Posts Tagged ‘murder’

Poesy

October 7, 2014

Shopping Cart1

Sunday Edition

I read in the Sunday paper this morning

that a man had been arrested transporting a body

in a shopping cart nearby where I used to live.

He had been trying to get him to a dumpster.

It’s nice that the people there, since I’ve left,

have been trying to pick up after themselves.

 

It can be the little things that breed crime:

broken windows, graffiti,

speaking to your neighbors.

Apparently the fellow and the corpse

had known each other.

 

So it didn’t start right out in violence.

Heck, it might have taken years

of conversation over the back fence.

He may have borrowed a rake or a hoe,

or been a little late to return

an axe or a bullet.

 

Definitely it had become something more

than a hot casserole could handle.

The tighter you become, the more at stake, that’s for sure.

Until one thing leads to another, and it all goes downhill…

and out of hand so fast,

it’s as if things begin to occur of their own volition!

 

While you were… detached, floating above it all,

as if from another world,

as if watching yourself in a movie.

In a word, it seemed fated.

 

Which is why I moved to an uphill neighborhood.

 

Photo from Google Images

Advertisements

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

June 20, 2013

ID card5

A Positive ID

 (Episode 56)

 Stan really wanted inside the Kimmel jail.  Something itched, and as near as Stan could triangulate that fifty-odd year old weathered yellow jail was at the nub of it.  It was even interfering with his sex.  Something in that jail was a ‘scold’.  That was the best way he could phrase it, if he were to talk to someone about it, like a psychiatrist, which he wouldn’t.

Then, as luck would have it, Ruth called Carmella with her usual breakfast order that Sunday.   And apparently Stan’s Kandahar Omelet was a hit with the Sheriff.  Ruth asked, “Could you have the cook who makes that delicious chili-egg concoction bring it over himself?”            Or so this was the story.  When you’re wanted for rapes and serial murders, you really tend to look several times at any approach, especially when made by law enforcement.  On the other hand, it was true that Stan’s Kandahar Omelet had made a little culinary noise even in the sleepy town of Kimmel, Stan preened.  So it was with some unstaunched yearning that Stan laid each of the cooked bacon strips neatly on a paper towel, then cracked eggs and dropped them in the bacon grease to cook while he considered the request seriously.

Stan really felt he needed to have a look inside that jail.  Stan flipped the eggs.  And as the eggs bubbled in the bacon grease, Stan convinced himself by saying to himself, ‘Look.  If I were trying to sneak into that jail and thought up this scheme myself, wouldn’t I try it?’  Stan hoisted the eggs out, arranged the eggs on the plates with the bacon, toast and hash browns, decorated each with an orange slice and a sprig of parsley and placed them in the window just as Carmella passed to lift them away with a wink and a smile.

It was probably Carmella’s look that decided it.  Stan heaped up a fine, steaming dish, of what he liked to call his 12 Egg, Complete with Melted Gruyere Cheese, Kandahar Mortar, covered it with a checkered cloth, put on a clean and unspotted apron, and presented it and himself with a big pot of hot coffee at the jail promptly at 7 am early Monday.

After a few preemptory knocks, and the use of a password Ruth had concocted, the front door opened.  “Good morning, Ruth?   I’m Stan from across the way,” Stan said.  He made no move to enter.

“C’mon in, Stan from across the way.”  Ruth smiled.  “Boy, doesn’t that smell good,” she said, lifting a corner of the checkered cloth.   We all have saved our appetites.”  She gauged Stan as a slight frown flitted across her face.  “Just walk in there and the Sheriff will tell you where to set it.  And I’ll follow close behind.”  Stan noticed the young girl reporter from the café working at a computer.  He nodded.  Nancy appraised him, mentally taking notes.

Stan smiled his best as regular people did and stepped across the linoleum into  the Sheriff’s office.  “Breakfast?”  Leland smiled, looking up and examining Stan.  “Could you just set it on the bunk inside that jail cell just next to the one with the prisoner in it?”

