Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 109

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 109

…Slow down sweetie, you lost me at ‘Hello Ace’…

Constance continues her twisting tale of woe to Ace Bannion, the newest addition to the CCPI team.

 Long_Story_Short“And what’s this stuff about the Devil? Are you sure you haven’t had some bad Chinese food or maybe psychedelic mushrooms?”

“I am not joking AB. There is some crazy stuff going down and it’s becoming downright dangerous. Beside the misplaced scientist, we have a dubious suicide, a mysterious man struck and conveniently killed by a lightning bolt, the guy we hired to drive us e-v-e-r-y-where gets shot trying to rescue his kidnapped wife… and that’s for starters.”

“Friendly little town.”

“And much closer to home, Fanny was abducted by guys named Bing Crosby & Gene Kelly, but I killed them the other day and since returning to Florida, Fanny finds out that someone tried to blow up our building leaving 1500 Lira behind.”

“You can always count on my help, you know that, but it sounds like it may be hazardous to my health.”

“Hey, we got the science-guy back, thankfully Fanny back, Eddie & Edie D. back and now you have my back.”

“Sounds like you have a back problem, when, about a week back?”

“Funny, very funny. This goes all the way back before the 1951 even got rolling.”

He is discovering that Constance has some pent-up frustration.

“I’m not just going to get back at them, I plan to get even,” she promises. “Are you up to a trip to Italy?”

“Why… because Betty found some Italian money blowing around in your backyard?”

“Not just that Ace, oh no! We’re kinda working with a CIA guy, with about 10 different names, and he tells us that he’s been inside the devil’s headquarters, in Rome. And, and that they are behind the Forever Mastadon movement who is behind all the kidnappings.”

“Slow down sweetie, you lost me at ‘Hello Ace’.”

“Do you want to help or are you here to make fun of me?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 108

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 108

Chapter Ten

 Landings

… Whooah, slow down…..they didn’t teach me that stuff at my school…

Constance Caraway has found her way to the lakeside airstrip peninsula known as Merrill C. Meigs Field. It has become an irreplaceable tool for Chicago commerce, an attractive perk for all those corporations that fill skyscrapers new and old, tall and small. Her mission there concerns one certain Beechcraft Bonanza with A1239XB on its side, containing one familiar pilot.

ALPHA 1239 X-RAY BRAVO on a southerly approach to runway 1-A; requesting permission to land.” This is Ace Bannion’s first visit to the island named Northerly and he puts down in the face of a north breeze. He gently whooshes his three wheels onto the freshly poured concrete and glides to a stop before the entire 3900 feet is used.

Once he has secured a berth for his plane, he heads for the Quonset hut that serves as airport control and terminal. At one end of the metal building stands a tall reddish-blonde with a steaming beverage in hand and whose identity is never in doubt. She is staring out a small rectangular window, riveted at the sight of a placid, mostly frozen Lake Michigan, mere yards away.

The man she calls “A.B.” for short is striding her direction, an Air Force duffle dangling from one broad shoulder, leaving his other arm free to engulf a longtime friend.

“Ace Bannion,” she screams! He ditches his duffle to make it a full frontal embrace.

Cee Cee,” he calls her CC for short. A running joke concerns a possible child together, ‘How about Dee Dee?’ AB-CC-DD has iambic pentameter symmetry.

Small talk catch up quickly turns into informational excess.

“… and the half-life of that carbon isotope proves it!” she explains.

“”Whooah, slow down…..they didn’t teach me that stuff at my school,” Ace is getting it with both barrels.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Ace Bannion-001

Forever Mastadon


page 96

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 107

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 107

…Once again, Constance intentionally avoids bringing up the subject of Ace Bannion…

Connie has gotten the message loud and clear, hearing of the attempted destruction of her Tallahassee roots, while driving over to Merrill C. Meigs Field to pick up Ace Bannion. It looks more and more that she may have to include him in this fight with an international aftertaste, feeling the need to retaliate in some way or shape or form.

She, in her detective(ly) duties, has been playing defense for the entire Libby Affair, at least from the standpoint of the opposition, other side. The only saving grace is the fact that Libby is alive and not dead. But Pentateuch is operating with undeserved impunity, even though he is basking in a fool’s victory.

“That does it, I’m going to call that CIA guy and find out where these people live.”

“What if that means going to Italy, where Agent Daniels has been undercover?” Fanny wonders.

