Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 75

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 75

…you are supposed to be dead, that is what Mastadon and most of Chicago is lead to believe…

“He wanted to come, seemed to recognize his surroundings, he pointed the way,” Fanny explains her actions.

Once inside the door, Libby just about leapt from his seat screaming and pointing at the wall of books, “Bell, bell!”

“That is what Doctor Steinberg told me he was saying…. Bell, do you mean one of these?”

“Bell!”

Constance goes to the wall, while Martin tries to cajole his friend. Alexander Graham Bell is there, as is the Liberty Bell, no bell peppers, but she makes her way to the Hemingway collection, pulling out For Whom the Bell Tolls, thereby exposing a legal sized manila folder to the light of day. Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises must also come away in order to get the bulky unlabeled envelope out.

Martin sees what she is doing and gallops to her side. Fanny tries to calm the frantic Libby, but cannot, as he leaves the wheelchair on his own, though his atrophied leg muscles fail to hold his weight. Bedlam has broken out with no notice.

“My paper…!” Willard Libby beckons like a shepherd finding that one stray sheep.

“Willard, are you… do you… I mean is that really you, back with us?” Martin is beside himself.

All he can do is cry tears of joy from the kneeling position, holding his face in his hands.

“It must be like coming back from the dead,” Constance is thrilled.

“How about being buried alive?” captive Libby adds to the subject himself. “I was screaming out to you at Steinberg’s House of Pain.”

“I don’t know how much you’ve understood about our conversations, but you are supposed to be dead, that is what Mastadon and most of Chicago is lead to believe, the rest of the world that cares thinks you are still missing. Either way we must keep you under wraps until we can know how to proceed from this point forward.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 71

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 74

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 74

…the CCPI gang needs a safe place to stash the latest discombobulated version  of Libby…

Whacked-out Willy (his new nickname) had called his office sanctuary ‘the best kept secret’ around and is proud of it.

But someone had found it about three weeks ago, as CCPI discovered, but nothing seemed to be missing and theSafehouse ensuing mess was restored to its previous disorder by Martin. The entire remote wing of the university had been since sealed from regular access. To this very moment, no one knows who broke in.

When it came to finding a safe place to stash the latest discombobulated version of Libby, they need not look any further than his office, a three room suite with its own bathroom. The biggest room by square footage is the 15 x 15 front room, serving as place of work, kitchenette and the den; a windowless covey hole is filled by books from top to bottom, end to end.

Most of those books would be classified as reference, a good number of which are historical in nature, the Civil War in particular. In the fiction section, the complete works of Ernest Hemingway dominate several shelves from the earliest days working for The Kansas City Star to his final days in Idaho; reporter notes in Kansas to The Dangerous Summer in Life Magazine. You get two guesses at who is Libby’s favorite writer, the first one doesn’t count.

“This place is not big enough to care for someone in Willard’s present condition,” Constance interjects, with full knowledge of the Kimbark house being off-limits as well.

“I know some people over at the Hospital, maybe we can get him into a private room psycho_wardon the fifth floor?” Martin proposes.

“Why the 5th floor?”

“That’s the psycho ward.”

“Tell them he’s your brother or something, just make sure that the doctor in charge is someone you can trust.” Connie wants to make sure the scientist is not nabbed again.

At that point Fanny enters Willard’s office suite, pushing none other than Willard in his wheelchair.

“Fanny!?” Her friend had been tending to Libby down the hall.

“He wanted to come, seemed to recognize his surroundings, he pointed the way.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 70

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 72

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 72

… Eddie’s dream Part 2…

His dream of grandeur is interrupted by murkily black figure presenting him with a pointed proposition, “You can have all of this Eddie, the fame, the adoration of your cousins, you’ll never have to pay for another beer the rest of your life,” his arms extend out for yards revealing a collage of enticing scenes, all for the gratification of a deficient human being.

“What do you ask in return for all these things?” There must be a price to pay, right?

“You will be transported back in time, before the end of the war,” one of Pentateuch’s beloved achievements (Adolf Hitler), “where you will live out a hero’s existence. All of the present day will not happen, no taxi driving around rude people, and no need of bragging or telling tales, no nagging feelings of inferiority.”

Then the other shoe drops.

“But I do require one thing… the mortal soul that you have been given.”

“My soul,” Eddie shivers in the presence of one so powerful.

“Yes, your soul, handed over for my keeping. I NEED TO KNOW NOW, Eddie Dombroski, are you with me or against me!?”

Before he is able to answer that weighty pronouncement, Eddie is violently shaken by his Mrs. Dombroski (Edie), who was wondering why her husband is wandering around the house sleepwalking.

In an instant, he remembers what he had been dreaming and it is disconcerting. He feels like he has been snatched from the jaws of a hungry predator, just short of becoming a meal.

“I must have been hungry,” he replies, knowing that he won’t be sharing this apparition any time, with any one soon.

***REMEMBER THIS WAS A DREAM SEQUENCE***

On the way back to the U of C, the CCPI band of characters…

  1.  lead vocalist Constance Caraway
  2. drummer Fanny Renwick
  3. featuring Martin Kamen on sax
  4. Willard Libby on radiocarbon base
  5. & Eddie Dombroski as the  wacky dee-jay

… make an unscheduled stop on their tour. Perhaps a stop at Argonne will give Libby a jump start.

O contraire. It turns out to be the trigger mechanism for his stillness, causing the incapacitated man to shrink even further into reclusion. Some memories must be too traumatic to overcome.

