabbed a special item he saved for moments like this. He didn’t like interruptions while he was working, and he didn’t know how this nosy reporter got on set, but he was tired of her mess. There she stood with her cameraman anxiously awaiting him.

“Mr. Kohler, did you believe the stories of your Aunt Sally to be true?” George furiously pumped the shotgun like device he carried in his arms. Showing no fear she continued “Do you have any comment on the mass grave found near Plainfield Wisconsin, near what was believed to be the property of a Mr. Geaaahhh!!!!”

Vanita gagged on the blast of water that hit her in the face from George’s high powered water gun. “Eat it bitch!” he yelled as she fell to one knee. He then aimed the stream of water directly at the camera.

The camera man backed away as he protested “Shit, you got my camera!” 

“You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” Vanita protested as her and her camera man stormed off as George and others on the crew howled in laughter.

Among the crew laughing was his friend Dan, who came outside knowing shenanigans were about to take place. As he came outside he passed on a message he’d just heard from George’s assistant.

“Hey, your dad wants to see you?”

“Ok, but I have to prep the next scene.”

“He says it’s urgent.” Dan added. “Something about back home.”

Turning to his friend, George said “Well the next scene is mostly set up, think you could take over for a minute?”

“Sure!” Dan said. And just like that, Dan would be directing his first scene.

Walking towards the private trailer Enterprise Pictures provided for George’s family, he saw his father pacing outside. Eyeing some of the fake blood that still remained on George’s clothing, he asked “What happened to you?” 

“I just died on screen.” 

“What are you trying to be like Hitchcock, appearing in all your movies?” 

“Look at you taking a shot!” George said laughing.

From a distance Henry saw that reporter and her cameraman leaving the set. “Eying her legs as she ran off Henry said “That’s that bitch that was just on TV. I would have liked to have a shot at her.”

“Don’t let Franki hear you say that.” George smirked. Then he realized what his father just said. “Wait, you just saw her on TV?”

“Yeah,” Henry said. “Son, we gotta talk.”

Henry revealed to his son how the now wet reporter dug up information on their family, and how a mass grave had been dug up in Plainfield Wisconsin, near the former property of one Ed Gein, a name neither of them wanted to hear again.

“I can’t show my face there.” George said after thinking about it for a while. “I’ll draw too much attention.”

“Since when did you not want to draw attention?” His sister Helen playfully jabbed him and they all chuckled.

“I was thinking,” Henry explained, “maybe Franki and I will go. We could stay at my property out there and scope things out for a day or two.” Since George made it in Hollywood, he bought his dad a house where he was born in Amherst. The last few years he’d gone back and forth from there and his other home in Bethlehem PA and reconnected with the few distant relatives he had left.

“We’ll go out with you too.” Helen said 

“Yeah sounds like a good idea.” her husband Chuck added.

“You’ll like Fred.” Henry said to his son in law, referring to a fellow Wisconsinite he’d formed a friendship with a few years back.

And with that it was decided. The Kohler family, save George, was going back to their homeland, back to a place where a long buried horror awaited.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

 Chapter Nine: Counterfeit Sympathy

After a post lunch meditation Franki remained in a lotus position as she sipped her herbal tea. While she had no care for the glitz and glam of Hollywood, California was growing on her, with its various locals for spiritual retreats and yoga sessions.

A now familiar cracking sound of air rushing out of an aluminum can pierced Franki’s ears. Her husband Henry walked back from the fridge with a cold one in his hands. It wasn’t her beverage of choice, but she loved her husband just the way he was.

“So you don’t want any tea?” Franki asked rhetorically.

She blushed as he answered. “I think the universe wants me to have a beer.” 

Chuck, who also joined their meditation exercise along with his wife Helen, laughed at his father in law’s joke. “I wish I’d thought of that.” he jested as he sipped on his own tea that he didn’t really care for.

“I don’t think Buddah had that in mind when he talked about enlightenment.” Helen said jokingly.

Henry then walked over to the small television that sat in the trailer. “Let’s see what’s on TV.” he said as he turned it on.

Franki never cared much for world affairs, so she went to the extra room she used for a little studio. While her husband and the other’s watched the news about Iraq she continued working on one of her paintings.

Normally she could zone out the television but something caught her ear that brought her back out to the room. Her husband didn’t notice her coming out as he watched the TV intently.

“Now for some breaking news.” The small TV announced. “An employee of the Mendota Mental Health Care Institute in Madison Wisconsin has come forward claiming he treated Sally Kohler, who allegedly encountered a killer in the town of Plainfield Wisconsin in the early 1950’s. Ms. Kohler committed suicide in the insitution in 1975. She was the aunt of controversial film director George Kohler, whose latest film, a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has been heavily criticized over it’s alleged influence from the Jeffrey Dhamer murders of the last decade. This controversy has not hurt it’s box office, as the film has now grossed….”

Franki recognized the female reporter on the TV from their night at Mann’s theater. She didn’t recognize the man whom she was interviewing and her gut told her neither did Henry. “I always believed her,” an older man said into the microphone. “even when no one else did.” Franki watched Henry’s face fill with disgust as the man shed crocodile tears. “Sally was a beautiful young girl, so full of life. One night she was driving through Plainfield and ran out of gas. She went to get help, but what she found was a true house of horrors. When I think about the things she saw there.” He wiped the tears off his face while Vanita looked on with expressed concern, “Oh my god it’s just too horrible, there were bodies everywhere. She encountered a man, well, God he wasn’t really a man, he was more like a monster.” Franki placed her hand on Henry’s shoulder, who seethed at this bastard milking it for all it was worth. “She just barely fought him off and managed to escape the house, but she couldn’t escape that nightmare. No one ever believed her, no one believed her but me.” 

The man sobbed openly as the camera panned to the attractive reporter, her hair still in perfect place, her makeup untouched by this outpouring of emotion. “This is Vanita Williams signing off.”

“That son of a bitch!” Franki was startled as Henry’s beer bottle struck the TV.

“Oh hon don’t let this get to you.” Franki said. “He’s probably just looking for attention.”

