Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 128

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 128

…Well, you may have your own airplane, but you’re no Fanny…

Mrs. Dombroski puts an end to Eddie’s Story Time. She has had enough warning of coming visitors that this goodhearted woman has prepared a home-cooked feast worthy of the Thanksgiving-type occasion. They are ushered into the dining area, the largest room in their Burnside Bungalow.

Eddie insists on being caught up on the recent goings-on of the Libby team, of which Ajax Bannion is now a part. He hears of further encounters with eerily unexplained episodes, raising goose bumps on his arms, having had his own close encounter not all that long ago. Those phantom structures and such are becoming the norm.

Of greater concern is the near loss of life from those nearest the investigation. He puts on a brave face about the present danger, but Constance reminds him that he was not a target, at risk because of his reckless actions. With him back in Englewood and Libby lying low in Hyde Park, things should settle down.

But it is obvious that Connie is still jacked about their adventure, going on and on about the Italian Connection from which they just returned. Like never before, civilian air travel has changed the way they can view the world and the relative immediacy of navigating the 10,000 mile, 2 and a half day roundtrip is graphic proof. In times past, it would have been three weeks on a slow boat to cross the big pond.

Well, you may have your own airplane, but you’re no Fanny,” Eddie speaks at Ace, being Fanny’s biggest fan. “That girl has a nose for trouble.”

“Don’t you pay any mind to that dirty old man! He has a huge crush on her.” Edie D. is a reality rock for her chatty cabby, not unaware of her husband’s fascination with an adventurous lure. It makes her feel like a real frump in comparison, but only for small bursts. He is married to her after all.

“CC needed a hand and I was glad to help. We go way back,” Ace will likely be judged on his continuing body of work, as well as how he treats the other of “his” girls.

“You seem like a stand up guy there Ace. If Connie has taken a shine to you, you must be top shelf.”

“He is good people Ed,” the P.I. from Florida confirms.

The Eddie D. seal of approval is a dubious, obscure award.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 127

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 127

 …”I have slept for two weeks on a rock in a desert next to a scorpion before, so I think Martin’s leather sofa will do just fine.”

“On a horse with no name?” Connie shakes her head with doubt…

The second and last stop on Connie’s Chicago hit parade is over in the neighborhood called Englewood. The Southside grouping of single-family homes and three-flats has recently seen a few black families sprinkle in, much to the chagrin of some, but not all.

Her mission is for Ace to meet his macho equal in Eddie Dombroski. Eddie is aware of her flying friend being just that, but will most certainly make a big deal about any possible romantic connection between them. She can handle whatever Ace thinks about the topic, but how does she explain to Eddie, something she is so unsure of?

She decides not to borrow that brand of worry for now. There is plenty of that emotion that arrives unannounced – and it’s free.

And even though she has to do the driving, it is nice to have man around; great for opening doors, fighting off bad guys, saying that you look good and buying lunches and dinners. She feels bad about stashing the poor guy on Martin’s couch, but Martin and William aren’t budging and her room was meant as a “girl’s” hangout.

“Get a room you two,” is Eddie’s advice upon hearing about Ace’s sleeping arrangement. “Or you could have our family room in the basement to yourself, seeing that you are such a gentleman. It has a fully stocked bar, a pinball machine and its own john.”

“Thank you for the offer Mr. Dombroski, but I have slept for two weeks on a rock in a desert next to a scorpion before, so I think Martin’s leather sofa will do just fine.

“On a horse with no name?” Connie shakes her head with doubt at Ace’s sketchy association.

Eddie's Cousins-001

“Speaking of a desert, my Cousin Jimmy’s plane was shot down over Africa during the war. The Desert Fox, you know Rommel’s men chased him into the Sahara and he was hold up in a cave for 10 months, surviving on stalactite water and mushrooms, with an occasional rodent or snake.”

“It seems both you and your cousins are excellent survivors.”

“We can thank our grandfather Stanislaw “Dogtags” Dombroski for that. He fought with the Polish in Poland during WWI.”

“That makes sense, heroes run in your family.”

Connie can only shake her head.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 125

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 125

…Since returning to from their trans-global Beelzebub ball-busting, Constance must indoctrinate Ace in the ways of The Libby Affair…

Since returning to from their trans-global Beelzebub ball-busting, Constance must indoctrinate Ace in the ways of The Libby Affair. This means he must be taken on an introductory tour, beginning with the subject and the subject’s subject, i.e. Willard and his carbon-14, “Carbon dating doesn’t mean a Brazilian beauty named Gabriela Carbõn  doing the samba at Carnival.”

