One cool Lubbock afternoon in 1979, Father Joe James made a kite. He nailed together a small wooden cross, glued paper across it, and on the long tail of twine tied streamers every five feet. Then he walked out of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, the energy-saving, below-ground house of worship he had designed, climbed up a modest slope, and launched the contraption above the church’s school and football field. Staring up at the fluttering streamers, he could gauge which way the wind was blowing and where it blew hardest.
In the last desperate months of his life, he would come into the restaurant at all hours of the day and take a seat, sometimes at the counter and other times in one of the back booths. He was always alone. He wore a scruffy ball cap, and behind his large, square glasses there was something odd about his eyes. They didn’t always move together. Barbara Billnitzer, one of the waitresses, would bring him a menu and ask how he was doing.
Baylor Neuro-Doc Exonerates Notorious Psycho Killer! Says Whitman Not Himself
As most of you no doubt know, on the morning of August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman dragged a footlocker full of firearms to the top of the University of Texas Tower and began firing on the town below. Over the next hour and a half he killed thirteen people and wounded thirty others, before being killed himself by a police officer.
Those are the facts. Now let’s play You, the Jury.
Here’s the plot of an episode of a fifties TV show called Science Fiction Theatre:
IN THE SUMMER OF 1983, the center of the pro wrestling universe, in terms of time and space, was indisputably Friday night, Dallas, Texas, in a white, corrugated-tin coliseum called the Sportatorium.
WHEN MY ALARM WENT OFF AT 6:01 A.M., I found a paper plate covered with my daughter Vivian’s handwriting outside the bedroom door. “Please don’t wake me up in the morning,” it said. “It’s 3:00 a.m. I can’t go to sleep because I’m thinking about Mark. I’ve just laid in bed for two hours, but nothing works.”
It was already sweltering in early May on the King Ranch, the South Texas humidity so fierce that by midmorning your shirt was pasted to your back. There was talk of a long, dry summer to come, but for the moment, the managers of the ranch’s cattle division could not contain their euphoria. The roundup for the fall calf crop was just beginning; more than nine thousand calves had to be weaned in a mere three weeks, and they were the heaviest on record, many weighing seven hundred pounds. A sense of urgency filled the air.
Like many physicians Dr. B did not read the contracts carefully. He didn’t note the clause stating he could be fired at any time. The idea that an insurance company would dare tell him how to practice medicine never crossed his mind. Sometimes while he was waiting to be fired, Dr. B found himself wondering how something so obvious could also be so secret. America’s largest insurance companies had taken over the practice of medicine, yet no one seemed to notice.
They first laid eyes on one another in the spring of 1986, when they were both admitted to the cystic fibrosis wing of Dallas’ Presbyterian Hospital. Kimberley Marshall was then sixteen, thin and winter-pale and beautiful, her red hair falling down the back of her pink nightgown patterned with little white hearts. David Crenshaw was eighteen; he wore his usual hand-me-down T-shirt and faded gray pajama pants and oversized glasses that turned dark in the sunlight.
Marie was seven years old today, and the sweat was for her. She arrived at the sweat lodge clutching a baby doll and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Gayle Niyah-Hughes, her mother, had brought along a Care Bear birthday cake for afterward and some prayer ties that she had made herself.