Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 56

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 56

…a prisoner of his own mind…

“We will leave him in your care, but I need your personal guarantee that you will not tamper with him. As long as he maintains physical viability, leave the rest alone. I mean it.” Martin takes responsibility for his friend.

“Message received loud and clear,” the doctor hears.

“And I will be calling you every day for updates on his condition. And if anyone else calls about his considering his health or lack thereof… you tell them he didn’t make it. No one beside us is to  know that he is still alive.”

“I think I understand where you are coming from. That is agreeable. If you call me at home, at this number,” he hands Kamen a doctor’s script with his home telephone, “say 8:00 PM sharp, I will be available.”

‘Don’t leave Martin; I have things to tell you. Mastadon was misspelled, I don’t know why. Wolf told me that they were in control; a Mastodon is like a Wooly Mammoth, lived 12,000 years ago, identified the age of one correctly sometime, I do not remember. Take me with you, I know you told Doctor to fake my death, don’t allow that to be prophetic. The dinosaurs walked the planet with the mammoth and humans. I sure could go for a plate of steak ‘n eggs. Take care of Martin, you mystery girls, he is my only hope, tell him to look in my bookcase, it is behind FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS.  Hemingway is one of my guilty pleasures; hear that he drinks whiskey, smokes Cuban cigars loves adventure. I want to be the swashbuckling type, danger around every corner. My complete paper is behind THE SUN ALSO RISES, do not know why I had to hide it something about mastodon there too. Never did trust that Wolf, but he was at the meeting in the woods by my house, Auntie Joe didn’t like him from the start, should have booted him out.’

“We are going to head back to the University Doctor Steinberg. Maybe the answers we are looking for is right under our noses.”

Will Libby hears clearly and would nod his approval if only he could move his head.

‘The bookcase Martin, Hemingway, Wolf’

From a prisoner of his own mind.


Constance Caraway P.I.

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Willard Libby’s bookcase

Forever Mastadon


page 54

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 55

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 55

…Might there be something like “brain freeze” going on with him? …

Art by Cure Joy

“The patient has taken a step back since yesterday. He is catatonic, as we refer to it. We think he is fully conscious, but he has no way of communicating.”

“How did this happen overnight? You mentioned yesterday that he said the word “wolf”.” The very reason that Constance made the connection to the scientist, while talking to Steinberg over the telephone, was that this had mentioned the word wolf, as in Wolfgram. “And twelve hours later he cannot speak?”

“He wasn’t exactly a chatterbox before, you understand. We were only able to pick out a couple of words, like wolf and masta – master – masto – something with mast in it.”

“We think wolf is part of a proper name, not the animal, but as for mast, he had scribbled mastadon on a piece of paper in the last place he was seen,” Martin is grasping for meager shreds at this point.

“The Ice Age elephant? Interesting but I cannot say I get the connection to anything I’ve heard thus far.

“All I know is that Security found this man, unconscious in a snow bank outside the front gate. He was hypothermic and we did our best to treat his frostbite. It was only after he had regained consciousness that we started the mental evaluation process. For all we knew, he could have been an unmanageable dementia victim dropped off by a family who were at wits end and did not know what to do.”

Brain Freeze by Danvenky deviantart.com

“In a freezing cold pile of snow, I don’t think so? Might there be something like “brain freeze” going on with him?” Constance grasps at the same scraps of hope as Martin.

“A brain freeze is popular vernacular for misplacing car keys or forgetting what you were about to say,” Steinberg has come to the conclusion that there are no solid conclusions to be had. “I know you were hoping to take Mr. Libby back with you, but as a mental health professional, I would be doing both you and him a great disservice if I release him to you folks now. He needs a medical hospital’s facilities as much as he does the psychiatric, which would be here at ESH.”

“We will leave him in your care, but I need your personal guarantee that you will not tamper with him. As long as he maintains physical viability, leave the rest alone. I mean it.” Martin takes responsibility for his friend.

“Message received loud and clear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 53

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 54

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 54

…The ramblings of a madman…

The King of Siam

“The telephone does not do you justice Miss Caraway,” Steinberg starts his day by stating the obvious.

“You are so kind… my partner at CCPI Fanny Renwick and Mr. Libby’s colleague Martin David Kamen,” she points to her companions.