Willard Libby is both grateful and gracious in Constance’s presence and he gladly does a breakdown of his research for the newcomer. But first, “Why is your hair as white as a Chicago blizzard, Mr. Ace?”

“My bell was rung while playing rugby in Australia; been white ever since.” Simple enough

Forever Mastadon 2-001Back to the old science-aroo, he covers things that Constance could only skim through in the course of their recent travels. He lays out the cold hard facts concerning the real age of mankind and its connection to carbon dating.

“Originally, I found evidence that science could not accurately formulate the age of the universe, or even the planet; which is true but we have had to modify that, because of certain Creation facts. Currently, I am prepared to put the earliest existence of life on Earth at 20,000 B.C.”

“That’s not what I’ve been taught,” comments Ace.

“No it is not, but every day, all around the world, in 10,000 languages children are reading that mans’ ancestors began emerging a million years ago. That is hogwash.”

“Well I am not going to argue the point. All I know is what’s happened in my 30-some years,” Ace puts his arm around Constance, “too many good people support you.”

Libby, for example, grabs Martin Kamen by the shoulder, “Like this guy!” The time they have spent in sequestered isolation has created an unbreakable bond between them. If it had not been for Martin’s proactive pursuit of independent investigation, Willard Libby may well have withered into hopeless obscurity.


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 119

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 119

…Constance Caraway has discovered (or (k)new in the past and conveniently forgotten)… is the wonder of companionship, of the conventional sort…

Constance Caraway has acquiesced on the subject of a trip to wherever, committing to that footloose & feckless flyboy friend. But they do have four days until they have to hop that freighter back to Tangier and she may never have the opportunity to see the beautiful Italian landscape again.

She probably won’t tell Fanny about this (again) — work, work, always work. Wait – does she even know that she went to Italy?

From Tuscany to Calabria, north and south, they cruise winding coastal roads in a two-seat ride called an Alpha Romeo 6C Touring Roadster. The left side passenger may have to do some work on the man’s theology, but Ace Bannion definitely has the ‘lives life to the fullest’ thing down pat, replete with  his perpetual style; pannachio as they say in Italian.

The sheer geography alone can take ones’ breath away, hills with awe-inspiring vistas and the corresponding valleys; they cradle a tangled weave of grapevine and lattice.

However, the freshest revelation that Constance Caraway has discovered (or knew in the past and conveniently forgotten)… is the wonder of companionship, of the conventional sort. With Ace at her side, she can experience life without having to worry about what people may be saying behind her back, other than ‘that’s amore’.

When she and Fanny are out and about, they must constantly monitor their level of expressed affection. Obvious or implied, they are damned if they do or deprived if they don’t. There is no winning when gossip replaces reality, ‘what about those two women living together’. The facts, albeit privileged detail, get twisted into some version of perverse hearsay in the 1950s Florida conservative climate.

It is Fanny’s true feelings and aspirations, on the subject of their relational status, which looms over the damp cool air of the Mediterranean as they venture deep into wine country.

mediterranean-sea (1)But that whole issue is in the rear view mirror of the moment, taillights mounted on a speeding sports car, a world away. With every sharp turn, Ace can lose sight of his mortality and Connie can pretend that sexuality is ambiguous.

When they return from Europe and North Africa, there will be just as many irksome questions as those resolutely answered.

They will be landing in the United States clouded with mixed reviews.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 113

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 113

…That’s what Ace ‘deserves’ for ‘borrowing’ an Army airplane and ‘ditching’ the General’s daughter before the New Year’s kiss…

… For now, it’s on to smaller and Alabama things…

shrimp“Well Mr. Nobody, how about I treat you to a dinner that will knock it out of the park,” CC tops off the baseball comedy-act wordplay, in favor of a night on the town at her favorite seafood restaurant on Mobile Bay, where you’ll never walk away hungry and shrimp is king. She can’t help but comment on the other contrast between North & South not related to crustaceans, “It is so nice to wear normal clothes for a change.”

“When I first saw you at Meigs, I thought you were an Eskimo.” Ace Bannion jokes.

“I had to buy every stitch of winter clothes after we got to Chicago; nobody told me how cold it gets there… oh make a right turn at Texas Street, then a left on Old Water Street.”

“You must be talking about The Original Oyster House on the Boardwalk; they have a surf ‘n turf that I would trade my pilots’ license for.”

“If you’re flyin’, I’m buyin’!”

