A Secret Grave 96: Mercer in Trouble


Ramona wanted to talk to me about Mercer Bennett, whom I hadn’t seen in a few months but with whom she remained in touch. She entered my studio with a look of real anxiety on her face. “Mama,” she said (we’ve known each other a long time and always call one another ‘Mama’), I’m afraid he’s going to kill himself.”




Ramona can be a real drama queen. Even though she knows not to bother me while I’m working (and woe betide anyone else who tries to enter my studio between 10 and 2 – she’s my fiercest guardian and protector), she frequently will show up to announce some sort of emergency – the washing machine broke down, my car is leaking fluids, one of the dogs brought a dead squirrel into the house. That Mercer was in trouble could mean anything. I told her to sit down on the studio couch and talk to me while I worked. I was putting the finishing touches on my portrait of fellow artist, Jennifer Balkan, a piece I’d started months ago but had taken awhile because I was working on several canvases at once.



Jennifer Balkan, work in progress (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2017)


“I’m worried about Mercer, Mama. Real worried.”

“Yeah? What’s going on?” Last I’d heard Mercer was in Bolivia with his mom.

“Well, you know how he texts me all the time? Whenever there’s the slightest problem, I hear from him and if I text him, even with just a hello, he responds right away.”

I nodded even though I didn’t know that.

“Mama, we’ve been texting back and forth for days now, and suddenly, just like that,” she snapped her fingers, “he stopped. Not a word from him, even though I keep sending messages, asking if he’s okay and to please respond.”




“What do you think’s happened?”

“I don’t know, Mama. I’m really concerned. He came back from Bolivia a week ago and doesn’t seem right to me. His mother stayed behind in La Paz – I don’t think he’s happy about that. And he’s been posting some weird stuff on Facebook, Mama.”

“Like what?”

“Satanic stuff. That’s not like him, Mama. I think we should go over there.”

“You mean to his house?”

“Yes, Mama. I don’t have a good feeling.”



Out on the ice – sad dear-head satanic scarecrow, Steve Browne & John Verklier’s Photostream, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ http://www.widewalls.ch/daemons-of-street-art-feature-2015/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *