Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 19, 2013

phone call 4

Pitching Ruth

(Episode 33)

“How’s it going?” Nancy said, after she’d introduced herself.

“How’s it going?  Is that the sort of cleverly crafted question which keeps a writer publishing just below the fold of the New York Times these days?”

“It’s called a ‘conversation opener’, Ruth,” Nancy replied.  “And why are you trying to break my balls like this?”

“My name is not ‘Ruth’.  It’s Ms. Haphelstot to you.   And where in the world did you get that expression, “busting my balls,” Nancy?  You’re a 15 year old girl.”

“Sorry.  But I’ve been hanging out at the Café with the other journalists, and that’s just how professional reporters talk Ruth.”

“You have no balls.”

“It’s a euphemism.  A turn of phrase.”

“I know what a euphemism is, little girl. And I’m been intimately acquainted with a lot of turns of phrases in my day, and they’re all just dicks calling themselves Richard, if you can handle my French.   And I’m surprised Carmella would put up with it over there.    And I have half a mind to call your mother, that is, your father,  Nancy.  And I’m not Ruth.”

“Sure, you are.”

“Not to a 15 year old girl, I’m not.”

“Are you going to be a prude?”

Yes!  When I’m employed in a professional  capacity.”  Ruth was adamant.

“The Sheriff calls you Ruth,” Nancy whined.

“That’s because he’s the Sheriff.”

“Well, I’m a reporter,” Nancy retorted hotly.

“You’re a gossip,” Ruth replied.  “And a little, 15 year old one to boot.”

“That’s not what the New York Times thinks,” Nancy said.

“What the hell do you want, Nancy?”  Ruth said finally.

“You may call me Ms. Gillis, please.”

Ruth sighed.

“Alright.  Ms. Gillis it is.  What would you like to know, Ms. Gillis?  And does your father know where you are?”  Ms. Haphelstot asked tartly.

“Look.  Maybe we got off on the wrong foot here Ms. Haphelstot,” Nancy said solicitously.  “Because I’m merely calling to see how the investigation is going.  We haven’t heard much about it out here, where there is so much fear and so little real knowledge!   And I bet you can imagine how conjecture will fill in all those vacant spaces!  …!!!   So, I thought I’d call and nail down a few facts.”

“What facts are those?”

“Is it true the Federal Bureau has been dragging its feet in analyzing the evidentiary material in this case?”

“Where’d you get that idea?”

“Well, despite the scuttlebutt I overhear at the café, I figured it couldn’t be because our Sheriff is at fault.  He strikes me as a pretty sharp cookie, and pretty resourceful  law enforcement officer to say the least.”  Nancy hoped she wasn’t slathering it on too thick.

“He is.”

“Well, then, what’s the hold up?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.  I shouldn’t be talking about this.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Leland take the fall here.   The fact of the matter is, we don’t know where the evidence is.  We sent if off to the FBI, two weeks ago.  We got back an intitial dribble of information.  And now it’s like it’s fallen into a black hole.

“I’ll bet Lelan…  Sherriff Leland’s pretty upset.”

“Would you call shouting, upset?”  Ruth asked.

“Um.”  Nancy replied, writing.

“But I can’t fault Agent Hailey.  She’s done all a body can do, as far as that goes.  In fact, I think she’s very embarrassed.  Her organization has really let her down on this one.”

“Um huh.”  Nancy said, taking more notes.

“But at least we still have the bodies.”

“The bodies?”  Her pencil stopped.

“Yeah.  You know, how when people are killed, their bodies often remain.”

“Do tell,” Nancy replied sweetly.  “And where are they?”

“That,  I can’t say.”

“But you’re sure they are still there?”

“What?  Why would the bodies be missing?”

“Well.  I don’t know.  But the other evidence is, right?”

The line went silent.  And Nancy could almost feel the vibration of Ruth’s mental gears turning through the phone; first slowly, and then at hyperspeed.

“You know what?  Something’s come up.  And can I talk to you a little later about this, Nancy?”

“It’s Ms. Gillis.”

“Certainly Ms. Gillis.  Just let me handle this bit of new business, and I’ll get right back to you.  Okay?”

“Sure,” Nancy agreed, and hung up.

By the time Ruth had locked up the Sheriff’s office and headed out in the Sheriff’s car, Nancy was following closely, pedaling hard, on the far right side of the road… the playing card in the spokes humming.  People rarely looked for tails, Nancy figured, riding bikes on the opposing sidewalk.

Nancy lost her after six blocks, 3 dodged dogs, one shopper and another biker, a small boy, going the opposite direction (poorly), but by then Nancy had already figured out the only place Ruth could be heading.

Ruth had reached the butcher’s and was talking animatedly and motioning with her arms, by the time Nancy arrived.  Nancy saw them go to the meat lockers together, and stood wondering what she should do.

She left her bike against the bushes and walked over to the Sheriff’s car.  Ruth had left it unlocked.  Nancy  looked in the back hatch window, but saw nothing as there was a security shade drawn.  So she opened the clam doors and saw plenty of room for a small girl to hide.

Nancy  considered.  Today was Friday.  So there was a good chance her father wouldn’t be back until the wee hours, and then, not up until eleven or twelve that next day.  Which gave her lots of time.  She still had a bottle of water and half of the hamburger she’d purchase at the restaurant wrapped up in a napkin.

Nancy hopped inside and closed the clam shell doors softly behind herself, just as Ruth was exiting from the butchers, at a calmer pace and looking relieved.

