Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

…I don’t suppose Ace is a single man???

Scroll-Spells

This adventure has a Harry Potter feel to it

“This parchment is so pristine, so refined, that it is almost beyond human means to produce it.”

Sarah the librarian is exhausted by the sheer depth of this experience.

“We appreciate your expertise, Miss Sauer,” Constance retrieves the scroll from her hot little hands and begs their departure.

“Keep it sealed tightly and out of direct sunlight. I don’t know where you are going with this, but you must be on a mission of some sort.”

“You could say that. We are part of a battle right now,” stating the simple truth. “If you’re interested, and you seem to be, keep your eye on the Billy Graham Crusade, he is touring the Midwest and may be coming this way.”

She hands the librarian a CCPI business card, “If you flash this around, it will open some doors, seeing that we have more than a few friends involved in behind the scenes stuff, in fact, we are going to meet up with the Crusade to deliver this,” she raises the scroll, “to Mr. Graham himself. May we use your telephone, my dear?” she motions at Ace to call the Graham Telephone Switchboard. “Find out where they are and where they’re headed.”

“You’ve got it CC!” he responds mockingly-joyfully. The exact status of their relationship is not in plain sight.

While Ace is on the other side of the long front desk, Miss Sauer mentions, “He sure is dashing, in an Errol Flynn sort of way. Is he in the movies?”

“He is dashing, is he not? He flies airplanes, is an explosives expert, drives an Alpha Romeo convertible and has stared down the devil in person.”

“I don’t suppose he is a single man?”

“He is, but given the chance, there is more than one woman who would fight you over his hand (inferred: including me).”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 203

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 203

…The librarian attempts to explain the inexplicable…

Oconomowoc Public Library

CC and AB thank their Danforth host and take to the back roads into Oconomowoc proper. Hwy 16 bisects the city from east to west, so once you locate that, informational signage will guide you to schools, hospital, or in this case, the library. Their concrete friend, Hwy 67, will take them 3 blocks north to the Oconomowoc Public Library.

Lodged between lakes Labelle and Fowler, the two-story wooden structure is full of books (duh) and one dedicated librarian named Sarah Sauer. Whatever the need, from Dewey D. to F. Scott, she is the go-to gal.

Aramaic

Once given, twice careful, Miss Sauer unfurls the mystery scroll, exposing what she identifies as Aramaic in nature.

“This is a script for exorcising demons. I believe the literal translation would be banishment. There is a reference to Jesus the Christ then the passage, ‘I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations…’.”

Sarah’s delivery surely would cause Doctor Faust to hurtle itself from the shelves of OPL.

“From there, there seems to be a formula as a guide to handle Satan.”

Constance and even the hyperactive Ace are transfixed.

“The medium is lambskin vellum and I would estimate that it is only a few days old, the ink is barely dry.” Sarah was educated at the University of Haifa and is amazed at what she is reading. “Where did you get this? This is ancient text on brand new material. I don’t know why I’m sorry, but I’m sorry, this type of manuscript hasn’t been produced for 800 years.”

She is kilig, in explaining the inexplicable…

“Papyrus replaced this type of parchment around 500 A.D. Chopping down a water plant is easier than killing a lamb. Eventually, mass papermaking started in China and spread from there.”

But the fact remains…

“This parchment is so pristine, so refined, that it is almost beyond human means to produce it.”

The librarian is exhausted by the sheer depth of this experience.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 171

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

When We Last Left

…Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you…

… Connie and Ace’s Wisconsin expedition is morphing into something more.

“Get rid of that slave woman and her son”

question markThe rooms natural light is short and outside noises are squelched by heavy drapery, yet there is single shaft of light, seemingly without origin, streaming onto a large book. HOLY BIBLE,” Constance brushes the dust away from the yellowed pages. “There is a passage underlined Genesis 21: 10, and Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

“The story of Isaac and Ishmael, huummm, I wonder if she was troubled by the fact that Mr. Valentine left his stepchildren, hers by Mr. Armour, out of his will.” this distant relative and the whole House of Armour is well acquainted with the financial ins and outs of the considerable estate dealings of both men, with Mary Lester as a common wife.

“You would know about that sordid mess, but there are some old documents rolled up next to the Bible binding, having the feel of animal skin,” she opens the fragile papers, sealed with gold and scented with perfume. “I couldn’t read this if my life depended on it.”