Stan hesitated.  Leland raised his brows.

Stan nodded, passing into the jail proper.  Leland rose and followed behind, with Ruth following behind him.  “Is dressing like that illegal?”  Stan nodded as he passed Ramey, the transvestite, sitting sullenly on his bunk in the other cell.

“Ramey, what is it that happened to you?”  Leland asked.  But Ramey sat sullenly, staring at Stan, saying nothing.

“Cat’s probably got his tongue,” Leland said.

“You leave his cell door open all the time, like that?”  Stan asked.

“This is a converted jail.  It used to be a feed store.  There are no toilets in the cells.  So we have had to come to an understanding.  Isn’t that right Ramey?”  Leland showed a little irritation at Ramey’s sudden unwillingness to speak.

“He doesn’t talk much either, does he?”  Stan observed.

“Well, not at the moment, apparently.  Why don’t you just set the food down in there, and we can see if a little breakfast will lure some conversation out of him.”

Stan hesitated to walk into the cell.  “Go ahead,” Leland urged, hanging onto the swinging iron jail door.  “We’re right behind.  I’ve got my coffee cup ready.  And Ruth’s here with her fork and plate.”  Stan stared at them both.  Something didn’t feel right, ‘in a big way,’ he was thinking.

“What about that young girl?  She want some?”  Stan asked, back stepping.

“She’s already eaten.”  Leland blocked his path.

“Ramey, you’d better get over here, you don’t want to get left out.” Leland turned his head with some real irritation.   “Where the hell has Ramey gone?”

“I don’t know,” Ruth said, turning around herself.  “He was in there, just a moment ago.”

They both looked befuddled, Stan thought.  “You run kind of an odd jail here, Sheriff.”

“How so?”  The Sheriff replied.

“Well,” Stan had to laugh.  “Your prisoner just walked out the back door there.  A small girl is playing on your departmental computer.  And the cell here is painted like the waiting room in a bordello.”    And when this didn’t get a rise, he added.  “And still, you two are here, looking like you’re still gonna sit down to eat your breakfast without a qualm!”

“We are.”  Leland nodded.

“Don’t want it to get cold!”  Ruth smiled.

“He’ll be back,”  Leland said, settling himself.  Leland motioned with his cup.

Stan stood there in wonderment.  “Law enforcement sure is different in a small town,” he observed.

“Oh.  How so?”  Sheriff Leland smiled.  He looked inquisitive.  Ruth smiled, too.  “Yes.  How so?!”

Stan smiled.   “Let’s eat before it’s cold as Afghanistan,” he said finally.

Leland nodded.   Ruth nodded.  Everyone ate.

Stan was irritated.  They ate too slowly.  And their comments about his Kandahar Omelet struck him as perfunctory.   They might as well be having oatmeal.  And he couldn’t see or feel anything special about the jail – outside of the bizarre mural which covered the inside of the prisoner’s cell.  Stan asked about that, but neither the Sheriff nor his secretary seemed much interested in delving into it, other than to say that Ralph Bunch done it.  And Stan nodded, as he’d met Ralph Bunch.   “Kind of surprised there’s not a Chipmunk in it,” Stan joked.  But all it got was the Sheriff’s noncommittal, “How so?”

Their conversation seemed to pick up as Stan cleared the dishes and prepared to go.  But it was mostly about where Stan was from, his background, foreground, mid-ground, and about just about every other thing Stan didn’t feel the inclination to answer.  The whole morning was a bust as far as Stan could see.  And the prisoner still hadn’t returned, by the time breakfast was finished.  Which was just bizarre.  It wasn’t even a proper jail!   And Stan had become so irritated with the tepid reception to his meal, that his attentions had wandered and were festering in their own little pool.   So no one saw Ramey enter, passing in through the back door carrying a heavy shovel which he had hoisted over his shoulders like a baseball bat.