Meanwhile… At Brookley AFB, 0600 departure time…

“Civilians are required to wear life jackets Miss Caraway,” the copilot of the military transport orders.

“This is an airplane, not a boat, how about a parachute.” Logic doesn’t always apply to the armed services.

“If we have to ditch over the ocean, this baby turns into a boat.”

“How comforting… why doesn’t he get one?” she points across the wide fuselage at Ace.

“The General says that your pal Bannion needs be a good swimmer.” That’s what he ‘deserves’ for ‘borrowing’ an Army airplane and ‘ditching’ the General’s daughter before the New Year’s kiss.

“I am.” He is.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 111

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 111

…“That gives us the weekend to bum around this Toddlin’ Town…

“That gives us the weekend to bum around this Toddlin’ Town.”

“Yes, I want to meet all the players in this game. This ain’t your ordinary cheating husband crap,” Ace speculates. Constance Knows.

In the time it takes to drive down Lake Shore Drive south, give or take 10 minutes, she has time to unravel the twisted tale of a missing scientist, two nosey broads from Florida, a relentless storytelling taxi driver and Satan.

“The University of Chicago is an amazing place. It is as diverse a college campus as you’ll find; nothing like the lily-white schools in the south. Willard Libby is a researcher slash professor here and the only reason we came up to the great white north,” when she and Fanny landed in Illinois their lives began to change. “He is an amazing story, was catatonic when we found him, but when you meet him, you wouldn’t know it.”

Libby Dead or Alive-001“So you have him stashed away somewhere?”

“Yeah, they had a funeral for him last week… yes I know it’s bizarre, but the man wouldn’t last a day on the street. Every brother and his mother have been trying to keep his mouth shut, permanent-like.”

“All this because he was shaving a few years off the age of Earth?”

“More than a just a few years and it turns out there is an unbelievable conspiracy to shut him up.”

“Ah ha,” he can appreciate a good put-on, “the bad guys think they have done just that?”

“Isn’t that beautiful?” she gloats. “But the hits just keep on coming—good, smart people are still at risk and there is no letting our guard down.” Ace can tell how serious she really is. “And good folks, like Eddie Dombroski’s family and our neighbor Betty are being kidnapped, Battles_grandeshot or bombed. This needs to stop.”

“Good, let’s stop the bastards, I’m in favor of that, but the last time I checked God could have stopped the devil, before he got going, but he didn’t and WE, little ol’ us is going to do it?”

“According to our Agent Daniels, the double agent’s double agent, a genuine real in-your-face act of God took care of one bad guy. That only ties the score in my book and I want to be on the winning side.” She cups his chin with her freehand, “Sometimes you pick the fight, other times the fight picks you.”


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 110

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 110

…I’m not into crocodiles and leaches, besides, they are sentenced to hang… I read the book…

“Do you want to help or did you come all this way to make fun of me?” Connie is serious about getting to Italy… to the Devil’s Headquarters no less.

Ace Bannion does have a serious side, real serious. And he knows people, influential people, unlikely people… and he’s been places and seen things others only dream about.

“I know a MATS pilot who does a weekly run to and from Tangier once a week.” See. “We could catch a ride on the jump-seats for free on me.”

“What the hell are mats, some sort of flying carpet?” Ace’s military lingo has Connie hoping for the best.

“Military Air Transport Service, he flies a C-124 GlobeMaster out of Brookley AFB in Alabama, then off to French Morocco; we could take a boat from there.”

“The African Queen, no thank you. I’m not into crocodiles and leaches, besides, they are sentenced to hang… I read the book.

“Me too, and if you remember, Rose and Charlie save themselves by sinking the Louisa and they live happily ever after,” the globetrotter recalls. “We can hop a freighter to Morocco-001Malta, and then catch an island hopper over to Rome, one-two-three.”

“Count to three and say N O.”

“I get us to Morocco and I believe we can find a more conventional route to Rome. Come on, don’t you remember the flying boats?”

“That is another story from another time,” she harkens back to the Hong Kong Clipper, which was an episode in another book (The Life & Times of a Black Southern Doctor). “But I do like the friends fly free program you are offering.”

“I will get us on the next GlobeMaster…….that is one great plane!” If he had his way, he would be sitting in the pilot’s not the jump seats. He is the boss of his own airplane, “I believe they cross the big pond on Mondays, so I’ll fly us down to Brookley Sunday night.”

“That gives us the weekend to bum around.”

“Yes, I want to meet all the characters you have been talking about.”


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