Wednesday, July 10, 2013

***American Pyscho #247 –With Dial 1119 In Mind


From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

 Yah the kid, Marshall Lloyd to give him a name, a name that you might recognize if you were from Los Gatos out on the coast during World War II, the big one, the one where lots of guys did lots of things, screwy and heroic, some  before they were able to shave. Marshall drew the screwy card, no, the crazy-ass pyscho card, the card drawn by a long line of guys in the great American night, especially the western no more land to move on from night        where everything got bottled up and a spring got sprung sometimes. And I, Guy Lowe, should know since I covered more than my fair share of these wacko deeds as a stringer reporter for the Los Gatos Gazette in my time including Marshall’s first episode, his first bid to be the king hell king of the bizarre western edged night. I was there when they finally did him in, the cops bringing in the whole damn force to take him down, and keep him down.

This Lloyd kid maybe started out like a million other kids, no worse, no better, when his number came up in the big human tide that was World War II. But somehow they, the guys down at the induction center walked very gingerly around this kid and told him no way that this man’s army needed a kid who was as unhinged as Marshall although they never told him that in so many words. He might have flipped out right there and then on them. But Marshall was a guy, an over-focused guy to be kind, who did not take lightly the notion that he was not fit for military service and so he went out to prove the point by killing about six good citizens of Los Gatos figuring in his own twisted mind that action would show his ability as a stone-cold killer. So, yah, I was there when old Doc Levine of all people, the cop shrink, at trial, pleaded for the kid’s life, saying he was too mixed to be responsible for his actions. Now Doc didn’t want him sprung, ever probably, but he also didn’t want him up in Q either. He got the judge to send him up to Santa Lora, the big insane asylum for serious crazy criminal guys to see if he could get straightened out even if he never could get out again.      

But see that is where guys like Doc, do-gooders really although they usually mess more stuff up than they correct in the end, was not wise to what this Marshall kid was all about. He didn’t have a clue that the army rejection triggered a lot of stuff in Marshall, a lot of resentment, against the world, Los Gatos, and eventually especially Doc. Doc, the guy that saved his damn neck. So Marshall spent a couple, maybe three years, letting that army stuff fester inside him, diluted himself that instead of an average psycho he was some kind of military hero, some kind of guy who should be feted not locked up. In short he wanted a word with Doc about stuff. And so in the course of things he escaped from that mental institution and headed back to Los Gatos to do, do whatever.   

Here’s where I blame the coppers though. They never figured once they got word that Marshall had flown the coop that the kid would just take a convenient bus back to town. They had it all figure that he was going to blow up north somewhere, maybe Frisco and melt into the crowd, so they were blindsided when the word got out that Marshall had killed the bus driver at the Los Gatos bus station for the gun he carried on board in case things got dicey. He, the bus driver, never knew what hit him as Marshall walked away, clear away without any muss or bother, no regrets. Yah, it was starting again, the stone-cold killer doing what he did best, or maybe the only thing he did.

See he was searching back for Doc, first at his office where he got a “no go” and then at his apartment, again a “no go.”  Then the kid spied the old Oasis bar, a place where he had been humiliated one night during that last spree when a soldier who knew what Marshall had been talking about concerning his efforts with the troops over in Europe was hooey and drew a couple of slugs out in the back alley for his efforts. That same night, at that same bar, that the serviceman was wasted with no remorse and left out back, some girl, a girl that Marshall had known over at the high school and was performing barmaid services there, laughed at him when he asked her, maybe innocently, for a date. She soon learned as we all did that laughing at Marshall was not good for one’s health. After the joint closed down he followed her up the street, dragged her into an alley, waited for some passing cars to make enough noise going by to mute the sound and put a couple in her as well.   

So Marshall knew the joint, knew that he needed to go there to wait for Doc and see what was going on, keeping off the prying eye cops streets until he could talk to his man. Of course staking out a corner seat, alone, in a sparely populated on an off night presented its own problems. Especially when Jimmy Jacks, the hustling shuffling  bartender trying to hustle a few drinks, and a few tips, to keep the landlady off his back tried to pitch a few whiskey sours Marshall’s way. Worse the joint as a draw particularly for the Friday night fight crowd had a big screen television set on for the patrons. Old Jimmy Jacks made the mistake of turning the channels to the local news periodically while Marshall was doing his waiting. In one segment the damn thing blasted Marshall’s escape and murder of the bus driver all over the screen so Marshall did what any self-respecting psycho would do-take some hostages against the inevitable police onslaught.

It had been a light night, the usual slow Monday night after the blizzard of business on the weekend, but there were five bar-flies there that night, five patrons who wished maybe they had stayed home or been elsewhere that night. See Jimmy Jack, after a while, recognized the kid and was ready to call the cops, maybe with the idea of some reward in his head, when Marshall came up behind him, turned him around, and placed a pair of slugs between his eyes. No more land lady troubles for one ex-bartender James Jacks, and no reward either. Needless to say the bar-flies panicked when Jimmy went down trying to flee the place like rats on a sinking ship  But Marshall had the situation well in hand, as well as having that little gun with a goodly supply of  ammo and Jimmy face down on the floor and so they succumbed to Marshall’s very pointed argument .

With the hostages in hand he called the coppers looking for Doc, looking for him and threatening if Doc was a no show then the hostages were done for, one by one.  Given Marshall’s history who wanted to argue the finer points of that premise, certainly no the cowering almost hysterical men and women being held hostage. One of the guys, an older guy who remembered Marshall’s last spree, asked to go to the restroom to relieve himself and Marshall just laughed at him  

The head of the hostage rescue operation, Inspector Grant, called Doc, called Doc to get him to talk to Marshall and maybe let the hostages go after it became apparent that Marshall was not going to come out alone, was not going to do anything but kill each patron in turn, and was more than willing to take a cop or two down in the process. And so, and I will give it to old Doc that he had some courage, some courage to his convictions, because he went right into the Oasis and talked to Marshall, or tried to. See Marshall couldn’t see where Doc wanted him to go about his army fantasy, to confess that he was a reject, he just wouldn’t let the military hero thing go. Doc was determined that he wouldn’t let him keep his illusions. But we know already, already know by heart, that Marshall was stone-cold on that issue and so Doc bought a pair of slugs right in the heart.

And with that last gasp effort the cops decided the only way to deal with Marshall was blast him out, literally with dynamite, and to try to save as many hostages as possible. The cops drew a break in their efforts because one of the bar patron’s, a middle- aged woman, a regular, knew that Jimmy Jack had a gun behind the counter that the kid never checked for. So between the blast and the bravery of one patron they finally, mercifully, got one Marshall Lloyd dead six ways to Sunday. And I got a king hell of a story. See I was one those hostages, one of those not brave hostages, the guy that asked to go to the toilet because he was scared witless  and I ain’t afraid to admit it. But what a story about the life and times of another American psycho bursting into flames I wrote for the Gazette.


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