Photo taken from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 17, 2013
"The Lobbyist"  Hamburger At The Campaign Cafe

“The Lobbyist” Hamburger At The Campaign Cafe

Nancy Gillis: Girl Reporter

(Episode 30)

 Nancy Gillis was only 15, and as her reportorial career was going, the blush was already off the rose.  Sure, she could continue writing for the Kimmel High Wolverine.  But if she wanted to remain in the Big Leagues she was going to have to offer them access.  The editor back at the Times had made that as plain as a seasoned editor could, who was trying to delicately negotiate a conversation with a 15 year old girl in another state.   “Who was a minor, by the way”, he continually was reminded.  They had much better, seasoned, savvy reporters who could do the frontal assault thing.

But she’d already tapped every source she knew.  Drew, the boy who was running the tour service, gave her a couple things he had filched from the Mercedes.  A toothpick, which didn’t look to be something the victim might have used.  And a slug, he’d found fallen under a tire… which she’d already photographed to accompany a first person account of her initial arrival on the crime scene.  The Sheriff wasn’t speaking.  And she didn’t trust the other reporters.  They were jealous competitors.  And Mr. Wallace, their journalism teacher at school, had as much as advised her that she was getting into deeper waters than he wanted to tread.  “You’re just starting a career, here, Nancy.  But I’m 5 years from retiring out of this School District.  That is, if I can keep from stepping on any toes.  The school district just hates paying out benefits.”

“Now, you want to go on writing sensational stuff that will get picked up by the Times, that’s fine.  But they’re your editors then.  You understand? I can’t be associated with that stuff.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it, you understand.  But it’s very dangerous to play in the Big Leagues, if you’re not a Big League player, or at least have a Big League Club behind you.  You’re bound to get hurt.  And I’m not young enough to play stickball with them.  They always ‘stick it’ to the little guy, you see, when things go sideways.  You want to go back writing about cookie sales, or Mr. Buckley’s class efforts to repopulate the riverbank with natural growing rhododendrons – then I’m right here.  Okay?”

Nancy nodded.  Fifteen years of age and she was already beginning to realize why people were committed to asylums.  ‘Life was just a viper pit of conflicting passions’, it was seeming.  She hadn’t met the serial killer – and hoped that she wouldn’t – at least until he was well behind bars.  But they might very well agree there.

Nancy rolled all of these difficulties over and over in her head, as she rode her brother’s bike with the card in the spokes around the small town.  Finally, having worked up a hunger, she ordered a burger and shake and fries at the Campaign Café and sat down at the counter.  Someone new was working in the kitchen and the clatter in the place was about twice the usual level.  ‘Well, that made sense,’ Nancy figured.  ‘At least these crimes had brought a little prosperity to my ‘depressed rural community’, Nancy practiced phrasing it like a veteran reporter.  Then she decided to make a list.  “You want to know something?  It’s people”, Mr. Wallace  had been fond of saying.  “They’ll either be able to tell you what’s going on, or even if they don’t know, you’ll find out how much they care.   And while something no one cares about may be important, it’s not newsworthy – unless somehow you can make them care.  Got that?”

‘Okay,’ Nancy thought to herself, ‘who is there in this community who might know something, or have access to knowing something, who I might be able to cajole into helping me?’  She liked the word ‘cajole’.   She practiced writing it in the margin several times.

By the time she was done she had about 13 names.

One by one, she crossed each and every one off, until, as she saw it, she was down to one or maybe two.  The first was Ruth, Sheriff Leland’s secretary.  And the second was that wild card, Agent Hailey.

Then she made another list, remembering another thing which Mr. Buckley had said:  “Put your self in the interviewees’ shoes,” he had said.  “What would talking to you, accomplish for them?  What carrot can you offer?  What do they care about?”

Nancy Gillis started that list.  She was just about done with it, before she remembered to eat.

She glanced up after gathering together her burger and noticed the new cook looking at her.  She smiled.

He nodded slightly, and gave her a small smile back.

Photo from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 15, 2013
On His Way to Breakfast

On His Way to Breakfast

Peter Barnett

(Episode 30)

 Peter Barnett woke in the high rollers suite of the Lakeside Casino and rubbed his face.  His head hurt something awful.  He staggered into the shower, dressed carelessly and made his way down to the café for some coffee.  Each ring of a payout bell was a little mental whip hoisted in the hand of one of the Devil’s minions.  Or that’s how it felt, as he passed through the casino on the way to his breakfast.

‘Everywhere you went in this place, you had to pass through the casino in order to get there!  Not by accident’, Peter Barnett was sure.  He made the café, only to sit down and place his order – when he thought to walk back into the casino again and check his standing.   (The poached eggs Benovicchi looked interesting, though more than likely a little tough for the come and go hash cooks their café hired to master.  Nevertheless, this was a kitchen.  And the personnel here had mastered it.  Or, anyway, he would taste and see if they had.)

These black out spells were driving him crazy.  For example, he couldn’t remember this morning whether he was up or down.  ‘He had to stop this drinking, while he was gambling.  …Maybe even when he wasn’t’, he thought, touching his head gingerly.

He walked back out to the accounts window to check his stats.  And what he saw made his bowels churn and his genitals shrivel.  He was sixty thousand down!  This couldn’t be right.  He wasn’t that bad of a gambler, drunk or not.

The pasty guy behind the counter must have seen lots of shell-shocked looking faces before.  Because he didn’t register any emotion outside of what could have been a slightly complacent smile.  “Bad news?” He asked.

“Only if you hate prison,” Peter groaned.  “Just kidding!”  He quickly amended, managing a sickly smile, glancing upwards at the security camera which rolled 24/7.

The pasty guy laughed politely and drifted back into his slightly complacent smile.

