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Unless that something is this. (by the way,
graphic violence, bad writing).

Litchfield is my home town. If you’ve ever been to the non-big-city portion of the midwest US, you’re probably familiar with the type of city: small, surrounded by farmland, and mainly uninteresting. Litchfield has some perks, though: we’re right on Route 66, we have annual antique car and motorcycle festivals, and we’re right off the interstate: a good stop for a coffee break on your way to somewhere more interesting (Linkin Park once ate at our Denny’s on their way to Peoria. it was a big deal). Also, we have one of the last few old drive-in theatres in the state.

bald_eagle.jpg
check out our l33t bald eagle’s nest

So imagine my surprise when a Google search brings up that monster. The gist of the story is, in the early nineties a man went nuts, murdered his wife, put her head in a bucket of cement (so the story goes) and threw it into our town’s own Lake Lou. And, as the rumor goes, the bucket was never found. Like that lake wasn’t eery enough.

Ever since it’s been a playground horror story, told in whispers and with much uneducated flourish. Sort of a local legend, so I wasn’t too surprised that there was a book…I was surprised that the author was from St. Louis, and even more surprised that he was, apparently, completely drunk while writing it.

I think it’s wrong when such a terrible story is told so badly that I can’t stop laughing about it. There’s only one review of this book on Amazon.com and it’s by one of the people involved in the story, who says basically, the author made up the dialogue completely. He interviewed nobody, made everything up, and, essentially, did everything in his power to make the people of Litchfield sound like total hicks (or at least, for the first few pages in the Amazon preview).

The book opens with the body of the victim being found. With the flourish of a poet, he ends his “colorful” description of the gruesome nature of the situation with this gem (after throwing in some false dialogue): “Like a slap, the rank smell of burning flesh assaulted them.” It assaulted them. Like a slap. Can someone please tell me why that sentence makes me laugh so hard? I can’t stop.

And when most would be at a loss for words to describe the terrible sight, this author comes through for us all: “It was a very nasty piece of business.”

Behold the awesome display of powers of comparison: “this was a scene from Fright Night or some other slasher movie.” C’mon now. Would it have been so hard to look up from writing and ask the next person in the room for another comparison? Like that one movie or….some….other, different movie of the same genre. Right. Brilliant.

What’s funniest, I think, is the fact that in his efforts to make the small town folk seem completely small-town quaint unedumucated, some of the false-hickishness seems to rub off on him, as he actually uses the phrase “drunked-up,” and he wasn’t even fake quoting anybody. Drunked-up? I’d bet my last lonely dollar that that is the first and last time I ever see the phrase “drunked-up” used seriously.

Other fun: he claims Lake Lou is a spot often used for teens’ “necking.” Lake Lou is a hole of mud…we have another, prettier lake across town and the aforementioned drive-in cinema for “necking.” I don’t think people have even “necked” since the 50’s anyway, and certainly nobody necks at Lake Lou. I mean, not even before there was a head in the lake.
On the back cover, he describes Litchfield as “droll.” Droll? Is this man Jane Austen? Droll?? The town’s small…quaint, maybe, but droll?

The moral of this story is, come to Litchfield. Eat at our too many restaurants. Sleep at our too many hotels. Enjoy our rich history of festivals and heads in buckets. Have a…droll time. Droll. Droll?

Droll.

3 Responses to “It’s nice to be known for something…”

  1. on 11 Sep 2007 at 1:23 pm pella

    ok, so have you seen the movie “north country”? yeah, that’s where i live. when the film crew showed up they pretty much said “well, telling the truth wouldn’t make for a very interesting movie, so we’re gonna need you to be hicks”

  2. on 12 Sep 2007 at 9:39 pm Alpaca The Awesome

    Saucy. That’s all I have to say.

  3. on 11 Jan 2008 at 12:44 pm Courtney

    I was reading that you were from Litchfield. That was the big town to go to for the 8 summers I spent in Carlinville with my grandparents for a Christian Camp. We would go there quite a bit. And yes, the town is very small. But Illinois has to be one of my favorite places to go to, it’s feels good in the summer-compared to our triple digits here in Texas. So I applaud you for being proud of your town…it’s better than mine!

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