Pleasantries are exchanged, as well as a chunk of background information to serve as a backdrop about the case, from someone who doesn’t know Willard Libby from the King of Siam.

‘Push me around the corner nurse Koch, I recognize that voice He is telling a story……my hearing hasn’t left me….he is telling the doctor that I was working on an important project having to do with radiocarbon dating, the Libby Half-life he calls it Some of this I seem to recall, dinosaurs did not die off 65 million years ago Billy Graham says six days and a rest, Pope Pius is afraid of Communists, they don’t believe in God, Ernesto says they might, but don’t want their subjects to believe That is Martin Kamen! He has come to rescue me from this enormous place, takes an hour to go up one hall and down another. That is Martin, what a fine good man he is, never takes enough credit for how good, and doesn’t have that drive to be famous Fermi tells me to use his research to augment my arguments Will anyone believe me? He is with two pretty women; they don’t look like scientists, what kind of lady wears trousers? Hubba, hubba good for Kamen, he is too good looking to be a Bunsen burner and beaker man’

“He has taken a step back since yesterday. He is catatonic, as we refer to it. We think he is fully conscious, but he has no way of communicating.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 52

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 53

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 53

…Stream of Consciousness from a misplaced scientist…

“Rise and Shine Mr. Doe, were going to see Dr. Steinberg,” the attending nurse urges.

‘My name is Willard Libby, Nurse Koch and why are you wheeling me out of my room at this hour, not that any particular hour is different? Are they going to hook me up to some new machine this time, as if electroconvulsive therapy did me any good? All that accomplished was to separate my brain from the rest of my body; now I can’t move my hands or feet. We are headed to the kitchen, but what good is that, the intravenous food in this place is poor. I must be a real burden to them, sitting lifeless in this chair on wheels all day and night. The last thing I remember is working at my office at Argonne, it was late, but I had to finish my paper for the conference. The conference, what did they do without me? I had something important to share with them. I can’t remember exactly what it was and I don’t know who was going to be there, but I know it was important. Why is it that my eyes are open but they don’t blink or move? That Dr. Steinberg doesn’t know what to make of me, I think he isn’t just one of those mad scientists whose only machines are torturous and the only drugs they give out are hallucinogenic. He acts like he’s in charge; everyone calls him Sir or Superintendent. It sure is cold back here, my loony roommate Mr. Skittles doesn’t like his breakfast cold you know. Steak and eggs; now that is what I could go for. And how did those guys get past the guard at the front gate, let alone get in the most secure building on the grounds. I’ve always wondered why they didn’t electrify that fence, must have cut through it or something. It looks like we are expecting a delivery, it says service entrance.’

“How was your drive out here from the city,” the Doctor inquires of the bright eyed and bushy tailed trio there to meet him.

“We missed a few turns, but at least the roads weren’t icy… Constance Caraway here,” CC takes a hand from out of the warmth of her down coat to greet the boss of this place.

“My pleasure, Miss Caraway; the telephone does not do you justice.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Cartoon by John Atkinson.

Forever Mastadon


page 51

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 52

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 52

…“Take it easy, Eddie, or we’ll leave you behind here…

“The map shows that shows that we should have taken a left off of Route 20, right after the Fox River,“ Fanny has been keeping track of their progress in the darkness of pre-dawn as they take a northwesterly course from the city so far behind them. “And that sign we just passed said Dubuque 127 miles….Dubuque is in Iowa!”

“Okay, okay Fan, I’ll turn around… nothing but corn out there in Iowa anyways.” One of Eddie’s cousins must have told him that. This is as far out ,into the Midwest prairie, as he’s ever been.

Not long after doing a u-turn, on the right, perched on a bluff above Illinois 20 is the sprawling well lit layout of what formerly called the Illinois Northern Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. The building called the Annex is most easy to locate, a couple hundred yards long, one huge continuous people-repairing-factory for the mentally imbalanced.

“Doctor Steinberg told me to come to the service entrance, in the middle back of the Annex, down that road there Eddie,” Constance points to a beltway to the west of the complex. “What time is it Fanny?”

“Turn on the dome light Ed… it is exactly 4:38,” she checks her wristwatch, which when they left Hyde Park, read 3:00.

“Good job everyone, with special thanks to our cordial navigator; we made it here in time for Rise and Shine.”

