Smiling older woman with a gray-blonde pixie cut

Magnolia Harbison interview #2

Saturday, January 18, 2020 – 3:45 p.m.

Magnolia Harbison was Rose Jenkins's roommate at the Yoknapatawpha Acres nursing home, where Jerry Shaw worked.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed Mrs. Harbison at Yoknapatawpha Acres.


Detective Murphy: Good afternoon.

Magnolia Harbison: That's the same thing you said last time you were here, and I still see nothing good about this place.

Detective Murphy: State your name for the record, please.

Magnolia Harbison: Magnolia Harbison, as you well know. Now what?

Detective Armstrong: We want to talk about Jerry Shaw a little more.

Magnolia Harbison: He's dead. No one misses him. What else is there to say?

Detective Armstrong: You didn't like him very much, huh?

Magnolia Harbison: There was nothing to like.

Detective Armstrong: Did he do something that upset you?

Magnolia Harbison: He never did anything I asked him to. That upset me.

Detective Armstrong: Some people have said he could sometimes be a little rough with the residents. Did you ever see anything like that?

Magnolia Harbison: I'm old. I'm not blind.

Detective Armstrong: Was he ever rough with you?

Magnolia Harbison: Sometimes.

Detective Armstrong: Did you ever tell anyone?

Magnolia Harbison: I can't get out of this bed, can't hardly move at all without someone to help me, and it would hurt even if they lifted me up on angel's wings. So who's going to do anything if I complain? No one, that's who.

Detective Armstrong: You never even told your son?

Magnolia Harbison: What was he going to do? He couldn't even get them to hang a clock for me.

Detective Murphy: You mentioned that before. Can you tell us more about that?

Magnolia Harbison: It's just a simple wall clock. It wouldn't have been a hard job to hang it on my wall where I could see it, but would anyone do that for me? No. It was just too much to ask without paying extra. Extra that I don't have, so do you see a clock anywhere? I don't.

Detective Armstrong: Where's the clock now?

Magnolia Harbison: It disappeared. I asked Jerry to put it in a drawer in my bedside table right there, but it's not there now. He probably stole it when I was asleep or out of the room. Wouldn't be the first time that happened.

Detective Armstrong: Did you tell anyone?

Magnolia Harbison: What would be the point? Nobody listens. Even Ed, and he's the one who gave me the clock. I've told him and told him how much I hate not having any way of knowing what time it is. Ever. I don't know when it's mealtime or when my programs come on or anything. Still don't.

Detective Armstrong: When did your son bring you the clock?

Magnolia Harbison: Christmas. He gave it to me with some tacky, gas station flowers and a big box of cheap candy. Not that that stopped every Tom, Dick and Harry who wandered in here from helping themselves to my candy. They all take whatever they want. Jerry took everything that wasn't nailed down.

Detective Murphy: Did you tell Ed that you couldn't get anyone to help you?

Magnolia Harbison: Yes, I did, not that it made much difference. But then that's Ed for you. He said he talked to Mr. Landrigan. He said he talked to Jerry. But nothing happened. I told him to go out to his truck, get his hammer, and hang that clock himself. He wouldn't do it. He thought he'd get in trouble for putting a hole in the wall.

Detective Armstrong: When did your son speak to Mr. Landrigan and Jerry?

Magnolia Harbison: How would I know? I told him over and over to do it, but do you think he brought them in here to talk in front of me? I do know he asked Jerry about the clock on the very day that useless waste died.

Detective Armstrong: How did that go?

Magnolia Harbison: Jerry stopped in while Ed was here, saying he just wanted to see if we needed anything, which is a big joke. He probably hoped Ed would pull out his wallet. I told Ed to talk to him about the clock, and when he did, Jerry said he would hang it later. But I knew he wouldn't because that's what he always said.

Detective Armstrong: And then what happened?

Magnolia Harbison: Then Jerry slithered out of here like he always did. I told Ed to go after him and make him hang that clock.

Detective Armstrong: Did he?

Magnolia Harbison: Of course not. He wanted to argue about it. I reminded him that it's his fault I'm trapped in this awful place, not able to do anything, not even know what time it is. It's his responsibility as a son to try to bring me some small comfort before I die. It really is the very least he can do to make up for what he's done to me, especially after everything I did for him his whole life.

Detective Armstrong: Did you convince him to talk to Jerry again?

Magnolia Harbison: You think he ever listens to me anymore? I'm just his mother, no one important. No, he just got angry as if I was the one who did something to him, and he left.

Detective Murphy: What time did he leave?

Magnolia Harbison: No clock, remember?

Detective Murphy: You've seen Ed since then, haven't you?

Magnolia Harbison: Oh, yes. He keeps coming here almost every day so he won't feel so guilty about dumping me here.

Detective Murphy: Maybe he just wants to see you?

Magnolia Harbison: Ha! If that was true, he wouldn't have kicked me out of my own house where he saw me all the time.

Detective Murphy: Did you two talk about Jerry at all after that day?

Magnolia Harbison: Of course, we did. The man was murdered just a few feet from here. I told Ed it's not safe for me to stay here after something like that, but does he care about an old woman's worries? No. He just says I'm overreacting. He says plenty of people didn't like Jerry, and whoever killed him wouldn't kill me. As if he'd know. That wife of his just won't let him bring me home where I belong.

Detective Murphy: Have you heard anything from anyone else about Jerry's death since we talked last time?

Magnolia Harbison: No, afraid not. All the talk lately is about Landrigan being arrested and poor old Rose being hauled out of here by her daughter. I know I complained about her, but now I miss her. I'm tired, officer. Are we done?

Detective Murphy: Yes, we can stop. Thank you for talking to us again.

Interview ended – 1:07 p.m.