‘Maybe this will all look better after breakfast,’ Peter thought.

He was just biting into his Egg Benovicchi, thinking that fry poaching really gave an egg the kick that it needed if it was going to rise in people’s memories above all of the innumerable other breakfast eggs they’d had and that maybe they should give this recipe a tryout at the Campaign Cafe at home – when he got that call from Carmella.  “I keep telling you Carmella, not to bother me midday when I’m in all these meetings involving city business…” he started saying without listening, when Carmella just went right on talking, interrupting him for once.

“Well, the café needs you here,” Carmella was saying.  “Between the tourists and the gawkers and the press and our normal crowd, I’m busting a gut trying to keep up with it all.  I haven’t even had a chance to count the receipts.  It’s all sitting in a big pile of money in our back office!  I need help!”  Camella barked.  “The city’s doing fine.”

‘No it’s not,’ Peter was thinking.  He rubbed his forehead.  ‘This Egg Benovicchi wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be’, he finally decided, putting down his fork.  He was feeling a little sick.

“Alright.  Great.  Fine.  Just give me a couple days to tie up things, and I’ll fly up there in a jiffy.”

“A couple of days is not ‘a jiffy’.”

“Listen.  I’m wearing a lot of hats here, and I can’t say much more than that.  But if you don’t want one of those hats to look very black, you’d best give me a couple more days.”

Carmella didn’t know what that meant.  And it was probably best she didn’t.  So she let it go.  “By the way”, she added.  “I hired a new guy.  Pretty much sight unseen.  Says he can cook.”

‘Sight unseen’, was pretty much the way Peter liked it.  And if he hadn’t heard anything, that would have been that much better.  “Sounds good,” he said.  “One day trial.  Cash out after the first month unless he pans out?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”  Peter nodded.  “Look I’ve got to go.  The town council is filing in now.  Expect me in a couple days or so.”

“Okay.”  Carmella sighed.

“Love you.”  Peter disconnected.  ‘Two days to win back the town’s sixty thousand.’  He swallowed the remainder of his coffee.  ‘He’d better get back to work.’

Photo by Google Images

Murders In Progress by Eldon Cene

February 14, 2013

Editor’s Note:  A rural-noir Valentine from Eldon…

Bungalow3

Livin’ On The Down Low

(Episode 29)

(Soundtrack at: http://youtu.be/oOpnplMQmCg  )

 In Stan’s experience, if a fellow wanted to remain as inconspicuous (in the right places) as possible, a guy could do worse than hooking up with a married woman.  They took care of all the meddlesome particulars about slinking around and remaining invisible.  They were a constant source of information.  And what’s more, they kept their mouths shut.

As long as you kept them happy – which wasn’t hard – they just wanted to get laid, and to have someone make them moan.  You give them that, and they’d put up with a lot.  And they’d mind their own business.  Your ‘mysteriousness’ was part of the draw.  ‘Poor schmuck husbands’, Stan ruminated, ‘weren’t exactly the last word in mysterious.’  But he’d had to learn that himself, also.

The Burnetts  owned a couple cottages which served as a sort of town Motel.  And Carmella put him up in one.  Bed and board and two hundred a week cash under the counter, plus all the sex Stan could manage.  Carmella had eaten a few too many hash browns to be bouncing around on top any more, but she was a willing vehicle.

She liked to scream, which at first had Stan pretty alarmed.

“What the fuck!”  He stopped mid-stroke.  “The Sheriff’s just across the street!”

“So..ooooooHH!?”  Carmella groaned.  She was slippery and wet and breathing hard.   “…He’s probably just asking Ruth to close the side window now,” she said with a little irritation.

Apparently, having Carmella shriek was ‘business as usual’ around there.

And as  Stan discovered  later, having made Carmella shriek! seemed to put the whole town in a better mood and on an even keel.   And as the purveyor of this communal gift, Stan was even given an obliging nod now and then.   In the matter of a week or two, Stan was accepted as completely into the fabric of the town as Bob Weeds, with a history spanning generations, had never been.   Something sad about that, but Stan didn’t dwell on it.  He was busy trying to figure out what had him itchy as a bug in a frying pan.

Photo from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 11, 2013

Country Cafe4

Cash Under the Counter

(Episode 28)

 Probably another reason Stan hadn’t killed Harriet and Bob Weeds was because there was something nagging at him, some ‘unfinished business’ is how it felt.  He’d never had a feeling like this, and now he had.  Something about his stay in Kimmel County that said it wasn’t over.  And Stan didn’t need all the complications another two killings would bring.

So as not to look too conspicuous, after Bob Weeds had dropped him off, Stan stepped into the Campaign Café for a cup of coffee and a little time to think.  He sat down at the counter, where his back was to the street and to the other patrons.  Several tables to one end look to have collected laptops and phones and coats and briefcases and papers enough to signify an encampment.  Judging from the snippets of conversation which drifted Stan’s way, this was the press corps domain.  They looked the image.  Rumpled shirts, loosely knotted ties, coats tossed over the backs of chairs and with eyes staring into laptops, these guys looked as desperate as the story they were chasing.  From what Stan could make out, they were trolling for who was writing what, and who had found out what, and how, and where?  Stan figured he would’ve been more of a shoe soles on the street sort of fellow.  But what did he know?

Anyway, the place was packed, even in this off hour.  Some kid in the corner looked like he was talking to some members of an organized tour.  The waitress looked to be running her legs off, so Stan rose to refill his coffee himself.

“I can get that for you,” the waitress said, as Stan started to step behind the counter, reaching for the coffee pot.