“We should sue him.” His brother in law Chuck said. His wife, Henry’s daughter, agreed. 

“Somebody better tell George.” Chuck suggested.

“I’ll tell him.” Henry left the trailer and walked towards the movie set on the Enterprise Pictures lot. “I wonder where Talbot is?” He thought to himself as he didn’t see the security guy at his usual post. No matter. Henry began the long climb up the facade of stone steps toward a solitary house up on a hill. The crew designed it to be a spooky old house, in the style of Second Empire Victorian. That’s where his son was. George always loved scary movies, and despite the horrors his own family faced, he was proud of his son for doing what he loved. Inside that house, Henry knew that George was in heaven. 

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Eight: Blood Ties

Small town Illinois, 1976

“Now let’s approach this cautiously,” William suggested, “let me do the talking.” Marilyn understood her husband’s concern. Rumors went that this family was mixed up with the mob, so when she insisted on coming out here to see if they knew anything, he wouldn’t let her come out alone. After leaving their daughter with William’s mother, they drove across state lines to the end of this trail Marilyn had been following for years. Hopefully, this would be the end of the line.

William knocked on the door. There was no answer as he knocked again. Mariyln grew anxious and called out “Is anybody home?” Her heart sank as it appeared the house was empty. Just as they were about to leave an older man opened the door. He looked like he was in a rush as he breathed heavily while sweat hung from his brow.

“Whatever you got we ain’t interested!” The man said as he looked them over.

“Sir, we’re not selling anything, we just want to talk.” William responded.

“So, you’re one of those religious assholes. You can go straight to hell!” 

William answered “No sir we just..”

Then an old woman’s voice cackled from inside. “Get them outta here we got business to take care of!” 

As the door began to close on them Marilyn just blurted it out. “ We’re here about Mary Hogan!”

The door stopped, then slowly turned back as the old man looked them over for a minute. She noticed the small birthmark around his lip as he said “Well come on in.” 

A distinct smell hung in the air that they couldn’t quite place as they entered the immaculate home. Fine china sat in display cases and Norman Rockwell paintings hung on the wall making this home a diorama of Americana. “You can call me Whitman,” the old man said after William and Marilyn introduced themselves.“Uh, Emily, we got some company!” The old man announced.

“Now’s not a time for company.” The old voice answered. “Besides, I only got so much meat here!”

“It’s OK, we don’t need to eat,” William said politely, “we just….”

“Oh but I insist.” Whitman said as they walked into a living room. “My wife’s making her specialty, secret recipe from her family, kept them alive during the depression!” he explained with a gleam in his eye.

Marilyn then smiled as she heard the cooing of an infant. Before them on the couch, sat a young well dressed man with a baby. “Oh what a cute baby!” Marilyn observed. “Is that yours?”

“Yes, this is my baby Clarice.” The man said. “You can call me Frost. Come on, sit down and have a look.” As she sat down Frost held the baby up and asked “Would you like to hold her?” 

Marilyn reached her arms out. As she embraced the infant, she remembered when her own little girl was just a baby. Her and William had talked about having another one, but he wasn’t so sure. She could tell by the look on her husband’s face that he also wasn’t sure about this situation. Something wasn’t quite right, and she didn’t like whatever that smell was from the kitchen. Still standing, William asked “Uh, may I use your restroom.”

“Oh it’s down this hallway,” Frost said as he stood up. “I’ll show you.”

Frost and William walked away while Marilyn played with the baby. She was always good with kids, but this baby got irritable as soon as she held it. Marilyn presumed the infant wasn’t used to strangers yet as she glanced around the room. From the bookshelf it looked like the family was well read. She spied books by Shakespeare, Chaucer, and all manner of authors. It appeared this baby would grow up in a cultured home.

Cultured or not, babies still spit up sometimes. Marilyn thought nothing of it as Emily emerged from the kitchen with a few napkins and put the baby in her nearby high chair.

As Marilyn wiped herself off, Whitman asked,“So where is old Bloody Mary now?”

Marilyn never heard that nickname before, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to know how Mary got it. “Well actually I was hoping you could…”

Her answer was interrupted by the sound of a struggle. Frost and a much larger man each had an arm of her husband as they drug him into the living room.

“I knew you were a snitch!” Frost shouted.

“I told you not to let those assholes in! ” Emily said in an ‘I told you so’ manner as she held up her meat cleaver. Gesturing to the couch she ordered “Sit that sack a shit down here. Looks like we’ll have some more meat after all!” She said with a wicked smile.

“And look what Milton found!” Frost held up William’s pistol as they shoved the man onto the couch next to his wife.

“Frost’s intuition is never wrong.” Milton observed. “So, who sent the two of you?” 

Whitman grabbed Marilyn by the hair shouting “Never mind that! Where is that Mary bitch! What did she do with the family jewels?”

Marilyn burst into tears pleading “I don’t know anything about it. Please just let us go.”

“Go down to the basement and bring the meat up.” Whitman ordered his two sons as Emily held the meat cleaver to William’s throat. “Show them what happened to the last one that tried messing with our family.”

As Marilyn recounted the story to her now adult daughter, she remembered those heavy footsteps descending down to the basement, then those same footsteps ascending back up.”I think your father and I knew what was coming, but when they wheeled it in and your father saw it, he just screamed like I never heard a person scream before. I don’t even remember screaming myself.” she said with a sob, “I think he screamed for the both of us.”


“What was it?” Kristina asked.

Mariyln was now crying in the present as she remembered her tears from so far back in her past. “I’m sorry, it was just, it was so long ago, that poor man, his head was bashed in.” She went on to explain. “His face was completely gone and part of his jaw was still dangling on, I could see his teeth as they hung upside down facing us.”

“This little bastard tried to swindle us!” Marilyn remembered Frost screaming. “Our family was trying to get into legitimate business.” He then pointed to Milton and his handsome face continuing, “My brother here is gonna be a movie star someday, so we thought we’d investe our hard earned money into one of those horror shows, but this crooked Hollywood son of a bitch cheated us! You probably came to check on him didn’t you!”

