Posts Tagged ‘serial killer’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

July 3, 2013

Dear Readers!

2010-5-16 Lizzie-1-3

NOTICE:  Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene is continuing in Part Two as The Cognitive Web, and has been transferred to authonomy, a serial fiction website.  To find the next episode, go to:   http://authonomy.com/books/53824/the-cognitive-web/read-book/#chapter

See you there!

Best regards, ur Editor

Photo by Carl Nelson

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

June 19, 2013

Drinker2

Aftermath

(Episode 55)

“I hope you haven’t paid that bastard anything yet,” George Everlee swore.

“Now dear, I think it’s best we don’t decide anything just yet.  Let’s go home.  Tomorrow’s another day.  We can talk more about it then, after a good night’s sleep and a little time to reflect.”

“You’re probably right,” George agreed.  “All of my guns are at home, and I’ve probably drunk too much to hit anything square now.”

Arlene made a mental note to hide all of George’s guns, once he was home asleep and in bed.

Ralph, meanwhile, had returned to drink.  He’d finished off his first bottle of Three Feathers Whiskey, and was well into his second.  The bar let him bring his own, as Ralph couldn’t afford theirs.

“The troubhle his, with the nose,” Ralph slurred, waving his arm dismissively at Daffodils protrait, “With a portrait hits hallways tha nhose!”  Ralph grabbed the arm of the man nearest, pulling him closer.  “You cahn’t mhake ‘um happy!  It’s heither too lahrge  whore too schmall… whore too thish whore too that.  Hits nehver  jhust  rhight!!!”  Ralph stated angrily.

The man happened to be Stan.

“So that chipmunk really got into your head, eh?”  Stan asked.  He looked very interested.  Perhaps he was an art lover, Ralph thought.

“You chould say as much.”  Ralph nodded.  “I can’t hear him.  But I can feel him all over inside.  HIt’s like he’s ruhmmaging haround in there, meshing with how I fheeeeel habout things.”  Ralph grabbed Stan’s wrist.   “What I want, what I hintend to dho.  Hand as near as I can tell, he has no feeling at hat  hall…”

“Kinda make you want to strangle the little sucker, eh!”  Stan’s brows rose.

“Hi don’t know.  Hive nhever wanted to schtrangle anything?  Hide have to think about hit,” Ralph declared.

“But you’d like to kill it, if you could, wouldn’t you?  Maybe poke around inside, see how it works?”  Stan insisted.

“HI don’t know.  Hi would kind of like to find a way to talk to it, if I could.  Mahybe bhe friends.” Ralph nodded.

Stan shook his head.  “Be friends.  Talk to it,” he muttered.

“But it doesn’t seem to talk.  It’s more like it burrowed  into my midbrain, whore something,” Ralph reflected, where Stan had left him.

The next time Leland glanced around from speaking with Agent Hailey, the ‘psycho’ Leland’s cook acquaintance had mentioned was gone.   “You see where he went?”  Leland asked.

“Who me?”  The sparkplug man replied into the mirror.  “The guy’s who’s been trying real hard to just stare straight ahead?”

“Somehow  or other I’m going to find a good reason to punch you real hard in the ribs,” Leland snarled.

Sparkplug man hoisted his glass.

Leland  walked over to speak with Ralph.  “Don’t bite me,” Leland cautioned.

“Hi nehver meahnt to bhite yyou, Lehland.”  A tear ran down Ralph’s cheek.   “That’s hall what hi have bheen shaying!  Hits that damn chipmunk.”  Ralph gestured at the painting with his raised drink.  “She mhade mhe dho hit.  The Dehvil mhade mhe dho hit!”  Ralph bawled.

 Leland nodded.  “Who was that fellow you were talking too, just now?”  He asked.

“Who?  Him?…”  Ralph glanced around.  “Hi dohn’t know.  Juhst a rheal nhice fhellow Lehland.  Dhidn’t look lhike a Dhemocraht.  Buht he saihdt, “he felht mhi pain.”  Ralph searched Leland with dog eyes.  “Dho yyou hunderstand?”

“No, I don’t understand Ralph.  I don’t understand it at all.  But, I’m working on it.”  Leland patted his arm.