“Uh.  Thank you.”  Stan tipped his head.  “You look a little short handed.”

“You think?”  She smiled.  The way she smiled made Stan think that she might either own the place, or have an interest in its success.   “I don’t suppose you can cook?”  She joked.  ‘Was there a sexual overtone to that?’

Stan took a look around the café again.  Across the street was the Sheriff’s office.

“Yeah.  In fact, I’m quite good at it.”  Stan smiled.

“Right.  I know.  Back yard barbeques.  Hot dogs.  Hamburgers.  And every Sunday morning you make waffles.”  The waitress smirked, from across the aisle, as she refilled more coffees.

“Nope.  No marriage.  Army.  Third division Rangers,” Stan said.

“Not much interest in K rations here,” the waitress replied.

“Not much interest in K rations there,” Stan replied.

The waitress continued with her other duties.  She yelled to the cook in the back several times.  And several times the cook in the back yelled back…  in a mixture of Spanish and English. Stan continued to sip his coffee.

“Are you making conversation and just pulling my chin, or would you really know how to do a short order job?”  The waitress asked as she walked back to Stan to re-fill his coffee.

“I’m not gassing you.”  Stan shook his head, and let his eyes wander briefly up and down her figure.  “To tell you the truth, I sort of miss it.”

“Ha!”  She wiped the counter around.  “How badly do you miss it?  You miss it today?”  She tossed her head to indicate their overstressed kitchen behind.

Stan figured for a moment.  “I could,” he answered.

“Forty dollars cash to finish out the afternoon.  And if it works out, we pay you under the table for a month until we see how everything goes,” she said in a low voice, wiping a spot on the counter nearby.

Stan nodded finally.  Then he rose and walked behind the counter.  The waitress, who introduced herself to him as Carmella Burnette – “wife to the Mayor, who’s out of town on important city business”, handed him a newly laundered smock and a hairnet and pointed him towards the kitchen.  Stan nodded to the other cook, who looked up without registering any surprise whatsoever.  That alone told Stan quite a bit.

“This is your stove.  This is your area.  And this is your counter.  I’ll clip the orders here,” Carmella said.  Stan nodded.  Carmella clipped an order there, stared at him, and then spun the thing like a roulette wheel.  Stan had the thing on its first pass.  He was a quick study.

Country Cafe2

Photo plucked from Google Images

Murders in Progress with Eldon Cene

February 7, 2013

 

Downtown Kimmel

Downtown Kimmel

The Campaign Café

(Episode 27)

 Stan had finished his Sunday meal and packed up.  The evidence of their crimes was by now certainly lost in the catacombs of the Federal Bureaucracy.  Nevertheless, even a small town sheriff could look at tire treads and count boot prints.  And two guys in a pickup with manure all over everything was what was looking suspicious in these locales of late.  Sooner or later the Sheriff was bound to be stopping by the Weed’s dairy farm, and it was better for all concerned if Stan weren’t around.

Stan explained to a nodding/crying/head shaking, disheveled Harriet, so that she could later explain it to Bob (over and over) that there was nothing for them to worry about, while she worried herself nearly sick.  The physical evidence was long gone, and without witnesses all the authorities had was a body.  Which, Stan also added, was probably long gone by now, too.

Bob started blubbering, after he had finally driven Stan into Kimmel and dropped him off in front of the Campaign Café.  “I think me and Harriet are actually going to make it now…”  Bob Weeds wiped the tears welled up in his eyes.  “Fourteen years now of TV, cow shit, chicken dinners, birthing and  bawling, and feeding, and milking…   I wished you didn’t have to go!” Bob blubbered.  “I know we done some bad things, but…”  He didn’t finish.

“Just remember, if we happen to encounter each other again, we’re strangers.  We can never admit to having met,” Stan warned him.

Stan had briefly toyed with killing them both – it would have been cleaner –  but for some reason just hadn’t ‘gotten around to doing it’.  Maybe the laid back farm life was getting to him.

“I know.  Our lips are sealed by Federal Imprimature.”  Bob had remembered the term Stan had fashioned.  In fact, whenever he said it, he started to bawl again.

“Got to go,” Stan said curtly, turned his back and left.

Bob put the truck into gear and slowly drove away.  This chapter of his life was already beginning to fade into memory, though Bob couldn’t recognize it at the time.  By the time his first two kids were nine and ten it would be like it had happened to a different man.  Bob wouldn’t even have known himself.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 2, 2013
Benny Green thinking.

Benny Green thinking.

Agent Curtis

(Episode 26)

Agent Curtis could feel the noose tightening, and he loved it.  Because of questions related to the nature of the Muffin Lady’s death, they’d gotten a search warrant of Benny Green’s offices.  And while processing the warrant they had discovered – kept in a cardboard box for easy transfer off the premises in the back hallway by the dumbwaiter – a separate, portable collection of files.  Payload!

Agent Curtis took what appeared to be one of these files out of a cardboard box on the passenger’s side as he hopped out of his Suburban and strode across the street into an older brownstone.  The building was in Benny’s mother’s maiden name, and so hadn’t been covered under the current warrant.  ‘This guy has more holes than a rodent.  Just a warren of corruption,’ Agent Curtis was thinking as he banged on the dingy green metal door, just off the second floor landing.  ‘Who knows where all these doors lead?’  He thought, glancing around.  ‘I do,’ he thought, answering his own question.  ‘A person could tell by the odor…’

“Wadda ya want?”  A voice crackled out of the tinny speaker with chipped paint.

“Federal Agent Benny,” Agent Curtis said in a clipped voice.  A moment passed.  “We have a need to talk.”