“No, no, please just let us go!” Marilyn cried desperately. “We don’t know anything about this, we’ll never tell anyone we promise!” 

Whitman had now walked out of the room while the sons loomed over her. Whitman’s voice taunted “Oh, we know you won’t talk.” Grandpa returned with a bloody sledgehammer, bits of bone and flesh were still dripping off it. “I’ll see to that!”

“Wait, you said I get the next one!” Milton whined.

“I get the next one!” Frost argued back to his brother. As a morbid sibling argument began, baby Clarice started crying. Her father picked her up out of her highchair, which seemingly ended the argument as Milton left the room.

“What were they going to do?” Kristina asked. 

“I couldn’t imagine,” her mother answered, “but I would find out soon enough.”

The house filled with the roar of a motor. Smoke floated into the room as Milton emerged with a chainsaw. Marilyn screamed and the baby giggled while Whitman again grabbed her by the hair, “I’m gonna give you one more chance you fucking bitch!, Where are those god damned diamonds!?!”

“I don’t know!” Marilyn wailed. 

“Talk bitch!” Whitman yelled uncontrollably as the young couple froze with fear. As the sawblade inched closer and closer, only one horrifying thought hovered in her mind.

“Oh my god, is that what you did to my mom?”

Instantly Marilyn felt the grip in her hair lessen, and a different expression laid out on Whitman’s face, as if all the violence wiped away from his eyes. His old calloused fingers brushed her cheek, and for a moment, he looked like a different person. His face turned back to anger when Marilyn, sensing her chance, rose towards him. She pushed the sledgehammer back, which by a stroke of luck struck the running chainsaw. Sparks of metal flew before the saw bounced back, the tip of which struck Milton in the face. The would-be chainsaw murderer squealed in pain as William bit into Emily’s arm and pushed the old woman down. 

“RUN” Marilyn shouted as they bolted out the door towards their car. Whitman followed in pursuit, but he wasn’t fast enough to catch up to them. Now outside, Frost grabbed the sledgehammer off of his father and drew it back, about to throw it like a javelin of death. 

“No, wait!” Whitman said, yanking his son’s arm back which interfered with his throw. The sledgehammer still made it into the air, but its aim was off. The steel hammer grazed Mariyln’s hip as she cried out in shock and pain, causing her to fall into the driver’s seat as the door closed behind her. William rapidly turned the car’ s ignition, and a cloud of dust soon lay between them and the madhouse of death.

“What the hell was that!” Mariyln thought out loud William sped down the freeway.

There was no time to process their horrific experience as the sound of metal on metal shrieked in the air. Sparks flew from the car as a chainsaw struck the roof. Marilyn looked in horror to see Frost driving a pickup truck next to him. Milton was in the truck’s cab, blood splattered over his face as he swung his chainsaw.

Even more horrifying was the sight of Frost drawing a pistol. “Haha you fucking bitch” she heard him laugh as she ducked instinctively.

“He’s got your gun!” Marilyn cried out. In the chaos she didn’t even hear the shot fire, but she saw the blood squirt from her husband’s neck as his body slumped over, causing their station wagon to crash into the barricade. The pickup sped ahead before she heard the squealing of its breaks. Her hip throbbed horrible dull pain as she crawled over on the lap of her husband’s still warm corpse. There was no time to mourn, only time to survive as her two stalkers approached on foot. Luckily, the car was still driveable as she shifted gears pulling it to reverse. The maniacs laughed as she shifted back into drive and with a scream of pain and anger slammed her foot on the gas.

Frost fired the gun again, sending another bullet through the windshield. The hot metal passed harmlessly through the rear glass pane as Marilyn pointed the wagon directly towards her husband’s assailant. Her scream was now pure rage as she could see the killers laughing face. His body soon slammed into the car and Marilyn could hear the squishing sound of Frost’s head under the tires and the sound of the chainsaw making one last desperate strike at the passenger side door. Soon the lone brother was but an image in Marilyn’s rear view mirror as she sped away in terror and exhaustion.

Back in the present, Kristina was astonished by the tale she’d just heard. “My god,” she asked, “Didn’t you call the cops?”

“I couldn’t think straight. What happened was so crazy I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I didn’t think you would believe me.”

“So what did you do then?”

Marilyn cried again. “I wasn’t too far from state lines. Once I crossed into Indiana the sun was going down. I took the car into a wooded area and made it look like we slammed into a tree. When your father got shot the bullet went straight through his neck, so as far as anyone knew it was an accident. I’m so sorry honey.” Kristin embraced her mom, she couldn’t begin to understand the impossible burden that had just been lifted from her shoulders. What she did understand was that she had to find out more about what happened to Mary.

On a long and lonesome Illinois Highway, 1976 

George sat in the back seat reading his Spiderman comic while his sister read some book, “Who’s there” or something like that, even the title sounded boring. Not as boring as this long drive was. It felt like it was taking forever to get to their new home.

“What’s that?” He heard his mom say as their car slowed down. 

“Looks like there’s been some accident.” his dad said. When George looked up from his comic he saw a pickup truck on the side of the road. Didn’t look like it crashed, but behind it was some debris and a black mark on the barricade. “Maybe it was a hit and run.” his dad said. 

“Just keep driving.” His mom insisted. George knew his dad probably wanted to stop and help, but George felt the same way his mom did. They didn’t have time, it was still a long way to Bethlehem Pennsylvania and their new home.  

Looking back, his eyes couldn’t believe what they saw. Beside the pickup truck was a large man with a face that was covered in blood. He had a big chainsaw and was waving it through the air like a maniac. George stood up in the back seat and excitedly exclaimed “Saw-man!” believing he’d just seen the character from that Texas movie that came out a few years ago.

“George get your ass back in the seat!” his father scolded. It took just a moment for that sight to leave his vision, but the image of a man dancing by the side of the road swinging a chainsaw would forever be burned in the mind of this future movie director. 

