Expo Tales From Another Broken–



Suspect Interview:Lyle David Hart.
Officer: Lt. Mary Florence.

Note: Lt. Florence is a small woman, with a harsh voice from several decades of smoking. She is hardly an intimidating officer, but it was believed she’d be best for this interview for reasons that may become clear during the interview and subsequent confession. Mr. Hart, age 31, is a tall man with blond type 2c hair, clear blue eyes, and an unusually soft voice.

FLORENCE: Good evening, Mr. Hart. I’m sorry to keep you waiting.


FLORENCE: Is there anything I can get you, before we get started? Water, tea, coffee…

HART: No, thank you.

FLORENCE: Right. Before we begin, for formality’s sake, this interview is being recorded. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.

HART: I understand. I’m under arrest, then?

FLORENCE: You are.

HART: I see. I don’t think I need a lawyer. Thank you, officer.

FLORENCE: Do you know why you’re under arrest, Mr. Hart?

HART: Of course. LJ found Mandy.


FLORENCE: Full…. Um, I apologize. Full names, please, Mr. Hart.

HART: I’d prefer Lyle, officer. But – sure. My son, also Lyle. We call – called him LJ. Lyle Junior. And my wife, Madeline Hart.

FLORENCE: Right. And for our records, how old are they?

HART: LJ’s nine. Ten, come December. Mandy– Mandy was about to turn thirty.

FLORENCE: Right… Lyle, can you tell me, in detail, what happened earlier tonight?

HART: I wish I could, but I didn’t know until the police arrived. I can make some guesses from what I’ve gathered, if you like.

FLORENCE: I would like that, yes.

HART: Well, I told LJ not to go into the freezer this week. I don’t even remember what I told him, exact. But I told him to stay out of it. If he needed anything, he could ask me, and I’d get it for him. He’s been going through a growth spurt, y’see. Anyway I had this work call tonight, so he must’ve thought he could get whatever he needed himself. I never meant for him to see her in there.

FLORENCE: See… who, Lyle? Please be clear.

HART: Mandy. He saw Mandy in there. God, I never meant for him to see her. Poor kid. He didn’t need to know.

FLORENCE: Your wife was in your freezer, Lyle?

HART: Well, what’s left of her. I’ve been putting bits in LJ’s food, just to see.

[A long pause.]

HART: Is everything alright, Officer?

FLORENCE: …yes. Please continue, Mr. Hart. What were you looking to find out by… putting bits of Madeline into your son’s food?

HART: Lyle, please. I was looking to see if he was like her. You know – different. There’s a word they’re using for it, but it never felt right. Mandy wasn’t like anyone else anywhere. She always had this… well, this spark. I just didn’t know what it was until I found out about her hunger. The first time – well, you know, it was an accident. I just needed to get rid of the body, but–

FLORENCE: Sorry, Lyle, can you repeat that?

HART: Hm? Oh, the body. Frost, I think his name – you know, the first – oh. [Pause.] I – assumed you’d found – never mind.


HART: We were talking about Mandy, weren’t we? She was great. Lovely. Perfect in every way, from the first second I met her. She had this green sweater on, made her eyes look completely dark. Sharp as a tack, too. She was at U of M – Minnesota, not Montana – Biomed major. You should’ve heard her talk about the human body, she’d get this sparkle in her eyes –

FLORENCE: Mr. Hart, please focus. Why– what inspired you to begin testing your son to see if he was – like her?





HART: [inaudible]

FLORENCE: Right. I’ll be right back with that for you, okay? Wait right here.


In the silent video recording that follows, the suspect only moves to wipe his eyes with his shirtsleeve one minute before Lt. Florence returns with a paper cup of coffee and several packets, presumably of creamer and sugar..


FLORENCE: Are you sure you wanted it black? I brought sugar and creamer –

HART: I appreciate it, officer, but it’s alright. I’m ready to start again. Where did you want me to pick up?

FLORENCE: Your – son. He found your wife in the freezer. Does he have any idea that you have been… about what you’ve been doing to him?

HART: That I’ve been feeding her to him? [HART shakes his head ‘no.’] I kept that from him. There’s no way for him to know. He didn’t need to, unless he started to show signs of being like her.