“How are you doing?”  Agent Hailey asked.

Leland thought it might be permissible to squeeze Agent Hailey, ‘Suzanne’s’, shoulder as he sat down beside her on his return.

She smiled.  “It seems the evening has crashed, and your painter friend over there is in tears.”

“Ah!” Leland waved her concerns away graciously.  “Ralph’s been kicked when he’s down a lot harder than this.  That’s the thing you get to know about artists.  They’re not too good in the stand-up sort of way, but boy can they endure.  They’re like moss.  They find a way to make a home of wherever they find themselves, even gravestones.”

“There’s a practical sentiment.”

Leland smiled, and shrugged.

I know the next person we need to talk to.”  He nodded conspiratorially.

Photo of anonymous bar patron by Carl Nelson

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

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 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 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 13, 2013

Pork Chops2

The Marriage Therapist

(Back on the Farm, Continued 3)

(Episode 23)

(In our previous episode, Stan had shown Harriet and Bob the bar code embedded in the underside of his left forearm.  Bob had asked how you get one of those.  And Harriet had asked, “Who are you?”)

“I had what psychiatrists would later come to call, an ‘ambivalent’ relationship with my mother,”  Stan continued.

“You know Stan, we ain’t asking anyone around here to talk about their mother,” Bob interrupted.  “But that Federal Government part of it, I believe we both find interesting.”

“Shut up!”  Harriet poked Bob again with the gun barrel.

“I believe it’s germane to the tale, Bob,” Stan explained.

Harriet nodded emphatically.  Bob shrugged.

“Who knows how or why, but I can hear her voice just running around in loose in my head… just this utterly uncontrollable bitch!  Even now.”

“She died?”

Stan nodded, and shook out another funny looking cig from the carton.

“How’d she die?”

“Car accident.  House fire.  Ice pick through the eyeballs!!!   Or de-capitated and mangled viciously in a bloody threshing machine accident, which was investigated and cleared me of all blame when I was only 12.  What does it matter?!  The point is, that it stopped the voices!!!”   Stan lit the cigarette with a shaking hand.  His head twitched to the either side several times, until inhaling the cigarette and blowing out slowly visibly calmed him.

“Okay.  That sounds good,” Bob said, cautiously.  “That sounds real good.”

Harriet nodded emphatically.

“But then, as I carried on with my fucking life and resumed my fucking career, in … Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan – any place with fucking sand, it sometimes seemed!  I heard voices, in the native language…  The psychiatrists later said that I must have been a very sensitive boy.”  Stan interrupted himself.  “Not that a female ever makes sense.  But these were in a foreign language.  And they were always female, very domineering, very demanding, very curt, and short, and unloving…  and hectoring!”  Harriet frowned.  Sam waved frantically in the air as if to ward off a flock of attacking crows.  “So I had to bow out and headed back to the States, where at least I could understand the whole jabberfest.”  He sighed and took two more long tokes of his cigarette…  ‘which didn’t smell exactly like a cigarette,’ Bob was thinking.

“You want a toke?”  Stan whistled with held breath.

Bob started to nod and say “Yes”, until Harriet glanced his way and Bob shook his head and said “No” softly.  Stan nodded.

“Oh, they would start out in the morning discrete and humble enough, just say asking what time it was, or asking about this or about that, real pleasantly, or reminding me to do something.  Then progressing to asking me what I had planned for the day, and then adding something to that plan of the day, plus a request to help them with one or two things, if I could, before I did any of that which I had planned for the day, and finally beginning to sound hurt and petulant when you tried to beg off in order to just get a little of your own momentum going… Or maybe just start the day with a cup of coffee first before being harassed, from one end of the kitchen to the other, for Christsakes!  Making requests and giving orders…   And then, of course, they’re on you for swearing and cussing and getting upset… at something else!  not them, for Chrissakes.  Because you’re trying to be good about that.  And by the way, ‘Whereever did you get so sour and suspicious?’ and ‘How come you have to get so incensed by the slightest little request when I ask it?  I don’t mind doing things for you?’”