No Gein II: A Second Helping 

Chapter Seven: Psycho II

George was very impressed by Lloyd, the set designer he hired to work on his new movie. Norman Bates’s house looked exactly as it did from the first Psycho, from the creaky wooden steps to the outdated antique furniture. Even the cobwebs and dust were present. A ring from his cellphone brought George back to modernity. He flipped his phone open to give his usual snarky greeting “House of pain, you kill em we grill em.” 

“Not in the mood for you goofing off George.” It was Marty, the producer. Psycho II was getting a lot of heat, which was making the higher ups nervous. The slasher genre was revived due to 98’s Psycho, George’s recent Texas Chainsaw massacred the box office like no horror film had before, resulting in scores of other obscure cult hits getting greenlit for remakes. With that success came the seemingly once a decade national hand wringing about the dangers of violence in the mass media and its effects on our poor innocent youth, which gave the studio a lot of unwanted attention.

“Are you sitting down?” His producer asked frantically.

“I am now Marty.” George sat down on an ancient looking sofa and was genuinely shocked at how comfortable it was. “Damn this seat is sweet. I gotta get one of these for my place!”

“This is no joke George,” Mary insisted. “I got really bad news.” 

“Ok.”

Marty then just blurted it out. “Roy is dead.”

“Are you shitting me?” George almost jumped out of his seat at the news. Roy was the main screenwriter on Psycho II, who had also taken some of the heat for his Texas Chainsaw Screenplay. Both he and George had been receiving death threats.

“I’m not joking, they found his body this morning. I’m down at the police station making a statement. They want to talk to you too.”

“Ok I’ll leave the set right now.” George said as he stood up and started walking.

“Wait, Jesus George you’re on the set?”

“Yeah, why?” George said as he stopped dead in his tracks.

“I ordered it closed down. Someone was snooping around there last night.” 

“Who was it?”

“Don’t know, Talbot chased him off, but it’s too much of a coincidence. I ordered the whole area to be closed off. How did you get in there?”

“I didn’t see Talbot at the gate this morning,” George explained, “so I let myself in.” 

“Well get the hell out of there and come down here now!”

“Alright chill-ax I will.” George said before hanging up.

It was then that George heard the noise upstairs. “Hello,” George said, looking up the steps to the second floor of the ‘house.’. There was no answer. “Talbot, is that you?” When he called the name of the security Chief, there was still no answer.

As he walked up the creaky steps he heard no other sound. He thought maybe he just heard the wind. When he got to the top of the steps, there was that smell, that unmistakable smell that in this environment meant nothing but trouble. The wood still creaked as he went into the bedroom of Norman Bates. It was a simple, spartan like room. He admired the bookshelves on the wall. In the original Robert Bloch novel that was published about ten years back, Norman was a student of the occult, and the prop designer did a great job making the mock editions of old spooky books. Per George’s request, there was even a book that had Necronomicon scrawled on the spine. George knew Bloch would have liked that. He wished his old friend could have seen the prop Necronomicon. This was a nod to Bloch’s old friend H.P. Lovecraft, who frequently referenced the accursed book in his various weird tales about the Elder Gods and other unspeakable horrors. 

One of the horrors filmmakers wreslted with was the occasional parent group threatening boycotts and other shenanigans. Now, in the 21rst century, there was a new threat to filmmakers, not from people who hated them, but from those who loved them. George knew all too well the excesses of fandom. In his younger days he made a few regrettable online comments towards authors and directors. Now that he was on the other end of the business, he also received death threats about the next Psycho movie. Initially, he’d long dismissed this chatter, remembering his old days as an angry nerd, but now it was serious, someone was really dead. 

It was then he noticed a manilla folder resting on the bookshelf. Was this some sort of oversight? Upon closer look, it has his name written on it in red ink. At least it looked like red ink at first. As he picked it up to give it a closer look, it appeared his name had been written in blood. George’s hands trembled as he opened the folder, and what was inside was even more disturbing. George now knew he officially had a stalker. There were photos of himself at the beach with his girlfriend. What worried him even more, there was a picture of his sister Helen along with her husband Chuck.

George angrily threw the folder down and stormed into the next room. This was the bedroom of Norman’s mother, Norma Bates. There was a deep indenture in the bed as if someone had laid there an unnaturally long time. That smell was so strong here. When he saw the metal shine from under the bed he shuddered. He reached down onto the dark under the bed and his hand felt cold steel. He pulled out a can of kerosene. As he knelt down he could smell the fumes on the bed sheets. Someone planned to burn the entire set down.

“Who’s in here?” George now said more angirly. “You’re fucking with my movie, I’m gonna kill you!” Then he heard the sound of a door creaking. He turned to see it was mother’s closet. He saw a slender arm, it was laying on the ground, dead still. He rushed over to the door, fearing the truth he already knew in his gut. Pushing the door open he found the body of Talbot laying in a pool of blood. It looked like someone bashed his head with a blunt object like a tire iron.

George never saw the figure come behind him, he never saw that old dress flowing in the air as it entered the bedroom, or the hand within it that raised the blade in the air through the dress’s frilled sleeves. He yelled out as best as he could as the knife came down on his back. In his mind George could hear the violin music shrieking from the first film as the knife penetrated him again and again, leaving fountains of blood spraying as it went. George collapsed to the ground. As he looked across the room where the dead employee lay, his lips uttered their final words. 

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Six : Pit Stop

New Jersey 2003

Grease and red liquid splattered Milton’s jaw as he bit into the meat. His voice let out a near orgasmic “Oh my god,” as his lips smacked together. “this burger is absolutely delicious.” 

“Best in town.” His father said. “Your mother and I always ate here after we visited you. Sometimes your mom was more excited about the food than the visit!” 

“Hey their milkshakes are to die for,” his mother laughed as she continued, “and they don’t slaughter you on the prices either!” 

“Well then what the hell are you eating a salad for?” Milton asked, looking at her plate of greens.

