Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

…We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started…

Mark LLanuza on flickr

outdoor guy photography

outdoor guy photography

Connie and Ace are able to leave a message (about the Holy Scroll) (by Carrier Pigeon-Word of Mouth-Rumor) for Graham to wait  a bit before boarding the American Queen paddle wheel riverboat; so he is waiting, very curious as to what the fuss is about. He should trust Constance’s expressions of urgency by now.

When he gets his hands on their special delivery and briefly looking it over, he drops directly to his knees, raising both hands skyward, speechless.

“A local Wisconsin historian hinted that this was probably of divine origin,” relates Constance, “and you would not believe where we found it. Is it possible that it was intentionally placed in our path?”

Nothing should surprise her anymore. Graham certainly is not.

“Nothing is impossible for God and I truly believe that He has had His hand on you all through this entire year. This is a direct message from the Lord,” Billy concludes after consulting his on-staff Biblical scholar, “and we cannot ignore it.We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started.

“Written by hand on Holy paper, with Holy ink, wholly Holy; what a way for the Lord to communicate with us. I was fully expecting an angelic visit or God’s strong voice telling me what to do.

“There is Revival spirit spreading throughout this land and we must put on the show of our lives!” Graham has never been more convinced.

Comiskey Park Card“It is warm enough for an outdoor event, Billy,” Samuel Goldwyn is in on the meeting and still with the Crusade, even into mid-April. His keen business sense has proven invaluable. “I took the time to check with the Chicago White Sox and they are in Detroit on Saturday April 28th; why don’t we do a Comiskey Park blowout meeting?”

Goldwyn Jr. has dedicated himself to see the Crusades through and until they go back to California. He has also become the venue guru for Graham, freeing the good young Reverend to tailor his messages to each new audience.

“We will race back to see how things are shaking in Chi Town,” Race rhymes with Ace.

Constance rhymes with constant, “Let’s get back in one piece.”


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Forever Mastadon


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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 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.


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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.

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Forever Mastadon


page 169

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.


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

…Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country…

Tom Dick Harry

You don’t have hit old Ace over the head with a hammer. He can tell that Connie is feeling left out and now that April has rolled around, outdoor activity possibilities are sprouting just like the crocuses and tulips. Having spent her time in the nation’s second biggest city bundled up and dodging frozen precipitation, it is time come out of recreational hibernation.

“Well, as luck would have it, I have a friend who is an executive at Armour Meats up in Milwaukee and he has told me that one of the most lavish country estates in mid-America may be torn down soon. He said that if I wanted to see it, he would meet me there for a personal tour.”

“Just who isn’t an old friend AB? Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country, than Eddie Dombroski has cousins!”

Eddie's Cousins-001

“Now hold on CC; I’m not talking about some schmuck shirttail relative here,” he is offended by being compared to a Chicago cabbie.

“Take it easy here Ace. Don’t be flappin’ your flaps. Eddie’s cousins are merely closer to home than yours and his stories… are stories.”

“But mine help get us around the world.” He should know better. “Okay, I get it. I should know better than to minimize one of your pals.”

“Alright then, your bud is a businessman in Milwaukee…? That is in Wisconsin. Is that where the estate is?”

“No it’s on Oconomowoc Lake.”

“I-can-no-more-walk on a lake?” Connie’s ears are playing tricks.

“No, o-c-o-n-o-m-o-w-o-c,” he is reading off a piece of paper or he would not come off so phonetically smart. “From what I gather, Oconomowoc Lake is the playground for the captains of industry and gangsters from Saint Louis to Chicago.”

“Gangsters, oh swell. Shouldn’t we be getting away from them?”

“Retired gangsters.”

“That’s better.” She reframes her position. “It would be nice driving through some scenic home-grown countryside for a change. Italy was a great adventure, but I want to cruise, not fly, out of Illinois on fresh pavement and forget about creeps for awhile.

“Let’s see what we can see, go where the wind blows us, miles and miles of smiles, up one hill and down another……”

“How about, we see if you can steer an automobile better than you can land an airplane!”

Constance hits below the belt. What’s new.


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 195

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 195

“Get up & stretch your legs, as Constance Caraway and her dashing friend Ace Bannion contemplate taking a side-trip.”

Chapter Seventeen

CALL HIM ISAAC

“When will the plane be fixed,” Constance asks a typical girl question, when the answer is guaranteed not to be a simple one.

Ace Bannion uses his teaspoon to stir his bowl of Corn Flakes, mixing the sugar down into the milk. “You know, I never used to like milk CC or boxed cereal for that matter.”

“What did you used to eat for breakfast, oh never mind, you’re changing the subject! That big thing you ditched on its belly, when does it get back in the air?”

“The Angel has an upset stomach,” Ace uses human terms to describe considerable fuselage damage. “But the Douglas sabotagerepair shop cannot touch her until the Civil Aeronautics Board can trace any possible sabotage back to Kansas City.”

“Dirty pool, I’d say,” she said with more than token certainty.

“Those guys need to be taken down; you don’t mess with thirty-five lives and get away with it. And with the Crusade switching to bus mode, for who knows how long, could be months, Billy told me to relax and make sure the rest of the schedule is tied up in a tidy bow.”

“Fanny and Worth are taking care of security for the Crusade for the next month, so that gives us a few days to burn, any ideas?,” Constance isn’t one for sitting around.

“It looks like Worth is fitting in quite nicely,” Ace is surprised that Fanny has brought the Tallahassee attorney into CCI’s everyday operations.

“Yes he is, filling a huge need since we have taken control of Graham security. They work so well together,” which is quite an adjustment for a previously small firm like theirs, “but that is them and we are us.”

You don’t have hit old Ace over the head with a hammer. He can tell that Connie is feeling left out and now that April has rolled around.


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Forever Mastadon


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