Moons over Mt. Willis

Tomorrow night…Halloween. Day of dread, devils, dastardly deeds. It will also be the first time in 46 years that a full moon will rise over the holiday. Scientists are predicting…due to atmospheric conditions…that the moon will look like a jack-o-lantern. Also in the sky, the Seven Sisters constellation…often pointed to by doomsdayers as a sign of the end of the world.

I am shutting down Mt. Willis for the night. Just before last Halloween, we moved into Mt. Willis. I bought 18 bags of candy. That, I figured, was enough for the kiddos and enough for me. Then the trucks started coming down off the mountain (that’s the real Mountain, not Mt. Willis). If ever I needed an illustration of the word “horde,” I got it that night. The 18 bags were gone in an hour. I abandoned the doorbell procedure and just sat on my front porch and threw candy at the masses. When the 18 bags were gone, I ran up to the local drug store (a chain franchise monster) and bought ten more bags. Gone in another hour, I really should have looked online to look for a candy value pack and purchased as many as I could in anticipation, I would have still had candy and probably saved money too. I turned off my porchlight and the rest of the lights in my house and peered through my miniblinds at hundreds of angry batmen and ghosts. I was scared and still am today.

So, Mt. Willis will be closed for business tomorrow night. If you want candy, you can steal it from the little monsters that will be camped outside my house. I’m just not taking any chances on that debacle being fueled by a full moon and the Seven Sisters.

Melissa’s father made both of his appointments this morning. First the mortuary (a $4000 expense), then an interview with a local TV reporter who is admittedly conflicted.

Little secret about some TV reporters…sometimes we’re not sensationalist vultures.

My problem today…I know a lot more than I feel comfortable telling. For instance, I know the victim in this case was a nude dancer, a single mother who got pregnant when she was 16 and never finished high school. I know she was dating a married man and her family believes that may have contributed to her death. I know that as early as three weeks ago she was telling family members what to do in the event of her death.

But I also know that I sat for 30 minutes today talking with a very Christian man, who spent nine years as a traveling circus clown, who raised this girl since she was one year old, and who can’t say out loud that his daughter was a stripper. She was a poet, a mother, a sister, a daughter.

Now…there are some who say that I should tell all I know, that I’m not doing my business justice if I don’t. And to a degree I agree with that.

But…besides being good for ratings…are all the sleazy things really all that relevant to the story? I dunno. I mean, this guy took time out of his funeral preparations to come at my request to our station to do an interview. Somebody strangled his daughter and left her in the trunk of her own car. He smelled her body when he found the Honda Accord in a strip mall parking lot. Am I going to feel like I’ve done my job if I go on TV and say his daughter was a stripper slut who got mixed up with the wrong people?

In my defense, I don’t have my sleazy information from a credible source. That is to say, I know it to be true, but I don’t have enough supporting the facts to put it on TV without the fear of being sued.

I’m quite conflicted. Hard-nosed reporter, my ass.

I’ve been writing all of this off and on for the last two hours. I started before the victim’s father got here, then went and got lunch, then came back to write some more. I’m neck deep in Karrie’s Kafe chicken salad.

It has a therapeutic herb in it (I think) that will help me make my decisions.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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