“Funny.  I am feeling no need.”

“Open up, and you will.”

“This wouldn’t be Agent Curtis, the alpha dog of Federal Bureau Division 12, would it?”

“How’d you know?”

“It’s yur piss ant knock,” Benny remarked through the tinny speaker, as the buzzer sounded.

Agent Curtis strode in, carrying the file.  Evidence was one thing.  But confronting the bad guy was another.  For one thing, you could gather a lot of information just by observing the suspect and how they reacted when confronted with some damning evidence.  And for another, it was just, damn fun.

“If you would have just told me it was an old friend, I would have opened up right away,” Benny said, extending his arms.

He sat behind an enormous desk.  So enormous, in fact, that it took up nearly the whole room.  And that was probably part of the plan Agent Curtis surmised.  By the time anyone could be over or around the thing, Benny would be long gone out the rear door.  And where that led was anyone’s guess.  Plus, the desk itself was of a polished hardwood.  Possibly reinforced with a bulletproof steel liner, behind which Benny could duck in case a conversation got out of hand.  But what Agent Curtis had in mind was finally going to happen in court.

“All your friends are dead Benny.”  Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “It’s not a good list to be on.”

“If you’re here about the Muffin Lady, I had nothing to do with that.”

“So you say.”

“So would anyone say, who didn’t have anything to do with it.  Which would include several million people by last counting within a twenty mile radius,” Benny retorted.  “You Federal people.  You get an idea in your head that someone is a bad guy, and it just seems to stick there.  Nothing can dislodge it.  No amount of good works…”

“I’ve heard before how much money you gave to the Sons of Italy.”

“That’s not my only charitable contribution.”

“Save it, Benny.  I just stopped by as a courtesy call.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.”  Agent Curtis waved the file.  “I thought I’d give you a chance to do your packing.  You’re heading for the Big House soon!”

“Ahh!  Somewhere in the sun, I hope.”

“All of the companies you are purchasing portions of with illicitly gotten funds are right in here.  And we’re going to have a money-laundering case against you so tight this time, that you’ll spurt just like a fattened tick.”

“Can I have a look at it?”

Agent Curtis shook his head.  “No.”

“What’d you bring it for, then?”  Benny whined.

“For show and tell.  Just to see you sweat, Benny.”

“I don’t think you’ve got anything, in there.”

Just then a car alarm sounded.  Agent Curtis turned his attention to it; then noticed that Benny Green hadn’t.  Both paused for a moment.

“You think I’d be stupid enough to leave the box of evidence in my office Suburban?”

Benny looked like he was searching for a good retort to that, but had swallowed it.

“I’ll bet there’s nothing in that file.” Benny nodded.

“And you’d be right,” Agent Curtis showed him the blank sheets of paper.

Benny didn’t appear to look happy about it.

Agent Curtis turned to leave, as Benny took out his cellular phone.  Agent Curtis turned back.  “Oh,” he said.  Benny quickly hid the phone.  Agent Curtis laughed, pointing to where Benny had hidden his phone, and shook his head.

“I forgot what I had to say!”  Agent Curtis smiled, waved and left.

After Agent Curtis had surely left, and the door had surely shut.  Benny made several calls on his traceable phone to several names at all the companies on his manufactured list; drug them into a confusing conversation for a time, and then excused himself pleasantly and hung up.  If they weren’t accessible he left a cryptic message.  Then he began to think about dinner and maybe going out with his mistress tonight to see the Lakers perform.  Sometimes celebrity fans would attend, and she loved that.  And when she was happy, the sex was better.  Not professional on her part perhaps, but true.

Photo by Carl Nelson of a professional model.

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 25, 2013
Benny Green's Office

Benny Green’s Office

Later At Benny Green’s Office

(Episode 25)

Benny glanced over his Times at Duane, who was picking his nose, and slapped him with his rolled up paper.  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.”

But Duane just started digging deeper.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger “Sorry.  I get lost in …thought, Bennie!” he realized.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  One thought was about the largest log Duane’s intellect could climb over.  Anymore, and he just had to go around.

‘Duane.  What kind of a name was that?’ Benny asked himself.  ‘The kind of name his dead sister, may she rest in peace, would name her kid,’ was Benny’s answer.  He ate.  He got “lost in thought”.  And he followed Benny around like a stray dog, always had.  But he was loyal, and he knew how to keep his mouth shut, two very valuable character traits in Benny’s line of business.  The other thing Duane could do was the heavy lifting.  Because Duane was extremely strong and huge and ugly, that is, menacingly ugly.  All of which made Duane a good messenger in Benny’s line of work.  Benny never needed a delivery receipt.  His clients never misplaced his meaning.

“We have a lot to think about.”  Benny gave Duane a pat on his huge broad back.  Another trait that Benny hadn’t thought to think was that Benny could be nice to him; Benny could be considerate, without it looking weak.  Everyone needed to love something.  It was lonely at the top.  And Duane never took advantage.  Duane wasn’t smart enough.  Plus, Duane was ‘blood’.

Benny glanced over at Duane, who was picking his nose again, and slapped him with his rolled up paper!  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.  Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger.   “Sorry.  I got lost in ..thought!”  Benny laughed happily.  A crumble of snot hung on his index finger.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  “So you got it now?”

“I think so,” Duane said.  “We’re being in-vest-ti-gated.  Which is a good thing.”

That’s right!”  Benny smiled.  He re-seated himself and unrolled the front page article he had been reading for the fifth time.  “Now we know who the stoolie was.”

