The Nose Snatcher
By Jeffrey Bishop
The perennial family reunion creepy uncle earns his comeuppance!
Tell Time: 3 minutes 30 seconds
Scare Rating: 2/5 Ghosts
Katie was screaming as she came running into the kitchen where her mom and aunts were visiting.
“He’sh dot my node! He’sh dot my node!” she screamed. Her hands covered her face, muffling her voice.
“Settle down Katie!” admonished her mother, “and take your hands away from your face. I can’t understand a thing that you’re saying!”
Katie pulled her hands away slowly. On her face, where her perky freckled nose used to be, there was only flat, smooth skin, stretched tight from cheek to cheek. “He’sh dot my node,” she said again, sobbing violently.
With eyes grown as big as the coffee mug that dropped from her grip, Katie’s mom fainted on the spot.
The manhunt for the infamous Nose Snatcher, who had left a path of terror across the mid-state counties all summer long, began immediately. Katie had reported that the villain was an “Uncle Clyde,” but she didn’t have an uncle named Clyde. In fact, there was no one named Clyde expected at the Olafsen family reunion. A number of the parents had seen the man at the event, but none had recognized him; each had just assumed he was an out-of-town relative from the other side of the family.
Witnesses said they saw the man shuffling among the children, wearing a ratty tan tweed jacket and khaki pants. They said he had the appearance, gait and demeanor of a circus clown — out of uniform perhaps, but not out of character. Little Brent reported that the man had done the quarter-from-your-ear trick on him and on some of the other cousins. Andy said the man had slid his thumb on and off its stump in front of him and his sister, making them both cry. Whoever the creepster was, it was imperative that he be caught.
The break in the case came the very next day. Mrs. Johnson called the police when she heard loud crying and screams, along with an incessant clink-tink-clink sound, coming from a bungalow on 8th street near downtown. Police staked out the home, and surveillance quickly discovered a man who matched the description of Mr. Clyde coming and going from the house. Getting a search warrant was a simple deed, and the sting was set for that night.
Wearing tactical gear, and not really sure of what to expect from such a character, the police busted in at 8 p.m. and moved swiftly through the house, looking for the evil Uncle Clyde — and for Katie’s nose as well. In the front room they saw what Mrs. Johnson had heard; there they found a teenaged boy strapped to a chair, with his head strapped painfully, tilted to one side. From out of his ear dripped a ceaseless flow of quarters — plink, plink, plink — falling to an overflowing bowl on the floor, forming a small fortune from a rather large puddle of coins. One officer went to his aid, stopping the flow by simply straightening the boy’s head, as the other men moved through the house.
In the next room, the lawmen found one of the things that they were looking for: as he opened a closet door, the officer — thankfully garbed in riot gear — was buried in a flood of small noses that poured out on him. The room had been filled with noses nabbed over what must have been a decade-long crime spree. The officer quickly secured the area with yellow police tape to protect the small schnozzes, while the rest of the team closed in on the perpetrator.
When they caught up with Uncle Clyde, they found him climbing out an upstairs window, giggling to himself with a quiet but incessant titter. They pulled him back inside, and with all the legal and necessary roughness befitting his horrible crimes, they took him to the station, where they pressed charges against him.
Uncle Clyde would certainly plea insanity — that was made especially clear when they went to fingerprint the criminal. At the printing station, the clown — still softly tittering — slid the end joint off of each hand and placed his thumbs into the palm of the booking officer, to do the printing job for him.
State Farm Insurance clearly drew from the same font of inspiration!