Posts Tagged ‘murders’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

May 15, 2013
Does this fellow know something?

Does this fellow know something?

The Muffin Lady’s Secret

(Episode 49)

            “Look at this,” Nancy nodded, when Sheriff Leland and Veterinarian Merlin stepped into the room.  “Here it is, in the Charleston Gazette, October 23rd, 1986”:

 

Girls Civics Club Bus Goes Missing for 6 Hours

 

A school bus carrying eight girls to the School Government and Civics Symposium went missing for 6 hours yesterday, school authorities have reported.  The girls were from the communities of Pinch and Elkview, West Virginia.  The twelve mile trip, which should have taken about one hour, took seven hours instead.  Neither the driver nor any of the students on the bus had any explanation, saying that they believed it had been just a normal drive.  They were a little puzzled they said, when they arrived in Charleston around sundown and glanced at their watches.  But otherwise, they could recount nothing unusual as having occurred, nor did they feel any ill effects except “having missed lunch, apparently”.

 

Authorities meanwhile are interrogating the driver, checking the bus odometer and asking local residents to call if they could report having seen this bus anytime between the hours of 11am and 6pm yesterday.

 

“Did you happen to be on that bus?”  Sheriff Leland asked Ramey, who happened to be in the nature of Nancy Loomis then.

Ms. Loomis read the article one more time, then placed Ramey’s palms to his head and sat down.

“Was Clarisse Clemens on that bus?”  Leland asked.

“I don’t know.  We got on.  We had never met with the other girls, so we sat with our own friends.  And then, after we arrived in Charleston, it was so weird, my parents came and got me and we drove home.”

“About two weeks later, I started having dreams,” Ms. Loomis continued.  The Muffin Lady pressed Ramey’s fingertips to his forehead.  “About nothing I’d ever seen, and being in other peoples’ bodies…”  She glanced at Ramey’s hands, and looked in her pocket mirror at Ramey’s face.  “Oh my God,” she said.

“You never told a soul about all this?”  Ruth asked in disbelief.

“About my dreams?” The Muffin Lady laughed harshly.

Leland shook his head.

Then Ramey spoke.  “Where’d she go?”  He asked.

“Who?”  Ruth asked.

“That business woman.  The Muffin Lady.”  Ramey glanced around as if she had been in the room standing right beside him.

Ruth’s glasses slipped off her nose.

Photo taken from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

May 13, 2013

Secret database2

Tracking a Scent

(Episode 48)

 

“Do you know that Robert Frost poem, where he says,

 

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,” ?

 

Nancy spoke as her fingers raced over the keyboard.

“Well, Mr. Wallace, the teacher I had for investigative journalism, said that you find those ‘two roads’?  And you trace them back to where they first ‘diverged’?  And that will make ‘all the difference’.”

Nancy had supplanted Ruth at the keyboard and was speaking to the others clustered around as she sped her investigation through the networked maze of a national data base.  Nancy had two files open.

“Okay.  In this window I’m back tracing our first victim, Clarisse Clemens.  Oh, this is interesting.  She has past arrests for prostitution and confidence games.”

“She could’ve met any kind of murdering low lives in those professions,” Ramey suggested.  Then his head twitched sharply to the right, so quickly, Ruth was afraid he might have hurt himself.

“I’ve never done any of those things,” the Muffin Lady objected sharply.  “Nor have I associated with anyone, knowingly anyway, who did them.”

“Okay, okay.  By ‘interesting’, I meant more that her background will add color to the article.”  Nancy turned and smiled.

Ramey smiled sweetly back.  ‘This is weird,’ Nancy decided.

“Anyway, so in this other window I’m tracing Ms. Loomis here, our ‘Muffin Lady’.  Oh, look at all the articles here.   And here’s those two of mine, in the New York Times!  The first, with the picture of Sheriff Leland, and then the second, with those pictures and stories of the shoot out…”

“And!  moving on…” Ruth said.

“Sorry,” Nancy apologized.

“You know, I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone test the Sheriff more than you have little girl,” Ruth admonished her.

“I know, I know.  I’m sorry,” Nancy apologized again.  “Mr. Wallace said that we may have to say that a lot.  But that, that was okay, as long as we did our job.  We got the story,” she said a little more upbeat.

“Remind me to have a word or two with this Mr. Wallace of yours,” Ruth said.

Nancy kept her head down and continued searching through the screens, trying this keyword, then that; this association, then that.

 

This went on for several hours.  Nancy kept at it, while Ruth stepped outside to have a smoke.  Then Ramey walked back to his cell, to lie down awhile, and cover his eyes with a cool washcloth.  Then Ruth stepped back inside and called across the street for some take out lunch.  Then they all ate while staring at the screen.  By the late afternoon Ramey was sawing logs while Ruth was playing solitaire in the Sheriff’s office.

“I’ve got it!”  Nancy cried.  “You were born in Pinch, West Virginia.  Doctor Ramey.  Doctor Ramey!  Did you hear that?”

“I could have told you that, had you just asked!”  Ramey/Muffin Lady staggered in groggily.

“And Clarisse Clemens was born in Charleston, but raised in Elkview, West Virgina,” Nancy declared.

“Yeah.  Just a few miles up the holler,” the Muffin Lady replied.

“Quite a coincidence, huh?”  Nancy exclaimed.  “Maybe you two went to the same school?”

“No.  No.  The kids from Elkview attended Milton middle school and then later on went on to Benton High.  While we went to the local Pinch Middle School, and then attended Sadie Meyers High.  We only saw them at the games.  And me, rarely, because girls didn’t have any sports, and I’d be damned if I was going to go miles out of my way to scream and cheer for a bunch of pimpled boys, who felt any recognition opened the door to my drawers.”

“Oh.”  Nancy reddened slightly.  “Well, still, you have to admit.  This is an enormous coincidence.”

“ But that’s all it is.”  Ruth nodded.

“What do you mean?!”

“That’s all it is.  It is an enormous coincidence.  But that’s all,” Ruth said.  “What, if anything, does this tell us?”

“Jeeze.”  Nancy sighed, and turned back to the computer.  “You know, you people in law enforcement don’t get enthused enough.  Maybe you should get out more.  Shoot something,” she groused.

 

It took Nancy three more days of after school sleuthing, before she finally hit upon it.

Sheriff Leland and Merlin had returned meanwhile with their news.  And the Sheriff had beaten up the phone and hammered on the computer for several days himself trying to figure out just who Bob and Harriet Weeds had fed to the pigs.  He tried all the databases.  He used all his passwords.  Then Agent Hailey dipped into her FBI database, using all her passwords.  Ruth googled.  And Merlin went back to his Vet lab to see what he could find and match with the weird plastic shred of evidence they had.  But they all drew blanks.  “What in the world good is an ID, if the agency doesn’t exist?”  Merlin asked.

“Probably just for show,” Leland admitted.

“So they could have been just anybody, posing to be somebody?”  Merlin said.

Leland sighed.  He nodded.

“We could have just talked to the pigs,” Merlin declared.

Leland smiled.

“I’ve got it!”  Nancy squealed, from Ruth’s office.

 

Both Leland and Merlin’s brows rose.  “What have you got?”  Leland called from his office.

“Just… the answer!”  Nancy called back haughtily.

Photo lifted from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

November 26, 2012

 

Rape Kit continued

Episode 16

 

And…” a hand came out of the door pushing Sheriff Leland back, “he wants a woman.”  Another hand came out after him then, and pulled him forward.  “And… not Ruth.”  The hand appeared to be Ramey’s.

Leland stood there nonplussed.

“I believe it is in the patient’s best interest, Leland,” Doc Chatham whispered.

“I believe I’ve got just what you need,” Leland said, holstering his pistol.  And he waved Agent Hailey over.

“Ramey, meet Agent Hailey of the FBI.  Agent Hailey, of the FBI, meet Ramey.”  Leland pushed on the door.  “Ramey.  You’re going to have to open the door wider if you want to Agent Hailey to be able to get through.”

The door slowly opened wider.

Leland introduced Agent Hailey again with a nod.

Ramey looked like hell.  But he looked at Agent Hailey, sized her up with a hardened aspect that Leland had never seen on Dentist Ramey before, and let the door swing open as he turned on his heel and stepped back inside.  Agent Hailey gave Leland a ‘what-the-hell?’ look.

