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 49

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 49

Chapter Five

 SANITY

 You would think that the discovery of Willard Libby, or at least that he is still alive, would bring to an end the service of CCPI; though rightful credit falls in the column of pure dumb luck.

If you would ask Constance Caraway, who when she left Tallahassee it was a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit, her druthers may lean toward heading home, considering that a recent night’s low temperature was -10 degrees (below zero cold).

The one BUT in the equation and it is a big one, lies somewhere between a warm down-filled coat and the titanic struggle between good and evil that seems to be shaping up. Adding layers of clothing is an easy solution for the former and her unfettered Baptist belief that the devil is real, running rampant in a world ripe for defiling, the latter.

In between that creature comfort and the pit of hell, she has the no-small-matter of Willard Libby hanging over her. In the short time she and Fanny have been in Chicago, her dreams of investigatory adventure have been met, yea exceeding her expectation.

Willard Libby represents a ‘monument of righteousness’ to her. Where does it read that a man, a scientist devoted to following the trail of his research, can be snatched from that life and unceremoniously deposited into the chaos of another? Can a story as dire as this, be rewritten to her satisfaction? And what is the cost if the ending they author falls short?

Questions without answers, the world is full of them, never mind the chicken and egg. One of the more meaningful mysteries is just how old planet Earth is and how it came to be. That seems to be the very reason CCPI has been drawn into this fray. Students around the world are being taught that by all scientific calculations it is somewhere around 5 billion years old, meaning that it sat around doing nothing for most of that 5 billion years, without supporting human life.

Rather a waste of divine time.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 46

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 46

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 46

…the patient does mention one incongruous word – wolf …

Wolf by Mark Adlington

“We’ll be there,” Constance bursts into the conversation from the 2nd floor at 6137 Kimbark, “first thing in the morning!”

“Who is that intriguing new voice; does the university have a party line?” asks the curious psychiatric professional.

“That would be Constance Caraway. She represents the private investigation firm we hired to help locate Willard Libby,” injects Martin Kamen.

“Well yes, by all means Miss Caraway, I will be at my office at 5:00 AM, our Rise and Shine time.”

“One quick question, Doctor Steinberg, has our mister Libby had any visitors?”

“My no; we believe someone dropped him off at the front gate… though he does mention one incongruous word – wolf … we are out in the middle of nowhere, but there aren’t any native  gray wolves, perhaps deer and coyotes.”

“Wolf,” Constance makes eye contact with her two allies, both of whom were thinking the same thing; not the four-legged mangy predator, rather the two-legged variety in sheep’s clothing. “You have been an unexpected pleasure Doctor and we will see you at Rise and Shine!”

“Wow, wow, wow, how about that!” This afternoon turns out to be that Christmas morning now passed, Constance Caraway Private Investigation had missed out on; Santa had just arrived a week late.

“Eddie!” she calls out mockingly! It is one thing to have steady work, but the way he has been “on-call”, there is no rhyme or rhythm to this arrangement; but he’ll be there bright and early, though having do dip into his road atlas for their upcoming expedition to Elgin, Illinois.

“It is as important as ever for you to find Libby’s completed work, Martin. Agree with it or not, it appears that your friend’s findings are currently hidden away in a jumbled brain. We owe it to him to preserve it… so no offense, but we’ll be leaving you behind this time.”

Martin David Kamen takes unusual exception to Constance, assuming an upright assertive position, “I am paying the bills and I will be going to Elgin; Will needs to see a familiar face!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 44