“Gotta watch my health. I ain’t gettin any younger!” As she ate her greens Milton noticed two young guys eying them up. At first he thought the pigs were watching as soon as he got out. One of them was thin, and wore a beanie on his head and a t-shirt that bore the image of a man with a flaming skull riding a motorcycle. The other was fat with a black t-shirt with a white skull logo, the teeth resembling ammunition clips. The more he watched them more out of the corner of his eye, the more he thought they were probably just a bunch of stoners. If they were acting, they were pretty good at their craft.

“Anyway, Milton,” his father said as Milton continued feasting on his hamburger, “we got something to tell you.”

“Yeah?” Milton replied, taking another savory bite.

“We’re going to go on a little road trip.” His father explained. We’re heading way out west.”

“And what are we doing that for?” Milton asked.

Before his father had a chance to explain about their apparent upcoming journey, the young skinny stoner interrupted with a “Hey, what’s up man.”

“What is ‘up’ is I’m trying to masticate my dinner and you’re talking to me.” Milton answered snarkily. “What do you want?”

“Oh, sorry man, I didn’t mean to interupt while you were masterba-haha, I mean…”

“Well spit it out kid! What do you want?” Milton’s father barked.

“I uh, me and Bob over there,” Bob silently waved and smiled when they all looked, “We were just wondering uh..”

“Get out of here kid we got business to conduct!” Milton’s mother ordered the young man as she finished her salad.

“It’s OK Mom.” Milton said. “The kid just wants to talk. What’s on your mind son?”

“Ok, yeah uh, so like, are the one they call Saw-man?”

“Can’t you see we’re trying to eat?” Milton’s  father objected.

“It’s OK dad.” Milton then looked at the kid and smiled. “Yeah that’s me.” 

“Awesome man, so how are you? I heard you were in the big house!”

“Actually I was just released, and so far I’m having a splendid day. I got out of prison, I reunited with my parents, I am eating this scrumptious meal, and now I got to meet a fine young gentleman such as yourself.”

“That’s great man. Bob and I, we’re big fans. Hey, I always wanted to ask you something. Is it true you’re the guy they based Texas Chainsaw Massacre off of?”

“Well, as much as I would love to take credit for that classic piece of American cinema,” Milton said sarcastically, “unfortunately that movie preceded my incarceration, so that analogy was made post prison sentence.”

“Oh, post prison, ok cool man, hey can we get our picture with you?”

“No pictures today bud,” Milton’s father objected, “We’re eating.”

‘Oh, oh, well can I get your autograph?” 

“Listen buddy, how about we finish our meal. “You go over there with your friend and finish your meal.” Milton then pointed to his friend and asked, “He looks like he likes to eat. Am I right?”

“He sure does!” The youth said excitedly. “Bob can pack the burgers down.”

“Excellent, now maybe after the meal you would like to have a smoke.” Eying his clothes and his hemp necklace, Milton observed “You look like a man that enjoys a good smoke, do you catch my drift.”

“Oh I sure do man, uh sir.”

“Well I’ll tell you what then, see that alley across the street.” The young man nodded before Milton continued “Let’s meet over there in, how do you young people say, four minutes and twenty seconds?”

“I hear you loud and clear sir!” the stoner jubilantly saluted him.

“Great, so we will meet, maybe have a smoke, and then we can talk about that autograph.”

“Sounds great man, we will be there!” The young man scurried back to his table. While asking the waitress for their check, Milton heard him boasting.

“Oh shit, we’re gonna blaze it up with Saw-Man!” A smack echoed through the diner as the two stoners high fived each other.

The father looked at his newly freed son with a mischievous look and asked “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Later they pulled the van into the alley across the street. “I assume you want to do the honors?” Milton’s mother asked.

“Absolutely.” Milton answered as she handed him a small object he tucked in the inside pocket of his suit jacket. His hands were trembling in anticipation.

Soon enough they saw the two stoners practically running across the street towards the alley. A few cars beeped their horns and an obscenity or two was shouted as the two exuberantly crossed the street with out a care in the world.

“They’re lucky they survived crossing the street.” Milton’s father said with a smirk.

The two youths reached their destination and were met with high fives and smiles from the family. “So you know I was just released right? I don’t have anything on me.” Milton explained as they all stood in the alley.

“Oh, we got the hookup Saw-man.” The skinny one pulled out a blunt that was almost fatter than he was.

“You go first,” Milton said, reaching into his pocket. “Let me light it for you.”

“It’d be an honor sir.“ the boy said with a smile.

With one hand Milton pushed the scrawny kid against the brick wall. In the past he would taunt and play with his prey, but he couldn’t stand waiting anymore. With his other hand he reached into his inside pocket to retrieve what his grandmother gave him. It was a sharp shiny knife, a little small for his tastes, but it did the trick. The boy’s eyes almost bulged out of his head in fear as he heard the last words he’d ever hear. 

“Smoking’s hazardous to your health.” Milton finally plunged the hot hard steel into the young punk’s soft wet throat. The blade was now lubricated in blood as he plunged the steel in an out and let out a satisfying groan. He felt so close to this feeling during his recent prison brawl, but it was well worth the wait.

Mom had a tire iron tucked under her frilled sleeve that she struck Bob in the jaw with. He fell to the ground in pain, his body let out a sound but he could not scream for help as his jaw was busted. Milton heard the back door of the van slam shut as Grandpa walked out with what he was known for, something he long had notoriety for in the underworld. The fat boy let out an indiscriminate wail as the old man approached him with a sledgehammer.

Milton would have liked to have killed them both, but he deferred to his father who held held his weapon of choice up as high as he could in the air. His elderly arms shook, no longer being able to hold it over his head like he used to, the steel hammer came clumsily crashing down towards its target.

Bob whimpered in terror as the head of the sledgehammer sat directly in front of his eyes. Milton never saw grandpa miss. In his glory days he was known for killing snitches and informants with one mighty swing, but those days were long behind him now. Milton desperately wanted to ask permission to finish this obese victim off, but he didn’t dare disrespect the family like that. “Come on dad, you can do it.”

“Yeah, kill that fat fuck!” his mom added.