“I’ll get the kit,” Leland said.  He motioned that she should go in.

 

“It’s not so much a split-personality disorder as it is a two-person personality disorder,” Dr. Chatham said as he conferred quietly with Leland outside on some porch chairs.

Meanwhile, Agent Hailey was inside questioning Ramey and performing a rape kit exam, ‘however that goes,’ Leland wondered.

“Typically, with a split personality, it’s just that.”  Doc Chatham stared at Leland intently.  “Either of the personalities may have their own name because they share none of the personality traits of the other.  Whichever character represents the splinter personality is what the literary crowd might call a ‘stock’ character or a ‘flat’ character.  They are the simple possessor of one character trait the heretofore ‘whole’ personality disavows, in essence saying, ‘that’s not me.’”  Doc Chatham spread his arms wide.

Leland nodded.  He’d watched the movies too.  And he didn’t much care for this ‘psychobabble’.

“But in Ramey’s case, this ‘splinter personality’ is much more like a ‘whole’ person!  It has its own name, sure.  But it also has a history and knows things which would seemingly be foreign to a person like Ramey.  Unless our Ramey has been very clever at living two, totally different lives.  And, one life is as a woman.”  Doc Chatham stopped as if to let that sink in.

Leland wondered where he thought it was going to ‘sink’.

“The upshot of this is that either I am being totally buffaloed, or I’ve never seen or heard of anything of this sort before.”

Leland stared at him.

“That is, of course, outside of the movies.”

“Oh yeah?  What movies have you seen?”

“I was just being rhetorical… or something,” Doc Chatham spread his hands… possibly in hope.  As if he were entreating Leland to dispel the confusion and perhaps come up with something.

“And you are going to ask me to bill the County for,” “….this?”  Leland and Doc Chatham stood taking the measure of either for a long breath.   Leland spun his hand.

This got old Doc Chatham’s back up.  “You can take that up with my office manager, Leland.”

Leland didn’t want to take up anything with her.  And he didn’t think Ruth would either.

“Fine.  Okay.  Thanks for your help in this time of crisis Doc,” Leland grumbled.

The Doc left abruptly, and Leland stood outside for a while, before he figured it was better that he go in.  Just ‘cause it was silent, you never know what could have happened.  He knocked softly.

“C’mon in,” Agent Hailey chirruped sweetly.  “We’re all done.”  She opened the door while snapping a latex glove from her right hand.

“You don’t want to know,” she said, in answer to Leland’s astonished glance.

Ramey was lying naked on a living room table with his knees up and partially covered by a sheet.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress…

October 22, 2012

Merlin the Veterinarian

(Episode 9)

 

Leland thought he’d better give himself a while before he called Ramey.  So he called Burt Campbell, the Kimmel County High’s science teacher.  After that, he tromped around taking photos.  And after that, he phoned Ruth, told her what was up, and by that time Merlin Travers, the Veterinarian had showed.  Big animal, small animal, human; Merlin didn’t discriminate.  But Leland always put Merlin’s charge into the Sheriff’s Canine Unit accounts column, because not having a dog was easier to explain away than not having a horse.

“What’s up, Leland?”  Merlin said.  He had parked his Range Rover immediately behind the parked Mercedes.  Leland handed Merlin some latex gloves and shoe booties.  And while Merlin put them on Leland explained.

“Woman here, by the name of Nancy Loomis it appears, parks her new Mercedes by the side of the road after its headlights have been shot out.  Then she gets led off into the woods by two guys, it appears.”  He motioned.  “Try not to step on any of the footprints or to tromp on any of the evidence, of course.”  He rolled his hand.  “They have a bit of a walk, and then she’s murdered about 30 yards in.”

Merlin whistled.

“I want you to have a look at her.  Tell me what you think?”

“Okay.”  Merlin nodded.  “Where’s Pete, our Kimmel County Coroner?”

“Sister City Convention business,” Leland replied, with a shake of his head.

“Aaahhh.”  Merlin said.  “Love the government.  Work hard.  Always short-handed.”

“Shut yer yap and just think about who’s paying you,” Leland retorted.

“Yessir.”  Merlin smirked.