Leland had returned to his office.  Stan had just cleared the cell block.   And Ruth was leading the way out, when Ramey swung the shovel with all his strength, striking Stan at the base of his skull with a sharp “whang!”   Stan went down like a sack of onions.

Ruth turned and gasped.

Leland came running in, with Nancy not far behind.

Ramey dropped the shovel and backed away, looking at them with alarm.  “I didn’t do it.  I didn’t do it!”  He jumped, shivering with disgust.   Nancy wrote this down.

“I’d call that a positive I.D.”  Leland smiled at Ruth, nudging the blade of the shovel and then the skull of his suspected serial killer with a toe to see if he could ‘rouse him.

Nancy wrote this down.

Photo taken from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

May 11, 2013

Secret database1

Investigative Reporting

(Episode 44)

 Leland and Merlin weren’t the only ones on the track of a killer.  Back at the office, the ‘ladies’ were also discussing matters.

“I’d like to do a little background on the victims of our killer,” Nancy Gillis told Ruth, “and I was hoping I could use the Sheriff’s computer.”

Ruth rolled her eyes upwards.  “That’s a departmental data base in that computer and only to be used on official business.  That means, by a ‘departmental  official’.

“Whatever I find out, you’d be welcome to.”

“Isn’t that big of you,” Ruth scoffed.

“What you don’t seem to get, little woman,” Ruth continued, after Nancy refused to walk away, “is that this (she patted the computer tower) is proprietary information, which means that it is the property of a Department of the United States Government, a Federal database used by this Bureau, which can only be accessed by someone who has the proper occupational clearance.”

“I knew you would be the most likely person to hold a clearance,” Nancy replied happily with evident awe.

Ruth bathed in this for a moment.

“Of course.  For some things.  And the Sheriff holds the passwords for other, more sensitive areas.  But none of those people include you, young lady.”  Ruth riveted Nancy with her eyeballs.

“But the victims are dead.  And I don’t see how any of this covers the killer.  I mean, what is there about our killer that you don’t want me to find out? ”  Nancy implored Ruth with her best Shirley Temple look.

Ruth shook her head.

“Why not think about it this way Ms. Haphelstot?  Aren’t there a lot of things about this case that you would like to know, and that might help in the investigation if we could dig them up?  You would like to do that wouldn’t you, Ms. Haphelstot?  Help with the investigation?  And myself, I understand computers probably better than anyone here because…  I’m young.  Everybody knows that.”

“It’s true,” Ramey said.  “I’ve got a ten year old who helps me out at the office.”

Ruth was chewing on a painted fingernail.   “Well.  There are a few questions of my own, I’ve had about these murders.  Which Sheriff Leland hasn’t had the time, or the inclination I’m unhappy to say, to pursue.  And I can’t seem to figure out the data base.”

“Go ahead.  Let the girl try her luck,” Ms. Loomis, the Muffin Lady, said over whatever it was Ramey was saying.  “I’d be interested, what the government can tell me about myself that I don’t already know.”

“See.  So we’ve got one dead person already.  And she doesn’t care.”  Nancy nodded briskly.

“At the office,” Ramey shouted, after snapping his head hard.  Nancy imagined perhaps this tossed the Muffin Lady clear of his thoughts, or at least to the side.  “My ten year old often has to go into confidential accounts in order to repair things.  There’s no other way around it, unless I were to endanger their treatment.  So I just make him swear to non-disclosure.  And we treat it that way.”

“You made a ten year old swear to non-disclosure?”  Ruth frowned, un-amused.

“On a deck of baseball cards.  He takes it very seriously.”

“Wait a minute.  I’m a reporter,” Nancy interjected.  “How can I report what I’m not allowed to disclose?”

“Good point,” Ruth said.  “That might work.”

“Not for me,” Nancy protested.  “What do I get out of it?”

