The Unemployable Hiram Legge

Another customer death. Hiram Legge was his name. I didn’t know him very well, he’d only come into the shop about five times, usually to rent a pressure cleaner for his mother’s house. He lived with her there. I’m not sure if he had a job. I suspected he didn’t. He was a little old drunk with a red nose. I pictured him drinking at night with his mother, doing all the manly chores around the house and living off her social security. One of his chores was of course pressure washing. Another was murdering possums. He went to jail for it in 2007. The article about it is still online. What happened was there was a trash bin somewhere between his house and city hall. A possum had somehow got into the trash bin and Hiram Legge stood over it looking in, armed with a stun gun and a shovel. He plunged the shovel into the bin a few times trying to kill the possum. It was still alive when a lady from Animal Control pulled up. She lowered her window, asked him what he was doing.  “Oh, it’s just a possum,” he said, looking at her with the most deadpan expression imaginable. “I’ve already killed 21 or 22 back at the house. This one’s a little more wily. I’ve tried tasing it, drowning it. Nothing seems to work.” And with that, he plunged the shovel into the bin a few more times as if it was totally normal to do that on Tuesday morning across from city hall just after an animal control officer asked you what you were doing. She told him to stop. She then called the police and he was arrested for animal cruelty, a charge he no doubt thought was bullshit. “It was a damn possum,” he probably said to himself. “A possum is a wild animal. What did I do wrong? I was raised to believe possums were inferior to man. They have no souls. My mom told me so and she’s a Christian.”

Unfortunately, the possum didn’t survive. According to the article in the Palm Beach Post, authorities gave it a proper burial. Hiram, on the other hand, who died on April 30th of this year at age 66, was cremated at Scobee-Combs-Bowden Funeral Home & Crematory in Boynton Beach. I don’t know what happened to his ashes. I guess his mother got them, if she was still alive. If not, they probably went unclaimed and are sitting in a ziplock bag in a musty storage room somewhere. I don’t think he had any other family.

As for his soul, I imagine it went to Possum Hell, where it lives for all eternity in a garbage bin with a big, dumb, violent possum standing guard over it, armed with a shovel and a stun gun and a bucket of water for whenever drowning is necessary.

Hiram Legge was a Trump supporter, if that means anything. The last time I saw him he was standing on the side of the road wearing a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat.

Here is a sketch I did of him. I copied it from a 2010 mugshot when he was arrested for driving with a suspended license (first offence, with knowledge). It was probably his mother’s car.

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19 thoughts on “The Unemployable Hiram Legge

  1. All these thin-lipped men and women — or rather tight-lipped… In most cases they are christians, right-wing, and simply hate everything alive.

    Make America Great Again — my ass! As if a great America (whatever that means) would stop him from being a useless bum. And I’m not saying that because he was unemployed.

    It’s the same here. You pass outside houses that speak of poverty and you’ll see the Greek flag waving at the front. What are these idiots thinking? That kicking out the ‘foreigners’ means they’ll get to live in a palace?

    That hell you described, that’s what he deserves.

    • I don’t get why it is that so many Christians are right wing. Say what you want about the left, they ARE the more empathetic of the two parties, and the things they stand for – health care for all, helping the poor, etc. – seem to me to be Christian ideals. Oh yeah, I forgot fetuses.. it’s better to tase and drown and beat a living possum with a shovel than abort a 2 week old fetus (because the one has a soul and the other apparently doesn’t)…

      There’s nothing stupider than MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. There will come a time that those hats will be seen (by pretty much everyone) for the absurdities they are. Kind of like the mullet hairstyle or a mesh shirt.

      “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” ~ Schopenhauer

      • Exactly. People with leftist ideas are more empathetic, and Christians should be leftists. After all, wasn’t Jesus a rebel?

        It’s just that the left also stands for things that aren’t mentioned or are condemned in the Bible — like homosexual love. Their standard response if asked what is their problem with that, is that Jesus blessed a marriage between a man and a woman. Not once can they think that the Bible was written ages ago, and that we can now be more aware of other groups who need support. Or simply that it’s not their place to judge. Didn’t Jesus say that those without sin should cast the first stone? If homosexuals or unmarried mothers or women who had an abortion are sinners, it’s God’s business to ‘punish’ them.

        Christians (and probably the faithful in every religion) are among the biggest haters you can ever meet. The more I think of them, the angrier I get.

      • Very well said. I am with you in that anger. Some of my worst customers were Christians… especially bad were the pastors. And the worst of the pastors were the ones that were into hunting. They had to do something with their bloodlust, and since they couldn’t burn humans on the stake anymore, animals needed to be punished.

        Bottom line: if you ever see a religious man in hunting gear, run for the hills.

        There’s nothing scarier than a zealot with ammo.

      • Ah, the good old days, when you could torture those who disagree with you…

        At least you can still give hate speeches to your flock. Nothing wrong with freedom of speech…

        Recently priests in Athens managed to gather a mob of feeble-minded old-timers outside a theater to protest against ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. And you should have seen what had happened when ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ was played at cinemas in Athens.

  2. This is another favorite; I say it’s among your best writings: you have a magic stride when you talk about these folks from Florida / former customers. The drawing is among your best too — you really captured Mr. Legge’s soul (or lack thereof ha!)… Man, I’m dying to own a physical collection of your text-sketches paired with these visual portraits; I hope something like that can materialize someday: it’d be a masterwork.

    …PS the above piece is so strong, it even elicits great discussions here in the comments section: I love what you & ‘Silent Hour’ say about leftists & Christianity — I strongly agree.

    • Thank you Bryan. I always like hearing what makes a connection with you. I could go on and on about my Florida people, so I guess I got that going for me. Sad part about Herr Legge is everything I said about him is true… except his name. You could probably find the article if you Google ‘John Linsen’ ‘Boynton Beach’ ‘Possum’.

      As for what you say about my doing sketches with the portraits, that’s a great idea and I too have thought of it. I just have to get a little less lazy and start sketching not just the face, the body, the background, etc, etc. I should’ve drawn Hiram standing there with the shovel in the trashbin, but I guess I can still do that..

  3. My first awareness of a gun-animal incident happened when I was still 5. A neighbor up the block had reported a possum in their garbage can, (I suppose with some degree of terror of the unknown). It stunned me when a police car showed up and the officer cavalierly shot it right in the garbage can, then did some admin stuff I didn’t grasp with the lasy, and left. Small town… so big news of the week. I knew only that this was wrong somehow, and had a conflict because it was a policeman, symbol of goodness. SInce then, I have pity for all opposums.

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