The witness, William Rogers, is seventy-five year old white male. The interview was conducted at Yoknapatawpha Acres and recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective Samantha Murphy
- Detective Ted Armstrong
- William Rogers
Detective Murphy: For the record please state your name and address.
William Rogers: My name is William Rogers. You can call me Bill, and it's better if you do.
Detective Murphy: Why is that?
William Rogers: William's my father. It gets very confusing having two people with the same name under one roof.
Detective Murphy: And what's your address?
William Rogers: You're standing in it. I don't know the street number or anything. Don't get much in the way of mail.
Detective Armstrong: So, Bill, did you hear what happened with Jerry Shaw?
William Rogers: In a manner of speaking. My hearing isn't what it used to be, but that doesn't keep me from knowing what's going on. The young man tangled with a dumpster, and came in second.
Detective Armstrong: What do you remember about the day he died?
William Rogers: They served strawberry Jello for dessert.
Detective Murphy: Do you like strawberry Jello?
William Rogers: No, but they serve it here every day. People used to complain about the food the airlines served. They ought to have flown Yok Acres. Granted, many of the residents here don't have a full head of teeth, but food we get here isn't much more than seven flavors of mush. Not much flavor, either.
Detective Armstrong: What was your impression of Jerry Shaw?
William Rogers: Maybe the man should have eaten a little more Jello, a little less tapioca. These young folks, they're greedy. They eat too much. They spend too much. And what's with the tattoos? Once upon a time, you didn't see that outside a carnival. It was a novelty. Now, it's just something else to put on the charge card.
Detective Murphy: We're talking to the residents, trying to recreate Jerry's last day. How can you help us with that Bill?
William Rogers: Well, as Al will tell you -- he's my roommate -- my hearing isn't what it used to be. But I'm a man who likes to know what's going on in the world. I'm inquisitive. Got a nose for adventure. What other people hear and don't notice, I see.
Detective Murphy: What did you see?
William Rogers: Young lady, I've seen a lot, and what I've seen is that people don't change. They harden. They stick to a piece of ground and they let that piece of ground define them. Next thing you know, they're working that ground, they're eating it and they're breathing it and I dare say they're passing it. They get so they can't see anything except for that ground, and then they become consumed with their rituals with it. Jerry, he went through the motions the way an ant goes through the motions.
Detective Armstrong: Can you be more specific?
William Rogers: Not really, because Jerry couldn't. He just kept working that rut, day after day, week after week. That's why visitors such as yourselves are so important. When you come in here, you're still alive, you're thinking of what you're going to do next when you leave.
Detective Murphy: Do you get many visitors?
William Rogers: I wouldn't be able to hear them if I did. My daughter knows that. Mary-Ann. She does something at the college. She's my pride and joy.
Detective Armstrong: Did you perhaps notice any visitors the day Jerry died?
William Rogers: That was an exciting day. All the police and ambulance and fire. An ambulance, that's not such a rare sight here, but we don't see much of you folks. Makes a day stand out, stick in your mind. The oxygen fellow was here that day. Magnolia's boy. Part of the reason I remember so well is that I'm towards the end of the hall. Only two rooms past me to visit unless someone plans to go through the emergency exit, which happens. And sometimes it's not visitors, either.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean?
William Armstrong: Some of the residents, they're not all there, and they're always trying to get home. Others, well they just feel like moving on.
Detective Murphy: Do you ever feel that way yourself?
William Rogers: I play the television loud. After a while, I can't hear myself think.
Detective Armstrong: Do you remember seeing much of Jerry that day?
William Rogers: Saw him pass and then pass again. Must have been Magnolia or Rose, since the room across from them is empty at the moment. Maybe five, maybe ten minutes passed. Magnolia's boy left a couple minutes after that.
Detective Armstrong: Magnolia's boy? Ed Harbison?
William Rogers: Keeping his mother here chews him up some. He always drags his heels as he's going, as if guilt was holding him back. Guilt, she's a powerful motivator.
Detective Armstrong: And the oxygen fellow?
William Rogers: He's always in and out. He's not much better than the staff, not worth noticing.
Detective Murphy: We'd like to apologize for taking up so much of your time, Bill.
William Rogers: Time is something I have, and also something I don't have. I'm just disappointed you didn't bring me downtown in cuffs.
Detective Armstrong: Why would we do that?
William Rogers: It would have helped to break up the monotony.
Interview ended: 10:52 AM