“You get the information.  You just can’t attribute it to this source.”  Ramey’s head snapped back sharply the other direction, as the Muffin Lady interjected.  “Trust me.  I’ve done lots of interviews, and that’s how it works.  And once you have the information, it’s usually easy to find another source.  For example, say you find out I once lived in Cincinnati.  Then you go to the Cincinnati data base and see if I’m located there.  And when you file your story you just say, ‘According to the public files in the data base of the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau, Mary Loomis previously owned and operated a shop called “Tasty Muffins” there from 1985-1987.’  You see, simple.”

“Is that true?”  Nancy asked.  “You’re from Cincinatti?”

“Pretty much.”

“C’mon,” Ramey urged.  “We all want out of here.  The sooner we crack this case the better, for all concerned.”

Everybody nodded, including Ruth, who eventually found herself agreeing.  “Oh alright,” she said happily, lifting her newly polished nails from the keyboard and allowing Nancy her seat.  “Let’s do something!”

Photo lifted from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

April 24, 2013

ID Card4

Screening More Pig Shit for Clues

(Episode 43)

 

            Merlin and Leland unhinged the screen door, while Bill Porter pulled out the lengthy cow stall sprayer hose.  Bill said that he wouldn’t mind in the least helping with a murder investigation; moreover, that he’d never ever participated in one and thought he might enjoy it.  So they had Bill drive the pigs out of the pens.  Then, as Bill shoveled the pens and heaved the muck onto the screens, Merlin sprayed the mud away into a slurry, while Leland scoured the bits of twigs and rocks and other debris left on the screens for evidence.

            “It would be pretty nice if whoever died here were our killer,” Merlin spoke above the rush of the spraying water he was zig-zagging about the screens.

            “Nice.  But I wouldn’t get our hopes up,” Leland answered.  “It doesn’t figure.  If our killer talked her husband Bob into accompanying him on his latest murder/rape – I could see her killing our killer, and maybe even Bob, but when I spoke with them, right before both of them getting shot, they were cooing like two love birds.  And also, why would she ask me who I was working for?” 

            “Okay.  Let’s say it was someone else she killed and had Bob dump the bodies in here.  Why would she want to do that?  Who in the world would Harriet want to kill?  Other than the killer?

            “You mean, besides Bob?”

            “I thought you said they were cooing like love birds.”

            “Yeah, but just recently.”

            Merlin thought about this.  “Okay,” he surmised.  “Then who is a person you or Harriet – or anyone, really – are most likely to want to kill?”

            “Someone who’s trying to kill me!”  Leland laughed.  Because this is the way it almost always was in the law enforcement business.

            Merlin and Leland looked at each other, while thinking this over.

 

            “Someone was out to kill either her or Bob – or maybe just Bob – and Harriet drilled ‘em,” Merlin said.

            “Maybe so…”  Leland said, as he collected a few items of interest off of the washing screen.  “Hey!  Hold it up there a moment, will you Bill?  And Merlin?”  He held the items in his palm and mulled them over. 

            “Here, it looks like we have a pretty well gnawed on hunk of a black rubber heel.”  Leland held it up.  Two cobbler’s nails stuck out of it.

            “Man, those pigs were hungry.”  Merlin whistled.

            “It was a few days before I realized maybe somebody ought to come over here and look after the stock, since nobody was,” Bill apologized.

            “And here.  Oh, this is interesting,” Leland continued.  “It looks like a portion of a license, or a legal identification of some kind.  No writing.  But it’s got that plasticized holographic twinkle to it when I hold it up to the light.”

            Leland was getting excited.  “Okay.  It looks like we’re going to be out here for some time.   I want to sluice all of the mud in all of these three pens, and go through it carefully before sundown.  Are you two okay with this?”

            “Just let me make a few calls,” Merlin said, setting the hose and stepping away.

            Bill Porter nodded soberly.

            Merlin halted and turned.

            “Wait a minute,” Merlin said.  “Holographic ID.  And Harriet says, “Who are you working for, Leland?” 

            “Yeah,” Leland agreed.  “We may be looking here at the (fecal) remains of some kind of Government Official.”

            “Is there any other kind?”  Merlin chuckled.