Stan nodded.  “Yeah, like you can ever remember anything I ask you to do!”   I tried talking to it.  I tried being reasonable.  But all it would do was to ignore me, or ask why I was upset.   Or finally, after I was just about to flip out, “are you okay, Stan?”  Like it really cared!  It would ask, all concerned like.   Until finally, I decided.   I’m going to have to kill it.  I had been killing a lot of people for Uncle Sam by that time; so it only seemed like the next logical step to begin killing some for myself.”  Stan glanced around as if looking for support.

The support was not forthcoming.

“Well now, I can kind of see your point.”  Bob nodded finally.  “I mean, I can kind of see how a man could get to that state.”  Harriet swung the gun towards him.  “Or, you know, begin thinking that way if it was a bad day or something, or you had taken sick.  …And then immediately putting it out of his mind, of course.”

“You see there are some women, I don’t know why, but they are like powerful broadcasting stations.  Their yammering thoughts just stream out!  And the closer they get the more powerful they get.  Until murder is about the only thing.  And then it’s a territorial thing, too.  You have to defend the boundaries of your psychological territory.  Like Frost says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  So.  In a way , it’s like any mission.  You get a reading.  You triangulate.  Then you go in on a Sweep and Clean.”  Sam made some Delta Force movements.

“This’s all fine and good,” Harriet said.  “But I don’t see why you had to go and get my husband involved in all of this.”

Stan exhaled slowly while staring up.  “I thought it would help your marriage.”

What?!”

“You see, Harriet!”  Bob exclaimed.  “I told you Stan was bound to have a real good reason for whatever it was that I was doing!”

“You were raping someone!”

Bob shrugged acknowledgement.  “Okay.”

“That’s marijuana you’re smoking, isn’t it?”  Harriet demanded.

“Yeah?”

“That’s illegal in this state.”

“I… I thought they just passed a law.”  Stan scrunched his brows with the effort of recollection.

“They may have just passed a law in this county.  But we are still proud citizens of the United States.  And it is still very illegal to smoke that in the United States of America.”  The gun barrel rose up and down as Harriet said the United States of America.  Stan’s eyes followed the gun barrel as Harriet recited this, and he started laughing, until he started coughing.  Putting out the joint, he looked up at Harriet with reddened eyes.  “My bad,” he said.

Harriet nodded.

“Where was I?”

“You were telling us how you were doing some Marital Therapy with Bob here.”  Harriet poked the gun at Bob.  “Out in the dark, in the woods, with some woman called the Muffin Lady, who you drug from her car and raped and assaulted.”  Harriet nodded.

“Oh, yeah.  That’s it.”  Stan rubbed his face.

“For a while, after moving Stateside and mustering out I made a living for myself doing Marital Counseling,” Stan continued.

“He did Marital Counseling!”  Bob exclaimed to Harriet.

Harriet cocked the gun.  “I’ve got ears don’t I?”

“Just sayin’,’ Bob squeaked.  “So maybe we could both listen and learn something?”  Bob suggested.

“You just ain’t got a brain in your head, do you?”

“You got to admit, the blush has kind of gone off of our relationship over the past couple of years, Harriet.”

“?”  Harriet looked at her husband, speechless.

Stan nodded.

“?”  Harriet looked at Stan, speechless – before some harsh words came to mind.  “Oh, I’ll bet he was just super at that!”

“Many of my patients swore by me,” Stan declared.

“And I’ll bet the others swore at you.”  Harriet laughed.  “That is, if you hadn’t cut their tongues out.  Or beat them senseless, and murdered and raped them.”

“We considered every form of therapy.  We didn’t take anything off the table.  You take violence and rape off the table and it’s no longer a fair encounter.  It’s not a natural environment.  The men are at an immediate disadvantage.  How can you expect to plant and grow the seeds of a lasting relationship, if you deny one of the partners their natural inclinations?”

“You’ve got to admit, the man makes sense.”  Bob nodded.

“You see who thinks you make a lot of sense?”  Harriet nodded to Stan.

“Reality doesn’t care what we think of it,” Stan replied.  “In fact, it doesn’t even know we exist.”

“You think you’re Reality?