“Why isn’t it covered in dust like everything else… and what happened to that light?” Ace points the obvious, just in case no one else sees the same things.

“Where can I take this to be read maybe Greek or Hebrew, I’m guessing?” she taps into Armour’s local knowledge.

“I live back in Wauwatosa, but I know Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you.”

After checking out the rest of the main house, they go down by the boathouse,Valentine Estate cross the Valentine Bridge to Valentine Island and get a close up view of the lake. The water is steadily reclaiming its liquid form, the ice, once a foot or more thick, retreating rapidly from shore.

But, as sure as time passes, things must change and a house that was built 50 years ago, before modern mechanicals, it will be torn down and replaced by a dozen inferiorly framed substitutions.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 170

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 201

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 201

…”I can open it,” Constance reaches into her purse, acquires the proper tool-of-her-trade and it gives way easily…

From their home base in the Town of Eagle, Constance and Ace Bannion head off to meet their tour guide from Milwaukee, a lower level Armour executive that has access to Danforth through his ongoing financial dealings with Patrick Anderson Valentine II. The younger Valentine has no tangible need for the once vibrant P.D. Armour Estate. The upkeep is killing him.

The previously immaculately kept grounds are now overgrown and undistinguished. The 75+ room mansion has been stripped of its appointments by Armour and Valentine relatives who did not share in the ten million dollar will/estate of either family bequeathing.

But as cavernously empty the building is, there seems to be something or someone lingering about. No, it is not that bitter coldness that Pentateuch has need of, or his lingering smell of burning hair & flesh, but there is definitely some sort of “presence”.

“Has anyone ever told you, or have you heard, that this place is haunted,” her investigative skills kicking in, Constance steps lightly through room after room, until on the third floor. She nears a particular room. That isDark locked, “Here, in here!”

“I have no idea what is in there, but the door is locked,” the guide explains. “I believe this was Mrs. Valentine’s sewing room.”

“It’s only a skeleton (key), I can open it,” she reaches into her purse, acquires the proper tool-of-her-trade and it gives way easily. The unused and un-oiled door opens slowly, revealing a room that has not been touched in decades. Cobwebs drape from wall to ceiling and ceiling to furnishings. There is a cradle in the corner, which appears to be rocking back and forth, empty and dusty.

The rooms natural light is short and outside noises are squelched by heavy drapery, yet there is single shaft of light, seemingly without origin, streaming onto a large book….

question mark

“What’s in the book?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Stay tuned-001

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

… I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding of my family…

The newest visitors to SE Wisconsin have allotted one full day of getting familiar with the lay of the land (and lakes) and several varied combinations of Polly Pabst meals and country wisdom. Over liters and quarts of caffeine fortified coffee, they get answers to their most prominent questions…

“The name “Pabst” is everywhere around here, are you…” Connie begins to place people to places and places to history.

“Yep. I used to run away from it, unlike my brother Davey, who loves the family business and racing cars. But when I opened this diner, I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding.

“I saw the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign in the window.” Ace has been known to sample adult malted beverages on occasion, so Pabst Beer has passed by his lips before.

“I don’t live out at the mansion. I have a small house nearby.”

“We took a long drive,” he uses hand signals, “counterclockwise around Oconomowoc Lake and Pabst Farms is the first thing you run into. You know, I didn’t know that cows made beer.”

“What else do you do with 1200 acres, Ace? Hops do not grow well above the 40th parallel, but corn and dairy cattle do nicely.

“There isn’t a better area in the country, it has it all; fresh water, oak forests, fertile soil, friendly people and all this only 30 miles from a major city like Milwaukee.”

“God certainly outdid Himself here, that is for sure,” adds Constance from her two day perspective. “I don’t know if we mentioned it, but we are going to get a tour of Danforth Lodge tomorrow. I hear that it is magnificent.”

Polly has perspective of her own, having grown up in a moneyed family, with a long storied legacy, “That is a good example of what happens when the patriarch senior, then junior get older and all that ostentatious construction makes less and less sense; the kids sell off and divide up the riches, without mom or dad to make a fuss. After Valentine took over Danforth, the luster of the Roaring Twenties and the money island that brought them through the Depression had faded into the past. Property like that just doesn’t make sense any more.”

“You are a bright woman, Polly, I’m impressed. What keeps you tucked away in Eagle?”