            Leland frowned.

            “Or several?”  Bill Porter’s eyes grew wide, taking in the wide expanse of pens.

            “It can’t be ruled out.”

            “What kind of Government official goes missing and nobody knows a thing?”  Merlin asked.

            Leland considered this.  “The worst kind, maybe,”  Leland said.  All of a sudden, everything was moving very fast…   “You two might want to be very careful who you talk to, and how much you say about this for the next while,” he added.  “Just to be safe,” he said grimly.

            Merlin exhaled slowly, between the crack in his two front teeth.

            Bill Porter looked nervous, like a man who was suddenly in over his head, or having qualms anyway.

Photos from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

April 21, 2013
A Pig Will Eat About Anything and Really Clean Their Plate.

A Pig Will Eat About Anything and Really Clean Their Plate.

Pigs6

“There’s Gold in That There Hog Pen!”

(Episode 42)

 Leland sat at the dinner table of the old farmhouse and wondered just what had occurred there.  He couldn’t imagine Bob Weeds cooking anything worth eating, so it was probably Harriet.  He looked into the dishwasher.  But it had already been stacked and run following the tourist’s lunch.  The whole crime scene was so polluted by now that anything uncovered now could be used to indict just about anybody, including a ham sandwich.

‘Didn’t matter.’  Leland was just here to get a feel of the place, to get a feel if he could for Harriet’s mental state.  He looked around.  He couldn’t say, in any way, that it looked like the house of a crazy person.  It was all fairly clean, and all fairly orderly.  Just about the housekeeping you’d expect a working dairy farmer’s wife to be able to manage.  There was a magazine about cows, and one about guns.  Another one over by the plant on a stand was full of household hints and recipes.  ‘Jeeze,’ Leland thought.  ‘How does it go from this, to getting shot?’

He walked outside, squinted up into the sun and noticed Merlin waving to him.  So he strode over there.

“I was talking to Mr. Porter here…”  Merlin nodded.

“Call me Bill.”

“…Bill.  And he showed me something.”

Bill Porter held up something bright between his thumb and forefinger.  “There’s gold in that there hog pen!”  He said, delighted.

Leland looked at it.  Bill Porter handed it over.

“Old Bob must have lost a cap at sometime.  I was just over here taking care of the animals ‘till some arrangements have been made for them, when I noticed this little nugget glowing up at me.  Can you beat that?  Must have been for doing a good deed,” Bill said, smiling.

“Must have been,” Leland agreed, smiling.

“Are you wondering what I’m wondering?” Merlin asked.

Leland nodded.  “Bill,” he said, “would you mind waiting around here for a while with us?  I’d like to make a phone call.”

“Sure, Sheriff.  No problem.”

Leland stepped a few paces to the side and called the office on his cell.

Meanwhile, Merlin chatted with Bill Porter about what and all, and about the pigs.

“Ruth,” Leland said.  “Could you give me Ramey, please?”

“Sure, Leland,” Ruth said.  “What’s up?”

“Don’t know.  Maybe something.”

“Okay.  Let’s hope it is.  Here’s Ramey.”

But it wasn’t Ramey who came on the phone.

“Sheriff Leland!  I’ve been in this cell for over 3 weeks now, or more.  I’m starting to lose track of the days.  And it seems I don’t know one more thing about why I was murdered than I did the night of the attack.  What in the world are you doing out there?”

“Nancy.  Would you please channel Ramey for me?  I need some information.”

“For your information, I don’t ‘channel’ anyone.  I’m just stuck here, inside of a dentist – for Godsakes – and I don’t know why.”

“I don’t know either, Nancy.  Now could you please give me Ramey.  Poke him, or prod him, or mumbo jumbo him up out of the ether, however you two have it worked out, but give me Ramey please, so that I can get back to the crime scene and do my job.   Please?”

Merlin, meanwhile, heard the argument and stepped over.  “Who’s ‘Nancy’?”  He asked.

