Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Only four people knew Charlie Dietel got shot."

Only four people knew Charlie Dietel got shot. Known as "Doc,” Charlie was a popular druggist on Upper Main Street. He had survived horrible trench warfare in France as a medic under fire, and now there he was shot near the grape arbor in the backyard of the Dietel family home on Carew Street.

His attackers had prepared their trap days in advance, an old tool shed converted into a playhouse against the bole of a decapitated apple tree. A secret back bedroom was sealed off with a frayed paisley drapery.

Doc found a scribbled note on the front seat of his Essex coupe inviting him to visit the playhouse at high noon on the fatal day. Right on time and unsuspecting, Doc strolled down the side drive, proceeded across the expanse of lawn where he had as a boy weeded a European-style garden, and announced his arrival with three knocks on the weatherbeaten door.

"Come in!" rang out two excited voices. As Doc pulled open the door the drapery was yanked aside and "Sting! Sting! Sting! Sting!” Doc took four shots into the belly bulge between the bottom of his vest and his leather belt. He let out a scream of pain and fled up the drive and across the street where his wife, Jenny, was preparing his lunch.

It turned out his attackers were Doc's son, Bob, and his nephew, Bill Cary, both members of the juvenile "Rubber Guns Gang" who fought mock war games in the brushy glen behind A.P. Lane's home on Upper Bardwell St. Their weapons were homemade devices concocted from old clapboards and narrow bands of abandoned inner tubes.

Doc recovered nicely except for a bruise near his belly button, and no charges were pressed.

Bill Cary 6/21/09

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