Big Jim’s Big Secret

When Big Jim Anderson finally uttered his final breath, well, King’s Creek had lost a true legend. That son of a bitch was renowned for his ability to drink anybody under the bar. No shit. And when Big Jim started tossing back cold brew, there was no way of knowing whether you would get the friendly old man or the cocksucker who loved to tease. Regardless, it was all in good fun.

I swear to god, there had been this one occasion when these degenerate punk rockers came rolling on through. Apparently, they had a show that night in the valley, their name was “The Shit Kickers” but they pulled into town and made a short pit stop off at Mitch’s Pub to wet their palate. Clarissa had been tending the bar when the Mohawk weirdo began making a ruckus.

These punk rockers just love to get under the skin of working-class folk in the Bible Belt, and so there he was, spouting off obscenities and blasphemy for shock value. The spectacle was nothing more than the run of the mill asinine, juvenile behavior.

Big Jim heard the whole thing but felt that this wast his battle. So he ignored the punkers the best he could, but throughout the night they continued to get louder, drunker and more obnoxious. Enough was enough.

“I’m going to ask you boys to bring it down a notch or I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Clarissa spoke loud and clear so that there was no mistaking anything.

“Fuck you, redneck slut.” the one with four lips rings responded before pouring his beer all over the floor. “You better clean that up less you want a lawsuit.”

This made Big Jim get all crazy. That big fucker rose from his barstool, picked it up in a calloused mitt and began to bash one of those jokers in the back of the dome. The Punker went down like a sack of horse shit, I mean knocked out cold. Another pulled out a switchblade.

“Oh, so you want to play games.”

Big Jim retrieved his large sheathed blade. The sight of this menacing bastard was sufficient enough to make a Civil War veteran shit his knickers and piss all over himself. That fellow knew full well that he was fucked. Luckily so did Dennis Lee, who quietly got up and bolted shut the bar entrance, ominously flipping the sign around, letting patrons know that they were closed.

“Big Jim, carve this fucker up real nice.”

And he did, ramming that mean steel blade right into the city boy’s esophagus. He was deceased before he knew it. Big Jim then made his way over to the unconscious man, yanked his head up by his hair and slashed him ear to ear. That night Clarissa, Dennis, and Big Jim would haul those bodies to Robert Turner’s farm to get rid of them.

Yeah, Big Jim was no joke and when he passed from a heart attack, well it just brought every eye in town to tears. The funeral was held at his house. Understandably, the better part of the town showed up to pay their respect and all were in the bark yard where the service was being held. That is, except for Big Jim’s grandson Waylon. That’s because he had snuck off to the basement.

Big Jim had a heart, and he was an open book, more or less, that is except for his private room in the basement. This room is where he spent a considerable amount of time and when he was in the basement, the old man was not to be disturbed.

The mystery of that room captivated the young boy’s mind. What was in that room? All sorts of scenarios went through the kid’s head. Hell, at one time he thought that his grandpa had a space alien locked up in there. I’m serious, that’s how secretive he was about how he spent his time.

Waylon knew that the room was fastened by a simple padlock and luckily for him he knew just where to get a pair of bolt cutters, which he snuck over there and hid in the bushes close by. As he stood in front of that ominous door all sorts of shit went through Waylon’s twelve-year-old head but he knew that this was his only chance he’d get.

The bolt cutters worked like expected, but Waylon froze for a moment. What if something so awful was being imprisoned behind this door that his grandfather took it upon himself to shield his family from it? And what if, by opening this door, that evil were to escape and wreak havoc? There was no point of contemplating at this point. The lock was busted and his hand was already on the door knob.

Now, before we proceed any further with this story, there is something we should address about Big Jim. His wife was Bridgette and in her day she was hell on wheels. As Big Jim told the story, he fell in love one night way back when they were both in their early twenties. Brigette was a Tom Boy and boy did she love to fight men. I mean, she was ruthless, and she had a particular distaste for pedophiles and rapists. That year Frank Reed had been arrested for molesting a sixteen-year-old girl, but since we all know that the court system is a joke, he got off on a technicality. Now Brigette never would admit to it for obvious reasons, but it is presumed to be true that she went to Frank’s house one night in the summer and cut his dick off. Frank lived, but she took the dick with her and fed it to her dog. The police never could get an answer out of that man as to who done it but when Big Jim caught wind of what Brigette had done he knew that this was the woman for him.

Brigette saw Big Jim as a wildcard with a heart, and that appealed to her. So when he announced that he was going to have a secret space for himself many years ago, she asked no questions. She trusted her husband was doing nothing more than blowing off steam, probably drinking beers and tinkering with the model cars he was obsessed with making.

Despite all the young Waylon’s planning, he did not anticipate Brigette’s keen sense of awareness. So when she saw her son’s kid sneak back into the house, she knew damn well what he was about to do. For fuck’s sake, everyone in town knew about his secret room and we all wondered what was in it. Brigette didn’t care that her husband was dead, she intended to keep the promise she made to him years earlier, to never step foot in that room. She’d be damned if she was going to let some snot-nosed brat disrespect her deceased husband.

By the time she found an opportunity to slip away unnoticed, she took it. Once in the house she moved quickly to the basement but when she got there, it was too late. The door was open, and the boy had disrespected a dead man’s wishes.

“Now you really did it Waylon.”

He seemed unfazed by her voice. The boy wasn’t even startled by the unexpected company, he was too focused on what he saw. As Brigette descended the stairs her anger turned to curiosity. What was in that room to steal her grandson’s attention so much that he couldn’t even hear the ass whooping he was going to get when she told his father? When she saw the tears in his eyes her curiosity turned to concern.

“Waylon?” she called out. He turned his head toward her and she saw trauma. It was that same look Frank had on him when she sliced off his willy.

“Grandma, I’m sorry, but I had to know.”

“Well, you went on and opened it. So what’s in there that has you so upset?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Boy, you better tell me.” Anger was returning, but when she got to the doorframe she too froze. “Holy shit.”

Big Jim’s secret room was a secret no more, and what the two of them saw was nothing short of disturbings. The room contained a shrine of sorts. Every inch of wall space was covered in Polaroid pictures, and in those pictures were children. In some pictures she could see parts of Big Jim which she identified by his chest tattoo, which was of a confederate flag. In all the pictures, the kids are naked, some crying. As horrifying as these were, they didn’t compare to the ones of her husband performing various sexual acts. Big Jim was a pedophile.

How does one recover from such revelations? She knew that Waylon couldn’t be trusted to keep his mouth shut and once word go out that she was married to a kid diddler, well, she couldn’t bear the embarrassment.

“Waylon. I want you to go back to the funeral. Say nothing.”

The poor kid was so shocked that he obeyed without so much as a whimper, making his way back like a soldier suffering from shell shock. Once alone Brigette dropped the touch act and began sobbing. Her entire life with Big Jim was a disgusting lie. She slept in the same bed with this filthy monster. There was no stopping this. Word was sure to spread but what she can do is make certain that nobody ever sees the contents of that room.

After getting back her composure, Brigette made her way to the garage where she retrieved two cans of gasoline. With a broken heart, she poured it all over that room. Every inch was dripping with gasoline. Once both cans were empty, she grabbed a box of matches from the kitchen. Without hesitation, she struck a match and tossed it into the room.

Brigette stood there, watching the room burn with all its contents until she no longer could stand the heat. As she made her way back to the funeral, the flames began to spread to the rest of the house.

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