Though he won so many hearts during the Andy Griffith Show, the role that made an impact in my development as a young person was as Ben Matlock. Andy Griffith was a down-home actor with silly sensibilities- always willing to laugh at himself. I adored this campy 80's/90's courtroom drama. My mother was obsessed with these types of shows. As a result, I grew up watching Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Perry Mason and the PBS Sherlock Holmes miniseries starring Jeremy Brett.
Around the same time, I started to write voraciously. And since I had very little personal experience from which to write, I wrote some seriously silly fiction incorporating elements from fairy tales or movies I saw. When I heard of Andy Griffith's death, I was reminded of one particular such tale I wrote in 5th grade. By request of my pal, Kim, here the story is in full. I now present:
The Case of the Murdered LibrarianIt was a bright and sunny day. Sherlock Holmes Junior was out golfing with Ben Matlock. The cellular phone in Holmes' golf cart rang. He answered it. It was their secretary, Michelle. Holmes excitedly talked to her for a short while, then hung up. " Get in the cart" he said to Ben. "We've got a case to solve!"The two men hurried out of the course and to the police station. The police had collected a number of clues that were of no use to them. Holmes promptly threw them away. He took the lists of remaining clues and suspects and grabbed Ben. " We must investigate the scene of the crime" he stated.The case was a murder, the murder of Mrs. Emmagean Wright, wife of Mr. Clark Wright. Mrs. Wright was killed in the city's public library. The room was Mr. Luv's office (the manager of the library). The murder weapon, Mr. Luvs gold plated letter opener. The victim had been stabbed twice in the back definitely not suicide.When Holmes and Ben reached the library, a cop was dragging a man that Ben found familiar to a police car. " We found this man supposedly waiting in his car for the victim." the policeman said pushing the man." I didn't do it I swear! " he yelled exasperated." We'll see about that." the policeman said and shoved him into the car.As the car drove off Holmes and Ben could hear the man crying out his innocence." That guy went to college with me, I really don't think that he did it.", Ben said. Holmes shrugged and slipped under the band separating him, from the library.Inside the library, everything was hectic. Over all the noise, Ben heard the chief of police beckoning for him to come into a room. Ben came and Holmes followed. " This is the scene of the murder. " the chief said.The room wasn't a pretty sight. A woman's size of a figure was placed in tape. Blood was found no where except on the murder weapon. Chairs and tables were strewn everywhere, so before the kill, the victim had put up a fight."OK" said Holmes. " We're assigning jobs here. Ben, you go find that friend of yours that you thought was innocent. Ask him if he needs an attorney." He continued, " I'm sure he'll except. Good luck!" Holmes walked over to the chief of police. "Chief " he almost whispered. " I want you to be extra careful on this room , put more men on the guard. I'm counting on you. " he said. Then he left.The rest was up to Ben. With help from Michelle he would prove that man innocent, then find the guilty.Ben went to the penthouse to see that guy. His name was Mr. Jonathan Luvs. His occupant was being the manager of the public library. He and the married victim were lovers. Ben was escorted to a metal room guarded by 4 guards. Jonathan was waiting inside. " Mr. Matlock, " Jonathan said."Call me Ben. " Ben cut in." Well then Ben," Jonathan continued, " I confess Ms. Wright and I were lovers. But I didn't kill her! "Ben said in a comforting voice, " I know you didn't and I'm prepared to make the jury think the same. "" Oh thank you! " Jonathan said, " Thank you very much! "Ben got permission from Mr. Wright to inspect his house. Ben was about to leave the house without luck when he tripped over the rug and fell on to a coffee table. Something crammed into a loose board caught his eye. " Aha." he said, and put a white greeting card sized envelope into his pocket.Court was scheduled for Wed., November second at ten o'clock. The court was full of people."Order in the court!" the judge yelled and all was quiet.Matlock handed the judge a folder. "Your honor," he said, "my client pleads not guilty." There was a hush in the crowd."The prosecution calls their first witness," the judge announced. The prosecutor stepped forward."I call Mary Ericson to the stand," the prosecutor said confidently. Mary was sworn in and seated in the witness box. "Is it true?" He continues. "Were you having a relationship with the victim's husband?""This is going to be a short trial," Ben whispered to Jonathan."Yes," said Miss Ericson timidly answering the prosecuting attorney's question."That is all," the prosecutor stated with a twang of assurance in his voice."Mr. Matlock," the judge asked "do you wish to redirect?"Ben stepped forward, "Yes I do." Pacing back and forth in front of the witness stand, Ben questions the witness. "Miss Ericson," he hesitated for a moment. " It IS Miss isn't it?""Yes it is." she replied."Miss Ericson" Ben repeated." Where were you on the night of the murder?""I was alone in my house reading a book." she answered."Can anyone back up that statement?" Ben said leaning towards the witness stand."No! But if you're thinking that I did it you're WRONG! I'm innocent!!!!!" she was screaming at this point."Is it true you wanted to get rid of Emmagene so you would be able to marry her husband? Is it? Is it?" Matlock asked with a strange tone added to his voice."Order! Order in the court," the judge yelled furiously, but the yelling went on."Yes, it is true," Mary Ericson screamed at the top of her lungs, "but I didn't do it!""We understand that a few of your friends called around the time of the murder and you didn't answer your phone, you could have done i.." Matlock began to say but was interrupted by a voice in the crowd."I did it !!" Mr. Wright yelled. "Leave her alone!" The judge nodded his head at the man and to guards grabbed Mr. Wright. He slowly but willingly walked out of the room."How did you do it?" Holmes and Jonathan asked later."I got a hunch from a love letter I found at Mr. Wright's house, and then I tried my luck," he confessed. "But we can still celebrate!"
So, there you go. Matlock fan fiction written by an 11-year-old Sarah in 1994. Thanks, Andy Griffith! You and your seersucker suits will be missed!