Pigeon Falls and My Life
Poor Chief Ican sits in his office and goes over and over in his mind how he lost Vanbderbolt. The more he goes over it the more impossible it seems. The prisoner was in the little bathroom on the train. The door was locked from the inside. Chief Ican watched the door and finally kicked it in only to find nobody in the room. He has gone over the walls with great care. There were no windows. The roof seemed solid. There was no way out but he was gone. Did this crazy man somehow hypnotize him? That made even less sense. He had no chance to drug the Chief. The only conclusion Chief Ican could come up with is that what happened couldn’t have happened. But it did.
“ Perhaps”, he thought” it is time for me to retire. What good is a police chief that can be outfoxed by a crazy person?
What made it even worse is they were trying to help the guy. Instead of just dumping him back on the road which was standard procedure in UP towns, they had fed him, gotten new clothes for him, and made arrangements to get him Psychiatric help. So Ican felt like he had failed Vanderbolt as well.
When the Intern, the Secretary, and I came in that morning we found that someone had gone through the nursing home Christmas gifts. We felt that it was probably one of the Confirmands. We blamed them for everything.
That’s when I decided I needed a book from the corner closet.
Now our church didn’t have a lot of storage so the closet was used for books, quilts, junk, and an old carpet. When I went to get the book I first tried to kick the carpet out of my way ( I was in a hurry).
Suddenly a leg popped out of the carpet.
Now seminary had not prepared me for this. (Not that it prepared me for much of anything in the parish)
So I did what any reasonable brave pastor would do.
I went and got the intern from the office. I told him I thought there was a body in the closet and would he check it out. What are interns for if not to check on bodies?
He came running back saying that the body was sitting up and it had a knife. The secretary called the police.
The intern and I watched the closet door (The closet was on the other end of the fellowship hall). Suddenly the door opened and out came this wild apparition. He had on several suit coats, an overcoat, a wing tipped shoe, and a swamper.(a boot) He was holding a very large knife.
That’s when the policeman arrived. Then I really got scared. He had trouble getting his gun out of his holster. I thought he was going to shoot himself in the foot. But eventually he got it out and ordered our guest to put down his knife. Which he promptly did.
It seems he had spent the night in the church using the carpet for a bed. He had opened an eaten all the candy in the Christmas packages. He had also lifted a few pair of socks and some powder.
If he had checked in the office we would have put him up at a motel and paid for a good meal at the local restaurant. We would have arranged for St. Vincent De Paul to provide some new boots that matched. So we didn’t press charges. The policeman took him to the edge of town and turned him loose.
We kept the knife.
I always was a little nervous about that closet after that.