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Ridley P Poe Essay Research Paper Well

Ridley P. Poe Essay, Research Paper

Well, we got a call from a frightened Ms. Leimbach who lived on the forth floor

of the Pleasant Valley Apartment building, Lieutenant Henderson said.

So……? What d she say? I asked.

She said there was a body lying in a safety net that some construction crew had

left outside her back window, Lieutenant Henderson said.

So what d you do then, LT? I asked.

Hey Miller why don t you stuff a doughnut in this kid s mouth so I can tell my

tale. and turning to me, he added Patience young man, patience.

Flicking an ash from the end of his Dunhill toward the aluminum foil ashtray in

front of him and missing, he continued, Anyway, Sergeant Richards took the call, and the

info that he got outta Ms. Leimbach was sorta vague. She said that she couldn t tell who it

was because the face was covered in blood, but she estimated that it had happened within

fifteen minutes before calling us. She said that she had finished the dishes at her sink in

front of that window just before The Tonight Show started at 11:00, and the body wasn t

there then. When she called us at 11:15, she said she had just gotten up to make herself a

cup of tea when she noticed the body.

At first, me and Richards wondered if that old coot hadn t been seeing things

again. After all, this was the same Ms. Leimbach who had called us about four months

before this, screaming something about her Hoover attacking her.

What ya do about that? Detective Miller asked.

Well, first I called her doctor and had him meet me there with some sedatives. I

decided to bring a starter pistol loaded with blanks. When I got there, she was locked in

her bathroom, and the Hoover was lying upended in the middle of the living room floor. I

coaxed her out of the bathroom to watch me shoot six blanks into that poor old Hoover.

Then the doctor did his business, and I left with a new Hoover for the office. The next day

she called the Captain and asked that I be commended for taking care of that quote

wretched beast .

Lt. Henderson crushed out his Dunhill and grabbed a glazed one from the Dunkin

Doughnuts box in the middle of the table. He shoved half of it into his mouth and

continued talking while he chewed, Anyway, we had to check this one out regardless of

how many times she cried wolf, or beast, or whatever. When we got there, we found

exactly what Ms. Leimbach had described. He pronounced it deffcrived with help from

the doughnut.

There was indeed a body lying in a safety net four stories above the apartment

building parking lot. Since we had no way to get to the body, we called the fire department

and had them bring in a step truck to take us up. He swallowed down the half chewed

lump in his mouth and stuffed in the other half.

Richards and I went up with one of the firemen and what I saw was probably the

most disgusting sight I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. He was very dead. I

mean this guy didn t even have a face left. We assumed he had lost it somewhere between

the top of the twelve story apartment building and the safety net.

So it was a jumper? Detective Miller asked. I remained silent.

Yeah, that s what we thought. But this is where the whole thing started getting

really bizarre. You see, we assumed it was a suicide, and figured that the guy just jumped

and left his face on a ledge or something on the way down.

When we got the body down, we checked him for a wallet, a suicide note,

anything that would tell us who the hell this guy was and what brought him there. We

checked the roof and the entire front of the building with nothin more than the man s shoe

prints on the roof. Most of his teeth were knocked out, so we couldn t ID him by his

dental records. So the only thing we had to go on were his fingerprints, which we sent off

to the FBI for analysis, hoping that they would have them on file.

Since it was already late, we decided to send the body to the coroner and wait until

the next morning to question the residents of the building so we could find out if anyone

had heard or seen anything. We knew that it wouldn t be until then that we got the results

of the fingerprints back from the FBI anyway. Once we got the ID of this guy, all we

figured that we would have to do was to notify the next of kin, fill out the proper

paperwork, and that would be that. Case closed. And then this John Doe would soon be a

distant memory.

Doesn t sound too bizarre yet, I said.

Yet is the key word here — listen on, Lt. Henderson responded, lighting up

another Dunhill. The next morning we received three rather important bits of

information. The first two were expected; the other was…..well, quite the opposite. A fax

from the FBI came first with the results of the fingerprint analysis. Our John Doe was

positively identified as one Ridley P. Poe, of 61 East Sprague Street. I decided to go

myself and look for the suicide note, if Mr. Poe had bothered to leave one. And of course

he did.

Like any good jumper would, added Miller sarcastically.