FLORENCE: Right. Different, you said – can you elaborate on that for me? Like her how?

HART: Well,he’s always taken more after her than me. He’s got some of my looks, sure, but he’s a sharp one, like Mandy. Good grades, pretty high in his class. He loves animals. I’ve been telling Mandy for years he’d love to be a vet, but she said to let him grow into what he wants. And she’s right. [Pause.] Was right. She was always right when it came to LJ. But anyway– he’s more like her, right. Well, she had this sharpness, after – like I said, I said already, didn’t I?

FLORENCE: No, Lyle, you didn’t. You mentioned a Frost, but didn’t elaborate. Do you want to expand on what you said earlier?

HART: I don’t. [Pause. HART sighs.] But I can. I will, sure I will. Do you know anything about Victor Frost?

FLORENCE: He’s currently a missing person, but we have reason to suspect he’s a murder victim.

HART: [Laughs.] No, that one wasn’t murder. He was an accident. I thought he was a hitchhiker, but he just walked out into the highway when he saw my truck. No way for me to slow down.

FLORENCE: You didn’t think to call him in?

HART: No, I thought to. Crossed my mind. Decided against it.

FLORENCE: Why not?

HART: [Laughs.] Sorry, sorry. Seems funny now to think about it, but – I’d been drinking. Not enough for a DUI, but I didn’t want to be held overnight. I panicked and grabbed the body, put it in the back of the truck. Figured I’d figure out somewhere to dump it later.

FLORENCE: You could have left him there.

HART: Again, it seems stupid now, but I didn’t want to risk the hit and run charge.

FLORENCE: You’re… very calm about this, Lyle.

HART: [Shrugs.] I’ve been caught. And I don’t think they’ll let me see LJ again. I’ve decided I might as well get it all out in the open.

FLORENCE: [Nods.] Right. So, you were saying about Mr. Frost’s body. You didn’t find someplace to dump it, did you, Lyle?

HART: I did not. I fed it to Mandy.

FLORENCE: You… fed Mr. Frost to your wife.

HART: Yeah. Yeah, I did, and when you put it like that – well, anyway. Too late for regrets. I realized that if somebody found the body – which they did, in a way – they’d know it was me. Wouldn’t be too hard to follow the clues. So, I figured out a way it wouldn’t be found.

FLORENCE: And she… didn’t suspect anything?

HART: Not for a while yet, no. Usually I’d cook, and she’d bake. She took LJ to the woods for a day hike – I had the day off, but said I had paperwork to do at home, wanted to make it a surprise. LJ had a sleepover that night, too. She gave me plenty of time to put something together. And, uh – I had some, too.


FLORENCE: You ate Mr. Frost.

HART: I did. I made a big meal, enough for both of us. They say person cooks a lot like pork. It does, with a few adjustments. Season anything enough and nobody notices the difference. But – Frost was the only one I had. Didn’t sit well with me. I thought at first it was just because I knew, and Mandy didn’t, but she ate every bite. She’s always had a big appetite, but this was something else. There wasn’t anything left. And when – while she was eating, I saw it. That spark I mentioned. I’d never seen her happier. And-and I think that spark was supposed to scare me. It did scare me, it was terrifying, knowing that happiness was from eating someone, a person, someone like me. And I think it scared me until she smiled. God, officer, if you could’ve just seen the joy in her face. I wish I could’ve had that moment forever.

FLORENCE: [Takes a long, deep breath.] I understand. So that’s when you decided to do that again? To give her more?

HART: Of course. She was never the same after, you know. She started eating more, but she wasn’t putting on weight. In fact, after a few weeks, she seemed thinner than ever. Neither of us could figure out why. I had my suspicions, but– well, no way to know without trying, right? And her temper started to go, too. Not with LJ! Never with LJ. But when we’d be driving together, or I did something that annoyed her. I think– now that I think about it, I think her temper should’ve scared me more. But I– I needed to see.

FLORENCE: She never suspected?

HART: Not for a long time. I told her, the second time, she– she liked the first time so much, I got a contract with a local butcher. I learned how to cook it better, figured a few things out. Figured more out every time, but it was always worth it. Even if every time I fed her it seemed more like – less like the Mandy I married. [Video shows HART’s expression softens at this point.] But God, she was so much more beautiful like that, and the day after. She slept in, every time. Slept all day. She looked like an angel, even though I knew what she was, what she’d done.

