BOXMAN July 25, 2013

BOXMAN Excerpt:

 

THE MAN’S DEATH had not been noticed in the unincorporated city of corrugated boxes, a small microcosm within the macrocosm called Dallas.

It wasn’t until the midnight thunderstorms, that had developed in the early afternoon in west Texas, had pushed through Dallas at twelve-oh-two, preceded by what was later estimated to be straight-line winds traveling at seventy to eighty miles an hour, that Russell G. Beady was found dead amid the rubble⎯after every structure in the ‘city’ had been blown down or away.

No one knew the BOXMAN did it.

BEN GOT THE idea from a guy he saw at an outdoor concert in the upper Midwest; some kind of three or four day Church jubilee, he couldn’t remember. The guy spent most of the first and part of the second day painting or, more aptly, coloring with colored markers a box; something that got him noticed in the crowd of four-thousand high-school seniors. The front of the box sported a red globe of the world, red where the oceans are, and black shapes representing the continents of North and South America and part of Europe and Africa. The top of the box, above the upper curve of the earth, was colored a sunshine-yellow and had the words printed, in bold black capital letters, BOXMAN.

In the upper center of the earth, beneath the letters “X” and “M” was a cutout through which he could poke his smiling face. 

For the next two days he walked around inside the box chatting up the girls and becoming the festival celebrity everyone came to know as BOXMAN

What Benjamin Hines Deluca noticed, was that when the BOXMAN took off his ‘colored box’ costume he became anonymous… the girls he’d talked to moments before wouldn’t recognize him. He’d end up saying, “I’m BOXMAN,” and they’d go… “Oh okay, yeah; I didn’t recognize you.”

For twelve years Deluca had thought about that guy and his box costume. He never knew who the guy was, but Deluca’s memory was aided by a picture he had taken of the smiling BOXMAN.

Deluca would have to admit, if the truth be told, he had a criminal mind. He hadn’t grown up a criminal, hadn’t done criminal things; but he thought about how to do them. And, more importantly, he thought about how to get away with doing criminal things.

 

HE REASONED THE most successful criminal is the one that doesn’t get caught. After that bit of bombshell enlightenment he reckoned that identity, in some form or fashion, was what got you caught. Maybe’s it’s an eyewitness, that one-in-a-million observant person that can actually render, with the help of a really good artist, an accurate likeness of the guilty party. Maybe it’s the now old-fashioned latent prints, or the au courant DNA, or trace evidence collected at a scene and analyzed with some such thing as a Gas Chromatography-mass spectrometry machine that identifies you.

He considered, the question, how can I somehow become anonymous, unrecognizable while, in effect, hiding in plain sight. Wouldn’t that be equivalent to being invisible… and wouldn’t that make you hard to identify?

That led him to his next conjecture, which had only come to him a few weeks ago, who are the invisible and where are they so I can study them and acquire for myself their cloak of invisibility?

The final epiphany came with the announcement about the Government’s hiring of thousands of people to take the next Census. In her TV interview, the head of the agency said, “…the next Census hopes to capture”, she meant ‘count’, “every person.”

They no longer talked about counting the citizenry, which would infer people were American’s by birth or by naturalization.  “No the agency wants to count everyone,” even illegals; of course she used words like “even non-indigenous persons, as well as the dispossessed, the homeless,” then she slipped, “like the box-people.”

That’s when it hit him, the box-people, like BOXMAN, are invisible. “What if I became a homeless man who wasn’t homeless, a jobless man who wasn’t jobless?” He laughed harder than he had in years… “what manner of criminal enterprise might I perpetrate on both the least and the most fortunate in society?”

Deluca smiled to himself, High society, low society, burglary and murderI was right there, on both sides of the fence… and no one saw me!I’ve done it, I am the BOXMAN! 

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