The Estate of Charles Manson

January 31, 2018

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Issues of confidentiality, centering on the amount of the bribe and who received it, prevent me from revealing how I get into the Bakersfield morgue and in front of a long metallic drawer containing Charles Manson whom I pull out and address, “I know you’ve got a right to privacy, but I have some important questions for you.”

Though gray, withered, and almost frozen, Manson opens his eyes and in a strong voice declares, “I didn’t have nothing to do with killing those people. Period.”

“Charles, you’re crazed and bloodthirsty, but I’m not here for a retrial.”

“Get outta here.”

“Not till we talk about your estate.”

“Stay out of my business.”

“It’s already in the local newspaper.” I reach into my notebook and retrieve an annotated clip.

“Give me that.” Surprisingly quick, he grabs the article and appears to read most before shoving it back into my hand and saying, “Shit.”

“Who’s telling the truth?” I ask.

“Nobody tells the truth.”

“It’s about greed, a universal trait.”

“Can’t blame ‘em. I’m the most famous man in the world, probably the most famous who’s ever lived.”

“What do you suppose your estate’s worth?”

“Billions. People want the Manson brand. There’ll be Manson boots and jeans and wild shirts and knives and the best LSD. And, yeah, some would cut off my tattoos and sell ‘em. This swastika just above my eyes is worth millions. So’s my music catalogue.”

“You have a catalogue?”

“Damn right. Guns N’ Roses recorded one of my songs and I’ve got plenty of others out there even better.”

“Who’s got them?”

“Thieves – musicians and record producers who pretended I didn’t have talent and stole my work after brainwashing my girls and conniving with the police.”

“That’s pretty farfetched.”

“Like hell.”

“Let’s talk business. Matthew says you fathered him during an orgy. And he’s got a will, signed by you, in Kern County.”

“Where the fuck’s that?”

“Where you are now.”

“Matthew swears he’s your only living child and that’s why your will leaves him everything.”

“I don’t know if he’s my kid and don’t really care.”

“Michael L. says you acknowledged him as your son but that you guys didn’t bond.”

“I never acknowledged him in writing, did I?”

“Evidently not. But I’m not sure.”

Manson several times strokes his beard with a bony hand. “Who’s that pen pal again?”

“Let’s call him Michael C, the guy with a will naming him ‘executor and sole beneficiary.’”

“I hate all that legal shit.”

“Then there’s your grandson Jason who used to call and write you.”

“I loved it when people called and wrote. Still do. Solitary confinement’s a killer. I’m even glad to see you. You glad to see me?”

“I suppose so. What do you think they’ll do with your body? They all promise to cremate you right away.”

“They better not or I’ll kill ‘em. I want to be on display under glass like Lenin and Mao and those Kims in Korea. I’m a way bigger star.”

George Thomas Clark

George Thomas Clark is the author of Hitler Here, a biographical novel published in India and the Czech Republic as well as the United States. His commentaries for are read in more than 50 countries a month.

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