Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 184

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 184

…The hard working people of the Midwest will be spared a case of the dreaded Dianetics, which should not be confused with Diuretics…

The Chicago Stadium holds over 21,000 people, for events like these that do not require a wooden court, skating ice, or rodeo dirt. Political conventions and circuses also take advantage of its cavernous interior. Truman was not nominated there, but Democrat F.D.R. was. Economically ill-timed Herbert Hoover and ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ Thomas Dewey were Republican conventioneers. And rumor has it that idyllic Roy Rodgers lassoed to Dale Evans into matrimony, wowing the crowd with his six-shooter… how can a girl resist?

And isn’t it a crying shame, that the very run of Billy Graham Crusades takes the dates once promised to the departed Langston Richard Cannon and his Spiritual Engineering gaggle. The hard working people of the Midwest will be spared a case of the dreaded Dianetics, which should not be confused with Diuretics, though they have similar results in different parts of the body, 2 feet apart.

One thing for sure, the many thousands seeking charismatic attention will not be causing much of a ruckus on their own. Neither would the weather on Saturday March 10th, with a warm front pushing the thermometer near 60 degrees, though the penalty paid comes in the form of a foggy drizzle. But signs of an early spring are a gift from God, having paid the price of a usually harsh upper Midwest winter.

The stage is set for another attempt at causing revival. Actual revivals are normally born of prohibitionist personalities, because it is easier to guilt a person into becoming a believer, if you can point out their debauched behavior. Graham, however, has found more upbeat ways to bring his audience closer to their God, like convincing a life-long scientist to profess his belief that, in his field of expertise, he readily accepts the parameters of a divine Creation over the speculation of random Evolution.

Alongside Willard Libby will be a 500 person choir, a full orchestra (both recruit locally) Youth for Christ International speaker Charles Templeton and popular baritone George Beverly Shea.

Footnote: More than a few of the people attending each evening mention President Truman’s radio address touting Billy Graham as the reason they came out.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 183

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 183

Chapter Sixteen

PRECIPITOUS

Libby thoughts-001

…Random ramblings from the principles of Libby Affair…

“Are you saying the landing gear locks were disabled or was there a mechanical failure?” Ace Bannion asks the Civil Aeronautics Board inspector the same question for the second time. They are standing next to the fallen Angel of Blue Ridge.

You were mugged? You have to be crapping me!” Constance has just found out that Worth Moore was beaten on afternoon of the plane crash. She is getting tired of F M’s assault on all things Libby.

“I’m so sorry Worth! I cannot believe that you are a target. That means none of us are safe.” The CCPI 2nd female is genuinely worried about a man for… maybe the first time. She tends to him like a Florence, not a Fanny.

Did you hear about that crash out at Midway Airport? It was Rev Graham’s plane and Ace Bannion was the pilot.” Eddie Dombroski speaks to wife Edie from a place of sympathy. Even as he is on the mend, he still feels like a member of the team.

“I am 90 percent sure that Forever Mastadon is fronted by the Department of Justice. The FBI is up to their neck at 5046 and way in over their heads when it comes to knowing what this whole battle is about.” Agent Daniels is up front with his assessment of the Libby Affair.

“Half of my staff are either bandaged or in splints. Do you want me to carry on with the Chicago Stadium alter call?” Reverend Billy Graham is speaking to his Lord, a habit that he will never lose and an example of living his faith.

“What do I have to do to put an end to these people? The Divine One is set against the Great Deception.” Pentateuch would be talking to L. Dick Cannon directly, had he been up front with the man and told him who he really was. Instead Cannon slithers away to his true delusional followers.

“Maybe we should abandon Project Forever Mastadon. Would it be the end of the world if “they” find out that humankind has only been around for 20 thousand years?” Gilbert Conroy, the science dork, asks the Deputy Attorney General Ross.

“My fellow Americans, I speak to you as a believer, a believer in the grace of Jesus Christ, not as your President,” President Harry Truman is making good on his promise that he would use his weekly radio address to urge his fellow Americans to affirm their faith in God.

”Is a scientific breakthrough worth all the trouble it has caused?” Willard Libby wonders.

Not-so-random orders from the top…

“Gabriel.”

“I am here Lord.”

“It is time.”

“I understand.”

…dot dot dot…


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 182

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 182

…My dad was told that he couldn’t make a movie about lesbians, so he said, ‘That’s alright, we’ll call them Hungarians’…

… Oops. Young Samuel Goldwyn has accidentally stepped into tabooed doo doo.Image result for misquoted

Connie’s face turns robust shade of crimson.

“Hey, I misquote the Bible all the time,” Billy fortuitously rushes past those misplaced sexual references. “Say, if you are looking for outside work, I have been thinking about recording my Chicago Crusade, in case you would be interested.”