Benny was re-reading about the grisly murder of Nancy Loomis, the “Muffin Queen”.  It was all there on page one, with much more in the continuing article on pages 7 and 8.  How the hell she had gotten herself whacked, Benny didn’t know.  But what he did know, now, and what was interesting was that the Feds were involved.  And since he couldn’t see how any state lines might have been crossed in the commission of said crime, there was one likely reason for that being the case… a racketeering charge.

‘Oh, that Loomis was a piece of female work,’ Benny thought to himself.  ‘Runs a million dollar business using all those computers and spreadsheets, but she still had to come to me when she needed some dough,’ Benny congratulated himself.  ‘Thought I was a moron, too.’

“It’s incredible how many people without money think that the people with money are morons.”  Benny shook his head.  Duane took the cue and shook his head also.

But that was one of the things that gave him an edge in this business.  The other was that Benny could anticipate things.

Benny looked over the top of the Times at Duane, who still hadn’t set about doing what it was Benny had asked him to do!  Even though he had snapped the newspaper twice!  He looked as though he had taken the long route around another thought of his, Benny sighed.  “Whenever you engage in criminal activity, there is always going to be a stoolie.  It’s just the way it is,” Benny explained to Duane.  “So the thing is, to prepare for it, which is what we’ve done now.  We have salted our involvement through bogus loans to various, handpicked businesses in the area which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for years, and now, this is my chance.”  ‘There,’ Benny thought.  ‘I’ve explained it about as well as it can be explained.’

“That sounds good Bennie!” Duane cheered.

“It is Duane!”  Benny smiled.  “Because when the Feds – being the bureaucrats they are – are going to go looking for files, because they like files, and they love a paper trail.  And then, they are going to find these files and my paper trail.  And then, they are going to use these files to begin investigating for evidence of ‘involvement’ of others.  And then,” Benny smiled, ‘they will not find any involvement of others.  Because all of these paper trails?   I made them all up!”

“I like that,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Bennie said.  He raised his finger.  “Which means, being the bureaucrats that they are,  that they are going to re-double their efforts to find and uncover this involvement of others.   Because, being the bureaucrats that they hope to remain, it would be career suicide to find that there isn’t any involvement on the part of so-named others after expending the monies and time which they have already expended to find this involvement of others AND gone before grand juries.  All of which – between the investigations and the litigations – is going to be my cue to begin my involvement!”  Benny cried gleefully and pounded the desk.  “Because all of these formerly healthy, profitable, hand-picked companies are going to really need my money by then, to defend themselves against all these investigations brought by their government against their involvement with me!  It is so beautiful, I could just kiss the opportunity!  Because  I.  Just. Love. My.  Government!  Remind me to get a flag.  I want to hang it right over there.”

“That would be real pretty and Patriotic too Benny,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Benny said.  “Why don’t you go over to Pete’s now and fetch us a couple of the blue plates, like I asked you to do?”  Benny handed Duane the money.  “You buy.”

“Gee, thanks boss!”  Duane smiled, fingering the money, and left.

“Damn!  I feel good,” Benny exclaimed to himself.  And he settled into his desk chair, pointed at the door, while reading the newspaper article through again, while waiting for Agent Curtis and that other one to arrive with the bogus files in hand.  And if he remembered correctly, that other one of the Federal Agents in this area was a real ‘looker’.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 23, 2013

Editor:  Okay.  Back to crime, murders, sex, violence and all that… set in a rural milieu.

Is This an Ivy League Mistress?  (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

Is This an Ivy League Mistress? (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

“I just love this recession!”

(Episode 24)

 Benny Green slid off of his mistress.  “I just love this recession!” He crowed.  Really high profit businesses were scrambling like rats to deal with their cash flow problems, and Benny was gobbling them up right and left like a hungry alley cat.  ‘And some really high rollers were tossing some really nice mistresses out on the streets, besides’, Benny thought, kicking the sheets gleefully.

Benny, himself, had just upgraded to a natural blonde, ten years younger than his former for near the same outlay… with better teeth and a lot less profanity.  He glanced to the left.   And she had just risen from bed and was in the kitchen now, steaming his latte and warming his brioche, which she was soon to bring out on a tray with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice and a freshly printed edition of the mornings news.  And this had happened many times before over the past few months.  Still, he nearly had to pinch himself to believe his good fortune.  ‘How the very rich lived!’  Benny was just finding this out now, himself, from her, the natural blonde debutante from some rich eastern Ivy League school.

He didn’t know which.  And frankly, he couldn’t care.  Plus it probably all was a lie.  But, ‘dammit if I’m not living like one of the 1 percent’, Benny thought gleefully, exulting in his newly found prosperity and snapping open the front page of his newly printed morning paper as his mistress unfolded the legs of his bed tray over his ample midsection.

“Shit!” he exclaimed.  “Someone popped the Muffin Lady.”

His mistress quietly mopped up the spilled juice.  Benny almost stopped reading to get a little head, but then let the thought go.  ‘Business first.’

There it all was, just below the fold: a tale of a gruesome rape, complete with a decapitation – if the sources were to be believed.  And there, way down at the bottom, was a hint of Federal involvement.  Which Benny took to mean right away that he’d better call Delores.

“Delores,” he said over his cell.  “You may be getting some visitors soon from back East.  Make sure those files we discussed in the pasteboard box…”

“It’s too late, Benny.  They’re already here.”  Delores’ voice shrunk to a whisper.  “And I’ve been trying to hide that box as well as I can, but I don’t know…”

“So… that’s great!”  Benny exulted.  “That’s perfect.  That couldn’t be better!  Now you just sit back and let them find it.  Okay?”