 

Merlin kept his promise.  He just whistled lowly when he saw the mess that was left.

The first thing Merlin did, after standing and studying the scene silently, was to set the rectal thermometer.  Then he began to examine the wounds.  “He broke her hand for some reason.  Maybe she had a gun?  Maybe some of this blood is theirs?”

Leland nodded.  He’d checked the Mercedes while waiting for the Vet, and sure enough, there was an empty holding clip right behind the ignition.   He silently thanked his good fortune that Pete was on that Sister Cities tour this week.  Merlin was the much better deal.

“Sideswiped her.”  Merlin pointed to the grotesquely bent knee.  “Probably in order to incapacitate her.  “Hands tied with a plastic tie.”  He probed around with his pencil.  “Coat pocket ripped, burnt pencil-sized holes.”  He laughed.  “Maybe that’s where she carried her gun?”  Leland nodded.  Then Merlin began to examine the wounds.  Finally, he stood.

“I had a schizophrenic who did his dog something like this, years ago,” Merlin rubbed his face hard, as if to rub away the vision.  “He thought the dog must have had some kind of a transmitter or walkie talkie hidden somewhere on it – because he said he could “hear the dog talking to him”.  So he went looking.  “Like this guy, he pushed his hands into the skull cavity and let the brains squeeze through his fingers as if they were clay, looking for it.”  Merlin pantomimed it.  ”Apparently the dog had been bringing up some sore points and just wouldn’t let it drop.”  Merlin glanced at Leland.  “Could piss anyone off.”

“Yeah.”  Leland scowled.

“The guy started taking his meds again, washed his hands, bought another dog, and everything was fine.”  Merlin removed the rectal thermometer.

“So you’re saying I should just hang this guy up by his balls and beat him with a stick until he promises to start taking his meds again,” Leland growled.

“No.  You need to shoot him.  There’s obviously two of them.  Which means the guy’s not off his meds.  Or there is something else going on.  Something much more long-standing, I’d say.  Because he’s able to recruit help.  And I’m guessing he pays them with a little ‘whoopee!’”  Merlin nodded at the spread knees and the shredded clothing.  “You really need to have the body examined though, and do the whole rape work up.”

Leland nodded.

“Is that it?”

“You think I have another couple murders around here for you to look into?”

Merlin’s eyebrows rose.  He took a look at thermometer, then wiped it clean and put it away.  “I figured she must have died about 12 hours ago.”  He sighed.  “Can I go, then?  There’s a dog who’s breeching, and she’s about 20 miles away.”

“Sure.  Get lost,” Leland said.

“Will do.”  Merlin waved and walked off through the undergrowth.

Leland stayed to gaze around the scene and think some more.  Then he trudged back out to the roadway to welcome the ‘kids’.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders In Progress

September 29, 2012

Barn Birds

Cow Birds

(Episode 5)

‘Sound suppressor’…, Bob swished this around in his brain, taking another swig of cold beer.  That’s what the guys down at the gun shop had preferred to call them, but Bob didn’t know.  They were kinda nerdy and over-educated… one of ‘em wearin’ special glasses and glancing real close at things.  Ever since he’d been a kid glued to the TV it had been a  “Silencer”.

He supposed he had all afternoon to decide whichever: ‘Silencer or Sound Suppressor’.  Or longer than that.  He could take longer.  Sure he could.  He could take as long as he wanted.  ‘A guy with a Sound Suppressor is his own man,’ Bob figured as he shot another cow bird off the peak of his barn.

“This sound suppressor sure works.  Used to be with one shot, the birds  ‘ould spook, and he’d had to wait a coon’s age for another’n,” Bob said to his imaginary buddy in the empty lawn chair nearby.   “An’ then one more shot an that’n ‘ld spook!  It made for a long afternoon and a lotta beer.  But with this here sound suppressor,” he popped off another round after setting his beer carefully and sighting like a sniper, “they just fell of the peak of that roof like they was in a shootin’ gallery and he wuz takin’ all the stuffed teddy bears like they wuz just handin ‘em out.”  Bob grinned, so pleased with himself an’ full of beers, that he fully imagined his imaginary buddy grinning back.   ‘Damn!  I like this thing,’ Bob thought, ‘even though it don’t make no noise, to speak of.’  Harriet stuck her head out of the house to say something, and Bob pointed the gun at her… just in fun.  And she pulled her head back in.