Yes, like any good jumper would. But unlike most good jumpers, Mr. Poe left us

with the beginnings of a mystery that would take more twists than an Agatha Christie

novel. The Lieutenant paused to ruminate. You know, come to think of it, I believe we

still have that case on file. If you gentlemen would give me a minute, I could let Mr. Poe

tell you of his demise in his own words.

With that, Lt. Henderson slid his chair back, got up, and retreated to the records

room behind his office. He returned two short minutes later shuffling through an

overstuffed file folder. He sat back down, pulled several yellowing pieces of paper from

the folder, and lit another Dunhill.

He began talking with the cigarette wiggling in the corner of his mouth. Mr. Poe

starts out with the normal I m so depressed, and the world hates me bullshit, and then

let s see…..da de da dadaaaa……Ah! Here we go….. Six weeks ago, my mother told me

that I was not living up to her expectations as a son, and because of this she said that she

was taking me out of her will and removing me as the beneficiary of her life insurance


(Excerpt from the suicide note of Ridley P. Poe)

…..so I concocted what I thought was a foolproof

plan to get the money before she actually took

care of ending me. Since my mother typically

procrastinates with everything she does, I

figured that I would have at least two or three

weeks to kill her. My plan was pretty simple

actually. You see, since my father started

drinking heavily again five years ago, he has

been in the habit of threatening my mother with

an unloaded shotgun in an effort to train her,

as he was fond of saying. All I would need to

do would be to put a single shell into that

shotgun and wait until my father got wasted

again. If anything in this cold, fucked up

world had gone my way, I would be a rich man

right now, my mother would be dead and my

father would be in jail for the murder of that

deserving cunt.

So it has been six weeks since I put that

single shell in my father s twelve gauge. I have

been over to their plush little Pleasant Valley

apartment every single day since that one to

make sure that the shell was still there.

Although she hasn t told me, I figure that

by now, my mother has already changed the

will and the insurance policy. And I know

she s a fairly lazy bitch, but I don t think she s

waited this long. So I will go over there when I

finish this letter, and if my mother is still alive,

I will jump off the top of that pleasant building.

I can only hope that my parents are looking out

their window when I fall by, so they can see the

anguish that they have spent twenty-eight

years putting on my face. Fuck you


And then it s signed Ridley P. Poe, Lt. said.

Sounds like he got his just reward, I said.

Yeah, he sure did, but certainly not like he or anyone else expected. I told you

before that we found out something quite unexpected that morning. Well…..it came by

way of a phone call from the coroner. After I finished reading the suicide note at the dead

guy s house, Sgt. Richards called me on the radio and told me to meet him at the Pleasant

Valley Apartments. He said that he had found something out that he was sure I would find

very interesting.

I met him there about fifteen minutes later, and he told me that we needed to start

questioning the residents of the building in reference to the murder of Ridley P. Poe. I

corrected him, saying that it was an obvious suicide, and to emphasize my point, I showed

him the note that Mr. Poe had left us. He then told me that the coroner had told him that

Mr. Poe had not lost his face in an impact but rather from the blast of a shotgun. He also

told Richards that the man died instantly from the blast. Richards said that no evidence of

gunpowder was found on his hands, indicating that the blast probably came at the hands of

someone else.

With the possibility of foul play thrown into the mix, we decided to find out what

happened inside the elder Poe s apartment during the previous night.

When we called by, Margaret Poe invited us into the eighth story apartment, and

what we found surprised us. A twelve gauge shotgun was resting in a corner next to the

front door minus one shell. Shotgun pellets had pocked the frame of the screen door

leading out to the balcony, and there was a gaping hole in the screen door next to that.

Shotgun chaff lay in the living room carpet forming a V pattern beginning ten feet in

front of the screen door. But curiously there was no evidence of blood anywhere in the

apartment or on the balcony.

Where was Mr. Poe while you were doing all this? Miller asked.

Margaret went to wake the old man up while we took our little tour, and when

Warren Poe came out, it was apparent to us that he had spent the previous night imbibing.

He stumbled over his own feet and nearly knocked Sgt. Richards over. When we asked

him what had happened there the night before, he just looked dazed and said that he

couldn t recall. So we asked his wife, and she told us that the damage was there when she

came home from shopping or something at 4:00 in the afternoon. But we knew that she

was lying because her voice began trembling as she spoke. That s when I told them that

we had found their son dead the night before.

So what were their reactions? I asked.

I wasn t really interested in their reactions. With what I already knew of the

relationship that they had with their son, they could have shown indifference and that

would have only meant that they didn t give a shit one way or the other if their son was

alive or dead. But for what it s worth, both displayed shock, but no grief.

