Folio — From the July 2013 issue

Blood Spore

Of murder and mushrooms

( 2 of 17 )

The tape, heavy with hiss and wow and flutter, was as Davis described, a forty-five-minute conversation between two men: one who appears to be a police officer from Castle Hills, Texas, named Wayne Merchant, the other a self-described “burglar” whose name is unclear. Officer Merchant joins The Burglar in a diner where cheerful muzak unwinds on the radio, dishes clatter, and a cash register rings and the drawer shoots open. Unbeknownst to Officer Merchant, he is being recorded. The Burglar is distressed because he has been “fingered” for the “bull moose job” and “shooting up a guy.” He is facing serious “federal time.” It can be inferred that The Burglar knows much of the Castle Hills PD personally and is acting as an informant in the pursuit of a reduced sentence. The two discuss their involvement in an array of crimes, both petty and violent, before the conversation turns to the unsolved murder of Pollock.

the burglar:  Ahrite, there’s one more thing that I don’t know how it got brought up, imma tell you what I heard. I heard on the street that you did it.

wayne merchant: I did what?

burglar:  Pollock’s death.

merchant:  Whose death

burglar:  Pollock — that mushroom doctor.

merchant:  I don’t even know the son of bitch, I don’t even know where he lived.

burglar:  They got — they claim — that I did it, that I went in and killed him, robbed him and killed him for two hundred thousand cash, and killed him.

merchant:  Hmmmmm.

’s last article for Harper’s Magazine, “I Walked with a Zombie,” appeared in the November 2011 issue.

More from Hamilton Morris:

Forum From the August 2013 issue

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