The sky is dark for a late summer morning at 7:00. Rain falls straight down in a curtain of moisture and runs down our city street mocking the flow of a small stream. I wonder to myself if Melissa got to work before the deluge commenced in that area of Evansville.
I grab my phone and step out on our covered front porch. I enjoy watching and hearing the sound of the summer rain. A slight breeze sprays me and the porch with a misty spray of the falling precipitation. The work traffic cuts through the stream shooting water to each side of the vehicle and leaving a foamy wake behind.
After several minutes, my phone rings. It is an unknown number that I hesitate to but then reluctantly answer.
“Mr. Knight,” it takes a moment but I soon recognize as Sophia Hayden’s voice.
“Yes, this is Doug Knight. Is this Sophia Hayden?”
“I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“No, I’m an early riser.”
“Look, the Coroner’s office is asking me for your information. I think they’d like to talk to you about Harold Piegrand. Can I give them your phone number?”
“I’m not sure what I can tell them, but I don’t see why not,” I approve with some hesitation.
“By the way,” Sophia Hayden asks, “have you found anything in those papers of his that you need to share?”
“I think from dated materials and their connections with known events, I’ve determined Mr. Piegrand to have been about forty-two when he was killed.”
“That’s good. If you come across anything else, just feel free to call me at this number. Okay?”
“I’m going to give out your number to the Coroner, so someone will probably be contacting you from that office.”
“Did you catch my report on the news?” Sophia’s voice shifts from a professional to a personal tone.
“I only caught your brief report at 6:00 pm. I recorded the 10 pm news. I plan to watch it later.”
“I’d like to know what you thought.”
“Sure. After I watch, I’ll send you my comments by text. That way you’ll have it in writing.”
“Sounds great,” she suddenly hangs up which for some strange reason causes me to chuckle at the nearly childlike attitude that is so different from the tough beat reporter that showed up at my home the day before.
I immediately stop and watch the DVR of the 10 pm news, fast forwarding to her report. She did a very good job of underscoring Harold’s humanity. I text her of how pleased I was with that and promise anything new I learn, I’ll forward to her.
That afternoon someone from the Coroner’s office contacts me. They want to know if I’ve found proof of Harold’s birth. I admit there is no solid documentation that validates his birth, but I estimate his age at approximately forty-two based on his journal entries and that he lived in an orphanage in Yakima County, Washington.
The Coroner thanks me for the information and after I press them, they inform me they will be contacting Yakima County, Washington to see if they can obtain accurate information about his birth date. They will use that information to try and contact anyone related to Harold.
I tried to get them to let me know what they find. I am told that if they find a relative, they will have the relative contact me.
“If you contact a relative, let them know I have some of his personal items in my possession, please.” I say and receive a tacit response.
The days pass. Summer collides with fall as August drags some of its heat and humidity into September. Typical southern Indiana weather produces a friendly tug of war between compromised summer and fledgling fall temperatures even into October. Rain usually acts as the moderator that introduces the change from one to the other. This year is a typical one.
I spend a few hours a day during August perusing Harold’s manuscripts. The time with those writings diminishes some in September. Part of this decrescendo naturally occurs because the number of entries decreases with the chronology of the material until I reach the last entry written the day of his death.
The entry is undated as are random entries throughout. I know it is on his final day before Harold is killed because our “encounter” (Harold’s word) is a key part of the entry.
Today I encounter a citizen trying to steal my journal. I think I scared the piss out of him at first and may have hurt him. The chubby old jerk deserved it.
Later, though, I did enjoy having a conversation with him. Was he courageous, curious or crazy to follow me back to my cave? After I gave him back his phone, Doug should have high-tailed it back to his home. He didn’t.I hope he returns. I’ll share my journal notes. He probably won’t return. I think I’ll go fishing tonight.
That final entry is how I convince myself that I have a right to hold on to Harold’s journal until someone with more right to it comes along. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Once in awhile, I catch Sophia Hayden reporting on TV. She followed up with a pretty good report about homelessness in Evansville which I still have recorded along with her initial report on Harold.
I haven’t heard anything from the Coroner’s office. I don’t know if they found verification of Harold’s birth. I cannot get anyone from there to tell me when I call.
It only took about a week before the killing of Big Foot news to die at the hands of more important and more enthralling and entertaining news. It didn’t take long for Evansville to fall back in the category of all other towns of no national importance.
I don’t think Owen and Gavin ever were tried. They probably aren’t even in Evansville anymore, but I don’t know why I think that.
As for me, I completed an online application for volunteer work at a homeless agency. I never followed up on it and haven’t heard from them, either. I’ve always donated to the Rescue Mission especially around Thanksgiving. Say, that reminds me…
I wish I met Harold Piegrand sooner and knew him better. When I think about it I pull out that bundle of his and try to know him better through his words and his accounting of his life here with us. This is one of those times.
I read a few passages. I see his struggle and am critical of those who felt superior or fearful of him just because he was different. Then, I feel convicted. “They” is also me.
I stumble across the following simple poem written on a piece of what once was a brown paper bag. It is the poem Harold shared with me. I close with these words by Harold Piegrand.
I walk alone
Hidden from view
Not to be known
But see I do
Desire I some
Deep in my heart
Long to become
To be a part
Attempts I tried
To join the throng
“You don’t belong”
I try to blame
The God above
You say he came
To show me love?
It is not God
To bear the shame
He made me odd
Loves me the same
In still of night
The truth is clear
God’s light is love
That few hold dear
Categories: Author Confession
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.