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       Sugar Loaf, NY 10981


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  Updated Dec 28, 2016 | By Bob Fugett

    It Was That Kind Of Town

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[  That Town  |  Candle Maker  |  Breakers  |  Four Step  |  Jon Baugh  |  Too Much   |  Startup   |  Cut   |  Art   |  Community   ]

The local town father snarled and exploded into the bathroom where Billy Margram was just pulling his arm down from the air above the shower head.

During the preceding few years Billy had descended through one then another of numerous crash pad rooms of opportunity until he had ultimately become the hamlet's sole street urchin spending most of his time smoking and drinking behind the town toilet.

It was a rare moment for him to be out of the cold and cleaning up a bit.

His final washing.

If not firmly final, the beating was swift and brutal enough for the crashes and shouts of anger to be heard by neighbors in the adjoining apartment and outdoors, "This time Billy, you are going to learn to not steal."

A week later Billy, this kid who only hoped to get his life together and become a police officer, was found dead on the street and nobody ever bothered to put together the proximity of the beating (and his bloodied nose) with the time of his death.

It was that kind of town.

A few years before that, on an evening two weeks before Christmas, Clay Boone was left in charge of his younger brother while his parents went to chorale.

He heard firecrackers outside and knew it was his duty to check.

In the husky evening light teenage Clay descended the porch and turned right toward the local gathering place, a grocery store deli with a few arcade games, but he was jolted to halt seeing a figure lying on the ground just a few yards from his front door.

The woman was dead, shot by her husband who was still in the phone booth outside the far corner of the deli explaining to the police, "Just took out my old lady, and I won't be taken alive."

Whether the guy was stating his actual plans or merely his assumed expectations neither disappointed.

The first police officer to arrive was only told of some sort of domestic dispute in Sugar Loaf, so he stepped unaware out of his cruiser and directly into a .22 shell between the eyes. [1]

Almost immediately a large cadre of local police swarmed the spot with a furious resplendent swirl of red, white, and blue patchwork putting the hamlet's Christmas lighting to shame.

They unleashed a torrent of gunfire that left only small pieces of bone and flesh for the kids (Clay among them) to find the next morning while they stood by the phone booth waiting for the school bus.

Years later local artisans would point to bullets in the walls of their shops and recount the horror.

It was that kind of town.

The kind of town where the first murder for hire in the United States could (and did) occurbut that was much earlier and outside the scope of this writing.

Suffice it say nobody expected such a broiling cauldron of rundown decrepit houses and stupidly dangerous tension to become a crucible producing some of the finest art and creative products the world has seen, but it has.

It is that kind of town.
 


Billy Margram near death
photo above stolen as fair use
from Jay Westerveld (Westervelt, Westerveldt) Wright's
Sugar Loaf Historical Society website
see 09/19/15 update below

Click for online memorial
Trooper William V. McDonagh Memorial
located northeast side of New York State Police Department, Monroe, NY

 

09/19/15 update: Today a routine review of this story reminded me that the photo of Billy Margram above was actually screen grabbed from Jay Westerveld's Sugar Loaf Historical Society website before it went offline. The plan was to show Jay how easily supposed "protected" images are grabbed, and then put a link from the photo to his website. Unfortunately, soon after the story on this page was posted, I came under heavy attack from all quarters hoping to quell the Margram story. Red herrings were thrown toward the Sugar Loaf Guild Forum, as if a few salty words were what people had a problem with, not the unresolved story of Billy Margram along with some other uncomfortable observations of fact on the Guild website. Due to the three year uproar I forgot to come back to this page and set things straight. Also I was recently told that the manner in which I recounted Billy's story was far less horrible than the actual event. Apparently Billy was beaten for stealing somebody's dog which he did to provide himself a little night warmth on the frigid cold bone-bursting merciless winter street (again), and he was actually found dead not on that street (as I said) but in the actual shower where the beating took place. The EMT who was reported to have recovered the body was much later killed in a motorcycle accident, and the building was more recently demolished, so don't even think there can ever be closure here. God forgive this little town and everyone in it ... and I don't even believe in deities which is why I do believe I will finally be lynched for my involvement spreading this truth, and the lynching will occur under the guise of retribution for a few dozen or so of the 10,000 lies currently being circulated about me. Fuck.
 


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Sugar Loaf, New York  10981