“I could hang around town for a while, if it is worth my while,” Goldwyn the younger speculates about his near future. “I could edit my footage for the air travel documentary here in Chicago instead of going back to California.”

“May I suggest that I relinquish my rights for anything you film at our meetings, you know, all those intensely personal stories about folks from all walks of life getting saved? It is some powerful theater.”

“My father has a screenplay about a traveling tent preacher, Elmer Gantry I believe; maybe we can take something away from it, work together on a picture down the road.”

“Sounds great, but I’ve got to get back to my people, Samuel. Samuel — that is a great name, 1st & 2nd in the Old Testament.” Pastors cannot help but tie everyday things into the Bible. Graham hands the conversation back, “You can reach me through Miss Caraway.”

“The way things come together these days is the cat’s meow… we travel by air and talk over the telephone, just like that,” like the snap of her fingers, Constance comments on how things can form a network so quickly these days.

“The cat’s meow, the cat’s pajamas whatever, this cat is making Chicago home for a month.”

“You better bring your new wife out or you won’t be married for long.”Get It Right

“Good point, Cassie, I will ring up Jennifer from the terminal.”

“It’s Connie and if you don’t start getting my name right, you won’t live to see tomorrow!”

Libbyites-001“Look, I’m taking notes,” he scribbles away quickly. “We have Constance Caraway and Ace Bannion, Rev. Billy and who…?”

“… and Fanny Renwick, Worth Moore, Martin Kamen, Eddie & Edie Dombroski, Jesse James and the star of the show, Willard Libby, over there with blood running down his temple. Got it Goldwyn?”

“I have a feeling that I will be meeting the rest of these folks soon,” Samuel’s mother had little to do with his rearing, so there is an adjustment period with a dominant female like Constance, “and remind me not to ruffle your feathers.”

There is a preponderance of high achievers gathering in Chicago.  You could call it just a coincidental confluence of concerned citizens, but you would be wrong.

There are no coincidences under the loving umbrella of God and there exists but one rainmaker capable of arranging for these dramatis personae, in this place, at this time.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 181

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 181

…Goldwyn the Junior relates his father’s stories often, “like when he was told that he couldn’t make a movie about lesbians he said…

“That was quite a show Ajax Bannion.” The man does have the flair for the dramatic, as Constance notes. “We caught the whole thing on film.”

He looks at her sideways, inaudibly wondering who the guy with camera is, but passes on bothering to question Connie’s curious ways.

But she cannot help but comment, “A lot of good that CAA inspection did you.”

“I’ll meet you in the terminal, CC,” he will deal with potential plots of ill intent, after he decompresses.

“That would be our out cue, Cassandra,” Goldwyn is not very good at names.

“Let me play director now. One more time with feeling; it’s Constance Caraway, not Cassandra Coriander, although I may use that as an alias someday,” she makes allowances for her hasty initial introduction, not to mention that he cannot be more than 25 years old. “I am with Constance Caraway Investigation and the pilot of that plane is a close friend of mine.”

She hands him one of her business cards.

“Tallahassee Florida, cool beans. Hey thanks for the tip, fantastic footage. It would cost a fortune to stage that for a movie,” ever enterprising, Goldwyn Jr. will put his footage to good use. The Blue Ridge Angel, this must be a private plane?”

“Yes, it is the official plane for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and his worldwide Crusades.”

“Did I hear my name?” asks the aforementioned man himself. “Are you a filmmaker young man, I see your fancy camera there?”

“It is a privilege to meet you Mr. Graham, my father is a huge fan of your work, he even was at your Los Angeles meeting… and he never has been inside a church.”

“Your father is?”

“Samuel Goldwyn.”

“No kidding. I’m a big fan of his work, Metro Goldwyn Mayer I believe. He does say the craziest things.”

“He is known for his malapropisms,” Junior relates Senior’s stories often, “like when he was told that he couldn’t make a movie about lesbians he said,That’s alright, we’ll call them Hungarians’.

Oops. Young Goldwyn has accidently stepped into tabooed doo doo.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

… P.I. Caraway and Hollywood Goldwyn have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane…

After the smoke clears from around the 27,393 pounds of steel and aluminum, loaded with Crusade props and Jesus freaks, pilot Ace and the other everything are still in one piece. His copilot is passed out and the navigator is face down on the cockpit deck, so he climbs over debris to check on his human cargo.  He finds the good Reverend is already checking on everyone, as is the registered nurse who is in the crusades’ employ.

Happy

The newest member of the revival staff, Willard Libby gives Billy a wave, unable to shake the thought that he brought the trouble with him, like the other improbable events over the past 4 months.

And other than a few loose wits and several severed nerves, the truly injured have but minor issues, none life-threatening.

“Normally I consider applause as inappropriate, but this ain’t Sunday and we ain’t in church!” He raises his hands to God in praise and directs the passengers in very appropriate hand-to-hand (raucous) appreciation.

The ever modest Ace takes a bow while opening the boarding door. There are airport bowpersonnel down on the ground, but they have no way of off-loading the people, seeing they are nosed out into a city street. They need to wait for the ambulances and shuttle buses to make their way, down 63rd Street, then up Central to nearly 55th.

One face, in the concerned throng below, is a familiar one; Constance Caraway is there with arms weighed down by blankets for those in need, but her spirits lifted high by answered prayer. She and Samuel Goldwyn the junior have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane. The neophyte film producer has captured the entire calamity on film and now sets up his equipment for the aftermath.

She is among the first up the stair/ramp when it is placed roughly against the tilted fuselage, protocol be damned, “Excuse me, can I get through with these blankets?”

“You heard the lady,” Captain Bannion is coordinating the unloading of Crusade people, each according to their ambulatory status. At second blush, there are more serious injuries than previously reported, most likely because, to a man and woman, were plain grateful to have survived at all; never mind that sore shoulder or stiff leg.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 179

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 179

…”Okay, Miss Coriander, I’m ready to roll.” Right girl, wrong spice…

“I think something big is about to happen,” the ever alert private eye warns the documentary maker.

More awake and suddenly motivated he moves to his equipment bag to retrieve his last 35mm blank, slapping in a fresh two thousand feet into the front reel chamber.

“Let’s get outside for a better angle,” she notices that he has airport credentials that give him freedom of movement. “I’m with him,” she tells a security guard who is guarding access to the tarmac. “Here comes an arrival, there hasn’t been one in 30 minutes and it should be the busiest part of the day.”

“Okay, Miss Coriander, I’m ready to roll.” Right woman, wrong spice.

The entire passenger cabin has assumed the head-in-lap position, no use looking out the windows now. “Brace yourselves for a rough landing…” Ace has briefed them on what the airport expects of them upon touchdown, panic is not an option. He reminds them that it his skill that will determine the outcome and nothing else. What he doesn’t tell them is that because of the sharp descent angle they will be doing the equivalent of a swimming pool belly flop.

He throttles the new turbine engines back to the minimum required RPMs to stay airborne as he clears the perimeter fence and goes full flaps after that. After the two front wheels are weighed down by the descending fuselage, they curl up like a petunia at sunset and the only thing between the bottom of the plane and the cold concrete is five foot layer of air, which disappears after the skilled flyer shuts down the engines, makes a sharp right turn and takes the aircraft into the wet grassy soil and ultimately to the end of available real estate.

Chain_Link_Fence

The only thing left between the screeching plane and Central Avenue is a chain link fence, which stretches out to its max, but stops forward progress when the wings finally contact the reinforced barrier. Ace gives a friendly wave at the stopped line of cars that was headed east on Central… those going west go around the scene like The Blue Ridge Angel is a fallen tree. Places to go you know.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 178

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 178

…Seated a few seats down from Constance is a man with a bulky motion picture camera next to him…

Photo by Richard Lund

Photo by Richard Lund

Meanwhile

From her vantage point in the main terminal, Constance is not the only one wondering what is going on; there is an army of flashing red lights on an otherwise ordinary weekday evening. The public address announcements will tell you where to pick up your baggage or that meatloaf is the special in the cafeteria, but mum is the word on what the fuss is about.

The taxiways are empty and there hasn’t been a takeoff or landing for 15 minutes and as 7:30 has come and gone, Constance is getting that sinking feeling. She begins to pray, unwittingly joining in the rising chorus of believers, here on the ground and especially in the air.

Seated a few seats down from her is a man with a bulky motion picture camera next to him, but very much asleep. She is compelled to roust him to ask the obvious, “Is this entire hullabaloo for a movie? You’d think they’d tell someone.”

“Oh, my no! I am shooting footage for a documentary on the air travel boom, now that ordinary people can afford to fly,” he appears seriously tired, perhaps why he was nodding off earlier, after a long day of filming at Midway.

“I don’t mean to be forward,” yeah right, “but I believe there is something very serious about to happen. Maybe you should load some fresh tape into that thing and get ready.”

“This is 35mm nitrocellulose film, not tape and I’m on my last reel Ma’am.”

“My name is Caraway, Constance … and yours?” she extends her hand.

Goldwyn, Samuel  Jr.,” he returns the inside-out salutation.

Constance isn’t an expert on Hollywood, but she does keep track of things out of Tallahassee, “Is your father _____?”

“Yes, the bigtime filmmaker, but he’s in Europe, doing his movie star thing. I am my own man, thank you… and a newlywed. My wife is back home in L.A.”

“It is nice to meet you, but while you were napping, I think something big is going to happen.”


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