“I am tucked, but productive. You may not realize it, but we cater far more food, to wedding and banquets, than we serve out here. There are twenty people in the back getting ready for a party this weekend.”

“This building must be bigger than it looks!”

“It used to be a textile factory, an example of the shrinking manufacturing base in the United States.”

She may be tucked away, but an entrepreneurial treasure nonetheless.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 168

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

…”Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single…

“What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew,” counters Polly Pabst.

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear, it’s…I’ll explain it in the car…we’ll be seeing you again Polly.” Ace predicts that they will be back. “Did you ever have a pet rabbit?”

“No, we had a parakeet.”

“Then order the meat loaf, if they have it”Luft's-001

Not far down the road, tucked into a lightly forested foothill, they locate Luft’s Route 67 Inn. It is a “motel” by every definition: 10 or so rooms on ground level, each with their own door.

The kindly innkeeper takes their money and passes a register Ace’s way. Mr. and Mrs. Caraway are now official, if not unofficially married guests in Eagle, in the short time before heading into Cooney (Oconomowoc’s  odd nickname).

“Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single. If she could figure out a way to keep her surname, maybe she could bridge that commitment disconnect.

Once you wing your way north out of Eagle, the terrain flattens out, carved smooth by ice age glaciers. The forests thin out, exposing acres of corn fields and large fenced in pastures that nourish hundreds of Holsteins, the four-legged machines whose milk help make this America’s Dairyland.

pabst-farms-signIf your destination is Oconomowoc Lake, you never do make it to the city proper, having to veer off of Hwy. 67 to less obvious road choices. Bodies of water dictate where roads go and if you come upon a fork in that road, you are given the opportunity to make a wrong turn.

To the right, you will pass away from the lake and the fields of Pabst Farms, 1500 acres of working agriculture that acts as a buffer zone; the Pabst family and Al Capone’s lawyer are tucked away on sprawling acreage.

Hang a left and you will soon see the waters of one of the cleanest fresh water lakes in the state. Sure, the winter’s ice is still floating off shore, but the Caraways can understand why this hidden gem is the destination for meat packers, brewery owners and gangsters; Armour, Miller, Uihlein and Capone; mansion after mansion line the hills along Beach Road, which runs along the western shore.

Right before you round the corner again, just as Ace’s friend’s directions say, P.A. Valentine’s Danforth Lodge sits high above, the royal landlord to the rest of the lake’s residences.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Oconomowoc Lake Club

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

…Wouldn’t you know, both liver & onions and  meat loaf are not a part of today’s menu…

Pabst Diner Menu-001

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”

“That is locally caught perch with rye bread and a choice of coleslaw or french fries,” the waitress, a young woman with a farm girl look, recites by heart.

Guest check-001

“Can we have both,” asks Ace. “We are starved. It’s been a long drive.”

“Chicago… that will be $1 dollar extra.” She is unintentionally ambiguous.

“Is the dollar for coming from Chicago or the extra food?”

She ignores the question as stated, “We get a lot of folks from Chicago in here, but you two are way more polite than most; you don’t even sound like you’re from the north. I’m good at guessing where a folk is from.”

“Give it a shot darlin’. I’ve got an Alexander Hamilton here that says you can’t guess what states we are from.”

She looks around, after seeing there are no other customers, then offers, “The lady looks like a true Southern Belle, maybe Georgia or the Panhandle.” She looks at Ace from his head and stopping at his feet, “You sir are from Texas.”

“Tallahassee, Florida,” CC raises her hand, while Ace adds, “Austin, Texas and I bet my rattlesnake boots gave me away.”

She grabs the $10 Silver Certificate and stuffs it into her apron, “Do you want tartar sauce?”

“I like you, you, you are ____,” prompts Ace?

“Polly, Polly Pabst.”

“I like you Polly Pabst, but I wouldn’t play poker against you; you’re cold.”

“I have a mortgage to pay.”

“We are headed to Oconomowoc; do you have a name of a good place to stay for a couple days?” Constance is planning ahead.

“Cooney is only 20 miles away…we have a cute motel on the north side of Eagle, you can’t miss it. Are you two married?”

The would-be overnighters look at each other and say jointly, “Yes-no, no-yes.”

“I ain’t being nosey, just that the older gentleman running the place used to be the preacher over at the Lutheran church and his wife is a bit of a prude.”

“We thank you for the head’s up,” Constance locks arms with Ace as they head out. “What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew.”

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 166