Just how much of the ordeal does he recall, or when/where is the moment of his last mental connection to the real world? He definitely has a story to tell, merely lacking the mechanism to deliver it. He has no words to put together either oral or written, to expose that 2 ton elephant in the room.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 68 (end Ch. 6)

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 69

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 69

…Constance’s tolerance level for Eddie’s tales is shrinking…

Ear-Ringing

“Eddie!”

Constance calls out mockingly, with their newest jaunt back out to Elgin in mind. Of course he cannot hear, but his ears must be ringing in anticipation of when and where he will be going.

Having returned to the city in daylight last time will make this trip less contentious, though he hasn’t lost his flare for humor, “I charge extra for more people, plus if he needs a wheel chair… you must think I’m a handicap transport?”

“Would you like to join the ranks of the disabled Eddie?” Fanny has a knack for keeping him in line.

Eddie's Cousins-001“Easy Fan,” here he goes, “I’ll have you know that my Cousin Johnnie’s boy has polio and when he has go to Cook County Hospital for his treatments, good ol’ Eddie and his Checker are ‘Johnny on the spot’! That trunk can hold two wheelchairs, patients and all. I remember one day, I think it was January too, the snowdrifts were higher than the roof of my garage and my nephew went into some spaz-attack……….”

“Eddie!”

Constance’s tolerance level for Eddie’s tales is shrinking.

And so they go, on to retrieve Willard Libby from his own personal hell, never mind that the mental health professionals working with him were well-intentioned.

When the Forever Mastadon confederation hatched their scheme of snatch and dump, they counted on Libby being declared hopeless, helpless, any-the-less locked in a padded room for the rest of his days.

They did not want his blood on their hands, so his life was to be spared; not an act of compassion, rather a result of their leader’s eternal guilt. Eternal guilt is akin to eternal regret, the fate that awaits those who do not subscribe to the lordship of that carpenter’s son from Judah (Jesus)

Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 65

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 68

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 68

…If “they” find out that he (Willard Libby) is still alive, all hell may break loose…

A Newly minted 1951 has brought with it what is referred to as a “January thaw” to the greater Chicago area. Instead of temperatures at or below zero, which only encourages any accumulated snow to stay put, 40+ degrees Fahrenheit is a welcome respite, a peek at what the coming spring will bring, later if not sooner.

The orchestrated sounds, from inside the grand Cadillac Theatre and Palmer House Hotel, have wafted away by now, so it is back to work in the bizarre case of the formerly missing Willard Libby. Constance Caraway Private Investigation has had a front seat to nearly all the newest developments and its amazing fluidity. There is a new twist around every corner and merely keeping everything straight is a chore.

Martin Kamen has been in daily contact with Superintendent Steinberg. He reports that Libby has been elevated from Stage Two Catatonia to garden variety incoherent, making it back to one word accomplishments; “bell” has been deciphered during fits of frustrated attempts at cogent communication.

With little hope of Willard making significant progress, Martin decides that between William and him, they can care for the man just as well, with the help of a nursing school intern or three.

“This all must remain hush-hush Martin, so we’ll have to do this in the dark of night, sometime after “lights out” and before “rise and shine”. You tell me that no one has inquired about his condition?” Connie asks.

“I must admit this to you,” Martin but not before sheepishly qualifying himself, “I had Elgin Hospital issue a death statement about a certain John Doe that had shown up there on December 16th, made all the papers around Cook and DuPage Counties. Just in case I have written an obituary as well.

Related image“I did not want to bother you and Fanny, though we’re not totally in the clear, I know. I also got a message to his Aunt Mary Joseph at Tolentine, letting her know that Willard has been located and that we would keep her informed. She is as elated as a nun can get.”

Mr. Beaker

“She won’t blab will she?” Constance stresses the need for absolute secrecy. “If “they” find out that he is still alive, all hell may break loose — and I mean that quite literally.”

“She seemed more concerned about the death of Ernesto Pacelli; she had found out that he was the Pope’s brother, not exactly a gold star for Tolentine. But she is keenly aware of what’s at stake; she has even taken in Will’s cat, Mr. Beaker.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 65

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 61

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 61

…Willard Libby’s mental prison continued…

A discombobulated human brain, safely ensconced in a distant mental hospital, begins the near impossible task of putting thoughts back together, spurred on by the visit of a friend. Like Charlie McCarthy without Edgar Bergen, this poor soul is left without an advocate, an audible voice to explain the inexplicable; The Charlie McCarthy Show, sponsored by Coca-Cola, being one of the few forms of entertainment he gets over his room’s loudspeaker every Sunday night.

‘I am getting tired of being treated like a child. They speak at me not to me. If I could speak I would tell them that they are all a bunch of quacks. The drugs they gave me were meant for a raving lunatic, do I look like a raving lunatic? No, but when in doubt there has to be a drug solution. The guys who stole me away from Argonne…….Wolf—Wolfgram I heard him called by name, caused me to become concussed. Couldn’t these cretins figure that out? I am sure I was about to come around once I was thawed out, but noooo, use high voltage to shock me into consciousness. Brilliant! I have a monumental finding to share with the world. Billy said it will cause a revival, a thousand times bigger than his crusades. The Pope should know all about crusades, unless conquering countries in the name of God isn’t kosher. Kosher pickles are the best, I usually have one with my grilled cheese sandwiches; the only food at the University cafeteria that is digestible. Chicago that is where the University is; I don’t have a clue where I am now. Martin will take care of things; he likes the tuna fish casserole.’

Madness or brilliance; there is a fine line between genius and (in)sanity.

Genius


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 58 (end Ch. 6)

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