Leland covered the phone and exhaled.   “You wouldn’t believe…   …I’ll have to introduce you!”  He smiled at Merlin.  Merlin’s brows rose.

“Yes?  Who is it?”  This was Ramey’s voice.

“Ramey?  Is that you?”  Leland asked.

“Yes.”

“How do you and… that woman in your head, have things worked out?  It seems every time I want to talk to you, I have to go through her.”

“Well.  Err, it’s difficult to explain Leland.  But I think it might have something to do either with, well, just her nature, or the way she was raised…  I can’t really tell.”

“Nevermind!  Listen.  You did Bob Weeds dental work.  Did he have any gold caps?”

“Ha!  That would be the day.  He was a ‘fly to Tijuana and have them all pulled kind of a guy.’  He joked that he would “spare no expense”.  He thought that was funny.  I think it was his wife, Harriet, who’d thought of the retort.”

“Okay.  How about Harriet?”

“Harriet?  Well, she had pretty good teeth.  Not many fillings as I recall.  But they were all amalgam.  She wasn’t the type to go spending money on pretties.”

“Thanks Ramey.”  Leland clicked off.

“That’s not Bob or Harriet’s gold cap,” Leland said.

“Then whose is it, Sheriff?”  Bill Porter, who had come walking over, asked.

“That’s a good question Bill,” Leland said.

Merlin nodded thoughtfully.

Photo by Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

March 2, 2013
Whiteboard

Whiteboard

This Jail is Getting Too Small

(Episode 33)

Sheriff Leland was pacing.  Agent Hailey was on the phones.  Ruth was making busy in the outer office, after informing Leland with great relief, for no reason that Leland could figure that, “The bodies are still there!”  And Ramey was whining in the jail:  “When am I going to get out of here?!!!…”  Sheriff Leland spun.

“It’s no use.” Agent Hailey hung up.  “No one knows anything.  For about a week there we were getting good information.  And now, I swear, it’s as if they have lost all the samples.”  She looked both dejected and embarrassed.  “I’m sorry, Leland.  The FBI is usually a very tightly run organization.  I guess you just have to believe me about that.  But I just have no idea where all our evidence is, or who has it, or why we don’t know.  Trust me, this isn’t how it usually works.”

Leland shook his head and rubbed his temples. “It’s not your fault,” he said.

“I know that,” Agent Hailey replied.

Leland looked at her; tossed up his hands.  “Fine.  So where does this put us?”

“Ruth?”  Leland called.  “Could you go back there and ferret around a little through all of those empty evidence lockers and see what we might have left, if anything, from that serial killer crime scene investigation.”

“Sure!” Ruth called from right beside him.  She was glad to be escaping the vicinity.

“Sorry I snapped at you there, Leland,” Agent Hailey said.

“You’re the least of my worries,” Leland laughed.

Agent Hailey huffed.

“I’m sorry!”  Leland swore.  “I just meant that you’re not my problem.”

When Ruth returned, it was with a small baggie in hand.  “I found this one thing,” she said.  “I would suppose, the plastic seal got caught in a crack so that the baggie didn’t empty into the shipping box.”

Sheriff Leland held it up against the fluorescents and looked it over.  “It looks like manure.  A small piece which has fallen out of a boot tread, is my guess.”

“I think that’s a good one.  Seeing as we’re surrounded here by dairy farmers.”  Ruth chuckled slightly.

Leland frowned.  “Well, maybe we can glean a little more out of this one than what first meets the eye.”

“Let me go!  What about my patients?”  Ramey called from the back cell.

“Trust me, you’re patients are not gonna want their dental work performed by a practicing transvestite,” Ruth shouted back at him.

“They might!  If they are in pain…”

Leland tucked the baggie in his jacket pocket and hooked a nod at Agent Hailey.  “You wanna come?”

“No.  I think I’ll just sit here like a little girl and sulk.  And then maybe shoot myself with my revolver.”

Leland just didn’t seem able to win today.