I decided then that we had enough evidence to arrest them on suspicion of

murder. Of course, they strenuously objected saying that they were not murderers and that

they loved their son and blah, blah, blah. I think you have both heard some form of that

line once or twice before.

So we brought them here to the station and began questioning them once their

lawyer arrived. We first questioned Mr. Poe, and he maintained that he couldn t recall

anything from the entire day before. We actually believed that because the old man was

still drunk and by then it was already 10:00 in the morning. So we began questioning

Margaret, and at first she stuck to her original story, adding that nothing pertinent

happened after she got home from shopping. That was when I told her about the suicide

note. I told her that I knew about her husband s habit of threatening her with the shotgun.

That s when she broke, and what she told us then is what we now know as the truth.

She told us that Ridley had come over just before 11:00. When he walked in, he

saw that his father was wasted. He told his father that he hoped he died inside that bottle.

Then he flipped his mother the bird and walked back out. After he left, Margaret told her

husband that the reason his son was a failure was because Warren was a failure. That

comment precipitated in an angry argument. She said the argument ended when Warren

grabbed the shotgun and pointed it at her. She said the gun exploded causing the damage

that we witnessed that morning. She said that her husband was so shocked and upset by

the blast that he began crying and wound up crying himself into a drunken sleep. She said

that is all she could tell us and it was the truth, so help her God.

And I believed her, said the Lt.

I know you re not about to tell me that Ridley P. Poe left that apartment, went up

to the roof, jumped off and then was accidentally shot dead by his drunken father on the

way past their eighth story balcony, Miller said.

That s exactly what I m going to tell you, said the Lt.

Impossible! Miller and I said in unison.

I can understand your reactions because I felt the same way for awhile. So we

decided to have the forensics lab check the evidence to back up Mrs. Poe s claim. And

this is what we found out:

Shotguns are designed to kill flying foul. Everyone knows this. But what most

people don t know is that when the bird shot exits the barrel of the gun, it comes out in a

very tight pattern. As the pellets get farther out, the pattern takes the shape of a sideways

elongated figure eight. Lt. Henderson gestured this pattern in the air with his finger.

And the farther out the pellets go, the less concentrated this pattern becomes. So it is

possible to accurately judge the distance between the gun and the object hit by measuring

the distance between each pellet mark. When forensics measured the pellet wounds on the

face of the deceased, the wounds were exactly one quarter inch apart, putting the distance

of the body eighteen feet away from the point where the shot left the barrel of that

shotgun. It was easy to find where Warren Poe was standing when the gun went off, just

by looking at the chaff lying on the living room carpet. This was exactly ten feet from the

screen door. The rail of the balcony is thirteen feet from the point of the blast. Eighteen

feet gentlemen is mid-air. And unless Ridley P. Poe knew how to slip the surly bonds of

earth, he was free falling when he was hit by that birdshot.

The Lieutenant leaned back, locked his hands together and stretched his arms high

above his head as we ruminated over what we had just heard. He lit up another cigarette

before continuing.

So which one of you is going to be the first to ask me who got charged with

what? the Lieutenant asked.

I m sure you had to charge the old man with something, he killed someone,

accident or no, I said.

True enough, but you have to consider that there was never any intent by the old

Mr. Poe to commit a crime. Technically, the only intent involved was that of the dead guy.

He intended to kill someone, and fortunately or unfortunately for him, depending on which

way you look at it, that someone happened to be himself. He was the victim of the crime

that he had planned for his mother.

Wow, this guy just had no luck at all, said Detective Miller.

Well, that s not even the worst of his luck either, said the Lieutenant. Don t

forget, we found his body in a construction crew s safety net. If he hadn t been shot, he

would have landed harmlessly in the net to reconsider his fate. And if that wasn t enough

insult to his fatal injury, if he hadn t died that day, he would have found himself to be a

very rich man just three days later.

Huh? I said, confused.

Mr. and Mrs. Poe died in an automobile accident three days after Ridley did. And

although Margaret did, in fact, change the will and the insurance policy out of her son s

name, she changed it to her husband. And her husband s will and insurance policy was

still made out to one Ridley P. Poe.

Life sure does suck, doesn t it Lieutenant? I asked.

Yes my good man, life certainly does suck, answered Lieutenant

Henderson. It certainly does.