FLORENCE: [Unsteadily.] How many– [Clears her throat, calmer] How many times did you feed her, Mr. Hart?

HART: In the last two years it’s been – what, twenty-five times? Every other month. Nothing regular. But– ah, I should just say it, shouldn’t I? Yeah. Every one of the Butcher murders, and about twelve you haven’t found. Not after I found out she could eat the bones.

[A long pause follows. Lt. Florence can be seen taking notes before she speaks again.]

FLORENCE: Why did you kill her, Lyle? If you loved her so much for being– what you saw in her, why would you kill her?

HART: That’s the question. The question of the year. [A long sigh.] She found out. She– I don’t even think she was suspicious. But she walked in on me, the last time. Two weeks back, now. She saw what I was butchering for our date. I think she might’ve noticed that she was the only one who ate those nights, but she’d never commented before. Maybe she wanted to see how I made it. Maybe she was just hungry. I thought she’d gone out, down to Mt. Shasta for the day, but she must’ve come back for something. I- never had the chance to ask her.

FLORENCE: You just… killed her?

HART: [HART shakes his head, suddenly defensive.] No! No, God no. I– if I’d had time to think, I would’ve just let her have me! She – that part of her wanted me, I think. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. [Long pause.] Maybe something’s wrong with me, if I wanted that, but I just wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to be happy enough that I would’ve given her my throat if she’d asked before she lunged for it. I– didn’t think. I stabbed her in the eye when her face got close. It was a reflex.

FLORENCE: You sound remarkably calm, if you loved her that much.

HART: [HART shakes his head again.] I think I’m just… numb. There’s nothing I could’ve done. I stabbed her through the eye, into the brain. There wasn’t anything I could do.

FLORENCE: [A long breath. FLORENCE is pale, but her voice is still calm.] I need to go talk to the other arresting officers about how to proceed, Mr. Hart, but when I come back, we’re going to need to talk about your son. And about the other… twenty-five murders.

HART: Sure, sure. [HART lifts his hands as FLORENCE gets up to leave.] Actually – can you tell me, tell me what’s going to happen with him?

FLORENCE: [FLORENCE sits back down.] Well, Mr. Hart–

HART: Lyle, please.

FLORENCE: Lyle. Your son is going to be screened, both psychologically and physically. If what you’re saying about your wife is true, then we’re going to have to keep an eye on him for a while. Did you see any symptoms in him, when you were– when you fed him, this last week?

[HART shakes his head ‘no.’]

FLORENCE: Right. He’ll probably be placed under observation, then, but if he’s okay… then he’ll be put into the foster system, unless you or Madeline have next of kin who would take him.

[HART shakes his head ‘no’ again.]

FLORENCE: Is there anything else?

[HART shakes his head ‘no’ again.]

FLORENCE: Right, then, Mr. Hart. I’ll be right back.

Nick took his headphones off. He’d watched to the interview a dozen times since he’d found it. Anything after that point didn’t matter. How it had been leaked, how it had ended up on the forum he happened to find, didn’t matter once he’d found it. He glared at the screen, at the man across from the camera. The man who was wearing the same clothes he’d been wearing the last time Nick had seen him, age nine, when he refused to look at his own goddamn son while the cops loaded him into the back of an Impala. Now, leeching off the wifi at a public library in his own Malibu, Nick had never been angrier in his life. The pulse of the CD playing through the sedan’s stereo wasn’t helping.

My name is St. Jimmy, I’m a son of a gun, I’m the one that's from the way outside, now:
A teenage assassin executing some fun, in the cult of the life of crime, now.

Two weeks. Two weeks since he’d skipped town, played hooky, almost dropped out of the system. Two weeks since he was old enough to stop letting the bastard’s name follow him around. It could be two more months until the name change processed, before he could cut ties with the whole world he’d known so far, and start over again. But in the meantime, he was done not being able to do a goddamn thing about injustices in the world.

Injustices like a man who’d made a full confession, and had gotten off with twenty-five life sentences, instead of one death sentence.

The man whose son would personally make sure nobody else like him got the same goddamn mercy.