Dad raised the sledgehammer into the air again, this time not as high, and with less strength but more accuracy. Allowing gravity to bring the hammer down it bashed Bob’s skull open like a watermelon. “Hahaha you got em good dad!” Milton laughed with a childlike excitement as he stashed his victim’s corpse into a nearby dumpster.

Together, Milton’s parents lifted the near-headless victim into the dumpster. His mom squeezed the belly fat on the fresh corpse and said “Too bad we just ate.” Closing the dumpster lid she continued, “Just as well though. Gotta get back on the road, time to head west!” 

No Gein II: A Second Helping 

Part Five: Concealed Transgressions

October 26th, 1957. Plainfield, Wisconsin

Johnny was scared. It was the sound of a woman sobbing that woke him up in the middle of the night, but it wasn’t mom, it wasn’t any voice he recognized. As the woman wailed and cried he walked down the dark hallway towards the stairwell. Creeping down a few steps, he peered into the living room below. That’s when he saw her. Her mom was holding her like they were real close. He didn’t know who this woman was, but she kept babbling something about a house. Johnny couldn’t understand what she was saying, but it sounded like something real awful happened to her. His dad was standing over them, and he looked like he was real mad. Daddy’s friend the Sheriff was there too. The Sheriff looked up towards the stairwell, his eyes met Johnny’s, who got real scared and ran back to bed. Shutting the door behind him, Johnny pulled the covers over himself and shut his eyes tight, fearing he’d get a whuppin.

He awoke to the feeling of a hand on his back shaking him frantically. The hand pushed so hard the whole bed shook. Johnny groggily pulled down his covers to see his dad sitting on the bed. The sun was now shining brightly through his bedroom window, it must have been the next day now. Dad’s eyes looked real tired like he was up all night.

“What did you hear?” His dad asked sternly.

“I didn’t hear nothin dad?”

“Don’t you lie to me boy or you’re gonna get the belt.”

“I don’t know dad, I…” Johnny desperately sought the words that wouldn’t result in a whuppin. “I didn’t understand it.”

He could tell his dad was thinking as he sat silently for a moment. Then he pointed at him sternly and said “You listen to me boy, I saw something God-damn awful last night, and it’s something I hope nobody else ever has to see. If people start knowing about it, then every carnie and hustler in a thousand miles will be coming to our little town making us out to be a freak show. Is that what you want?” His dad didn’t wait for an answer as he grabbed his son hard by the arm and shook him shouting “Is it!” 

“No dad!” Johnny said, almost in tears. His dad released his grip and left the room.

Johnny hadn’t realized it yet, but his mom let him sleep in that day and miss Church. Dad missed Church too, it seemed he’d gone somewhere, but he daren’t ask where. Dad was real quiet the rest of the day, which he spent reading his Bible. It looked like he was thinking really hard about something. Johnny didn’t totally understand what he’d just experienced, but he was old enough to know it was pretty serious.

Indianapolis, Indiana August 31, 2003

Kristina didn’t broach the issue of those old papers again. She was just happy to get her mother out of the house. She hadn’t gone to Church in a while, but since moving back in with mom they started going again. Kristina was skeptical if praying did any good, but, given how awful the world seemed during the last few years, she figured it wouldn’t hurt. She did like today’s message, as the Minister preached on the importance of revealing the truth, even during trying times. One of the verses she preached was Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

There was no mercy from more bad news as the radio reported the latest current events. Driving home after church, the car radio reported another bombing in Iraq. At the Imam Ali Mosque two car bombs exploded killing 95 people including Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, an Islamic scholar. Kristina’s skin crawled as the voice over the radio expounded on how this bombing was part of a continuing wave of violence as the first post-Saddam government was to be established in Iraq next week. Her step-nephew was starting his senior year in high school now. She dreaded the thought of him joining the military and getting shipped off into this meat grinder. There was always news about violence and bombings, but no WMD’s turned up. She couldn’t talk about her worries with her mother, who was just barely old enough to remember Pearl Harbor. In fact, the sneak attack that drug America into World War II was at the very dawn of her earliest memories. The idea that threats lurked everywhere in the world was so ingrained in her, Kristina knew there was no point in arguing with her about Bush and his wars.

Thankfully the news went to a different topic, but it was a topic gruesome in of itself. Not only was this latest news morbid, but it was, relatively speaking, closer to home.

Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix New Jersey August 31, 2003

“Kill a couple punks out there for me!” Milton’s cellmate said while giving him a fist bump. Milton smiled and nodded as the cell door shut behind him for the last time.

Michael didn’t say a word as Milton walked by, he just stood behind his bars and stared. It was as though he wasn’t even looking at Milton, he was looking past him, past the wall, into some nightmarish future that only he could see. For all the horror Milton had seen and conducted in his own life, he was glad he’d never have to see that stare again.

“Oh, look at this guy!” Another inmate shouted from behind their bars. “Looking sharp brother, as sharp as a blade, a saw blade!”

Milton was surprised his suit still fit after all these years. In fact, it was a little baggy on him. He was still a large man, but he’d lost his belly in prison. 

Jason didn’t look at him. He sat on his cot as his deformed face looked away. Fred looked though, his charred face peered out, his eyes filled with hate. Tapping the bars with his fingers he taunted “You’ll never escape me. You’ll see me in your nightmares.”

Milton tauntingly padded his own side as he smiled at Fred as if to say “How’s your gut there Fred.” Milton’s would be assailant still had his side wrapped in gause. Fred was always so melodramatic, but Milton was never scared of him all these years he was behind bars, and for the rest of his life he was certain he wouldn’t even give him a second thought.

The air smelled sweet and the sun washed over his face as the metal gates shut behind him. After all these years, Milton was now a free man. Walking out of the gate, an old white van sat waiting for him. His mother couldn’t wait to get out of the van, she rushed out and gave him a big motherly hug. Through frilled sleeves Milton felt his mother’s arms wrapped tight around him. He embraced her back as his father joined the two of them saying. “You’ll never have to look at this awful place again.”

“Two men looked out from prison bars.” Milton recited,  “One saw the mud the other saw stars, Dale Carnagie.”

“So you didn’t lose your damn mind in there, that’s good.” His father joked. 

