Monday, May 13, 2019

Men of the Skull Chapter 50: Murder

Happy Valley was a fantasy land, especially after the two years I spent living in Powelton Village during my time at Drexel University.  (Back then, that was a dangerous part of the city.)  Looking at the Police Log, all one would see was petty theft and drunken fights.  Compared to the murders and armed robberies (I'd been mugged four times there myself) that was nothing. 

About twice a semester, a rape was reported.  I'd guess (with no statistics to back me up) that for every one that was reported, there were five others that weren't.  Suicides were reported sometimes.  I knew one of them. 

My point being, as a "guy" at PSU in the 80s, I felt safe.  And, as the "nice guy" (meaning "couldn't get laid with a string of $100 bills around my neck) I often volunteered to walk women back to their dorms/apartments as a safe escort.  "Campus escort" was a thing back then.  I soon gained a small reputation for it- the "safe guy."  Girls would seek me out near the end of a given Skull party for me to walk them home, and I did it.  No matter how drunk I was, I took this very seriously, and would never consider taking advantage of it.  They were trusting me, and I was going to do everything I could to get them home safe, by God!  Fortunately, it always ended up just being a walk in the cold which sobered me up. 

Then this happened.  Drug sting?  Big deal.  But Murder was... unheard of.  Yes, we knew about the murder in the stacks in 1969, when all of us were toddlers. 

The town was on edge for a while.  Stunned.  I don't think we were so trusting after that.  The stakes were raised, so to speak.

I didn't know Dana Bailey.  She sounded like a wonderful person.  I hope that her murderer is caught while her parents still live. 


Chapter 50: Murder
Monday, March 9, 1987 PSU student fatally stabbed
            My morning classes went by as usual except everyone seemed to be buzzing about something.  There were no Collegians around to be had on campus.  So as usual I went to the house for lunch.  Got myself a burger out of the big orange containers.  All of the brothers had their faces buried in newspapers.

March 9, 1987 Collegian
            I grabbed a copy and sat down.
            “PSU student fatally stabbed” was in the center of the front page.
            This was the first murder at Penn State since 1969.
            “Jesus Christ,” File said.
            “Anybody know her?”  Sauce said.
            “Dairy’s girlfriend works with her,” Garbo said.
            “I heard she hangs over at AXS,” VD said, his mouth full of burger.
            Saint walked in.  “Hey, you guys hear what happened?”
            “Yeah, that’s fucked up.”
            “Wonder what really happened?”
            “132 South Allen.  Where is that?”
            “Um, it’s above the McClanahans across from the flower shop innit?”
            “‘Apparent victim of stab wounds to the heart and lung area.’”
            “Fucked up shit.”
            “Where did she work?”
                                                “Corner room.”
            “How do you know?”
                                                “It’s in the fuckin’ paper dickwad!”
            “I heard she was tied to a chair with her throat cut.”
                                    “Where did you hear that?”
            “I dunno.  Around.”
                        “Full of shit.”
            “Fuck you.”
            I sat and read.  There wasn’t much in the article.  The only real fact was that a student was dead.

            The police sealed the apartment.  A few months later, the whole building burned to the ground.  The fire was labeled “Suspicious.”
            All these years later, the murder of Dana Bailey has not been solved.

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