Monday, May 18, 2015

Hush Falibur and the Case of the Missing Muscle Car

Yvon Charette
Sudbury Jail Superintendent (retired)

“Sign here to indicate we offered medical treatment and you refused.”
The short bald man slid the clipboard and pen between the bars for Hush to make his mark. He wore a grey suit jacket with brown patches on the elbows and a white shirt with no tie. He had matching slacks and shiny black shoes. There was a bright green tag pinned to his breast pocket that read Visitor.
A young male nurse was waiting for Hush when he crossed the tunnel from court and inquired about the fit he threw at the police station. Hush lied and said it was withdrawal, that he was injecting opiates and his body simply wasn’t ready for the sudden shock of sobriety. The nurse looked hip with long sandy blonde hair tied up in a bun and a small metal hoop earring in his left lobe. He wore a thin moustache and soul patch. After flashing a pen light in Hush’s eyes and asking him about any dizziness or confusion, the young nurse was satisfied and left.
Hush studied the document he was handed carefully. He never signed his name to any paper given to him in jail without reading it completely first. Jail guards could be sneaky fucks that way, especially the one standing on the opposite side of the bars of the bullpen. More than one illiterate prisoner was told they were signing something trivial like the list of their clothing and cash when it was really a statement absolving police or prison staff of any liability from injuries sustained while being roughed up during their arrest or while taken from the paddy wagon and placed into custody of the jail.
Hush saw the little man was leaning on a wooden cane and grinning that same shit-eating grin he had worn as the chief screw, the tin-pot dictator of the Sudbury District Jail.
Another blast from the past, Hush thought.
Yvon Charette had served as the institution superintendent from 1979 to 2001 and was reviled by both prisoner and correctional officer alike. He had cruel hazel eyes and a constant look of contempt on his face. The look he gave both the inmates and his staff made it clear he found their very presence a tedious experience.
“I always knew you’d end up back here Falibur.” Charette said. “I never got to say goodbye to you before I retired, so I told my successor Mr. Hillsdale to contact me upon your inevitable return.”
Hush sat alone and expressionless on the wooden bench staring down at the metal loop imbedded in the floor that secured the chain attached to his ankle shackles. None of the other men (mostly kids, truth be told) in the cage with him awaiting processing were in manacles like Hush. They eyed him warily as they milled about waiting to use the telephone mounted to the brick wall to call someone who cared and arrange bail. The last of the new prisoners left an hour ago, their admitting procedures finished and cell blocks assigned. Hush wasn’t surprised, he was accustomed to special treatment in the jail, and not the good kind of special treatment.
After signing the waiver, Hush slid the clipboard back down the woodenbench until it hit the bars in front of where Charette was smirking triumphantly at him.
The old copper’s knees popped as he bent to fish the clipboard and pen back through the cast-iron bars. If he was bothered by the inconvenience, he didn’t let on.
“Mr. Hillsdale, ever the optimist, believed you might never come back, Falibur. He thought you might have found a nice girl and settled down. I, of course, knew better. Did you know that I came all the way back here from Florida?”
Still a pompous windbag, Hush thought. He stroked his mustache and did his best to look unimpressed, but he had a lot on his mind. The cancer. The kid in a coma. Aimes still sniffing around the Jesenek disappearance. Dickie Flynn singing like a canary.
You always knew Flynn would crack, Hush told himself. Every time the two of you had a piece of work Flynndian had to be hammered first. After it was done he would go on a three day bender. You saw this coming, and you did nothing.
It was true. Hush always told himself he’d kill Dickie Flynn eventually. It had to be done. He even planned out how he’d do it (quick, painless) and had picked out a spot to dump the body. Somehow though, he just never got around to it. The fat little drunk was a liability, sure, but he was also the closest thing Hush had to a friend after Robbie McCharles had his hallucinogenic epiphany and fucked off to whereverthefuck to feed war refugees with a bunch of Jesus-beavers.
So what? Hush silently answered the little voice in his head. If I killed Dickie, he’d just be one more ghost of a bloated corpse waiting for revenge on the other side.
Do I really believe that? What the fuck.