But when he strode out of the office, Agent Hailey smiled and followed.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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 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

December 9, 2012
And finally:  Let's Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

And finally: Let’s Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

(Pin-up in Sheriff Leland’s back room, which was replaced by the White Board)

Whiteboard

(Episode 19)

             A week had passed.  They had identified the first murder victim as Clarisse Clemens, another newbie to the area, which explained why no one had appeared to claim her body (parts).  Also, she had a rap sheet.  Apparently at one time she had also worked as a prostitute and a bunko artist.  Neither one very successfully it appeared, because she was found way out here and missing her head with a total of $19.37 and a six pack of condoms in her pocketbook.  Agent Hailey had retrieved a lot more information about her from their forensics team, which Agent Curtis wanted her to postpone sharing until he could be present at the meeting.  Presently he was in the city preparing to move against Benny Green and his operation, and he wanted to keep his ‘operational status’ clear for that, before entangling himself in that ‘rural muck’ portion of the investigation once again.  “Besides,” he said over the phone, “that’s what I have Agent Hailey there for.  I assume you two are working together okay?”

“Yes, we’re doing fine,” Leland replied.  “She’s very capable.  There’s no need to rush for that reason.  Although I would like a look at those findings as soon as possible, the pressure in a small community to find the perpetrator being what it is,” Leland said.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “But I have to let you know, Benny Green is still my top suspect.”

“We’ll see you when you get here,” Leland replied and hung up.

“You’ve got all the forensics?” Leland asked.

“Faxed this morning,” Agent Hailey replied.

“Thanks,” Leland replied.  If Agent Curtis knew the kind of end run Agent Hailey and he were perpetrating, he might have to re-consider who was pimping who.  As it stood now, Leland had an inside to the full resources of the FBI through Agent Hailey.  And Agent Hailey had a full run of the investigation through him.  And “all there is left now is marriage,” Leland smiled, happy with how this was all playing out.

“Is that a proposal?”

Agent Hailey had softened quite a bit under Leland’s professional wooing, and was becoming a real part of the team.  ‘…of two’, Leland considered happily.  It was like every day was another date with his dream law enforcer.  He had never been so happy chasing a murderer.

“I have my tux pressed,” Leland bantered.

Agent Hailey sobered.

“Maybe we’d better go over that new evidence and tape it up,” Leland said.

As her gift to the operation, Agent Hailey had brought in a large whiteboard with tape, yarn and marking pens… where they were doing some mind mapping of the crime.  Ruth was impressed.  “Never saw me do this to chase down a missing cow, now did you?”  Leland grinned.

Ruth smiled.  Ruth was happy when Sheriff Leland was happy.  And currently, he was chasing down this cruel, ruthless, absolutely amoral serial murderer with his shoes two feet off the ground like a love struck schoolboy.  She just hoped he didn’t become too addled by infatuation and kept his wits about him.  About Agent Hailey, she still hadn’t made up her mind.

“You see this latest news?  It’s that ‘in-depth’ interview that schoolgirl Nancy Gillis did of you coming back on the bus from the crime scene, and written up for the Kimmel High Wolverine.”  Ruth dropped a massive newspaper upon Leland’s desk.

Leland’s mind was on the whiteboard, but he turned when he heard the ‘thump!’.  “The Kimmel County Wolverine puts out a paper that big?”

Ruth shook her head.  “It was picked up by the New York Times!” Ruth said deadpan.

Leland and Agent Hailey both stared as Ruth placed the front page of the New York Times neatly where they could see the picture and headline, just below the fold.

The photo, taken in provocative shadow, was of “Sheriff Leland Kelly, Kimmel County Sheriff, oiling and reassembling his 45 caliber Colt Anaconda behind the partly open blinds of his front office.”

The headline read:

 

“They Pursue Serial Killers Differently in Kimmel County”

 

            Ruth gave Leland the sober eye.

            “Ooooh shit,” Leland whistled.

Photo by Carl Nelson


%d bloggers like this: