A FORM OF INSURANCE
...By Eugene Mandeberg
by ROSEMARY .ALDRICH
"Um humn. You do a nice business
here, don't you?"
Frederick shrugged his shoulders and
smiled. "Ya, I am comfortable."
"You should be comfortable. You
cleared about thirty-five hundred dol-
lars last year, didn't you?"
Frederick;was shaken. "How did you
know that?" Then he relaxed. "Oh, but
of course, you are from the government.
They sent you here to check up on me,
eh? Well, they didn't have to bother.
I have nothing for which I am ashamed.
But I am honored that the government
should take an interest in me. It is very
"I assure you, Mr. Krillon, the gov-
ernment takes quite an interest in you,
nice of them."
quite an interest."
Frederick raised his eyebrows, "And
what does the government want with
Schurgan put his elbows on the coun-
ter and leaned close to Frederick. "Ten
per cent of your income, about three
hundred and fifty dollars."
"What do you mean by that?" Fred-
erick said. "I paid my income tax for
the year. Every cent I owed, I paid."
Schurgan leaned closer, "That was to
the United States governemnt."
"But you see, I represent the German
Frederick stepped back. "Then what
do you want with me? I am an Ameri-
"You are a German."
"By descent, ya. But I am a citizen
here. I swore before the judge."
"You are a German!"
Frederick shook his head. "No! The
German government has no claim to me
any longer. I want nothing to do with
it, and I certainly will not pay you any
money. Why should I? Me, an Ameri-
Schurgan smiled unpleasantly. "You'd
better pay,-and qietly, Krillon, or there
will be trouble for you."
"Trouble? Me? Ah ha, no, my friend.
It is you who will get into trouble. I
have but to step to the door and call a
policeman who will arrest you for threat-
ening a peaceful man. And I will do
it if you do not get out of here."
"All right," Schurgan shrugged, "I'll
leave. But don't be surprised if your
He was gone. Frederick sank down
on the cutting table and dug the sides
with his fingernails. "Lieber Gott! What
is he doing to me? If I pay-no, I won't
pay! But Uncle Otto-. Freda, she
mustn't know. Three hundred and fifty
dollars! They'll kill the old man, But
if I pay-no, he'll come back again for
more money. He will bleed me to-NO,
I won't pay! Uncle Otto-, he's an old
man. Gott, what am I thinking? What
could I tell Freda? Uncle Otto-."
For the next two days customers found
Frederick strangely absentminded, giv-
ing them lambehops when they asked
for liver, short-changing them, and mut-
tering to himself savagely. He walked
aimlessly behind the counter, seeing
nothing, not even the little drops of
moisture on the enameled scale.
"There is no way out. If I run away,
they will surely kill Uncle Otto. If I
stay and do not give them money, they
will come after me, too,-and Freda. No,
that cannot happen! And if I pay, they
will only come back again, until I am
ruined, and then they will kill Uncle
"That sine! That pig! I should kill
him. Kill him? Well, why not? He is
not fit to live. But Freda--Uncle Otto.
Kill him? Gott! there is no way out.
Ya .. . kill him."
Concluding one of the shortest trials
in the history of the state, a jury of
seven men and five women found Fred-
erick Krillon guilty of murder in the
first degree late today.
The jury was out only fifteen min-
utes. Krillon refused to give any rea-
son for the killing, or put up any de-
fense whatsoever. Called to the wit-
ness stand, the only statement that
could be obtained was, "I killed him.
I killed him with a butcher knife."
Speaking for' the jury, William B.
Ferrell, forman, said, "The actions of
the defendent left us no alternative.
Any other verdict would have been
impossible in the situation."
Schurgan was leaning against the
window when Frederick came to the
"Morning, Krillon, have you got it."
Frederick unlocked the door and they
went in together.
"Over here, at the cash register."
Frederic Krillon, 52, of 1743 Dale
Ave. was arrested early this morning,
charged with murder. . Police claim
that Krillon attacked a yet unidenti-
fied man in his shop with a butcher
knife. The face was disfigured be-
yond recognition, but the dead man's
papers and clothing labels should lead
to early identification, police said.
Nearby shopkeepers, who found
Krillon standing' over the body with .
the knife still in his hand, expressed
surpise at his actions, as did his per-
sonal friends. All agreed that as far
as they knew, Krillon had no person-
al enemies and was a mild tempered
No statement could be obtained
from Mrs. Krillon who is confined to
bed, suffering from shock.
The sign said "K;rillon's Sanitary
Meat Market," and Frederick was im-
mensely proud of it. Six days a week
for twenty-seven years, Frederick had
walked by the window, read the sign
and unlocked the door precisely at sev-
en-thirty. When he had put on his
apron and set the meat in the show-
case he would turn to the window and
spell out the sign as it stared at him
"Krillon's Sanitary Meat Market."
Frederick was perpetually polishing.
As he hurried along behind the counter,
he would slide his apron along the shelf,
rubbing out little invisible stains. The
chicken feathers were pounced on and
stuffed away. The tiny drops of blood
from the fresh juicy meat were quickly
erased, and if a customer reached across
the counter to test the plumpness of a
chicken or point out a certain cut, Fred-
erick would smile nervously and say,
"Ach, please, not with the hands. It is
He looked like a butcher, too. He was
short and wide and his thick gray hair
was cut close so it bristled like a brush.
His fat face and neck were as red as a
steak and his balloon stomach preceded
him at a slow roll.
The victim of the butcher shop mur-
der earlier this week was identified
today as Kurt Schurgan, member of
the German Consulate of the city.
Krillon, arraigned this morning be-
fore Judge James K. Sawyer, pleaded
guilty to the charge of murder. "Guil-
ty" was the only sound that passed
the prisoners lips during the court ses-
sion. He seemed barely conscious of
what was going on and stared at the
Mrs. Kretchmeier, first of the regular
customers, bustled into the store, spout-
ing bundles from each arm.
"Good morning, Mr. Krillon."
"And have you a nice little chicken
for me today?"
"Ach, I have just the bird for you.
A springer, four pounds and as tender
"Why, Mr. Krillon, and you a married
They both laughed at the old joke.
Frederick took the fowl from the show-
case and held it up. "Nice, ya?"
Mrs. Kretchmeier squinted with the
eye of a connoisseur. "I take it."
She tucked the package under her
arm and panted out of the store. Fred-
erick massaged the counter top and ad-
justed the trays. Then he went inside
the refrigerator to check the day's sup-
ply of meat. When he came out, he
saw a tall well dressed man leaning
against the counter.
"I am sorry to keep you waiting, but
I did not hear you come in."
The stranger blew a cloud of smoke
out of his nostrils and flicked the ashes
on the floor. Frederick frowned.
"That's all right. It gave me a chance
to look around a bit. Nice store you
"Oh, yes, it is very nice-and sani-
I used to see a line of smokestacks every morning on
my way to work. Then one morning I saw them
and I wrote a poem about them.
A man I knew read the poem, and then some days
later he said to me, "What is the meaning of that poem
you wrote about those smokestacks?"
And we were standing in sight of the line of smoke-
stacks then, and I glanced up at them and said, "I
And he smiled and said, "I like the poem."
cousin in Munich sends you a letter
asking for money for the funeral."
"Funeral? What are you talking
"Why, your Uncle Otto's funeral."
"You are crazy! My Uncle Otto is
very old, but he is well."
"Oh yes, he is well now. But for how
long, Krillon, for how long?"
Schurgan dropped his cigarette on the
floor and scraped it with his shoe. He
walked briskly to the door and looked
over his shoulder at Frederick. "I'll be
back in a few days for the-ah-health
insurance. See that you have it!" He
paused. "I need hardly add'that it
would be most unwise,-and unhealthy,
to speak to anyone about this."
Schurgan walked behind the counter.
Frederick did not move.
The knife was hanging on a hook by
his side. Frederick took it off and raised
"Krillon, you fool, put that down!
The knife came down guided by the
experienced hand of a -meat-cutter.
Schurgan fell without a sound. Freder-
ick stared down at the blood and gray-
ish stuff that was staining his floor.
He lifted his head and looked at the
letters in reverse, barely able to make
them out through a haze of tears.
"Krillon's Sanitary Meat Market," he
spelled out slowly.