“I don’t know Fan. I will do what I have to,” is the way things are left.THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

Fanny gets past revenge and gives her a report on the Campbell case, much less dramatic than the Chicago drama, but important in its own right. Doc Campbell has been a significant part of the Tallahassee medical scene for four decades and is need of backup from longtime friends. Fanny will gladly fill that role.

“Those cowards can’t keep dumping their smelly leftovers on Alpha Campbell. Do you know that he does not turn down charity cases to this day, whether they can pay or not.”

Constance encourages her partner to soldier on, but once again intentionally avoids bringing up the subject of Ace Bannion.

Worth Moore, L. Dick Cannon and A.O. Campbell are new players dotting the Constance Caraway landscape. The anti-God forces of Forever Mastadon and World Agnostica has been joined by The Church of Spiritual Engineering. Fanny Renwick has traded Windy City intrigue for Sunshine State shenanigans. Eddie Dombroski and his stories are on the shelf, but Ace Bannion has flown in to add his legendary dimension to the narrative.

A departure implies leaving — a change from the usual.

The status quo is always subject to change.

Some changes are more welcome than others…


Constance Caraway P.I.

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Forever Mastadon


page 95 (end Ch. 9)

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 106

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 106

 …All the regulars: the mailman, clients, Jimmy from Western Union, etc… come to the front door. Nobody uses the rear…

All the Regulars

Molly’s tail wags enthusiastically at the sight and familiar smells of Fanny Renwick. Dogs cannot tell time, but they do get happier the longer they are apart from their owners and two months in the care of a neighbor most certainly qualifies.

It turns out that she had not been so friendly the day before, when someone was nosing around the fringes of the Constance Caraway Private Investigation building. While out doing her business in the back yard, she startles someone who has left a package on their back porch. All the regulars: the mailman, clients and Jimmy from Western Union come to the front door. Nobody uses the rear.

Molly-001… As the story goes, the guy takes off running, losing some papers & money in the process. Molly’s range stops where the alley and Calhoun Street meet, so she turns tail back to the house, whereupon grabbing this guy’s lunch bag—or so she thought. When the woman’s’ best friend brings the bag to Betty, the alert neighbor notices a ticking sound and lunches do not make sounds, so she takes it back to the back and tosses it in the direction of Image result for bomb gifthe garbage cans… in a flash and bang, there are no more garbage cans, replaced by a 10 foot circular crater, three feet deep…

“Sheriff Odz told me that it was a good sized bomb and if it was left at your back door—that somebody probably wants to send you a message.”

“Oh swell! So now “they” know where we live?” Fanny is disgusted.

“Who are they Fanny?”

“They are some bad folks connected to that case Connie is still working on up North. But now they are hitting too close to home Betty,” she doesn’t go into great detail with the shell-shocked neighbor. “Where is that money you were telling me about?”

“Well it looks like money, but I can’t read a word on it, what is a L-I-R-A?”

“It’s Italian for trouble,” Fanny cautions. “I have to let Connie know what’s going on.”

The two friends are working at more than arm’s length for a change, in order to cover more ground.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 94

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 105

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 105

…What better excuse can there be than a 5’8”, drop-dead gorgeous, whiz-bang of a private eye…

It is a severe clear afternoon on this late January day, the visibility being 10 miles on the ground, but 100 miles at 2500 feet. For a dedicated flyer, there is nothing that compares to the unparalleled freedom that a nearly empty sky provides. If driving a car is like navigating a colony of ants, flying can only be compared to… there are few comparisons; cars require paths to get from point A to point B, whereas the same trip is a straight line in a plane.

Ace Bannion is as straight-in-a-line as it gets. Seldom does he waste time bogged down on the complexities of the ground, which is why he has not been weighed down by such earthly burdens like wives and children.

But even a bird needs to set down every once in a while and after training pilots for the military the past six months and this  free spirit is in need of a diversion. What better excuse can there be than a 5’8”, drop-dead gorgeous, whiz-bang of a private eye; none that he can think of, so it is off to point C² – Constance Caraway.

C-squared could divert the moon in his estimation and is the best excuse for a layover he can dream up. They have flirted with more than friendship over the past two decades, but for one reason (him) or another (Fanny) it never materialized. But when she mentioned that she could use some help AND that Fanny was a thousand miles away in Tallahassee, well he did not hesitate to file a flight plan from San Diego to Chicago and get his single engine prop airplane pointed in the right direction.

Why a knockout like her would not have gone to Hollywood to be in movies or marry a movie star or some powerful titan of industry is inexplicable to him.

As for she, Constance doesn’t understand why someone as darling and downright dashing as Ace has not married some lucky girl by now. God knows he has had one hundred & one chances.

The two do have a good time when the opportunity presents itself, so why not now, smack-dab in the middle of the 20th Century?


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 93

Crazy Railroad Tracks – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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Crazy Railroad Tracks

Around

the World

While we don’t think of them in the same way as cars or even commercial airplanes, trains are a staple mode of transportation and may be the very definition of the “standard routine” at times, being guided by rails. Yet rail and train construction is often anything but standard or routine, and is sometimes hatched from the brains of ultra-creative and – at times – desperate engineers.

We’ve already told you about bizarre locomotives themselves, so in this account we’re going to get into some of the crazier railroads from around the world…

10. Hindenburgdamm, Germany

Rail and sea travel might seem to be worlds apart, but when trains appear to run across the waves on a narrow causeway, the role of a ferry may be replaced by the capabilities of a train. The island of Sylt, off the coast of Germany, is not accessible by either roads or ferries. Instead, the method of traveling and, most significantly, of bringing cars to and from the popular island destination consists of what might best be called a sea train.

Locomotives pulling railcars stacked with personal vehicles travel between Sylt and Schleswig-Holstein on mainland Germany just barely above the waves on rails laid upon a precarious-looking causeway called the Hindenburgdamm that crosses almost 7 miles of water. The causeway is solid but exceptionally narrow, and also has very little height above sea level. The shallow waters in between the mainland and the island of Sylt made the creation of this remarkable alternative to the more typical means of transporting vehicles to an island by boat possible. Around 100 trains per day travel between the island and the mainland, half of those carrying cars and trucks.

9. Rail Transit No. 2, China

Chongqing, in China’s Sichuan Province, is a populated area where spicy food is popular and urban residential, commercial, and transportation space is at a great premium. So much so, in fact, that when the planned construction of Rail Transit No. 2 Line in Chongqing was set to go forward an apartment building was right in the way of the track slated to be built. While such a defined problem might baffle some designers and planners, a remarkable planning compromise was reached that balanced the competing transportation and residential needs.

Lacking an alternative route for the railway and not wanting to take the drastic step of demolishing the building, transit planners and engineers concocted a successful plan that removed several suites and passed the elevated train track right through the apartment building. While not easy, taking the approach of routing the railway through the building was still more feasible than trying other paths, given the little available space. The apartment still houses most of its original inhabitants, who apparently don’t mind a monorail barreling through their place once in awhile. Care to maintain the structural integrity of the building through the tunnel-like modifications combines with the quiet and efficient railway system to make the building livable, and surprisingly without significant noise or disturbance to residents.

8. Gisborne Airport Railway Crossing

Planes, trains, and… wait, planes and trains together? Yes. New Zealand is not the largest nation on Earth, and the competition for flat land that can be used for purposes dependent on flat land (especially, for example, an airport) is significant in certain areas. In a dramatic example of space sharing in transportation infrastructure, a railway intersects with a runway. On New Zealand’s North Island, thePalmerston North – Gisborne Railway Line crosses the runway of the Gisborne Airport.

Any mistake by a pilot or an engineer could potentially cause a plane to crash right into a train crossing the middle of the runway at right angles, but not to worry: schedules are carefully coordinated. Still, a locomotive steaming across a runway may shock the eyes of the unprepared. The railway is busy throughout the day and into the night, according to scheduled train routes. In contrast, the runway is only in operation to handle air traffic between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. During the day when both are in full use, it is a job and of itself to coordinate the arrival and departure of aircraft with the seemingly out-of-place trains that cross the runway. Aircraft and trains both stop for each other.

7. Gotthard Tunnel Route

Northern and Southern Europe may be geographically different and set apart by massive Alpine peaks towering above sloping forests and fields, but the remarkable Gotthard Tunnel solves the problem by tunneling directly through the mountains, connecting Europe on either side of the imposing Swiss Alps by going right under especially difficult sections. The tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world at 35 miles in length, greatly reducing the need for truck traffic. The tunnel is also not only the longest railway tunnel existing on the planet, it is also the deepest under the surface.

At its greatest point of depth, the remarkable tunnel is 1.42 miles below the mountainous surface above as it carries trains in the subterranean desolation. Replacing the traffic of a million trucks that have been transporting goods every year, the twin-bored tunnel links the municipality of Erstfeld, with its German language name and located towards Switzerland’s north, with the south of Switzerland municipality of Bodio, closer to the Italian border and with a corresponding Italian name – examples of Switzerland’s linguistic diversity. The tunnel route was opened in a ceremony that involved hundreds of passengers getting the opportunity to ride the train in each direction.

6. Maeklong Railway Market

Playing on train tracks is not recommended, but the Maeklong Railway Market in Bangkok, Thailand takes things one step further. You see, not only do people gather around the tracks, but an entire marketplace is set up and dismantled daily. When the market is open, stalls are erected and goods are sold… right on the tracks upon which trains will soon arrive. Each time trains are scheduled throughout the day, items and people are moved hastily off the track, before the trains come through. Paying attention to the time is certainly a matter of survival in this particular set up.

The scale and complexity of the market in its cumulative sum makes its dismantlement seem immensely challenging. But it is the coordinated effort of multiple vendors working together that also makes it possible for the entire set up to be moved out of the way of oncoming trains when the need arises. Close attention is duly paid to the schedule of the train despite the apparent distraction of the busy selling conditions and throngs of market visitors. As the tracks are cleared according to train schedules, disaster is consistently averted.

5. Katoomba Scenic World Railway

Australia may be thought of as a land of flat terrain and desert, but it is worth remembering that while that impression may be true across much of the Australian landscape, there is topographical variation. The Blue Mountains of New South Wales are not only noteworthy natural features but also home to an incredible railway system that forms a tourist attraction. Remarkable as the world’s steepest funicular railway and the steepest passenger-carrying rail system worldwide, the Katoomba Scenic World Railway was originally built in the late 1800s and has a rich history, given its construction to aid in transportation aspects of mining operations.

Funicular indicates that the railway operates with the assistance of cable traction, pulling cars up the steep inclines that would otherwise pose an insurmountable challenge to rail travel. With tracks positioned at 52 degrees, which is a 128% incline, the incredibly steep railway now sees modern vehicles operating as an attraction for daring rail travelers. The railway offers spectacular views of mountain, forest, and cliff formations as it traverses difficult terrain. In one particularly hair-raising section, the railway drops 1,017 feet as it travels through a tunnel in the side of a mountain cliff.

4. Tren-a-las Nubes, Argentina

The Andes are known as exceptional geographical formations that offer some of the most ambitious mountaineering routes on the planet. Translating to “Train to the Clouds,” Tren-a-las Nubes in Argentina rises just over 13,779 feet above sea level. Passing through numerous spectacular landscape types and climate zones, the train traverses arid lowlands, rocky precipices, and high elevation landscapes where the air is thin enough to potentially create challenges for those not accustomed to the height. And speaking of that height: onboard oxygen is available in case of medical symptoms due to the exceptional height reached on the journey.

Construction of the incredible railway route began in the year 1921 under a plan to connect Northern Argentina to Chilean lands by reaching across the Andes. As the tracks cover variations between peaks and immense valleys, the differences are leveled out by carefully constructed trestles equipped with an incredible array of beams, abruptly transitioning into railway track, skirting slope edges with sufficient clearance made in the rocks. Typical track may seem to be the exception rather than the norm in such parts of the route. While the train to the clouds reaches astonishing heights, the name actually refers to clouds of steam from the locomotive hovering in the cold air rather than any natural clouds that may be encountered on the route.

3. Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The highest railway in the world, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway reaches the exceptional height of a little more than 16,640 feet at its highest point, while its average height is still exceptional at nearly 14,764 feet. The railway passes through the world’s highest elevated railway tunnel, with sections of the track experiencing severe freezing conditions. The route contains a number of record-holding elements in the track layout, including the most lengthy plateau tunnel on the planet at Kunlun Mountain, extending 5,531 feet, while the Fenghuoshan Tunnel is at the top of world records for the tunnel that is at the highest elevation, being built at 16,092.52 feet.

The railway is recognized as a Chinese engineering feat of great significance, standing out with many ingenious and challenging engineering solutions given the vast distances involved in the route, remote locations, and the need to build sections of the track on frozen soil that never thaws. The thinness of the air at the higher elevation along the route has presented challenges not only to passengers, but significantly affected construction workers to the point where oxygen facilities were set up. Passengers fill out a health declaration and are also supplied with personal oxygen masks, while train windows filter excess UV rays.

2. Mauritania Railway, Sahara Desert

Yes, there is a train running through shifting sands and shimmering heat. At 437 miles in length, the Mauritania Railway braves the blistering isolation of the Sahara. The seemingly endless trains running from desert to coast along this route, the national railway of the sizable, Sahara desert-dominated African country of Mauritania, are the longest freight trains in the world at 1.5 miles in length. The route is used to transport iron ore vast distances across the desert to port locations, where it is shipped.

Given that the nation is almost entirely stark and desolate desert, iron ore export plays a crucial role in the economic survival of the country. While the trains are mostly intended to carry freight, passengers can hitch a ride on the trains, either opting to ride for free in the hoppers or to pay a small fee to travel on available benches. But if the train were to break down in the extreme heat of the Sahara, the results could be disastrous for travelers. The risks of the adventure on the desert tracks include extreme sandstorms brought about by the harsh desert winds and easily disturbed fine sands that characterize the desert landscape.

1. Dawlish Railway Station, Exeter to Plymouth Line

Trains on the beach, a seawall station, and sea cliff tunnels. That’s a lot to combine together in a railway route, and sometimes, the cause of an awful lot of trouble due to collapsing tracks. An example of particularly notable and extreme railway line construction that has left much to be desired, the Dawlish Railway Station in southern England and the railway tracks to and from the areas close to the station have at times been fraught with problems. The challenges have included the collapse of a track section after being partially washed away by the waves caused by extreme weather.

The spectacular appearance of the beach-side station and nearby tracks stands out, seemingly being out of place due to the station being right on the seawall, allowing salt spray to easily wash over the tracks. The sight of trains in a view-scape where one might expect beached or moored ships adds great interest and creates fantastic photography opportunities. Adding to the drama of the exceptionally challenging rail route, the track travels through tunnels bored into challenging sea cliffs just to the south of the station, creating a contrast between track running through the closed seaside tunnels, and track laid along open seawalls.


Crazy Railroad Tracks –

WIF 10 Cent Travel

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 104

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 104

…“My cousin Hilbert from Sandwich Illinois is a crop-duster,” proof that Eddie D. is getting back to his old self…

Click on for video

With Fanny away in Florida, Constance Caraway respectfully skips the Tolentine performance in favor of a well-being check at the home of Eddie Dombroski. She has taken personal responsibility for putting the man in harms way. An experienced private eye should have guessed that Eddie would want to be the one to rescue his wife, even though they were only playing a hunch and he normally followed orders to the letter.

Edie Dombroski has been so gracious in the face of this family crisis. She is a gritty city woman, loving on the inside with an urban-tested exterior. Her husband had been mugged in the past, had his share of fender benders and even had a hand in stopping a bank robbery, but he had never taken a bullet to his midsection or his left shoulder.

“Do you need a spleen?” is one of the questions Eddie has for his post-op caretakers. His other was more of a commentary, “Lucky for me I’m a righty; I can steer, shift gears, the whole ball-of- wax.”

“You won’t be driving any time soon Edward Francis,” Edie lays down the law. “Miss Caraway has given us $1000 dollars so you/we can make it to spring.”

Constance’s care extends to her pocketbook.

“Don’t forget about that color television she bought us. I bet we’re the first on the block to have one,” he brags, “and it has a record player too!”

“You can see I’ll have my hands full,” she casts a lamenting gaze Constance’s way. “Guess who has to change the channels? Edie this, Edie that, Edie I could use a snack…..”

“I cannot help you with that Mrs. Dombroski; though I did keep the receipt from Goldblatt’s Department Store?”

“Oh no you don’t missy!”

“I need to get going,” she checks her Timex wristwatch, “I’ve got to meet a friend at Meigs Field.”

“Fanny?”

“No, she’s back in Tallahassee on another case.”

“Meigs? That’s that new runway on the lake, but it’s only for private planes.”

“My friend has a BeechCraft Bonanza.”

“Does this flyboy have a name?”

“Ace Bannion.”

“And my name is Clark Kent.” Not Elvis or Gene Kelly.

“Well Clark, I’ll bring Ace around for a visit while he’s in town.”

Eddie's Cousins-001“My cousin Hilbert from Sandwich is a crop-duster, no airports needed for him. I mean to tell you, when he comes home for lunch he just flies right up to his back door.”

Proof that Eddie is getting back to his old self.

“Sandwich? I have relatives in Bologna!”

Constance is always herself.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 93