Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!


Nothing fascinates me more than an occasional perusing of the local newspaper, the ever reliable and accurate (The) Review , which used to be the East Liverpool Evening Review, the latter appellation a victim of progress.

The Review and I have a history that began in the 1950’s when as a fledgling entrepreneur I had a Review paper route with 107 customers. And, so it was that in rain, snow, and storm old Bob, or rather young Bob, would find himself out there among ‘em distributing the news on or near the front porch, trying to collect the weekly remuneration from people who made avoidance an art form, and with the honestly procured, hard-earned profits, trying my best to develop an addiction to Dairyland’s dulcified banana splits. And, I must mention, in the interest of truth in journalism and full disclosure, that it was the Review, under the leadership of the legendary Glenn Waight (a true gentleman and scholar) who sponsored several trips for the newsboys to one of the most celebrated ball yards in America, Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, where the sacred soil of right field was patrolled by The Great One, he of the rifle arm, Roberto Clemente!

And, so it was, that last week, Tuesday, April 28, the Year of Our Lord, 2009 to be precise that I picked up a copy of the Review . There, while I swilled a large cup of that habituating and overpriced brew sold at Dunkin’ Doughnuts, just below the fold and just above the teaser that informed the yokels that a local hero, one Adam Hoppel, scion of the famous, fecund, and athletic Hoppel clan, had signed to play with the Cleveland Browns (Oh, Lord!), was the rather mundane announcement that there had been an “Arrest made in home burglary.”

What caught my attention was that the neighborhood in question was my old “’hood,” not that white-bread boys in the 1950’s had any concept of “hoods,” we did however have a certain fondness for the old doo-wop and rhythm and blues that flourished during that period of musical renaissance. And, so I read with a renewed focus to see what act of treachery some felonious slacker had visited upon a righteous, God-fearing, tax-paying citizen fully protected by all the ancient and hard won privileges that define the sanctity of the domicile.

The story, written by the steady and experienced hand of one, Michael D. McElwain, an award winning Review journalist, revealed a Poe-like tale of horror seldom visited on a Christian people, a tale that must be told in the hope that you, dear reader, might be better prepared to guard your family and secure your fortune.

It was in the crepuscular light of predawn, at precisely 4:42 a.m., on the day in question, that a certain Ms. X was awakened by a sound so un-natural, so un-Godly, as to cause her somnambulistically shrouded senses to tingle in alarm. It was the muted suseration of a slithering “S,” reminiscent of the sound made by the raptorial basilisk in the movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, or the sound made by our Steve Erkel look-a-like president as he vexously whistles his “S’s” during his sleep inducing, Castro like, speeches.

Ms. X, surely a woman of true grit, listened in silence, then watched in horror as the black-clad peculator, silently and stealthily rose from the floor and stood, leering, from the foot of the bed. What horrors were to be visited upon this innocent victim? What demonic entity now stood before her, eyes glaring, teeth bared, intent on some horrific violation? It is at this point, if I may speak directly, when I would have lost bladder control or worse, requiring the wife to toss the bedsheets. But our heroic Ms. X, made of sterner stuff, and no doubt acting on her heritage culled from her ethnic antecedents, jumped from her slumbers and “chased the intruder out of the home and down the sidewalk toward Fourth Street.”

That, dear reader, is a woman in full bloom. I would have paid to see that titillating sight, I would have cheered from the top of my smoke-free lungs, “You go girl!”

The pursuit, however, proved futile. A few days later the alleged perpetrator was apprehended by the East Liverpudlian constabulary and revealed to be a member of the distaff side. On Monday, the suspect appeared in East Liverpool Municipal Court and was required to cough up two big ones in order to secure her release until Thursday when she will have a preliminary hearing. Stay tuned!

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles