He was a striking gentleman. I mean the stereotypical southern “yes sir, no sir,” “mother may I,” gentlemen. The first time I met him I saw this stranger from a distance attempting to move a heavy looking recliner into the condo next to mine. My wife and I haven’t had next door neighbors for over 2 years. I was met with mixed emotions as I’m happy someone finally moved in, it’s a great neighborhood after all, but I also enjoyed the quiet. Our particular setup is a 1950’s era brick townhouse condominium where every complex holds about 10 individual homes. We are awfully close together and the walls are pretty thin.
I was just coming back from ordering a pizza and was excited about consuming said pizza. As I made it closer to the eventual destruction of dough, sauce, and cheese, I saw this man struggling with the aforementioned recliner. I mean he was so underwater it was kind of embarrassing. We all know how awkward some things are to physically move. Recliners can be so much worse due to the internal steel mechanism inside that make it recline. It looked like this dude was so unprepared for this task that I had to stop and help. We made eye contact, the man looking drained. He was smaller, about 5’6’’, maybe 150 pounds in a hurricane, had deep blue eyes, bald, and had a genuine niceness to him that hit me like sunlight. I instantly needed to help him even more. “Hey man looks like you need a hand, let me throw this pizza inside and I’ll be right out.”
He just smiled, nodded, and stood up, leaving his awful dead-lift like crouch. It looked like he was going to give that chair one more spine-snapping attempt.
Between the two of us we moved the chair easily into his living room. He thanked me profusely and we introduced ourselves. His name was Vin and he was from Alabama. Quite a few states away as I live here in Michigan. He explained that he buys and rents out condos around the US. Vin then gave me his business card, where I see he is in fact based out of Orange City, Alabama.
One week later I heard a knocking on my front door. As I answered the door I saw a wide smiling Vin holding a pretty good sized, healthy looking watermelon. He was thankful for the hand in moving his recliner and decided to offer me a giant piece of fruit for my trouble. I thanked him, actually tickled by the gesture. Honestly I placed it on the counter and never touched it. Not because I don’t like watermelon, I just never got around to eating it. I didn’t find out until much later that I encountered one of the most brutal serial killers in US history.
Two weeks later as I was coming home from work, I was again greeted by Vin, holding a big slice of another watermelon. “Hope you enjoyed the watermelon, I thought I’d get you another one.” “Uh, thanks,” I said. “My wife and I loved the first one.” I lied of course, but I didn’t want to be rude. He was just so nice and genuine I couldn’t tell him we threw the first one out. I thought it was kind of strange to offer a watermelon to someone you just met but I figured it was some kind of southern thing. I even googled if that was true. All I found was that it was a typical Japanese gesture of kindness. Shrugging it off I still appreciated the gesture. I actually had a few bites of this one, to be nice. It was ok, I’m not a huge fan of the taste to begin with.
And that was the last time I saw my neighbor Vin. Over the years I’d see different people come and go from the next door condo. I assumed Vin was renting it out and that was that. One day while browsing the news on my phone I saw an interesting story title: “One strange thing has been found around 5 apparent homicide victims over the last 2 years.. A watermelon.”
My body started to tingle. Either this was a gigantic coincidence, or I had met the Alabama watermelon man. That wasn’t what the press was calling him, that’s just the first thing I thought of when I read this story. Obviously they couldn’t know he was from Alabama. Apparently there had been 5 men, all throughout the country, stabbed and beaten to death with a giant green watermelon placed near their lifeless body. There had been 2 mid 20’s aged men found within a few miles of each other in a condo complex in Indiana. One older man in his 40’s had been found crushed beyond recognition in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. One man was found in the western part of Michigan, beaten so badly he was unrecognizable. He also had one of his arms sawn completely off. And the last victim was actually all the way in Alaska.
“How the hell did they even connect these?” I thought. Reading deeper into the article I discovered that the local Police made it public early on that an untouched, fresh watermelon was placed at the scene of the two Indiana men. Probably trying to get any help from the public they could, thinking it was a local person who may have been seen buying watermelons I guess?
When the next couple of gruesome murders were found one of the Tampa Detectives remembered that story from Indiana. And from then on the countries police forces were waiting for this Watermelon killer. Shutting down my phone, I sat in silence for minutes, hours, days maybe. Now what? Do I wait to get brutally dismembered? Did the Alabama watermelon gentlemen give their victims the fruit and wait to kill? Should I contact the Police or the FBI? Would I sound like a lunatic? I’d say it had been years since I’ve seen Vin. I know this could all just be a huge coincidence and maybe i’m just paranoid as hell, but my gut feeling was that something very bad was going to happen. He had killed all men, so I felt fairly sure that my wife was not in danger so that was a relief. Should I start arming myself like Arnold in Commando? A lightbulb shattered over my head, figuratively of course, and I ran to loot the drawer where we keep random paperwork, including business cards. I found it. “Vin,” from Orange City condos in Alabama. I looked up the condo association info on that card to find that indeed it was a real place, and his name was on the website, although not as Vin. It was another name that started with “V” that I will not disclose.
The internet is an amazing place, you can do a little detective work and find anything. I linked Vin to several properties throughout the States, including ones in Indiana, Alabama, my home state of Michigan of course, and even the last frontier, Alaska. Needless to say that my internet sleuthing did not help calm my mind.
Still a massive coincidence? I peeked through my windows every day before I left my house. I had lights and cameras put in. I almost threw up when I saw watermelons at the grocery store. This went on for a calendar year until the memory of Vin, the Alabama gentlemen, the possible watermelon killer, disappeared.
I’ve always been into true crime, serial killer lore, and interesting lesser-known stories like the smiley face killers and the toy box killer. These kinds of subjects didn’t get their own coverage on Netflix or national television. I found them on YouTube from content creators like Reignbot, Nexpo, and Nick Crowley. It was on one of these channels I found an amazing, all be it, terrifying recounting of the “custom of the Alabama Watermelon Man,” video. I probably looked like that character from A clockwork Orange, when he’s being forced to watch hours of videos, with his eyes pried open. I’ve watched over 1 million hours of serial killer videos, but not one of those videos were about something I was possibly involved in. The narrator went into detail of the killing, the social media posting around the event, and even some real, somewhat censored pictures of the actual crime scenes.
The only thing I can remember from this video was that the watermelon was fresh. It wasn’t rotten or fake. I had gotten TWO fresh watermelons from the Alabama man. Why was I alive? I thought about DMing the Youtuber that created this video, as they had a great grasp of this story, but I felt like maybe that would be a bad idea overall.
“HI! I might have ran into the Watermelon killer!! XD ” That would be a freakin dumb addition to the comment section.
I did leave a comment though. I just left a simple emoji. Imagine Macaulay Culkin doing his most famous scene ever, to make it simple. I guess that was all it took.
Several days after watching and commenting on the Watermelon Killer video I opened my front door to see a card on the steps. My wife and I left cards for each other frequently so I was not at first alarmed. Seeing a cartoon of a watermelon on the envelope, I became alarmed. I shakily opened the note with blood absolutely rocketing through my body. “You’re one in a Melon,” it said on the inside. With a sketch of a watermelon slice that had a little smiley face.
Soon after there was nation wide breaking news. The man that struggled to move a reclining chair 10 feet from his front lawn to his front door that I met years ago had been taken into custody in Muscle Schoals, Alabama. The man I knew as Vin had committed one more deplorable crime, taking the life of a 30 something nomad outside a nightclub in the beach resort town. Smashed watermelon was found all over the corpse.
I followed the now dubbed “Alabama Watermelon Man,” story from start to finish. I had a google alert placed so every time his name came up I would be notified. When asked why he chose watermelon to mark his crimes his response was “I just .. like watermelon.”
15 years later, the man I knew as Vin was leaving death row to face the chair. I suppose you could describe it more of an examination table, as electric chairs are not really used anymore. Before the deadly lethal injection cocktail was administered, he was asked if he had any last words.
“Be nice to people.”
Credit : Blake Blizzard
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