“You sure about this?  That’s what you really want?”

“I’m sure about this.  That’s what I really want.”  Benny could hardly contain his glee.  “Okay?”

Delores acknowledged and he hung up.  “Well, now,’ he thought, ‘I think we know who the rat is.’

There was always one, which was why Benny was always prepared.  It baffled Benny how so many people felt that if things were going good, then they were always going to go good.  Baffled him, but also made him a lot of money.  “Lots of people didn’t anticipate a recession and so it just gave me a opportunity to be of help,” Benny snickered.  And “ lots of big wig criminals refuse to acknowledge the risk of getting caught,” he wagged his finger at his mistress.  “But sooner or later, getting caught is nearly a certainty.”  His mistress nodded, agreeing with his wisdom; seeing she had lived the fallout of it, firsthand, Benny figured.  The first mistress he’d ever had, had served him warmed up pizza and flat beer on the lid of a limp cardboard pizza carton, served in a sour bed, all the while finding fault with whatever scheme Benny had been cooking up at the time – until it had invariably descended into a screaming match/ food fight.  ‘Why am I screaming at my mistress?’ Benny had to ask himself at the height of it all.  ‘This is nuts!’  But at the same time, the thought of changing her out just hadn’t occurred to him, as all of the other mobsters he had complained to had related the same problems…

“Jeeze, we may get older, but we do get wiser.”  Benny smiled at his blonde bedmate.  She smiled back.  ‘Perfect teeth, and such a lovely smile’, Benny thought.   And for about two seconds, Benny Green was a satisfied man.   Because Benny has a satisfaction Attention Deficit Syndrome.

‘But with all this new business he anticipated coming in – maybe he could trade up again?  And what would that be?  Maybe a sixteen year old, fourteen, thirteen…?  That could be a little risky.  How young are they supposed to get?  Maybe someone who just looked fifteen!  I mean, really naïve.   That sounded about right,’ Benny considered.  ‘I never could get laid for all the rice in China at that age.  And maybe now he could make up for that.  But how would he find someone like that?’   Southeast Asia?  But he really wanted a blonde.  Maybe Columbia?’

Benny made another call to Deloris.  ‘Then again…’  He hung up.

‘Nope.  Better not call Deloris.’

Photo taken from Google Images by lascivious Editor.

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 5, 2013

Barnbirdsb

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm

(Episode 20)

Harriet was a pretty quick study.  A woman had to be when she was hefty and plain of appearance.  And she figured this Stan fellow was a real ‘misogynist’ the minute she saw him…  which didn’t bother her none, or much, anyway.  She figured all men were, and to tell you the truth, she wasn’t all that impressed with women folk herself.  She didn’t hold it against the men much for not finding her attractive.  Hell, it wasn’t their fault.  But it did gall her when the women would slight her for the same thing.  Now, that was just downright mean.  It was like someone crossing the street just to stand in your way.

“You don’t like women much, do you?”  Harriet said to the hired man, Stan, as she set the evening’s mashed spuds on the table.

“Now why would you say that?”  Stan took this quite seriously.  Harriet liked that.

Her husband, Bob, on the other hand, visibly stiffened.  He was such a puppy.

“You look to be about 30-35 maybe, passable looking, and you’re still single, or at least runnin’ around all by yourself, and not fittin’ in exactly anywheres. “

“Maybe I like them, but they don’t like me.”

Harriet noticed Bob’s smile as he said this.

“I’d believe that,” Harriet said.

Bob thought Harriet had been suspicious ever since they came back that morning with blood all over themselves and complaining about a triplet, breeched stillbirth over at the Munson’s spread.  (Stan had warned him not to make such an extravagant story of it.)  And Bob was pretty certain as the meals began deteriorating.  But he wasn’t certain, certain until Harriet pulled the gun on Stan.

Here they were chowing down!  Bob had been in a pretty good mood despite Harriet’s problem.  He felt like he had gotten all flushed out down below and was just about ready for more.  The prices for milk were good.  The cows were healthy.  And the pastures were all dry for the season.  And it had been a warm Sunday!  So all in all, it seemed a shame when Harriet pulled out that gun and aimed it at Stan, one of the best hands they’d ever had.

“I want you outta here,” she said.

“You want to talk privately with your husband?”  Stan inquired, calm as could be.  Bob just couldn’t help but admire this.

“No.  I don’t want to talk privately with that adulterer!”

“I ain’t no adulterer.”

“You had sex outside the bounds of marriage, didn’t ya?”  Harriet turned the gun on Bob.

“Woman, what are you talking about?”  Bob flushed.

“I’m talking about putting your wee little pecker into someone, somewhere where’s you shouldn’t.  An’ now about you bein’ a bald faced liar to boot.”   Harriet reached down and pulled out the Sunday edition of the New York Times which she slammed down on the supper table.

Bob looked dumbly at it as if he were staring at an old school textbook of the advanced sort.

“Turn it over.  It’s below the fold.”  Harriet nudged the newspaper forward with the barrel of the gun.

“Below the fold?”

“Look at the other side!”

“On the bottom of the page,” Stan advised.

“That’s right,” Harriet said.

Bob turned the damned heavy newspaper over, and a trickle of fear crawled up his back leg  like a bug.  There was a headline about Sheriff Leland and Serial Killers.  Bob turned his wide eyes on Stan without thinking.  Then he pulled his gaze back.  “I don’t see anything in here about adultery.  Mine, or anyone else’s,” Bob said.

“I believe they call it “rape”.”  Harriet lifted the tip of her gun to emphasis the point.

