A Perry Mason Moment by Paul Beckman

The wind chimes were driving Lucas crazy. He was watching an old Perry Mason show on his TV when Perry swung around and pointed his finger at the old lady in the gallery. The wind chimes on the Lucas’ porch began to chime louder. The old lady stood and was starting to confess that she had been poisoning her neighbor’s well and him along with it, but despite Lucas turning the remote to high the wind chimes got louder and drowned out her confession. Lucas was furious. He had seen this episode before and wanted to hear her confession. He loved her confession: the way her soft blue eyes turned hard and her voice went from a whisper to a full-throated disgust.

The old lady had killed before and knew she’d do it again but she was tired of killing and covering up and even hiding so she knew because she was an old woman who pleaded guilty so that they’d send her to one of those country club jails where she wouldn’t have to take care of anyone ever again—not even the pet goat who, with lowered head, butted her towards evil and she envisioned Goat on a spit in the fire pit and having Perry and his staff over for her last meal if that’s the way it was going to be; but she didn’t believe that so she invited the judge the jury and Lucas over also.

How was she to know about those fucking chimes? Those loud chimes rattled everyone’s brains, including the jury’s and while they meant to say guilty they said innocent. The Judge dismissed her, and the bailiff brought Goat into the courtroom through the television thinking the old lady would be happy to see her pet, but the entire jury, including alternates, stood and pointed at Goat and said guilty. Goat shook his head no and stood on his hind legs and touched his front hoofs to his heart.

Goat ran in circles and came up behind the old lady and head butted her into the center of the courtroom but no one of any consequence spoke goat so Goat leapt back through the TV and head-butted Lucas to the court room where the old lady stood and pointed at him and said, “He’s the guilty one, not Goat.” But Goat was already found guilty and was taken out to the old lady’s house where everyone spit in the fire pit for luck and basted Goat with barbeque sauce mixed with sweet balsamic, ground pistachios, and capers. The old lady introduced everyone to Lucas’s wife, Alice, whom she had chosen for her next victim, sometime in the future. 

Paul Beckman is an award-winning author with a new flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press). He lives in CT and runs the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series in KGB’s Red Room. Some of his publications are in Spelk, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Thrice Fiction, The Lost Balloon, and The Raleigh Review.

1 thought on “A Perry Mason Moment by Paul Beckman”

  1. Little-known trivia fact: The actress who played the old lady was the great-aunt of Barbara Hale, who played Della Street, Perry’s secretary. The character of Della did not appear in this episode because she and her great-aunt were engaged in a very public feud during filming. The feud was apparently sparked by Hale’s disapproval of the studio using a goat bred and raised by her great-aunt’s husband, a well-known provider of animal stock to both television and movie studios at that time. Shortly after filming of this episode, both of Hale’s relatives disappeared mysteriously and their disappearance remains unexplained to this very day.

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