“I told you I’d make you pay for what happened to my car,” Yvon Charette said.
The retired screw mentioning his old car broke Hush’s train of thought and brought him back to the present. He tilted his head up and smiled at Charette,
“What car?” he asked.
“You might be laughing now you criminal piece of shit, but you shan’t laugh long, I promise you.” The retired screw spat the word criminal out like the word itself tasted foul in his mouth. Like a criminal was the worst thing a person could be. Hush smiled wider until the hairs of his mustache tickled the skin between his nostrils.
One of the most contemptible things about Yvon Charette was the way he talked, the way he used words like shan’t not because it came natural to him but because he believed it made him seem more intelligent, more of an intellectual than the prisoners he kept and the men and women who worked under him in the jail. He generally made the people who engaged him feel like plebes or lowly peasants, like it was sufferance for him to even converse with an inmate or correctional officer. He would often shake his head or roll his eyes when he was being spoken to and dismiss people with a snort and an arrogant wave of his hand.
The car he was talking about was a black ’63 Beaumont. Charette bought the vehicle in the summer of 1990. It was his pride and joy. When he showed up at the jail with the muscle car he always parked it sideways taking up three spots in the lot at the rear of the building, forcing some guards to park their vehicles on the street. Hush overheard a gaggle of guards laughing about how the superintendent was over-compensating for his microscopic dick.
Charette spent nearly all of his breaks and lunches admiring his glorious machine. Sometimes he’d spend hours buffing and polish it, other times he would sit in the driver’s seat with the door open, revving the motor repeatedly before popping the hood and pretending to fiddle with the engine. He wasn’t fooling anyone. It was clear Yvon Charette knew about as much about auto-mechanics as he did about being a decent human being.
Many times he’d have one of his officers move the inmate transport bus out of the garage and into the parking lot to have the Beaumont washed and waxed and the interior vacuumed and cleaned by prisoners he would hand-pick for the task. He chose rapists, rats and diddlers from the Protective Custody wing only. He wouldn’t dare pick inmates from the general population to clean that beautiful automobile. Certainly never anyone with any balls.
Hush happened to be serving dead time that particular summer along with Robbie McCharles and one of the infamous Bolton brothers, Alex. He was the quiet one and definitely the more dangerous of the twins. They were facing conspiracy charges laid after a shakedown investigation involving wiretaps.
The evidence was shit and everyone from the cops to the crown to their defense lawyers knew it, but in those days the police didn’t concern themselves with the likelihood of convictions when it came to Hush and his crew. In the eyes of law enforcement, having career bad guys like them off the street for a ten-month stretch waiting for trial was a win in itself. All three of the accused had lengthy criminal records and didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting bail, something else the cops counted on.
Hush and his friends did what they always did when facing an extended period of pretrial incarceration, they set to work flooding the jail with dope and making a handsome profit doing it. Within a month of their stay, the cell blocks and corridors of the SDJ were so cloudy with thick acrid marijuana smoke that many guards began to complain to their family physicians of headaches and nausea from the constant exposure, and were granted lengthy medical leaves.
This of course, infuriated Yvon Charette. He locked down the entire jail and had his officers do thorough searches of every range. He cancelled yard and all art and education programs offered by the John Howard Society. He revoked television and radio privileges on every cellblock. He even ignored the pleas of sweet, elderly Reverend Betty and suspended all chaplaincy services.
Still, all night and every day for six weeks the sharp odor of marijuana hung heavy in the air.
The bitter superintendent patrolled every guard walkway, his footfalls echoing unusually loud due to the lack of noise from range televisions or music from the radio. On every block he proclaimed the same thing: Things would only get worse for the inmates if the dope smoking didn’t stop immediately. His ultimatum was met with blank red-eyed and glossy stares and quiet snickering from the stoned prisoners.
Charette knew all along it was Hush Falibur and his cronies who were responsible for the influx of contraband, though. He also knew exactly how to curb it without all the lockdowns and searches and program suspensions. All he needed to do was break up the range the three co-accused were on, send Bolton and McCharles to opposite ends of the jail and throw Falibur in the hole. All three men were bad apples, rotten to the core, but Charette had worked in jails long enough to spot the leaders. They were men who were delinquent for so long the iron bars and brick walls of prison no longer intimidated them. Inmates like Falibur not only defied correctional authority at every turn, they also emboldened other prisoners to grow defiant as well.
So why didn’t Yvon Charette, the man in charge of the SDJ simply take the path of least resistance and separate the troublemakers right from the start instead of imposing a month and a half of his personal brand of martial law? He did it because he liked taking things away from inmates. He did it because he got a perverse joy out of making their time in jail that much more miserable. Most of all though, Charette did it because he was a small man, and exerting his power made him feel like a giant.
A week after Falibur and his friends had been dealt with and the smoke in the jail finally cleared, Charette’s prized Beaumont disappeared from the garage of his Minnow Lake home in the middle of the night.

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