Little Utah 10: A New Basement Page

Excerpt from

True Crime Podcast Transcript

Episode 1:4 The Appalachian Angel Murder

[Transition Music]

David (Narration): Everyone told me that if I wanted to get to the heart of what really happened to Morgan, then I’d have to talk to Eric. The other thing they told me was that nothing he’d tell me would make sense. He was a weird guy, they said. Always had been, even as a child. There were those who thought he had something to do with it. He was one of the last people to see her alive. It made more sense that the local weirdo would have killed the girl than the Episcopal priest’s kid. So I went to see him. He still lived on the street where it happened. Not in the same house. He was skinny with a little paunch, balding, and…I guess the word would be soft. He wasn’t very muscular, and he didn’t look all that old, so his bald head made him look like a 6 foot tall baby. And everyone was right. He was a weird guy.

[short theme music interlude]

David: So, Eric, you were one of the last people to see Morgan.

Eric: That’s right. The Banker lady, too. And the Priest’s atheist son.

David: What do you remember about that day?

Eric: It was a good day. Pretty.

David: Anything about how folks were interacting. Did Morgan seem frightened?

Eric: No, she was more agitated. But that’s how it usually goes. You know how it is.

David: What do you mean? How what is?

Eric: What it’s like when you’re told the truth and you don’t understand. I tried to give her that but she couldn’t even imagine it.

David: What do you mean, the truth? Did you know that something was going to happen?

Eric: No, I mean the truth. Like the truth about me.

David: Which is what?

David (Narration): Eric was quiet for a while. He just stared at me for a while, his mouth slightly open. Like he was deciding whether or not to tell me something.

Eric: My Father told me a story once. A story that his father, my granddaddy told him about his Great Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe was a carpenter. Once, there was a boy working in the carpentry shop; well, he was really just playing around, and like kids do–he hurt himself, cut himself real bad, was bleeding all over the place. The kid was really scared, just bleeding everywhere. Well, according to my granddaddy, Uncle Joe lay his hands upon the boy’s wound and the bleeding stopped. My father said that he didn’t know what Uncle Joe did, that he probably just knew what vein to push where, that it probably wasn’t some out-of-the-blue miracle. But I asked my granddaddy about it once, and he swore it was a miracle. And I know that to be a fact.

David: How do you know that? I mean, miracles–by their very nature, right–it’s hard to call them facts.

Eric: I know miracles.

David: Eric didn’t say anything else then. He did motion for me to go. Now, to be quite honest, I don’t think I learned anything that is helpful for telling the story of what really happened around Morgan Mays’s death. There was something about this Eric guy, though. ‘I know miracles’? Morgan’s discomfort with him. I’d have to find out a little bit more. About him. About that day. Next week.

[Outro Music]

So—I’ve been thinking about returning to Little Utah for a while, and as I started on my revision of these old pieces, I found a way to do both. The “Uncle Joe” story is an actual family story my Dad told me once. I had forgotten about it until I was scanning my Basement Pages and found an old Hiram Literary Arts Magazine. I used to write these long narrative poems for poetry slams, and a couple were published in the magazine. The issue that I found had one in it that included the Uncle Joe story as part of the poem. I cackled when I read the poem (Jeez! I was a cornball!) but the Uncle Joe bit was worth saving, and while there’s a bit of a risk to taking your own family story and putting it in the mouth of a crazy character, I think it works, given what we know about Eric. I’m also enjoying playing with the form of the storytelling, too. What do you think of the transcript?

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