“That sounds so happy, is that why they call it a funny farm?”

Take it easy, Eddie, or we’ll leave you behind here! I hear tell that they are looking for someone to do the evening story hour.” Constance is more than half-serious.

“Yeah, that would put them to sleep,” Fanny agrees with her friend.

For his part, all Martin can do is to wonder what to do when they join this hospital’s early morning happy hour. What form of Will, will they find in this lost & found for the insane?


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 49

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 51

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 51

…“If we had no moon at all, chances are Earth would be just another rock circling the sun…

“What does our moon have to do with the creation story?” asks Constance.

Martin has descended into professor mode, eager to satisfy the unquenchable thirst of an inquiring mind. “That is where the single most fundamental law of cosmic physics comes into play; gravity is what makes the world, or universe, go ‘round. How Earth orbits the sun, how the solar system navigates through the Milky Way and finally how all the other galaxies keep their distance from each other; gravity is what determines these things.

“Our Moon serves as an anchor for this ship. If you it were to suddenly drift away now, after having been here for the entire time, planet Earth would descend into geological upheaval. The continental plates would be scrambled into an unrecognizable mess and volcanism would rule the day.

“If we had no moon at all, chances are Earth would be just another rock circling the sun, an ordinary orb arbitrarily wobbling from year to year; without life, without singularity.”

“My cousin Jimmy (cousin #4) says that the moon is the Earth’s dartboard, attracting Eddie's Cousins-001all those meteors and crap.” Eddie cannot help but inject his own brand of knowledge. “Just look at it; a good pair of binocs show all those craters.”

“I’d love to meet that Jimmy whom you refer to often.”

“He lives over in Berwyn; I can take you there sometime.”

“That’s quite alright, Eddie, I was being facetious. Anyhow, Earth has as many or more craters being the larger target; it’s just that it heals itself, just like our skin recovers from a scratch.

“That all aside, the bottom line is, believing that all these factors have fallen into place by accident… frankly is folly. There are an increasing number of us in science who subscribe to intelligent design over evolution.

“Will Libby is one of those who have not swallowed that pill.” Martin is still fearful of what kind of Willard Libby they are retrieving; wondering what manner of cruel pill takes away one’s memory.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 48

 

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 50

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 50

…Martin Kamen puts forth some remarkable correlations between science and Earth’s placement in the Solar System…

On the way out to Elgin, a sixty mile drive not including one or two wrong turns by the pavement pilot of their Packard, Constance picks Martin’s brain about all things astronomical, as it applies or doesn’t to creation. This whole divine creation thing has jump-started her curiosity gene.

Being a biochemist by trade does not disqualify Martin from entering into solar system-ly speculation. Point in fact; the absence of his carbon-based colleague has left a void of such scholarly conjecture.

After some guarded thought, away from Eddie’s ramblings about his cousins’ mundane exploits or Fanny’s incessant worries about where they should or should they should have turned at the last intersection, Kamen puts forth some remarkable correlations between science and the unlikely randomness of Earth’s placement herein the place we call the Solar System. “Like many scientists, I would normally conclude that Earth’s deployment is just a convenient coincidence, as opposed to intentional.

“There are three critical factors that contribute mightily to the fragile factors that have allowed for the existence of life as we know it:

  1. Earth’s distance from the sun
  2. Earth’s degree of axis tilt
  3. Earth’s moon

“For example, if Earth is 10,000 miles farther from the sun, the climate would not be conducive to the development of intelligent life; it would be intolerably cold. If it is placed that same distance closer than it is currently, only the hardiest of desert creatures would have had the chance to thrive. 30˚ oceans are a tough swim for sea creatures, in the same way 100˚ water will evaporate faster than it can be replenished.

“Secondly, if Earth rotated at a zero degree tilt on its axis, the four seasons we have come to treasure would cease, thereby creating distinct latitudinal zones, ranging from an attractive equator climes, to incrementally less desirable 100 mile regions all the way to the poles.  The mediating ocean currents would be nonexistent and prevailing winds would never waiver north to south.”

Constance never considered herself the scholarly type, rather taking advantage of her cheerleader body and accordingly matching looks, one of the reasons her and Fanny “work”, with her friend possessing a combination of disguised intelligence and child-like innocence.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 47