“Actually,” Stan took another toke and looked up in thought.  “It doesn’t even know it exists.”

“You see there.  Now something tells me, that makes a lot of sense.”  Bob pointed.

Harriet rolled her eyes.

“I was impotent, Harriet.  And now I’m not!”

“What in the world are you bringing up now, Bob?”

“What I’ve been trying to tell you, for the past several weeks, Harriet!  But you just keep mumbling, “Go out and milk the cows Bob,” and turning over and going back to sleep,”  Bob implored Harriet. “Like I’m not even there.   …That I’m no longer impotent.”

“Oh, Bob.  Would you shut up about that!”

“But it’s important!”

Now is not the time!”

But he’s a therapist.”

“He’s a serial killer!”

“Well…  Can’t a person be both?”

“I swear!   I am going to shoot you, so full of holes… that it will spell your name.  R.o.b.e.r.t. (.B.o.b.).W.e.e.d.s. right up and down that newly empowered little weenie of yours,” Harriet swore.

“Harriet!  I’m potent again!”

“So can we talk about this later then?”  Harriet turned with the gun emphatically.

“Sure.  Sure.  …Maybe we could have little Bobs?”

Harriet cocked the trigger again.

It was quite a while before anyone spoke.  Until finally, Harriet shook her head, as if to wake.  “So.”  Harriet coughed.  “Perhaps we could move on to this… so called, government involvement.”

“Your hour is not yet up.” Stan smiled.

“Good.”  Harriet leaned back and threw her bead back on Stan.

“Yeah.  How does that barcode thing there on your arm supposed to work?”  Bob asked.

Stan looked at Harriet.  Harriet nodded.

“Well,” Stan replied.  “If I get in a sticky wicket somehow…  say the authorities have located me and are about to move in, or my mission has been compromised, I simply run this patch on my arm through the scanner of any nearby store and my information is immediately uplinked to a massive central server, an internal clearinghouse of all digitally originating information worldwide, where this code is recognized and activates a very Black Ops insertion and rescue operation.  It takes about 24 hours to be fully staged and operational.  So it’s not a complete failsafe.”

“Huh!”  Bob grinned, touching it.  “What does the store read out on the cash register say?”

“It says, Have a Nice Day!  J”  Stan replied.

Bob laughed.  “That’s great.  That’s real nice.”

“And it gives you 50 cents off on a frozen package of peas.”

“Umm.”

“He’s joking, you nitwit,” Harriet said.

“No I’m not, actually.”  Stan replied.  Bob looked vindicated.  “And it’s just such comments such as that, which have served in the past to destroy this man’s fragile masculinity.  To the detriment of you both, I might add.”

Harriet was abashed.  “I don’t know.  It just come out…”

“It’s true.  That sort of attitude just comes out, runs out of her like puss.”  Bob nodded.

“Well.  Words do hurt.  And it’s something to think about, especially if you are trying to improve your relationship.”

“I’ll try to do better.”

“Good,” Stan said.

“And I’ll help all I can with it,” Bob made a heartfelt offer.

“Good then!”  Stan smiled, clearly enjoying the cathartic moment he’d helped sponsor.  He stood.  “Let’s all join hands then in a short prayer… and then see what’s for desert.”

“Oh cripes!”  Harriet had set the gun on the table and was wiping the sweat from her hands before clutching those of the others.  “I got so wrapped up in that article in the Times that I plumb forgot about fixing the dessert.”

“It’s no matter.  It’s no matter.” Stan nodded.

“Yeah,” Bob agreed, holding out his hands.

“Let us pray.”

Photo lifted from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 11, 2013

Forearm Bar Mark

Back on the Farm, Continued.

(Episode 22)

(When we last heard from Harriet, she said:

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

 

“I really don’t like telling other people what to do,” Stan replied.  When Harriet just kept looking at him, he added:  “They oftentimes won’t do what I say anyway.  Or they can’t understand.  Or they get it wrong.  Or they just ignore me!”  Stan’s demeanor changed.  His voice rose.   However, in a moment, had had calmed himself.  “…Or they misunderstand.  Or they just don’t have the wherewithal to bring it off.  Or they’re just damned lazy.  And mostly, it’s just a real bother and a waste of my time.”

“You kill people.  Isn’t that like telling them what to do?”  Harriet lifted the gun barrel.

“No.  That’s like telling them to stop.”

Stan took a long pull from his cigarette and then put it out, right there on the table.

Bob was surprised as hell it didn’t get him shot.  Especially when he looked right up at Harriet while grinding it out.  That little whisp of smoke which marked its extinction, Bob fully expected to match Stan’s extinction.  ‘Shit,’ he was married to her, and he wouldn’t have tried that.

“If I hadn’t just asked you a question and was expecting an answer, Mr. Cool-as-a-Cucumber.   I would blow that grin right through your face,” Harriet growled.  “That, plus, I am trying to understand the charm you hold and can sway over this dimwitted husband of mine.”

“Now Harriet…  Ya got the gun.  Do you have to provoke people likewise?”  Bob protested.

“Shut up!”

“Apparently I do,” Harriet barked.

“I’ll take that as a good thing.”  Stan nodded.

“You kin take it anyway you damn want,” Harriet retorted.  “But before I blow you right outta that chair there, I wanna know – just outta curiosity, and maybe for a good laugh – just what your idea about what your further plans here might be?”

“Further plans? ” Stan laughed at the gun.  But Stan was watching Harriet’s eyes.

“You know, I don’t believe I’ve ever noticed a man studying my eyes so thoughtful like before?  Perhaps I shoulda started out my female career pointing a gun at more men.”  Harriet glanced at Bob.

“A sure attention-getter.  I’ll give you that,” Bob admitted.

“And then you can shut the hell up! again,” Harriet repeated.  “Now what is it?  What are your plans here?

The hired man, Stan, took his time, wiped his mouth with the paper napkin.  He took the soiled napkin and gathered up the squashed cigarette and ashes into it, folded the bundle, and placed it neatly to the side.  He smiled at Harriet.  Harriet smiled back, and checked to make sure the safety was off.  Stan nodded.

“You know, this idea that you think hard about what you want to become in life, and then study to become it, and then you go out and find a way to make a living doing it, and then you either succeed or fail in the attempt for the most part – isn’t really how it works.”

Harriet raised her brows.   “So how did it work?  Let’s say, I’m curious.”

Stan’s brows furrowed, as if he were annoyed a bit at being interrupted.

“What more often happens is that you are doing something – which you think is going to make things the way you want them, more or less – when something happens, something comes along, usually completely out of the blue, and you have to make a choice.  And then that choice decides what you’re actually going to do with your life.  And after that, you really haven’t a lot of say about it.  Excepting maybe, how long you intend to continue.”

Harriet nodded.  And Bob nodded, as he relished his pork chop.  Bob was getting kind of lulled by Stan’s soft words and unconsciously had begun to relish his unfinished meal.  Bob reached for his fork.

“And don’t you move another inch.”  Harriet swiveled with the gun towards Bob.  “And also, shut up!”

“I didn’t say a thing!”  Bob jerked his paw back quick as a puppy could.

“I am just reminding you.”

“So what happened to me was,” Stan continued in a soft voice.  So soft in fact that each of Harriet and Bob had to lean closer to hear.  “I had a run in with the Federal Government.”  Stan rolled up his left sleeve and turned his arm palms up to reveal a bar code molded in somehow to the underarm skin of his left forearm.

Bob leaned in.  And Harriet appeared almost to have forgotten the gun, resting it on the table as she leaned over closer to have a good look, too.  And for a time the two of them just looked on the seamless skin patch of Stan’s with wonder.

“Why that looks just like something on the side of a package of Wonder Bread,” Bob said, poking it.  Harriet nodded.

“How much does something like that cost?”  Bob asked, with some admiration.

“Shut up!!!”  Harriet barked, emphasizing this by slamming the gun on the table.

Stan looked at the embedded tattoo of sorts somewhat wistfully with the regard of a old veteran for a platoon logo.   Bob moved his lips while mumbling the numbers printed up the side.  Harriet seemed to be the only one who registered that this was suddenly turning very strange.

“Who are you?”  Harriet said.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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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