The Incredible Story of Martin Wignall

by Mark R. Wilkins 
Martin Wignall, normally a man of great inner strength, known among his neighborhood and his town as one of those people whose mere presence brings peace to those struggling with conflict and whose insights were universally regarded as a blessing to those given the gift of hearing them, known as a man always well-dressed and forever in perfect form, nails manicured, hair just so, conservative wire-rimmed eyeglasses always exactly in place and never prone to slip down his nose, known as the father of eight perfect little girls all ten years old and themselves always precisely poised, known as a man whose only ignominious moment had been at the age of twenty-three when, seized by a terrible impure fit of jealousy completely unlike him, he had struck with a tremendous 1948 Ford pickup truck and repeatedly backed over again and again his best friend Phil Kardass who in a moment of passion had defiled the fidelity of Martin's one true love, a strange, quiet young lady named June, June for whom the flowers would sing and whose tears over the premature death of Phil would stain the hitherto perfect pattern of Martin's soul for all eternity, Martin, known as a man who managed to fight off with remarkable persistence the unfortunately periodic urge to fondle his daughters, only slipping his hands where they didn't belong on the unusual day when his inner strength was not exactly so great as perhaps it should have been had his steeled resistance to temptation been godlike rather than merely human, though occasionally, just between you and me, those few unusual days on which he would touch his daughters would sometimes feature in Martin's behavior the extremes of human perversity to an extent that the general knowledge of his behavior would perhaps not have been quite so flattering had the story gotten out among his peers, a group of people whose tolerance of fathers fondling their little girls was, shall we say, low, lower in fact than in many small towns which already share a much higher ethical and moral standard than, say, Los Angeles, in which I dare say you could find a neighborhood in which it probably is considered, heaven forbid, almost normal to cop a feel with one's daughter once in a while, not that I'm suggesting that you move there or anything should you be inclined to such things, and certainly not that I'm suggesting that such neighborhoods should not be burned to the ground as decent men would were they marked clearly in flaming red letters on the street maps, was much surprised to find himself called upon by society as he had been, as a man of such character would have to be, especially growing up in such a town as he did in which children, except his own young girls, of course, who did not experience the benefit of their parents assiduously protecting their innocence by declining to fondle them every single time the temptation arose rather than only the vast majority of the time, were sheltered from the knowledge of the big, wide adult world out there, the world which many adults would love to forget and be children again if only they did not know that they would be assaulted by that adult world in their nightmares even if spared the day-to-day exposure to horror and perversity which marks adulthood, fearing even the walk to the parking lot, as sadly many adults of today do, fearing the occasional black man who walks down the street, although God knows there are a few black men who are alright and it is the responsibility of every Christian to give the odd black man the benefit of the doubt, even if it is most likely that the black man is unemployed, living on the handouts provided by those damned bleeding- heart liberals whose high-minded ideals are bleeding our own hearts dry, or worse, that the black man is a murderer who has yet to be caught, or perhaps a murderer at heart who has yet to murder, and perhaps should be dispatched immediately to spare his victim the pain of acting out the performance which will make the black man fulfill his destiny, even though the liberal courts could not support such a thing, even if Martin Wignall, in the midst of fondling his daughters, would, yes, Martin was surprised enough that it took him uncomfortable minutes to find his bags, minutes which would have been much more difficult to spare, had he known of the surveillance, the call on the radio of the police car, the plump, balding man setting aside his jelly doughnut carefully so as not to stain his bright blue uniform shirt, his shiny badge which he loved so much, his stylish yet classic hat which sat on the seat beside him, or his beautiful, yet more classic, Beretta 9mm pistol which would come unusually handy in a very short while, to the plump man's great surprise, or had Martin even known of the call his wife had made a week before, crying in the dark, hoping that her husband would not awaken to find her out of bed, but since he knew none of these things Martin remained willing to look for the bags despite his surprise at the Lieutenant's phone call, and though the car pulled up as he started to throw his clothing, half of it dirty, into the bags, since the plump man did not run the siren Martin did not see the car and continued at a measured, methodical pace, to pack, the kind of pace at which you see paramedics work to rescue a victim, a kind of controlled rush which allows them to calmly take all the necessary steps without going so fast that they will skip the essential, for the manner in which society had expressed its needs to Martin was in the form of the Lieutenant's phone call, which stated that he was to give himself up peacefully and that a car would be dispatched to fetch him some thirty minutes hence, when in fact the car was dispatched much sooner with instructions to wait outside Martin's door to prevent his attempt to flee, as is sometimes done when kind police lieutenants wish to spare their apprehendee the embarrassment of having to prepare their personal effects with an officer watching, but usually only of course when the police lieutenant does not know about such ignominious moments as Martin's backing over Phil again and again and again to drive the image in his head of Phil and June pursuing their own ignominious moment of human joy away, as the police lieutenant presiding in Martin's town on the day of his attempted apprehension did not, "attempted," I say, because as Martin heard the crack of a twig outside and peered out the window he realized the trap which had been set for him and searched for his own beloved 9mm Beretta, a tool which for moments of desperation many of those who fondle their eight daughters all the same age might very well be advised to hide away, as did Martin, posessed of the gift of foresight, but when he found the pistol he discovered it to be bereft of cartridges, a sad comment on the state of Martin's preparation considering how truly inexpensive a box of the things can be if you look in the right place, so Martin was left with no other option than to attempt to sneak out the back, an attempt in which Martin was thwarted by the simple and depressing fact that he had welded the back door shut to keep unwanted visitors away, especially during private trysts with his daughters, and having had his one option taken from him he searched his head for the option which really was no option at all, to seize his wife and hold the pistol to her head as he walked down the front steps, comically trying to carry his bags over his shoulders, a course of action which left his emotionally destroyed wife in a foggy state of psychological disrepair, as the frozen image of the bag over Martin's shoulder swinging beneath her eyes recalled to her the romantic trip, taken in younger, more carefree days, the trip on which she and Martin had fallen in love all over again for the first time since her true love Phil had been run over again and again and again by Martin's 1948 Ford pickup, and on which six of the eight daughters had been conceived, the other two daughters having been the product of two minor infidelities which were such small trifles as not to have formed a real mark on Martin's record, for even good Christians enjoy a little trifle with someone on the side, if you know what I mean, and even so June had forgiven Martin because on the trip she'd fallen so much in love again, and besides, it's hard to run out on the man whose virile tendencies have just been the cause of sextuplets growing within you, especially when you yourself have no real means by which to support yourself, let alone six children, but the warm memory of the trip floating through June's mind was not enough to blot out the harsh sound of a gunshot which echoed through the air or the warm feeling of blood on her shoulder from the awful gaping wound in Martin's head, for as all good Christians know an unloaded Beretta with no clip has a big hole in the handle and it can be very hard, in the haste of a difficult emotional situation, to remember to protect such a detail from an attentive police officer such as the plump man was, especially if the sugar with which the jelly doughnut was laced had heightened the officer's otherwise adrenaline-pumped senses of awareness to the point at which he would see that there were no danger to killing Martin even if there were in fact such danger, but fortunately there was not, and before Martin had even dropped to the ground unconscious the officer had shaken off his panic with the ease of the righteous killer and had reached for the jelly doughnut, which yielded up to him with just the right amount of resistance another chewy, sweet, succulent bite, ripe with the flavor of cherry, a flavor so perfect as to even overwhelm the plump man's flush of success.