The police in Goberspit, New Hampshire are proud to say they’ve never worked a day in their lives. You will never see a police car patrolling the streets of Goberspit, just like you will never see a cop walking any kind of beat, in fact, most days, they don’t even bother going in to work at the police station at all.
“What’s the point getting up going all the way across town to the station when everyone knows my phone number? If anyone was to really commit a crime, I’m sure they’d have the good decency to call their chief of police, or even just drop by my home to give me the heads up. Or, they could wait outside the police station for someone to show up eventually. We’re always there Tuesday nights, cause, Tuesday nights are poker nights at the station, so, if you’re going to commit a crime in town, and you wanna make sure we’ve got police in the station, do it on Tuesdays, preferably around 11:30 when the game’s breaking up.”
Police around the world laughed at this particular town’s approach to law enforcement. They only paid Chief McKrackin, who only put on his uniform to take pictures for his Christmas cards. The deputies were a hodgepodge of volunteers who mainly just showed up for the poker games. But, no one could argue with Chief McKrackin’s record for cases solved. In the cases solved department, the good chief is batting a thousand. He’s one for one.
The one crime ever committed in Goberspit during the twenty-seven years Jake McKrackin has been chief was solved in under an hour. Frank Cutchins had stolen Martha Hapsley’s umbrella from the Food Mart’s umbrella bin. Frank had felt so bad about it, he drove straight from the Food Mart to the police station to confess. He was lucky to catch Chief McKrakin as he was leaving for the day. It was 9:05 in the morning.
“I don’t want to be the one who messes things up. I didn’t even think about it when I took the umbrella. I just saw that it was raining I saw the umbrella and I took it. But as I got in the car, dry, thanks to the umbrella, I felt terrible, because I realized I had just stolen something, and that makes me the first criminal in this town and it’s like the first piece of garbage on the ground, suddenly the whole ground is covered in garbage. I don’t want to be that first piece of garbage. I steal an umbrella today, suddenly, there’s graffiti every where, everyone is on drugs, turning into murderous zombies. No thanks. Here is the umbrella, please arrest me, you have my full confession.” Frank fessed up.
“Why didn’t you just return the umbrella back to the bin? Then it wouldn’t be a crime.”
“Then I would have gotten wet. It’s raining.”
“You would rather be dry and arrested than wet and innocent?”
“Apparently, yes.” Frank scratched his nose. It was suddenly very itchy and no amount of scratching could get it to stop.
“You wanna spend a night in jail?”
And just like that, the itching stopped. Frank lowered his hand from his face and said, “Yes, I do.”
From that night on, the town learned that crime doesn’t pay. You commit a crime, you go to jail.
Frank died ten years later, proud to the end that he had protected his beloved town from moral decay.
But then Billy moved in. Billy was the seventeen year old son of Bob and Judy Watson who had moved from Boston following his father’s demotion to Goberspit. At first, the townspeople of Goberspit forgave Billy his trespassings, believing once the boy got to know the culture of the town, he would adopt from his crude city ways, to their refined sense of civic duty.
“Excuse me, son, you dropped this,” said Marv Tooks, picking up the empty coke can Billy had tossed on the park ground.
“Yeah, I’m done with it,” Billy laughed and walked off. Marv stood, holding the empty coke can, wondering if he should teach the boy a lesson, or throw the can into the garbage. He figured the boy would learn from someone else, tossed the can in the trash and continued with his five mile run.
A little farther through the park, Billy discarded a chocolate bar wrapper in the middle of the baseball diamond’s infield. Later that morning, two boys came to practice pitching. One boy, Greg Benner, stood on the mound, finishing his juice box before setting to pitching. He saw the candy wrapper, figured, that’s what you do with stuff you don’t want, and tossed the juice box on the ground before he tossed his first pitch.
Six months later Goberspit would record its first murder. Tony Baberspier would toss Billy bound and gagged into the river, hoping to rid the town of its evil.