“You lost some weight though.” His mom cackled. “Didn’t they give you enough to eat in there?”

“Every time you visited I told you how awful the food was.” Milton laughed as the three got into the van.

“I wouldn’t know.” His father observed. “No one ever snitched on me!”

“Well let’s get you something to eat then.” Said mother as she turned the ignition. “I know just the place. ”

Plainfield Wisconsin, August 31, 2003

Little Johnny never told a soul about what he’d heard that night. Looking back at it now, as an adult, that night had a bigger effect on him than he realized. That night he fully understood that there were real bad people in the world, and they weren’t just in far away places like in the war or in the big city. They could be the person next door. It never occurred to him until just now, but that night probably ingrained the idea in him that he had to protect his home, and was why he became a cop.

Taking a deep breath, just before he started the press conference, he remembered his father’s warning. Now, almost half a century later, as he looked out over this sea of reporters, he now fully understood that this is what his father wanted to avoid.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, “earlier this month two Waushara County workers accidentally discovered a mass grave just outside of our town of Plainfield. The remains of ten people were found. Forensic analysis indicates that the victims were not killed on site. In fact, nine of the ten human remains were actually removed from local cemeteries.” 

“Who removed them?” A reporter asked.

John knew full well who removed them. That night, all those years ago, his father accidentally discovered their neighbor had been robbing graves for years. “I cannot say at this time,” he answered. Wasn’t exactly a lie, he felt he couldn’t say. He was desperately trying to keep a lid on this explosive discovery. Like his father, he didn’t want this town to turn into a damn circus. “We suspect they may have been removed decades ago.” Johnny desperately hoped the fact that this happened so long ago would somehow lessen the sensationalism.

His mood lightened a little as he saw an attractive reporter in the crowd. He thought she looked familiar actually. He called on her and she identified herself. “Vanita Williams. There’s been a lot of speculation about the controversial Texas Chainsaw movie and its connection with the Dhamer murders. The Kohler family lived not far away in Amherst. Is it possible that director George Kohler knew about what happened here?”

So much for his better mood. “Ma’am I am not here to comment on movies and movie directors, I am here to talk about what’s been discovered.”

“Ten human remains have been found.” Another reporter asked. “But you said nine of them were taken from the local cemetery. What about the tenth?”

The sheriff took a deep breath before answering. “After examining the bodies,” he said slowly, “we believe we can close an old missing person’s case from 50 years back.” 

“Who was that?” Vanita asked anxiously.

The name he spoke sent a shiver through two members of the radio audience. “Mary Hogan.”

“Mom, did you hear that?” Kristina’s mother looked out the window, pretending she hadn’t, but the shock on her face was apparent. “Mom, did you know about this?” 

“Why would I know anything about that? I’ve never even been to Wisconsin!”

“Well I was looking through your papers, Mary Hogan was the name you kept looking up.” Kristina’s hands gripped the wheel before she asked. “Was she your mom?”

“I don’t know,” Mariyln answered, shaking her head, “maybe, I don’t know. I looked a little bit but I never got far.”

“Well when I looked over your stuff it looked like you traced her from Springfield to Joliet Indiana to Chicago, then it was like you just stopped looking.”

“I stopped looking when I had you, honey I had bigger things to worry about!” Marilyn said in frustration as she looked at the road. “Now forget about this and get us home.”

“No you didn’t stop looking when you had me!” Kristina fired back. Marilyn didn’t mean to lie, she desperately tried to convince her daughter, and convince herself, of some other truth, but her flesh and blood wasn’t having it. “I remember you still looking for her, I even helped you. Remember when I was a kid you took me to the library and we were looking through old newspapers together?”

Marylin knew her daughter was right, but she shook her head again. “I don’t know.” She did remember, but she wished so much that both of them hadn’t.

“I remember when you and dad took a trip to Illinois. That was when,” a tear now ran down her cheek. “That’s when dad died in the accident.”

Now her own mother was crying. Turning the dial on the car radio she protested “Why do you have to bring this up, and get your poor mother all upset?”

Pulling into the driveway Kristina said “I’m sorry mom, I just have to know. Are you sure you didn’t go to Wisconsin?”

She put her hand on her hip, winced in pain. “I’m sorry honey, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s OK mom. Does your hip hurt again?”

“No, that’s not it.”

“What is it then?” Kristina asked as she turned the ignition off.

Taking a deep breath, she said quietly, “Sounded like she went from one monster to another.”

“What?”

“I’m so sorry honey. I thought I was doing it to protect you.”

“Do what mom?”

“It wasn’t in a car accident.”

A cold sweat ran through Kristina’s body. When she was a young girl her parents were in a car accident that took the life of her father. As she got older, sometimes she would ask about the accident, but mom never wanted to talk about it. Kristina never pressed the issue, it wouldn’t have brought her dad back anyway, but now her mom just told her there was no accident. Kristina could now only think of one question to ask.

“Then what happened to my dad?” 

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Four: Enter Saw-man

Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix, New Jersey August 26th, 2003

Milton loved the library. It made prison seem not so bad. Walking through the aisles of bookshelves, the texts and their pictures transported the inmate to other realities, alternate worlds where things turned out a lot different. Maybe in another life he would be a star, an icon of the silver screen, a leading man even. His face would be handsome, instead of scarred and mangled like a damn monster. Or maybe he’d be something else, like a restaurant owner. Yeah, that’s it, a restaurant. He and his dad would be award winning chili cooks with a restaurant in Texas. 

One book caught Milton’s eye, Islands at the Edge of Time: A Journey Through the Barrier Islands. Flipping through the travel memoir, he thought about how he’d never been to these places, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the coastlines of Mississippi and Alabama. Reading the inside cover, the author Gunnar Hansen was an Icelandic American, just like Milton’s dad. Mr. Hansen was also a poet and writer.

