Not since Mark Pegg came back from Afghanistan, Purple Heart on his chest, did the town rejoice so much. Abigail Frost went to the trouble of making her famous treat, an apple caramel paste folks scoop out with graham crackers, a delight that could inspire an anorexic to gluttony. She didn’t do as much for Mark, though that’s no surprise. Liam Hood, well, some men are a pleasure.
At the trial, Liam said Victoria Brennan deserved to have her eye gouged out with a broken beer bottle because he wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
The mayor herself commissioned a mural of Liam painted on the side of the city hall, something tastefully sedate, more of a portrait than a biography. After all, it’s not like anyone would ever forget the details of that hellish evening 22 years ago. A picture of Hitler is terrible enough without the Holocaust as a background – the former implies the latter.
It’s been ten years since David Cohen gave his children poison then popped open the top of his head with shotgun. His note explained it all well enough: We can’t live in a world that produces the likes of Liam. Some would argue that’s a fair point, though David shouldn’t’ve assumed his kids felt the same; what daddy can’t handle isn’t necessarily an inherited weakness. That said, David was forced to drink his own blood till he vomited. Such things can have a warping effect on the mind.
Oh, no dreary bus rides home for Liam. Malcolm Prince washed and waxed his brand new BMW then picked up the guest of honor himself. He escorted the recently released Newbury Butcher with a smile. Granted, Liam needed a needle in the neck – stiff dose of tranquilizer – before he “agreed” to the ride, but the fact is he soon found himself among a host of familiar faces.
Everyone agreed it’d been far too long since the town took one of their own. It’s always best to go local rather than importing. That way folks have a good solid idea what’s what. Urban legends could be all hype, nothing substantial to them, and truth be told, not every place has the same definition of sin. There’s no reason to believe people like Liam aren’t welcome in some dark corner of the globe, grim as that may be. So it was nice to finally be able to set the table with a prize pig, as it were, from the local stock.
Peter Wright dug the official chair out of the basement. His family’s been keeping the traditional tools since Newbury was founded back in 1804. Although, in recent years using the official seat seemed like a waste of effort, no need to get fancy for low grade sinners. So, for the most part, the chair at least has been collecting dust. Hearing about Liam's return, Peter took a day to polish the chair up nice. The crows carved into the seat’s back positively came to life. More than a few supposed they saw the birds turn their heads to eye Liam as he was strapped into the chair.
The police arrested Hood in the midst of a travesty so hideous it caused one deputy to start laughing maniacally and shoot everyone he saw including himself. Liam obviously survived, though a bullet to the stomach is no small worry. At his trial he confessed to everything, explaining himself by saying:
“I expect I’ll be tasty. Choke on me.”
Fortunately, no one outside of Newbury made sense of that. But 22 years in jail took the edge off his bravado. When it came time to make us choke on him, Liam tried to run away. Yet, at the end of the day he sat in the throne.
Everyone took a slice. Many went back for seconds. A few even went for thirds, though they did their best to be discrete, despite the fact no one could blame them. A meal like Liam is a rare treat.
The children hesitated. Even with their parents coaxing, “It’s alright honey. Go right ahead. And don’t worry about the way he screams.” – it isn’t easy introducing kids to certain foods. But once they tasted. Oh lord, it’s like bacon wrapped dates, sweet mint jalapeno jam, or blue cheese olives; a one of a kind deliciousness too few have the palate for anymore.
Yes, there was an initial horror and repulsion at the acts Liam committed. No decent person could think kindly of a man who beat a woman to death with her own baby. However, afterwards, mouths did start to water. The local police had a terrible time preventing a ravenous lynch mob.
Still, reason eventually set in, and everyone agreed it would be best not to draw attention. Let due process run its course; Liam Hood would fade from the public spotlight. Then we could get on with the feasting, no worries as to misperceptions.
The wide world tends to get things wrong. We don’t eat the person. We eat their sin. There’s a difference.