And after about “Number 15” cow bird bit the dust, Bob decided that Sound Suppressor was what he was going to call it, ‘nerdy’ or not.   ‘It would make it sound more technical, like them boys down at the gun shop, and it might even impress Stan,’ thought Bob.  ‘Who could be mighty hard to impress, havin’ shot a bunch of people an’ all, an’ gotten away with it.  ..an’ probably raped several.’  Bob licked his lips… and felt that tingling in his groin.

‘Man, we is livin’ fast, ‘ thought Bob.  ‘Drinkin’ beer, killin’ cow birds, usin’ a silen… Sound Suppressor!’   Bob grinned wildly at his imaginary buddy again.

Ever since he had happened upon Stan his life had improved in so many ways, he could hardly sit still.   “A person wouldn’t normally think meeting a serial killer would have that effect on your life,” Bob explained to his imaginary buddy.   ‘But that seemed to be the way it was.  Nobody seemed to want Bob around for nothin’ nohow.  An’ now all of a sudden he’s got just about the most unusual friend ever.’  Bob shot another cowbird, (Number 16),  ‘leavin’ nothin’ but a puff of feathers.’  “Damn.”  Both Bob and his imaginary buddy just couldn’t get the shit eatin’ grins off of their faces.  They just kept looking at each other, turning away, and then looking back at each other again.

“There’s just the smallest whiff of a pop! an’ then thet cowbird was nothin’ but feathers,” is how Bob would explain it to Stan later, with his palms open to emphasize, after they’d finished eatin’ – with his silent wife keeping her own counsel – over the emptying dinner table dishes.  ‘Ya just couln’t get her excited over nothin’.’

‘Well, not entirely silent,’ Bob corrected himself, recollecting the event.

“You point that there gun there at me again, an’ you’re goin’ to encounter someone shootin’ BACK, Sound Suppressor or no,” Harriet had said with an angry twist of her head.  “An’ I won’t be aimin’ to miss.’

“You gonna take that from her?”  Stan said, once Harriet had stomped her way into the other room, carrying a load of dishes, after first spearing Stan with her gimlet eye.  Which gave Bob a little chill watching Stan.  Bob could tell Stan hadn’t liked it.

“Well.  Yeah.  I guess so,” Bob said.

“You gotta understan’ how marriages work.”  Bob defended himself to Stan later, trailing him up into the hired hand’s loft. “It’s a little give here, and a little give there that makes the whole thing work.”

Stan snorted, but never looked up from this plexi-glass case of curios and specimens ‘or somethin’ or other’ he seemed to prize so highly, ‘from the look of it,’ thought Bob.

“Plus, she’s a good cook and a good worker,” Bob added, while thumbing through some yellowed and stained bondage magazines, after several more minutes of rumination.  “Plus…”  Bob stopped turning the pages.  “The durn woman can shoot the nose off a squirrel!”

Stan glanced up, a quizzical look appearing on his face.

Photo by Carl Nelson

 

 

Murders in Progress

August 29, 2012

Editor’s Note:  We are starting a new column here, Murders in Progress, by serialized murder writer, Eldon Cene

Gravel road with two pickups.

            A grisly murder had occurred just down the road from where Joe worked afternoons as cashier at the Mini Mart.  And then, just yesterday, the severed head had been found in a field just a quarter of a mile from the path Joe walked home alone after work in the late afternoon.  The rumor was that the head had been severed with a large hunting knife, at least that was what the coroner was rumored to have said.  So of course all of the hunters in the area were put on watch. 

            And since the head was that of a (formerly) comely woman, it was presumed the perpetrator was a man.  And when two different makes of tire treads but just one brand of beer can were found at the scene, (plus cigarette butts which had been used to burn out the  eyes – and then planted, ‘arranged’ actually, on the burns), everybody was looking for smokers who drove pickups, liked to hunt, and who drank beer.

            This narrowed it to just about everybody in the area who had testicles… and several who didn’t.

            Joe sighed and inhaled deeply, as he set off down the narrow gravel strip of road which was part of the route between the Mini Mart and his home.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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