Sometimes newspaper articles or headlines inspire me to write a story. It’s a great writing exercise. Here’s a series I did a while ago. The headlines are real. The stories, not so much.
Woman Charged with Neglecting Elderly Relative
On Tuesday, Rebecca Weatherman, 33, was arrested on charges of physical and emotional abuse of her great-aunt, Ethel Forester, 94.
Weatherman had been Forester’s caretaker for six months, moving in to Forester’s home where the elderly woman had spent her entire life – the yellow bungalow at the end of Oak Avenue. The one right at the edge of the marsh. In this house, Forester was a neighborhood fixture for decades; a kind spinster who kept to herself, spending most of her time outdoors, tending to her large garden and her few animals, including a goat named Whitman.
Forester spent most of her time in recent months sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket on her lap, staring out an upstairs window at the trees rising out of the wet, algae floating on the surface of shallow pools where plants and animals gathered and swelled so that the whole marsh radiated a life force. Forester watched her ghost move through the marsh daily – she saw herself as a young woman meditating at the water’s edge in the evening, then as a child squishing along searching for frogs, then at a middle-age moving through her familiar world that she loved and that was hers, trousers, thigh-high galoshes, a scarf tied around her head, and on and on.
Forester’s previous caretaker, Georgia Greenway, 41, was a plain, quiet woman. She dropped dead from a brain aneurysm right in Forester’s kitchen. Upon her death, Weatherman moved into the Oak Avenue home, assuming control of Forester’s finances and responsibility for the old woman’s health. Forester was immediately confined to the second floor, where she remained for the entirety of Weatherman’s reign over the house.
When police arrived to arrest Weatherman, they discovered that her boyfriend, Arthur Thomas, 45, also living in the home. Both Thomas and Weatherman also work for Kohlson’s Meat Packing. The home was despicably filthy – dust on everything, dirty dishes and clothing scattered throughout, broken glass, broken lamps, and the whole place smelled like rotting… something. Forester was found upstairs, malnourished and disoriented. It seems she had had little to no human interaction for weeks. Authorities gingerly removed the old woman from the house, who, while confused, seemed grateful that help had finally arrived. Weatherman and Thomas were less cooperative – Officer Lemming’s broken nose will be added to the list of charges against Weatherman.
Weatherman depleted Forester’s savings, leaving her penniless. The local bank has assumed possession of the house on Oak Avenue. Forester has been moved to a state-run hospital in nearby Wayneville, where she is in the extended care ward. She has not spoken since entering state custody. She sits in her wheelchair and stares out her fourth-floor window, a tiny figure in a stark room, surrounded by neutral colors – tile floor, plastic, metal bar on the bed. Her view is of a couple of fast food restaurants, a video-rental store, an abandoned gas station, and a parking lot.
3 Suspects in Custody After Carjacking, Crash that Ends in Police Pursuit
Kenneth Pitts, 17, Rory Robbins, 20, and Fred Wolf, 26, are in custody after leading police on a chase through Grearson Forest early Tuesday morning.
According to police, the three developed a scheme to carjack Wolf’s mother. The plan was to steal the car and then sell it in order to pay off a debt the three incurred from a methamphetamine dealer. Unfortunately, in addition to crashing the vehicle through the front of Ernst’s Hardware, Wolf was recognized by his mother in spite of the rubber Richard Nixon mask Wolf wore for the carjacking (Mrs. Wolf mentioned she had bought him the mask for Halloween a few years before).
All three men work at Kohlson’s Meat Packing, where they met. All three have criminal records, with the older men boasting charges of assault, public drunkenness, DUIs, fraud, robbery, etc. Pitts maintains a juvenile record; his most recent offense is a robbery charge from last year when he broke into an elderly couple’s home and stole their television (though he accidentally left his wallet in the kitchen, which led to his quick arrest).
Following the crash, the three men led police on a half-hour chase through the nearby woods before giving up and surrendering. They will be charged with grand theft auto, kidnapping, obstruction of justice, etc. Wolf and Robbins declined to answer reporter’s questions, but Pitts cried, hiding his face in his arm, and said he feared the wrath of his father, with whom he lives in a two-bedroom apartment with cigarette burns on the carpet.
Blind German Spitz Dog Uses Echoes to Find His Way Round
Some Goosetown residents are already familiar with Lenny, the two-year-old eyeless dog who frequents the West side, where he feeds himself on scraps from Kohlson’s Meat Packing.
Lenny is no ordinary stray, however. The dog uses a technique called echolocation to find his way around; similar to the way bats ‘see’ in the dark, Lenny listens to how sounds reverberate off of objects in order to gauge where those objects are.
As a pup, Lenny was blinded by when some local children burned his eyes with a heated metal rod one dull summer afternoon. Since then, Lenny has had to learn to make his way around town, avoiding cars and kicks from disgruntled locals. Lenny knows how cruel a meat-packing town can be to an animal, whether they’re tasty or not. Still, the dog soldiers on, stealthily, covered in dirt and dust, bravely moving forward in a world that doesn’t want him.
This reporter told Lenny’s inspiring story to a duo of impressionable youngsters in the Gazette parking lot. Upon learning of Lenny’s amazing gift, one of the young ladies responded, ‘So, he sees with his ears? Well, that’s easy – just cut his ears off.’