November 1, 2022. Las Vegas
While enjoying a nice breakfast of alder smoked bacon, fried eggs, grits,
and strawberries, Garrett is listening to the local news on TV. Eye witness coverage. He is suddenly riveted by what
he sees and now listens more intently. The young cub reporter, being interrupted at intervals with police
bulletins, is visibly agitated:
"On the scene here at the Family Attic Mini Storage in North Las Vegas.
Police have informed me that two storage units have just been discovered filled with dead bodies. I can hardly believe what
they're saying! Hundreds and hundreds of mummified bodies! ... Yes! Okay! Two units, thirty by sixty, unpaid for some reason.
The owner cut the locks and got the surprise of his life. Dried bodies packed inside like sardines he says, stacked from floor
to ceiling. The same thing by the second door at the far end of both units. The estimate is that if both are packed solid,
as they now appear to be, that there will prove to be as many as nineteen hundred bodies in all. What we're seeing here may
well be the most tragic peacetime discovery in all of human history!"
"Holy Madame Du Flubashaimavitch!" exclaims Garrett. "Would I love to interview
that fella. He's one grim and nasty son-of-a-bitch! Must be a man. No woman would ever do this."
Updated bulletins continue all day. By evening it's known that the storage
units were rented by John Hobart Farris, a white male forty three years of age. This is the same man who owns the bluff overlooking
what is now being called the "Wheelchair Massacre." The police have been wanting to question him, but have not
been able to because he had a car accident and has been in a coma for almost a year.
The media at first are saying that it appears that the storage payments
stopped because of Farris' accident. Not so simple though, because
now the mini storage owner is saying that all rent payments since the first ones five years ago were made by another man.
He continued to pay for eight months after Farris' accident but then stopped and has not come back or even phoned since.
Police don't have a name. Garrett hears all this at dinner, reads for awhile, then retires.
Special forensic units have been created all over Las Vegas to figure out
who all these people are. Even with the new systems for checking dental records, this will take months. Two thousand and eleven
mummies in in all. Not wrapped in gauze like Egyptian ones. Naked and dehydrated with some kind of salt process. The
skin cured like fine leather.
Doctors continue their usual efforts to wake Farris and after six weeks
he finally comes out of the coma. The doctors won't permit interviews for three days. Farris is getting physical therapy and
vitamins. Finally the police talk to him, but he says he knows nothing about any of it. A polygraph test supports him.
Garrett hears about all this on television. "Anybody
with that level of morbid self discipline could make a polygraph sit up and do tricks like a trained seal and most of the
detectives along with it" mutters Garrett sourly.
Three weeks pass. Farris has now been charged with mass murder because his
estranged wife found an architectural drawing with the items his landlord sent her after the accident.
The drawing shows a huge room set up like a court with dots representing
carefully positioned people. Everything very neat and symmetrical. Not much in itself except that the picture is labeled "The
Court of Belated Justice". This is the sole basis for the murder charge because the number of dots in the drawing is the same
as the number of bodies, exactly two thousand and eleven. "Doom changes
steamin down" thinks Garrett as he reads the story online.
After several days of browbeating by the police, Farris decides to plead
nolo contendere and is sentenced to life in a super maximum security prison, the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility.
No chance for parole.