Oxnard Buttons, a retired maintenance worker for a defunct decoy factory, was found dead outside his house earlier this month by his neighbor Karl Onz, also retired, profession unknown.
“I know why he did it,” Karl claimed to local authorities, who seemed more obsessed with disposing of the body, which had been lying on the ground for seven to ten weeks, according to the M.E., decomposing and stinking up the neighborhood to high heaven.
A paperboy who’d earlier noticed the intense stench said, “I didn’t think much of it. I smelled worse. You should try going into the bathroom after my little brother’s been in there.” When asked to get to the point, the paperboy continued, “But when he wouldn’t answer the door to pay for the paper, that’s when I had no choice. I had to cut him off. Business is business.”
Karl shoved the paperboy aside and continued his account. “It was that goddamned FOX Broadcasting that done him in. There’s no two ways about it.”
“Sir,” a patient recruit responded, "“We have no idea how the deceased, er, expired. Could’ve been from natural causes.”
“There’s nothing natural about FOX Broadcasting,” Karl countered. “And that’s what killed old . . . what’s-his-name . . . Oh, I should know it. We’ve been friends for fifty years. Must be the pills. Goddamn pills. You forget to take ‘em once, and you forget everything else. Gawd!”
The patient police recruit waited for Karl to discover the flaw in his logic. No such luck. So Karl went on with his story of how he wandered into Button’s house looking for a squirt of Jack Daniels. He found the bottle, empty. He also found the TV blaring about a dispute between a Satellite TV provider and FOX Broadcasting, knocking Button’s favorite meal-time show off the air. In two lovely words: Judge Judy.
Karl knew all about Button’s infatuation with Judge Judy. He’d written her letters that would make a madam blush. All went unanswered. He requested tickets to her show. In response, he received a restraining order and a threat that Bird would beat the living daylights out of him if he came within fifty miles of the object of his desires, AKA Judge Judy. That didn’t deter Buttons. He wrote poetry for her, he drew sketches of her, some without the doily-fringed robe. He painted two versions of her portrait: before and after her RBG makeover.
Buttons, according to Karl, counted the minutes every day for her to appear, Judge Judy. And then FOX Broadcasting got into a kerfuffle with the Satellite subscription service, and cut Judge Judy out of Buttons’ life, just as he was about to break through the crust of his nightly potpie.
“How do you know all this?” the patient recruit asked, his mind wandering back to episodes of Judge Judy he’d found especially instructive, in which she would say, “There must be something wrong with you. Are you on drugs?”
Karl continued. Buttons climbed on the roof, figured that tinkering with the satellite might affect the negotiations between FOX and Satellite. He may have been drunk. Buttons liked a little Jack Daniels with his potpies.
“Love—or similarly disturbing mental disorders—can make you do strange things, strange, desperate things,” Karl sighed. “But not suicide, not for old Oxnard Buttons. Anyway, I gotta look for my Goddamned pills.”