The Beast Of Lake Berryessa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Erotic Horror  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

A Psychotic Humor Approach to solving the Lake Berryessa Zodiac Murders.

A retired FBI Agent, Jack Sherwood, who’d initially assisted in the original “Zodiac Killer” Case, was vacationing, not long ago, with Fred Heltman, a friend who’d once lived near the home of Leonard Lake, and now resided near Lake Berryessa.

As they strolled, lazily, along the shore of that same Lake Of 60’s Notoriety, Jack looked up to note a hawk soaring overheard, just over the shoreline, as Fred Heltman watched the sunlight ripple along the Summer, August Waters. Lake Berryessa seemed more beautiful, each year they visited. Suddenly, all that changed.

As they were strolling along the lakeside, a light “sting” struck the former agent’s arm as if a mosquito had bitten him, though nothing was there when he looked at the bite wound. Then, he turned, suddenly, thinking he’d “heard someone say something about being shot by the Zodiac Killer.”

However, the closest conversationalists he could see, immediately in front of him were a few nearby Japanese tourists “just talking with one another on a nearby bench.”

“What in the hell was that!” the Agent muttered to himself, with regard to the bite wound, feeling a slight fluttering of the heart, a subtle faintness, aphrodisiac-related stimulation, and a light touch of chemical rage, immediately following the sensation, something he recognized, immediately, as being partially asymptomatic of Strychnine Poisoning when administered, using a toxigun, firing ice particle, light impact toxins, which took immediate effect upon impact.

“What’s the matter?” his friend, Fred Heltman asked, glancing, also, momentarily,  towards the same “conversing tourists,” on the bench, nearby, unsure of what the problem might be but “getting the general idea.”

“Dunno,” the former FBI Agent, Jack Sherwood answered, feeling the spot on his arm where the first “sting” had impacted. “I don’t feel quite right, all of a sudden.”

Immediately, a “second sting” struck the Agent near the Jugular. A powerful aphrodisiac rush, kicked into gear, so strong, that Fred, his long-time buddy was forced to help him to a nearby bench, not far from the “very conveniently distracted tourists,” nearby, upon which they sat down to rest.


At that moment, a detached, though, ominously insinuative voice, drifted through the gnarled boughs of the California Oaks, which surrounded them on all sides.


“This is The Zodiac Killer speaking! Do not look around! Get up and leave while you still can. You have been warned!”


On a hunch, however, Heltman turned around, again, towards the same, “very conveniently distracted tourists, nearby,” and noticed that the same “Zodiac voice characteristic” he and his FBI friend, Jack, had noted, a moment before, had “just phasally transitioned,” from the “former adopted characteristic of affectation” back, to one of a more ordinary conversational tone, as the nearby “Zodiac Killer Ventriloquists,” resumed their very conveniently casual discussion, nearby.

Fred, suddenly, began to get the idea of how this good, old Zodiac Killer Game was kicking into gear out there,” and turned back to his FBI Buddy, realizing they’d been hearing  the same two Ventriloquist/conversationalists, nearby, they’d been overhearing, that whole time.

ABRACADABRA!, He thought to himself, Who’s the Zodiac Killer?

The answer to that was right in front of their very eyes and, maybe, always HAD BEEN, FOR YEARS, except that no one realized it was just a Huge Psych Game to make some quick money. So, instead of calling the cops, Fred Heltman thought he’d “play a little game with these people just to see what they’d do about it, if he did.”

“Don’t worry about this, Jack,” he said, suddenly, “I already knew this was going on, out here, but didn’t think it would get this bad. Just let me take care of all this very temporary, ventriloquist bullshit, over here. Because, you know, this is, exactly, what happens when half of North Korea and China’s Ventriloquists convene their ‘Exercises’ and ‘Boat People Voice-Throwing Contests’ in one place, out here. It’s gotten really ridiculous since the Sixties, you know. So hang in there, Pal. Let me ‘rock’ with ‘these people’ a little bit, over here, so that they know exactly who I am and who they ‘ain’t. OK?’”

“I am the Zodiac Killer,” the same voice echoed, again, “You have been warned for a Second Time to leave the area.” 

That’s when Fred Heltman, suddenly, went ballistic on the two nearby ventriloquists, while looking his best “to appear not to be.”

“Hey, you know what,” he began, with a mounting rant of fury, addressing the nearby ventriloquists, while trying to ‘appear otherwise composed.’ “I always thought the Zodiac was white, you know! What the fuck’s gone on with that game, out here, since 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Fanga Banga? I’ll tell you what! You money-filthy foreigners started packing it in here, at OUR lakeside, with your fancy-assed, Japanese RV’s and Zodiac Killer Ventriloquist Rip Off Games and shit, expecting all Southerners to flee BLACK to Kentucky, as soon as the ‘Warning Bells” went off, somewhere, on the decks of The Hornet. And, You know what? That don’t need to happen, out here, Mr. and Mrs. Hero-Titto! You can’t drop a bomb on us with those suckers, today, you know?”

The elderly Asian couple, suddenly, began to “really look at him funny,” so the Louisville Born Gent, decided to kind of look the “other way” in order to continue his heroic rant against the Great Island Nation.

“So put away those high-stepping, Hitler-Assed, heart attack guns, you folks have brought out here,” he continued, addressing the wimpy vaguery of the remote horizon, “We know what ‘you all’ wanted, out here, since the War. It’s all a big MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, Insurance Rip Off game, since the Big War, once that aphrodisiac kicks in, isn’t it? Well? Isn’t it?”

“C’mon, Poppa San! America needs answers, not ‘Zodiac turn-on, target practice,’ by the bushes. We all know why you’re here. C’mon, fess up! AMERICA, THE WORLD, THE FBI AND I ARE WAITING!”

Fred jabbed his FBI buddy in the arm with a little kid’s smirk and a chuckle, lighting up his 68 year old face. “See, buddy! That’s all this whole Zodiac ‘thing’ ever really needed to be, out here, just a huge, Post War Misunderstanding about making a little money, that’s all. They’re right fucking where they ought to be, do you see? It’s just a huge cell phone/ham radio, ID Theft Ripoff, where cell phone/Ham Radio ventriloquists, out here, ‘just want you to think they’re the Zodiac’ while they’re intercepting all of our cell calls and e-mails, on the Dish system and pirated cable Account, at our bank Branches to ‘know it all before we do.’ So, you DO see how easy this is for ‘US’ to understand and explain, out here, right now, don’t you? We don’t need to investigate this Zodiac Thing, anymore, after all these years, do we? Instead, we can always ‘just talk with these people, right here,’ at Lake Berryessa, can’t we? Isn’t that OK with you FBI Guys, or no? That’s all this ever needed to boil down to, out here, right, buddy? Some good, old, down home discussion and arbitration with a couple of people. Know what I mean? How we doing, there with that little idea, my buddy?”

Jack Sherwood, who was beginning to find their “vacation, very interesting,” simply nodded, saying “Well enough to understand the fundamental premise. Now what?”

Suddenly, the nearby Ventriloquist couple interrupted.

“Poppa San,” the elderly Asian woman’s voice, wimpily whispered to her nearby husband from the proximity of the nearby, opposing bench, “I pray with you, my husband, that this mysterious FBI agent, seated, here, before us, and his, shortly-to-become, invisible, friend, Fred, will be perfectly ‘all-white’ by nightfall and able to see us, again, here, soon, in the Beautiful Country where we shall ever dwell, forever and  ever. Do we not Con-Cur on that little, solemn petition, my husband, twice over?”

“May I ever hear in thee, the tongues of both syllabic creatures, my loyal wife,” her husband answered, “As both Con and Cur have, within you, taken shape in one Goddess. These insane Americans had best flee before us, like the harvested crop from our fields, at home, like that shipped, overseas, to feed my people.”


“Thou art Priest, Prophet, and Savior, if I, but, would,” his wife responded, putting her hands together in the usual manner.


“Amen,” he responded. “Go in peace, my darling. We now understand, embrace, and welcome you, again, my Americans, and receive you, here, at Lake Berryessa, where the next Zodiac Hit may soon close upon you unless ‘immediate evaasive action’ is taken to ‘halt the impending projectile.’ You have five minutes, Fred! I repeat! Five MINUTES! Christ, why are you people even here, at all, when I AM COME BEFOREN THEE? Begone, you American Afflictions! The Zodiac commands it!”


The elderly Poppa San, held up a High Five Sign in their direction with his hand, while looking in the opposing direction, to “suggest” that he willed that it was “OK for them to just leave him, now, for a later time.”


Just what Fred Heltman was waiting to do, for some insane reason, he thought. His eyes flickered with self-possessed Glorification, as they, briefly alighted upon the former speaker, like flames of Sacrifice, burning for the Beast, within.


It was at that very moment, that Fred, nearly, jumping to his feet, as if in a final, ass-kissing gesture to every stone that had been in his path the previous hour, suddenly said, “C’mon, Jack, let’s go back to our camper. YOU REALLY DO look like you need a glass of water. And, by the way, I’m REALLY GLAD we could both make it out here, this year, to discuss this Zodiac Problem with a ‘couple of people,’ right about here. I REALLY think we need to revise those good, old Post War terms from years ago, you know. We really all need to sit down and renegotiate with these people, again, to find out what the hell they’re all looking at out here, besides ME, ALL ‘OUR’ DAMN money, and the Primary Key to the Zodiac’s All-Knowing, Direct TV, Dish system. I really don’t know what the hell else to do about this very suddenly urgent situation, out here, involving the Zodiac Killer, other than get some food, water, and nourishment in your system, right away, so we don’t have to drive YOU all the way to the damn hospital. I’m here. So it’s all right.”


“By Heaven, I’d never dare doubt that,” Jack answered, as the two, ambled away, along the trail, back to Fred’s Camper, “Sounds like you’ve got this whole thing pegged, out here, Superman.”


“I know what’s going on,” Fred answered. “Don’t worry, we’ll get Black to our RV, all White, with or without anyone’s help.”


“If you say it, first, I would never entertain reason to doubt that,” Jack answered.

However, now Fred was beginning to feel super psyched for his Zodiac Killer Power Rush. So, he decided he wanted to ‘play a little game with Leonard’s Lake while the Mallards were still swimming in it.’

So, this is how that went.

“Say, Jack,” Fred jokingly began, “While we’re still out here, ‘just talking about the Zodiac Killer,’ maybe you’d like to hear a little Ventriloquism joke to tell your FBI buddies in Quantico, before we both leave in a few days. Because, while I still feel like Superman, out here, Man, I gotta tell you this whole fucking jag about Leonard Lake I just made up, just now, for some insane, but important reason! I wanna see what people will do, out here, when they hear it.”


“Go for it, Superman!” the ever-congenial Jack, The FBI Agent, responded, quietly, not sure if he should feel the ferocity of the “other Jack” by simply dismissing this San Bernardino Born Savage with a blow to the jaw.


“OK, OK! I will!” Fred began, swinging his arms before and behind him, like an excited orangutan with an insane gleam of ferocity in his eyes as if he wasn’t asking for permission to continue to begin with,  “There’s these two ventriloquists, walking by the side of Lake Berryessa, one day. OK? All of a sudden, one of them drops everything, points across the clearing, and shouts, “Look! Look! Over there! I see Leonard! Look, Jason, It’s Leonard!”

“Where?” his companion, Jason, inquired.

“Over there! Right there, on the other side of the clearing! It’s Leonard Of The Lake, Man! What’s He doing out here? What are we going to do, now, Jason? Run? CREATE a new Lake in our own RV? Huh? What? What do we do? Tell me! It’s all about you, out here, Jason, OK? What now, O Jason of The Berryessas?””


“Jason of The Berryessas looked across the clearing for a brief moment of feigned sincerity, looked behind him at some fellow ventriloquists they were pretending, for the moment, not to be acquainted with, and shouted, suddenly, just like in the TV Game Show of mention:


“A wimpy-assed voice, amongst the unrecognized, nearby ventriloquists, like the confused hiss of a bewildered Death Adder biting a moccasin in a creek, gasped, ‘I wanna create my own Leonard Lake, out here, now, OK, Mommy?’”

“However, as soon as Jason’s companion was done relating to him all that ought to transpire, out here” Fred concluded, winding up his story, “What in the hell do you suppose happened next, that made everything, thereafter, work out just great, out here, after all, for those that followed, thereafter?”

Fred paused for a moment to gauge his friend’s response to this “routine question” he, suddenly, felt like asking an FBI agent, for a change, instead of the other way around. After all, he felt self-empowered, out here. Very self-empowered.

When no response appeared forthcoming, he quickly added, “If saying nothing ‘works’ for right now as an answer to that, how about this Bible teaser: Of whom do you suppose it was of which they spoke, out here, at that time, if not I ?”

“Whomever I, in my mortal, finite capacity,  may elect to choose,” Jack answered, carefully choosing his words, as they proceeded, mortally, from him, “If not by the will of the notorious . . .”


“Zodiac Killer? Superman?” Fred interjected, filling in the blank for his companion. “Man, I am Superman, if George Bernard Shaw had had the right idea! I can be whoever I WANNA BE OUT HERE, when the Devil’s naked back is turned! This is a fucking Ventriloquists’ Playground, when someone‘s got the right attitude. And, while we’re at it, you know, I just want to say how pleased I am that you’re really getting in tune with my game plan, out here! Man, this whole fucking vacation rocks! I AM SO PSYCHED THAT I BROUGHT YOU, ALL THE WAY OUT HERE, MAN! I’M SO GLAD THIS WORKED OUT THE RIGHT WAY, INSTEAD OF THE WRONG WAY.”

“I never dared doubt it would NOT be a never-ending party,” Jack responded, as they neared Fred’s RV trailer, “I guess we must have missed all these festivities and fun, when we investigated these two cases in the Sixties, and, thereafter.”


"Maybe someone should have just walked up and asked me or someone. I’m right fucking here! Nobody’s goin’ nowhere!”


“If it weren’t for you, Superman, I would never have known that,” Jack responded, wisely.

“Well, next time, you people are out here, just walk around the lake trails, and ask a ventriloquist or two, in the same non-specific address, about what ya want to know. And they’ll tell ya. It’s as easy as pie. That way, you get around all the difficult obstacles accompanying specific address. After all, we’re still using the same Trailside Ventriloquist Con, today that nobody noticed, out here, in the Sixties nor even paid attention to, in that other case, even though that had nothing to do with me. You gotta know what you’re hearing, out there, these days, buddy, when you’re FBI, and hiking Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, or the Alaskan outback. People do this, these days, to evade responsibility for their crimes. Who’s gonna believe some Simian Kook who thought he heard a ‘Carpenter’ on Mt. Tam, anyway? Where jn the world have you FBI People been all these years? Mars? Of course, Ventriloquism is the new, or, should I say, old, evasion factor, in evading responsibility for one’s crimes. To paraphrase Pogo, ‘We have seen the Zodiac Killer, and He Is Our Jungian Self, Metamorphised, as in the Franz Kafka tale by the same title, ‘The Metamorphosis.’ Besides, it makes our South American ID Theft and Broadband Piracy Scheme, across the border, work more smoothly over the Ham Radio, when one’s contacts, have a far better idea of why “The Zodiac Killer, whom one hears, out here, at times, amongst the dusky shadows, which separate Earth and Sky, is merely, the transformed voice characteristic of the closest RV Pirate Ham radio user, accompanied by FCC Distortions of the same transmission, deceptively, sent out, using the Zodiac Killer as a Ham Radio Handle, even off of Miami, I imagine.”


“So where would one look, first?” Jack inquired.

“Why, the closest Ham Radio User or random Ventriloquist, one can find, of course. Otherwise, if you don’t know this, it’s whoever you want to hear, in the open forum of a public gathering. Otherwise, lacking immediate knowledge of the concept, the entire phenomenon is, thereby, internalized into the Subconscious as an Abstract Entity of Self-Persecution, as opposed to its rightful assignment to Crowd Chatter Ventriloquists, in-syncing into the generic babble to avoid detection. For did you not know, O FBI Agent, before me, that we we’re right here, all along, adjusting our frequencies to thine, so that the Zodiac could be amongst thee, even unto this very day?”

“How could we have misjudged this, then,” Jack responded, “If only we’d just asked, you folks, out here, everything would have gone more smoothly with that case, I suppose, just as YOU say it would have.”

“Next time you’re out here, working a similar Ventriloquism-related case, JUST ASK THE VENTRILOQUISTS within the crime scene crowd chatter backdrop, anywhere you want to, without ‘looking like you’re addressing anyone, in particular,’ whether or not they can ‘help you out a little bit with some crime scene information,’ without it having to be known that someone is ‘talking to a Cop.’ You’ll get WAY MORE INFO that way, than doing a face-to-face, question and answer Street Clown Interview where NO ONE wants to answer questions. Right? You folks need to adopt a whole new Street Ventriloquists’ Approach to start winning the war on Crime and Terrorism. Ventriloquism is simply your new investigative weapon to use, introversely, against the criminal enemy. Because, what can they do about it, if you use it back on them, as a way to fight back, right?  It’s not, technically, against the law to use it for investigatve purposes, is it? If it’s THEIR Psychiatric Loophole by which to evade criminal responsibility, it is, also, your resolute weapon to use against them to circumvent the same problems with Prosecution, associated with Directly Conducted Interviews.”

“Thank God, you’re here to tell me, all this, today,” Jack responded. “Where in the world would I and the FBI be without you, today, O Superman?”


“And all ya had to do, then, in ‘68, was just ask us, Poppa, right?” Fred returned with a smirk of self—presuming and obscene vanity. “It’s the Mannah of Texarkana, the ventriloquist shadow that guided the Ventriloquist hand of Jack The Ripper, or, maybe, if one were to go even further than one ought to with this, the randomly positioned crowd-situated ventriloquist that may have conditioned or guided Lee Harvey Oswald, from the crowd chatter backdrop, in the late Fifties and early Sixties, all the way to his alleged crime in Dallas, up to Jack Ruby, pulling the trigger. For all I know, if it has nothing to do with me, there are criminal agenda ventriloquists in Daly Plaza, even today, doing the same damn thing they were, probably, doing, then. Keeping people distracted from the point of picking up on their very elusively generic, crowd chatter in-syncing. In fact, I  betcha they had all those assassinations set up, back then, like bowling pins, ya know?”

Jack Sherwood of the FBI froze in his tracks at these last words, in confounded shock, and stood, looking Fred straight in the eye with the ferocity of political fury, gleaming in his gaze like two very remote and distant fires of federal intimidation. “Don’t you think you’re overdoing this a little too much, Fred?” he asked, with quiet, very measured concern, just as he might’ve done in the old days. “I mean, should you really be heard talking that sensitive sort of material, today, regarding such a discerning topic? Fred! What in the world would people think if they heard you talking that way in this day and age? Are you absolutely sure you’re all right, Fred? I mean, after all, we ARE TALKING ABOUT JFK, AREN’T WE, FRED? DID YOU NOT BOTHER TO CONSIDER THAT THE ENTIRETY OF RUSSIA COULD BE INTERCEPTING EACH AND EVERY WORD THAT CROSSETH THY LIPS, TWICE OVER?!”

Fred suddenly appeared a tad flushed and embarrassed, turning away for a moment like a humiliated and bumbling Mountain Cow. Then, “Yeah, I kinda got a little carried away with myself, right there, I guess. You might even even say I was kind of feeling a little bit too powerful.”

Jack fixed him with a steady “What The Hell Did You Do That For, Anyway?!” look, for a few more tense moments. Then, “Next time, I notice that you’re too powerful, in this kind of situation, and want to ask about that sort of sensitive material, out here, somewhere, Fred, I’m sure I will elect to address the same scenario, in the same format, WITH NO BETTER MAN, THAN YOU!”

Jack continued to fix his friend, Fred, with the same, withering Elliot Ness Glare, until, Fred, humiliated by his previous display of presumptuousness, yet, oddly complemented by the dagger, held in the assassin’s hand of his friend’s final line delivery, turned away, with a shrug of defeatism in his ever-shrinking posture.

“Look. All I’m trying to say is that you folks just need to ask about these things, out here, next time you come out here, OK?” Fred conceded, wimpily,  “That’s why we’re sort of still, out here, you know,” Fred continued,  “To ‘negotiate with your staff and whoever, about our collectively organized crimes and their significance to you, using our unofficial art of ventriloquism, to arbitrate. That’s why we’re still doing this, out here, today, Jack, you see. Because we’re all presumptuously-inclined heroes, newly arrived back from the Wars at Troy, awaiting the return of Odysseus to his House to correct us for preceding Him in the error of Victory’s limitations. Sometimes, a guy’s gotta make a little money, OK? OK?”

“Superman! Superman!” Jack replied, soothingly, “The FBI and I could go ABSOLUTELY, NOWHERE, AT ALL, without the brilliant intervention of heroes, just like you.”

Jack modulated his facial expression into one of beaming, Heartland of America Pride as he looked upon the man before him, as it were, Odysseus, himself, newly arrived home from the Wars at Troy, only to discover that a hundred ventriloquists were already courting his own wife in his own home, while attempting to “appear as if they were not.”


“Next time, maybe, just ask someone, out here, OK?” Fred insisted again, with a touch of Mississippi defeatism, in anticipation of whatever else was more apparent in the gaze which accompanied his Southern conciliation.

“That’s what I wanna do, tomorrow, Superman. Why it never dawned on me to do it, in 1968, when we first investigated this, I’ll never know.”

“That’s why I’m ‘still out here,’ Pal, with the rest of them,” Fred answered, “We’re always here, for you, you know, waiting and watching for you.”

“You were my last hope and I never knew it, Superman,” Jack returned. “I thank you. The FBI thanks you. And I know Captain America, himself, would congenially do the same, if he were here.”


“I would accept no other terms of negotiated agreement,” Fred concluded, before they stepped into Fred’s Ham Radio equipped RV, for a few beers, some sandwiches, and a completely unhurried game of Scrabble, as their leisurely vacation at Lake Berryessa, continued, unimpeded by any unnecessary and unexpected inconveniences that would have, otherwise, “spoiled the whole vacation they’d been taking together, up there, every year, for years.”

And, sometimes, one discovers, that despite the good times, the laughter, and the friendship which accompany one to the table of merriment’s confidence, the Absinthe of the Beast has, already, been instilled in the hollow echoes of its cheerful madness. So like the Devil’s Own Looking Glass Reflection in the Wine Bottle that delivered the Savagery of his poison to the Shadowed minds of those, already gone mad.



Submitted: April 23, 2015

© Copyright 2023 the omega man. All rights reserved.

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