Some time back, seeking an escape from writing about writing, I indulged myself in a humorous post I’d always wanted to write. It involved the elusive “Malden Man” and his adventures, misadventures, and the many lives he’s led. So here is the original post, with some updates about what he’s been doing since last we explored his checkered career.
As you all well known, crime writers are constantly scanning the papers, looking for ideas, and this keeps popping up. I’ve always wanted to write this blog.
The Urban Dictionary describes Malden Man thusly:
A very handsome, well educated, erudite man. Usually of Middle Eastern and/ or Mediterranean descent. The Malden Man is very cosmopolitan, well read, articulate, smokes, speaks at least three languages fluently and will either have a Ph.D. from MIT or an MBA from Northeastern University. He is often married and faithful to his wife despite being a wicked flirt. If he is single take a ticket and queue up girls he will have more groupies than Mick Jagger ca. 1968 and Brad Pitt combined.
The facts, however, do not bear this out.
Malden Man Had A Hard Life:
Years ago, when I met my husband Ken, he remarked that one of the Harvard papers–he can’t recall whether it was The Crimson or The Lampoon–once observed that the Boston papers were so provincial that a local headline would read, “Malden Man Killed in New York Nuclear Holocaust.” Malden Man sounded like a neanderthal creature to me. He stuck in my mind, and I’ve been following his adventures ever since.
I used to have a whole file of Malden Man clippings, but I’ve changed desks and offices so many times that my Malden Man collection has disappeared. Among those lost clippings were some that proved the point about Boston’s provincial papers, including “Malden Man Found Alive in Grand Canyon” and a charming story reporting that Malden Man had been injured by a falling chimney during a Los Angeles earthquake. Despite that missing file, I still have a sheet of paper on which I have recorded some of the poor fellow’s ups and downs. Malden Man, it seems, does not have a very good character. Over the years, he’s had a steady stream of run-ins with the law. The Boston Strangler, Albert De Salvo, was a Malden Man. While out hunting, Malden Man shot at what he thought was a turkey and accidentally hit a father and a son who were also hunting. He’s been convicted for illegally importing elephant ivory. And perhaps most dreadful of all, a Boston news source reports:
Malden man (not shown above) dressed as Santa Claus was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct after police said he repeatedly dropped his costume’s pants in front of shoppers at a busy mall in Salem, N.H.
He has not been a lucky man, either. Over the years, according to The Boston Globe, Malden Man (who has more lives than a cat) has fallen 45 feet to his death, had a stiletto plunged into him, has been shot thrice in a fight, been bitten by a dog, been nabbed for liquor cargo and had his car seized by the border patrol. He was arrested in the West after eloping, claims that his bride left him after five minutes, has entered the priesthood, and reported his wife kidnapped in Northern Maine. He’s also bested a robber in a scuffle, picked a lock and escaped in Portland, Maine, and needed the assistance of Boston’s Mayor Curley to get him released from jail in Cork.He has been injured at work, fallen from a car and lost an arm before being killed by a train in Nova Scotia, dying after a hold-up, and drowning after swimming in a Medford pond.
But Malden Man is not all bad. He reportedly adopted 17,000 Armenian waifs. Was put in charge of a Greenland expedition, made a notable sea trip, was given local honors, and acted as interpreter after a plane hijacking. The generous soul once bought a house as a surprise for his parents, only to have them refuse to move into it, and donated part of his liver to save his son. It is reported that he, himself, lived in a tent.
He’s a courageous fellow, too. Over the years he has bested a robber in a scuffle, beaten off four assailants, survived an unprovoked attack in which he was stabbed in the back by an elderly woman. And he escaped with his life, and without serious injury, after spending the night alone on a rugged New Hampshire mountain.
Perhaps most notable, for those of us who write mysteries, is his “brush with evil.”
This may not be the actual painting
According to the Boston Herald, it seems that: “Malden Man’s guilty pleasure in investing in murderabilia has come back to haunt him thanks to a ‘cursed’ clown painting by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which the collector claims turned his life into a three-ring circus.” According to Malden musician Nikki Stone, since he plunked down $3,000 in 2001 to buy the framed oil from national murderabilia merchant Arthur Rosenblatt, Stone said his beloved dog has died and his mother found out she had cancer. When a friend offered to store the painting at his house, the friend’s neighbor was killed in a car crash. A second friend who kept the painting for Stone attempted suicide, Stone said.
Malden Man no longer has the painting.
Since this posting, Malden Man has died in an accident, and, evidently resurrected, nearly been killed by a lightning strike. More recently, like the cat that has nine lives, he survived a night in the woods after an ATV accident by crawling for hours to find help. He recently won a million dollars in the Massachusetts lottery.
Despite the many times he’s died and been revived, his life of crime continues unabated. He’s been charged with fraud for claiming to mentor behaviorally challenged youth, writing details reports of taking them trick or treating and Christmas shopping while not actually meeting with them at all. Maybe he was too busy fighting a gun charge, being charged with cocaine distribution, and committing securities fraud. He’s also been charged with sexual assault.
Perhaps, though, one thing that has kept Malden Man busy is stealing boats. Recently, he was charged with stealing a 68 foot ferry boat and sailing it out into Boston Harbor. When he was arrested, he explained to the police that he was acting at the behest of his girlfriend, singer Stevie Nicks, who had ordered him to steal the boat.
Sometimes the report is simply that the police are searching for Malden Man. Not surprising. Since we last checked in on him, he’s been busted with $1.5M worth of cocaine. Arrested in Boston for a robbery. Arrested for another robbery. Arrested in connection with stolen artifacts. Assaulted a bus driver. Gone missing, prompting another police search. Been accused of selling drugs out of a pizza shop. And faked a hate crime against himself. Worse yet, he exposed himself to a rider on the Orange Line train (in Boston) because he assumed his victim was a Hillary Clinton supporter.
And not only can he not stay away from his life of crime, he seems to be drawn to boats. This time, he didn’t steal it. He simply went for a ride. And then?
Malden Man encounters sunfish and the result is a very funny video: http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/index.ssf/2015/09/malden_man_encounters_sunfish.html
It’s not just writers who have active imaginations, it seems, but also the criminals we write about. Without them, we’d have far less material. Because, as we all know, truth really is stranger than fiction.