Dare ye enter the darkened manor,

Beyond the moor, beneath the oak?

Dare ye enter, where a ghostly cantor

Appears and demands that truth be spoke!


Within these walls, a young lord once took

A young girl’s life and innocence,

And ever since, a lonely spirit shook,

Filled with strife, seeking recompense,


Yes, I dare to enter the darkened manor,

To speak of justice for unsettled scores,

Lonely spirits should no more banter,

Through these halls, beyond the moor,


Be at peace, lonely spirit,

Be still, for now I tell,

The young lord’s soul, don’t fear it,

He now doth dwell in Hell.



(Today, for a change of pace, I thought I would offer another “war story” from my unpublished memoir about my days as a prosecutor.  Names and places have been changed, but otherwise, this is a true story!)

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

Gibbs County, whose county seat is Statesville, was the least populated county in our judicial circuit.  So, justice in Gibbs County was more like “just us.”  In other words, nobody lives there!  At least not human beings!  It is actually also one of our entire state’s poorest and least populated counties, with a population of only about 1,100, counting hunting dogs, gators, and possums.  It is located in the extreme south, nestled between Briggs County and the Florida panhandle.

Court is held there only once each year, every January.  This means that if you want to kill somebody in Gibbs County, you should wait and do so in December, right before court, because otherwise, you may literally sit in jail without bond for up to a year, until the judge comes back to town to hear your case!  There is no courthouse and there are no restaurants, (not even a McDonalds, and certainly not a Starbucks), in Gibbs County.  Each January, the judge holds court in the lunchroom of the (one and only) elementary school.  The clerk brings lunch for the judge, lawyers, and jury!

There is a true story which pretty well sums up justice in Gibbs County. One year, there were only two trials held there.  In one of the two cases, one man had killed another man, and in the other case, another man had killed another man’s bird dog. In the first case, the defendant who had killed a man was acquitted. In the second case, the man who had killed the dog was found guilty.  I have always wondered whether this proves, at least in Gibbs County, that you can kill another man, but you had better not kill his hunting dog!




Bob shot John Jones

With no remorse,

To stop his moans,

Bob shot again, of course.


Jones was the town bully,

And gave many a pummlin,’

He was mean and surly,

Some say Jones had it comin,’


You should never pick a fight

With one tougher than you,

But Jones lacked foresight,

And now he’s cold and blue,


In a shallow grave, laced with lime,

Too bad he didn’t realize,

That if there was a next time,

Never bully somebody your own size.


Or better yet, surely,

To live old and gray,

Don’t be a bully,

That’s all I’ve got to say.