“How the hell would they know that the rapist is a married man, Harriet?”  Bob indicated.  “There’s no way.  That’s the answer.”

“They don’t say it’s a married man, you blinkin’ idiot!”

“Well then, I don’t see how you can come off callin’ it an adultery!”  Bob matched her volume.

I’m callin’ it an adultery, because I think that you and Stan here did it.”  Harriet moved the barrel of the gun so that it was pointed midway in between the both of them.

Bob said nothing, because he couldn’t think for a moment what he should say.  And then, when he finally decided he should say “No”, to deny it, Stan was already talking.

“You sure are a good cook, Harriet,” Stan said.  “You mind if I continue eating?”  He nodded at the gun.

“Just keep your hands where I can see them,” Harriet said.   “An’ don’t take more than two pork chops.”

Stan nodded and continued eating.  He did it with such a relish, he was actually making Bob hungry to watch.  Which was something, considering a cold wave of fear had just about frozen Bob to his chair, and shriveled his genitals and squirreled them like nuts high up in his scrotum.  He was either going to get shot, or going to admit something  he’d rather not.  Either choice was rather riveting.  And Bob couldn’t see how Stan was able to take it all so lightly.  “Maybe you could tell Harriet where we wuz, Stan,” Bob entreated.  “Seeing as how you’ve got a better head for explanations and such.”  Bob nodded.

The only think Bob could figure was that Stan must know something he did not.  Which must be why he was taking all of this so cool.

“We wuz wherever you two ends up figuring we wuz, I’d guess.”  Stan smiled, chewing.

“What the hell.  Why are you saying that?!”  Bob exclaimed.

“Well.  Where ‘wuz’ we?”  Stan asked.

Bob was totally flummoxed.

“Yeah, then.  Where wuz you?”  Harriet aimed the gun at Bob.

“Well.  What?  I don’t know.  I mean, when?  When are you talkin’ about?  Wuz it then, or last night or two weeks ago.  What are you talkin’ about?”

“Ah’m talkin’ about when Ms. Muffin Lady here got clobbered.”  Harriet thumped the newspaper with the barrel of the gun.   “Where wuz you then?  That night?”

“Honey.  I can’t remember where I am every night of the year.”

“Ah’m not askin’ about every night of the year.  Ah’m just asking about them as when you’re not in bed at home asleep where you oughta be.”

“Well, them too.  Those are hard to keep track of.  I mean, there’s cows that need milkin’, dogs that start barking all hours of the night.  You know how crazy it can get around here!”

“I’d think you’d remember if you was off rapin’ some woman, and draggin’ her in the darkness from some car on the highway.”  Harriet nodded.

“It’s the kind of thing that would stick in my mind.”  Stan nodded, as he relished another bite.

“And I don’t know what you’re laughin’ about either.  As I’m just a split second away from shootin’ you too.”  Harriet eyeballed Stan.

“Why aren’t you helpin’ me deny all this?”  Bob whined.  “I thought we wuz partners.  I thought we wuz together on this.”

“So you’re admittin’ everything?”

“Ah’m not admittin’ anything, woman,” Bob declared hotly.  “An’ just cause you got a gun doesn’t make no difference either.”

“You might feel a bit different once I use it.”  Harriet’s finger clenched tightly on the trigger.

Stan raised his hands.

Both Harriet and Bob looked at him.

“Harriet.  You start out pointing the gun at me, but if this keeps on you’re going to end up shooting your only husband, Bob,” Stan pointed out.  He paused to push his plate away, take out a cigarette and light it.  He inhaled, then exhaled up towards the bare light bulb.  Bob just had to admire this no end, in spite of the dire situation.  And he did appreciate the help, a bit.

“Don’t you just admire that?”  Bob gestured to Harriet.  “Can’t you admire that?  I mean, look.  You’re got a gun pointed at the man.  An’ rather than getting’ all upset an’cryin’ and whimperin’, or yellin’,  like you’d half expect, he’s just cool as a cucumber and sets there ready to discuss things.”  Bob waved his finger between himself and Harriet.  “We could take a lesson there.”

“An’ you could take a bullet here.”  Harriet scowled, poking the gun at Bob’s pecker.

“Stan,” Bob said.  “I appreciate your cool and all that, but I think right now it’s best if we explain to Harriet just wut it is we got to say.”

Harriet moved the gun sights back on Stan.  “An I think it’s best he don’t provoke me.”

Stan shrugged.  He looked at Bob.

“All I’m saying dear,” Bob tried to continue as best he could in as soothing voice as he could, ““…instead of getting all upset about some Muffin Lady who gets herself killed an’ probably nothin’ more than she deserved, in some New York newspaper there…”  Bob pointed,  “…is that perhaps you don’t recognize a quality man.  I mean, here is a quality man.  He works hard.  He works smart.  And he’s cool as a cucumber under any kind of trouble, and here you want to go runnin’ him off with a gun?!”

“Ah may just shoot ‘im, and drag him off with a back hoe,”  Harriet spit.

“Well that’s yur problem.  You just don’t recognize quality.  You just don’t and never did!”  Bob was getting upset, gun or no.  “Now I know for a fact that there may have been other crime figures involved!  Now wasn’t she saying somethin’ about thinkin’ we were in with Benny Green, or somebody?!”

Stan sighed.

Harriet just shook her head.

Bob considered a moment.  “…oops.”

“You see what I got to contend with?”  Harriet asked Stan.

Stan looked over at Bob who had been holding his arms out in indignation, but was now just looking defeated and rubbing his chin.

“If any of them come sniffin’ around here, what am I supposed to say?”  Harriet dipped the gun at Stan demanding an answer.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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