George Helm’s filling station was located on the far south-western border of Cross, a place where Old South Road traveled on down towards Worcester and, not surprisingly, further points south.
George was a fine gentleman, always ready to lend a hand and rarely in a bad mood. He had his days of course. Don’t we all?
George, it would later be discovered, was a little worse than others. He had a tendency to hold a grudge, regardless of the size of the slight. I had known him to fume and fuss for years over a personal insult inflicted upon him by someone in town.
Recently, I learned that he was the same way with those out-of-towners who injured him in some way. These people, however, did not fare better than Cross’ natives. In fact, their situation was generally worse.
Occasionally, George would put up a car or two for sale. He would offer them at a modest price. Nothing too heavy nor anything to light. A fair middle ground. I have no idea as to how many vehicles he may have sold over the years, but it was easily close to one hundred.
In May of this year, he passed away, and it fell upon the town to clear out his backlot, which had several hundred old fifty-gallon drums on the property. They were all stacked neatly, as was George’s habit. Surprisingly, they were numbered as well, and each number corresponded to a small black book he had left in the safe of the station.
The book listed each vehicle he had sold, and who had owned the vehicle before him. Curiously enough, some of the entries included the names of wives, children, and at times friends.
When the barrels were opened, the town learned why.
There was a body in each barrel. Some had fully decomposed. Others were fresher than anyone would have liked. George, it seemed, had a habit of hunting down people he didn’t like, and murdering them and whoever their passengers were. The bodies were tucked away, and the vehicles sold.
It’s too bad, really.
George was a hell of a nice guy.
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