Posts Tagged ‘Times’

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

January 25, 2013
Benny Green's Office

Benny Green’s Office

Later At Benny Green’s Office

(Episode 25)

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

But Duane just started digging deeper.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That sounds good Bennie!” Duane cheered.

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

“I like that,” Duane said.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Carl Nelson


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