The Gein Line

Prompt Day #363: Account for the wreath of entrails.

The Gein Line

                The whole town called him the Grinch. Behind his back of course, but he knew. He was the only one who refused to decorate for Christmas. The letters came each and every year, explaining how the town’s name was, after all, Christmas and the did pride themselves on their Christmas displays and when only one home refuses to participate in the festivities, it becomes an eyesore and so on and so forth. He always crushed them up and trashed them. He had no interest in Christmas or any of its nonsensical traditions.

Decorating one’s house gives a certain impression. “I’m a friendly person, feel free to drop by and say hello” it says in red and green flashing lights. The last thing Henry Wilhelm needed were people dropping by. Henry had what he thought of as an unusual habit. Only one other person that he knew of shared his enthusiasm for his kind of bric-a-brac but Ed Gein died back in 84 so that left Henry and he alone to carry on the art.

He couldn’t have people visiting a home filled with cemetery finds. And so far that’s all it was. Just pieces he’d made from his collections at the graveyard. But still, the rest of the town wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t even open the door to carolers; his coat rack was formed by six femurs stacked end to end with four humerus bones for hooks. He hadn’t crossed the line that ultimately led to Gein’s capture. He hadn’t killed anyone. Henry simply watched the obituaries and waited. It was no different than found or repurposed art. No one else was using the pieces anymore. But it was illegal and so he needed to keep to himself.

The letter this year came from Carla Thompkins, the town’s treasurer and librarian. She of course felt that she spoke for the town and always in its best interests. So it wasn’t a surprise to see her signature at the bottom of the thing. She informed him that if he did not participate in this year’s Christmas decorating a group led by the illustrious Ms. Thompkins herself would be picketing his home all hours of the day and night. A threat. Really? That woman did not know who she was messing with. Her picketing would have a detrimental effect on his ability to go searching for art supplies.

He decided perhaps it was time to invite her over, explain in a calm and rational way why he chose not to participate and if, after he’d done so, she still felt as strongly about it, then, he would give in and agree. He smiled. This time, he did not throw away the letter, instead, he flipped it over and began to reply.

The doorbell rang and Henry let Carla in. She didn’t notice the coat rack, even after he made an exaggerated effort putting her coat on it. They sat at the kitchen table. A bowl made out of the top half of a human skull held peanuts and she ate them without hesitation. Henry decided that no one notices things they don’t want to see and all this time, he’d been being so stubborn to save himself when the more objecting he’d done, the more he’d called attention to himself. And there was just no reason to worry about it because no one seemed to care anyways that he had a house full of human remains posing as décor.

“I don’t own any lights” he said finally when she’d finished her persuasive argument. “But I was thinking of maybe putting up a wreath of some sort.”

“Now that’s the spirit Henry! I’m sure the townsfolk would be happy to donate extra lights to help you make your home just as festive as ours.” She smiled a politician’s grin and he knew that he was going to cross the Gein line.

“I’ve never decorated for Christmas before though” he said “I’ll need your help.”

“Whatever I can do.” She said and he turned out the lights.


Henry Thompkins home did not appear to be decorated for Christmas and as promised, although without their leader who had for some reason not shown up for the protest that morning, the group protesting Henry’s lack of participation began their picketing.

He saw them of course, the big picture window sat right in front of his work table where he was painting bones to look like candy canes and tanning skin around spheres that he would then light up to make large ornaments to decorate the yard. He smiled. Silly folks obviously hadn’t seen his wreath. They would though, soon, he hoped. That’s when he heard the scream. Ah, yes, they had seen it.

The wreath hung on his door. It was so fresh, it still dripped; red lines striped the white door like a peppermint candy. Carla’s small bowel twisted around the metal frame forming the bulk of the wreath. The pink tone of live mucosa had become a dusky purple without its constant blood supply. He’d made a large puffy bow out of the colon and stitched it to the bottom of the wreath. It too had turned dark, almost black but he found it to be a lovely winter shade.

He’d found some gallstones in her gallbladder so he added them around the wreath too. In the end it was as festive as he’d ever been and he was quite proud of it. He hung it on the door and immediately got to work preparing the best Christmas decorations this town had ever seen.