“Didn’t know you inbreds could read!” Milton was brought back to reality by both Fred’s insult and deep throaty laugh. Milton didn’t like Fred. Fred was a bad man, and his face was ugly like his too, but for a different reason. Fred got burned real bad on the outside. Milton knew he could smash Fred anytime he wanted, he was a puny little man, but behind him were Michael and Jason. They were big like he was, and he didn’t like them either. Jason’s face was deformed, even uglier than his own. The thing is, though he would never admit it to anyone, he was jealous of Jason. Jason killed more people than he did. Milton wasn’t good at numbers, but if he did his math right, and he checked it a bunch of times, Jason had three more kills than he did. Milton prided himself on his work, and knowing that freak hillbilly bastard had more bodies stacked than he did was too much to bear.

Michael didn’t have as many kills, but he still didn’t like him. Michael stalked and killed some girls in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, not too far from here if he remembered right. They called it the babysitter murders, that wasn’t nice. Milton wasn’t nice either, but he never did anything like that.

“Heard you’ve been giving my warriors a hard time!” One thing Milton’s dad taught him from the time he was young, was that you gotta protect your home. The bloc had been Milton’s home for a long time now, and just like Dad protected his home in Iceland back in the big war, Milton looked out for the bloc. Recently, Fred and his gang had been bothering some of his neighbors, and that wasn’t very nice.

Fred picked up a book and dropped it on the ground. “Shouldn’t do that to books.” Milton thought to himself. That wasn’t nice. Dad taught him not to treat books like that. 

“I’m trying to conduct business and you’re cutting in!” Milton said nothing as Fred protested. “What’s the matter, you too dumb to speak now!” Fred’s scarred hands then picked up a small magazine. Milton knew that issue. He’d spent a lot of time on it. “Look at this, editor of the prison poetry journal!” Freddy tore the pages in half. “You gotta be fuckin kidding me. The big bad chainsaw killer. Some say you’re the Saw-man from that old horror movie, well I say your nothin but a big joke!” 

Allowing Fred to think he was scared, Milton backed up against the wall and glanced out the pane glass on the library door. The guard wasn’t there. No one else was in the library either, Fred’s influence was growing in the big house. The little man pulled out a shank and said “You think you were a nightmare on the outside? I’m gonna show you what nightmares are made of!”

Milton knew what Fred was going to do before he did. As Freddy’s arm lunged at him Milton managed to catch his wrist, and with his other hand he grabbed Fred by the neck and lifted him up in the air, throwing his little body into Jason’s. Their heads collided and Jason got knocked off his feet. 

During the action Fred dropped the shank intended for Milton, who swiftly knelt down to reach for it as Michael approached. Gripping the homemade blade Milton repeatedly jabbed it into Michael’s stomach. He also thrust his head in an upwards motion smashing the top of his skull into Michael’s jaw knocking him backwards.  

Fred then jumped on Milton’s back shouting “Jesus, if you want a job done right!” Milton could have thrown him off easily, but, still with the shank in hand, he stabbed Fred’s gut. Milton felt a rush as for the first time in years someone else’s blood made contact with his skin. There were three of them here. What an irony it would be if Jason could in fact help Milton break his own record. Just the thought of it was exhilarating, but this brief moment of ecstasy was shortened by Fred shrieking in his ear. The would-be assailant slid off his back, but Milton kept a strong grip of the shank in his hand. 

His tight grip released and the shank fell to the floor once Jason landed a staggering punch. Milton landed on one knee. Knowing better than to go toe to toe with the younger opponent, a kick to the balls was in order. Jason fell to his knees and Milton stepped back over Michael’s body. Still laying on the ground, Michael suddenly sat straight up and turned his head, glaring at Milton with those dead black eyes. Despite a life filled with the mad and macabre, Michael sitting up like that after taking stabs to the stomach legitimately startled Milton. Hearing the sound of rusting paper, he realized what happened. Michael stuffed a phone book under his prison uniform, he might have been the smartest of the three. 

If Milton still had the shank in his hand, he might not have been able to resist his newly sprung urges. Before Michael could rise to his feet Milton palmed his head and smashed it back into the floor a few times. He thrust his arm as hard as he could, and part of him knew Michael’s hair would slip out of Milton’s sweaty hands from the force of his thrusts, allowing Milton to catch his breath and take a step away before he finished Michael for good. As bad as he wanted to kill again, he knew lethal force would have been more trouble than it was worth, not with what he had to look forward to.

“Get him you idiot!” Fred groaned, still laying on the floor. Jason now rose back to his feet and looked like he was about to charge. Milton dashed behind a bookshelf and pushed it over, pinning Jason underneath the wood and heavy texts.

“No, no!!!” Fred’s head shook in frustration as his arms were now wrapped around Milton’s leg. Milton reached his hands out, the shank was just within reach, he could still finish them for good. Maybe if he stabbed himself afterwards he could concoct some story that they all got jumped. Maybe he could figure out some way to break the record without getting caught. 

The wooden case creaked as Jason began stirring beneath the fallen bookshelf. He was a tough bastard. As Freddy still desperately clung to his leg, Milton could smell the blood in the air. As Milton reached out, he finally got it in his hands, and with one swing struck Fred in the head, whose grasp around Milton’s leg was now dead.

Looking down, Milton read the title, ‘American Gothic,’ by Robert Bloch. He liked that author. Weird coincidence this was the hardcover book he grabbed and struck Fred in the head with. Immediately, Milton stormed out of the library. That rush was so intense, being so close to death, his heart pounded through his chest, and he knew if he hadn’t left the room expeditiously he might not have been able to resist the temptation. Flipping through the pages of one of his favorite modern authors diverted his mind from how he could have killed the three of them, how he could have beat Jason’s record. As bad as he wanted it, he knew it would have been too risky. Besides, he knew Michael was too smart to snitch on him, Jason was too stupid, and Fred, he could never admit one guy beat him and his two hitmen, not if he wanted to maintain his reputation. 

Milton knew he was safe. He also knew that, not too long from now, after all these years, he was finally getting released. He would finally have his freedom. He would finally get to see Dad, and the rest of the family.

Family? Can you imagine what sort of family would produce a character like Milton? Find out in two days in No Gein II, Chapter Five-Concealed Transgressions!