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by Chris Bartholomew

Listen carefully because this is the true story of Justin Dessert, handed down from generation to generation, though hearing it may cause you to think that there were a lot of things lost in the telling. You might even think there was something to learn through the listening that was ignored by every generation that heard the tale.

You may have even heard a similar tale before and think it is the same one, but they are all different, with different characters. The story has the same line though: if Justin calls, it is better not to open the door.

"Being groomed, being groomed." This was what Justin heard most often growing up. He had told his son the same thing.

It just was not possible for his parents to answer his question: Groomed for what. They had to give him every opportunity to figure out for himself, the answers to the life he would eventually lead.

His father was in the repayment business. He was not sure what kind of repayment business, but the comment was often, "recompense was a bear."

Growing up, Justin's parents had friends from all occupations, and they were very interested in the details. He had to smile when he finally figured out why. Oh, the stories he could tell.

A man named Henry met Justin on an airplane when he was on a business trip to speak at a conference of other gardeners from around the world. Justin seemed so interested in the topic, and since they were both traveling to Arizona, he asked him if he had time to go to dinner when they arrived, and if time allowed on Justin's part, if he would be interested in coming to the conference.

Henry felt as if he had known Justin all his life. Justin gave him the feeling that he knew all about him. Well, Henry hoped not, because he had secrets that he had carried through fifty years of his life and could not afford for anyone to know him too well this late in the game.

For you to understand the story of Justin Dessert I must tell you some things about Henry, so I will tell you this terrible story now.

A hundred or so years ago, Henry met the love of his life. Her name was Aujennte. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He courted her; he did everything a man in his position would do to impress her until finally he asked her to marry him. They were inseparable until she did not show up for the wedding. He was sad and depressed, and started to pull away from the community, not seeing friends and keeping to himself.

After Aujennte disappeared, her family came and there was an inquisition. Henry was at that time accused of foul play, but it was all speculation, as there was no proof that she did not just change her mind and run away. Even though all of her belongings were all packed and ready to go on a honeymoon, and her personal belongings, such as purse and coat were still on her dresser, a jury could not, and indeed did not find him guilty of any crime.

One day, he just started this gardening business, as it seemed he came up with a formula to grow vegetables in three-fourths the normal time. Henry was becoming a millionaire overnight, he was a great success; he still did not spend any time with the people he used to call his friends.

By now in the story, you realize that Aujennte was murdered, but what you do not know is that Henry had a problem with bats. That is right; thousands of bats would converge on the farm sometimes making it impossible for Henry to leave his home at night.

Henry fancied himself somewhat of a scientist. Oh, he had all kinds of equipment in his cellar, and he experimented with ways to kill bats for years before he met Aujennte. Fed up with the nuisance, he finally decided to come up with a formula to kill the bats and spent an entire two months in the cellar working, until he finally came up with the solution. He invented an ingredient that amounted in volume to two grains of sand and needed only to be mixed with water. That is all it took, just that small amount put in fifty gallons of water would kill any bat that touched it, even when it became dry.

Yes, Henry poisoned Aujennte with this formula and I just know you want to know why and what he did with her body, not to mention how he became such a big man in the gardening business.

The night before the two were to be married, Aujennte was feeling a bit of what they call the cold feet. She went out to the farm to talk about it with Henry, just a little nervous about getting married, as women will sometimes feel. She just needed assurance that he really loved her and that they were indeed doing the right thing.

When she arrived at the farm, Henry was in the cellar mixing up some formula for caretakers to use on the bats while he was away on his honeymoon. Aujennte knocked, and when there was not an answer, she went into the house and of course, she could see that there was a light on in the cellar. Down the steps she went, being careful of the creaky old things, not trying to sneak up on Henry, she was quiet.

It was a good thing Henry's farm was miles and miles away from any other people, because when Aujennte arrived at the bottom of the stairs, her blood-curdling scream surely must have resonated clear to hell and back. Henry, so engrossed with making the formula did not hear her approach, and that horrible scream made him jerk his hands so that the formula went all over her. She died in an instant, a horrible sickening death.

It was as if Henry became two different people at the same time. One was mourning and crying for his beautiful Aujennte, the other frantic with coming up with what he could do with he body.

He kept hearing a voice say, "What goes around comes around." However, he ignored it.

Henry put her in a plastic bag and then put her in the dryer. This was a huge dryer that he used to dry the ingredients that went into the bat poison. When she was ready, he put her into the grinder and ground her remains into pieces as small as grains of sand, then he mixed her with the mixture to feed the bats. The remainder, he mixed and kept in little jars, so it would be ready for a next batch when he had to make one.

When he was finished and satisfied that he had done well in cleaning up the mess, he stood on the last step of the stairway going up, and he sprayed a mixture of acid all over the concrete floor and the walls, wanting to get rid of any blood that may remain. Apparently he did a great job of cleaning up, as nothing of her was ever found in the house at all, not even the cellar, during the trial.

He called it bat season. Hundreds of bats came and so he had to use the formula on the outside of the house, the trees, as well as the lawn and garden. With Aujennte grains mixed in, his lawn and garden, and even the trees were growing full and beautiful.

When Henry met Justin on the plane, he was getting old and growing weary. He had a cousin who agreed to buy his business, and in Arizona, he had a plant built to make the fertilizer so he had planned to show this cousin how to make the formula..

Through the years, Henry had been collecting all types of human remains, and so he had enough of the human 'sand' to last this cousin well past two lifetimes..

After the plane had landed, Henry and Justin went for a few drinks. Henry asked, "I can't tell by your name, where are you from?"

"Have you ever heard of 'Just desserts'?" Not needing an answer, Justin added; "My mother had a sense of humor."

When Justin arrived, Henry was just starting the machine, apparently having already added the ingredients. He walked around the machine, admiring the site.

When all of the sudden, the machine stopped as Henry walked to the engine of the thing; he spotted something in the gear, so he climbed up to try to dislodge it.

Everyone was so busy watching Henry, that no one noticed it when Justin flipped the switch back on.

In a way, Justin was telling Henry at drinks what was about to happen to him, but like the rest of humanity, he did not listen really; he just did not listen. Justin to this day is roaming the earth, showing up at payback time.

Yes, recompense really was a bear.

Copyright © 2005 by Chris Bartholomew

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