In the autumn of 1995, the bogeyman came to Lewiston.

Big and broad-shouldered he was, with eyes black as pitch and utterly devoid of human compassion. Like the bogeyman your mother warned about, this one crept about in dark places and preyed on the innocent and unwary. His heart was black, his deeds blacker still.

He flung one victim into a closet, where her corpse lingered in the fetid dark for days before being discovered. Another, he snatched out of the bright light of the sane world and dragged into his darkness to abuse, murder and discard.

In court records, he was called Lloyd Franklin Millett, but deep down in our hearts, most of us knew better. This was the bogeyman, plain and simple. This was the looming horror we have all dreaded since we were wee people in pajamas tucked into our beds.

In the wake of Millett’s short-but-horrific rampage, nobody rose up to argue in his defense. There were no rowdy debates in bars or in the crow-like gatherings around office water coolers. There was nobody to raise the idea that maybe he had been provoked or had killed in self-defense.

Millett’s own lawyer did not make these arguments: The man had confessed to the grisly crimes, after all. The only thing left for the courts to decide was what was to be done with him. What IS a proper punishment for a monster who lunges out of our collective bad dreams to run amok in the waking world?

Millett was sent to prison where 15 years later, he was beaten to death by another inmate. This local bogeyman was gone forever, but of course, the evil he embodied lives on.

Let me be straight about something. I do not believe that every killer who comes our way is an irredeemable devil sprung from some underworld of wickedness. The bulk of the killings we see are downright mundane, as murders go, and there is almost always a vast gray area to be explored, and moral ambiguities to be pondered.

Drug dealers gun down drug dealers in disputes over territory. Street brawlers die in knife fights. Husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands, and the prison walls practically bulge with the ever-swelling mass of sinners within.

Killers the lot of them, but are they bogeymen?

No. But I would put forth the proposition that Albert Flick has earned the distinction.

On a morning in July 2018, the 77-year-old hobbled up a Lewiston sidewalk where he stabbed a 48-year-old woman no less than 11 times in front of her children. Why did he kill her? Because he wanted her and could not have her, is the general consensus. Because his soul is twisted and his heart is black, goes the more specious proposal.

Or maybe Flick was just one more bogeyman sent out into the world to give a face to our oldest fears and to keep good and evil perpetually in balance.

When Albert Flick was put in chains and sent shuffling off to the jailhouse, nobody rose up to argue in his defense. There were no rowdy debates in bars, nobody to raise the idea that maybe he had been provoked or had killed in self-defense. Like Millett before him, Flick was universally recognized for what he was.

And yet every time we publish a news story about him, I find myself gazing at his jail mugshot for longer than I care to. I look until it becomes unnerving.

That frown so deep it transforms the entire face into a sneer of disdain. The angry, unrepentant eyes. Every time I behold the face of Albert Flick, I see a man who wants to spit on me — on all of us. I sense the same kind of hatred and arrogance seen in the faces of former Nazis captured in far-flung places after decades on the run.

Mainly, I see the bogeyman, an ancient spook that provokes an inner voice to whispering: Don’t let your children walk to the playground on their own. Be sure your wife is well-prepared before sending her across the dark parking lot by herself. Lock your doors, amigo, and bolt your windows. Bogeymen are afoot, as ever.

Flick is a bogeyman who had escaped the confines of our nightmares too many times. In 1979 he stabbed and killed his wife. When he was freed from prison, he attacked another woman. In spite of that, he was released once more into the world, and now, collectively, we bear the grim memory of Kimberly Dobbie and her children like scars upon our hearts. We bear the memory like shame because the woman was taken so easily, so viciously and right before our eyes in the bright light of day.

Maybe that’s the true purpose of the bogeymen: Maybe they are unleashed upon us to serve as reminders that no matter how modern our world becomes, and no matter how enlightened we think we are, none of us is ever truly safe. Surveillance cameras on every corner? Didn’t help Dobbie any. Smartphones with easy access to 911? Nope.

True evil is a force of nature, as undeniable as cracks of thunder on a calm day or tornadoes that spin their destruction beneath blue skies.

Lloyd Franklin Millett is dead and buried, Albert Flick is caged. Yet who among you has heaved a sigh of relief and thanked your gods that the bogeyman is gone forever? Most of us know better. The next bogeyman awaits in a clump of shadows just down the street or in the unknown darkness of the parking lot your wife has to cross each night.

The bogeyman is never gone for good. He just changes faces now and then and gets back to his black work. The best we can do is to prepare ourselves and pray that we recognize him when he comes.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer who wrestles with demons daily. Email him at [email protected]


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