Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 161

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 161

…R. Worth Moore is a Floridian from the soles of his wingtips to the tip top of his top hat…

Southern Gentleman

The way that Fanny left things, when she was preparing to come back up to Chicago, was to leave the address of Martin Kamen’s campus quarters, along with the telephone which Worth Moore already had. In the course of doing a simple follow-up on her Lewis State Bank investigation, calling up to Chicago, he learned that Fanny was in the hospital from William, who has been the only one home for a the better part of a week.

Unlike a normal person, who would mail off a get well card or call the hospital with the hope of speaking to the patient in room 314, Attorney Moore turns it into an opportunity for a late winter excursion.

Those wacky folks from Tallahassee have the habit of popping in on friends, unannounced. Hailing from Austin Texas, Ace Bannion at least talked to Constance before flying back into her life. But R. Worth Moore is a Floridian from the soles of his wingtips to the tip top of his top hat and just before lunch at Saint Anthony he drops in to pay Fanny a visit.

“I had a convention to go to,” is his excuse. He is lying, but in a well-meaning way.

He has does his best to empty the gift shop on the way up to the third floor. Fanny and her roommate Edie now have a room adorned with an Ecuadorian orchid and a macramé owl wall hanging imported from Arabia.

“Who is this charming man, Fanny?” asks Edie. “They don’t make true gentlemen like him here in Chicago.”

“Edie Dombroski, this is Attorney R. Worth Moore from my hometown of Tallahassee. I worked a couple cases for him this month, the reason I was away for so long.”

“I must say Mr. Moore you do have fine taste in women,” she and Fanny get along famously, while her recovering husband harbors a married mans’ crush; it is complicated. “You know Fanny, between this man and Connie’s Ace Bannion, it’s a wonder that neither one of you have tied the knot.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 138

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 131

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 131

…Constance Caraway, for as long as he has known her, is a red-blooded All-American gal, not a ______ _____________…

“Fanny!!! This is Ace, Ace Bannion, how-the-heck are you?”

If she were a balloon ____ POP. Her brain is thrown into a tizzy. Ace Bannion is in Chicago, why? And he is answering the telephone at Martin’s, that isn’t normal. It means that he has been a welcomed guest. The last that Fanny knew, Ace had stood up Constance on a business deal eight years ago and the offended party swore that she would never speak to that sh**head again, ever.

“Fanny? We must have a bad connection,” he believes incorrectly.

“I’m here,” Fanny has been collecting her thoughts, carefully so as not to overreact. Whatever the reason, Ace’s presence means Constance has allowed that womanizing globetrotter back into their (CCPI) lives.

Poor Ajax is clean out of hellos, but he is perceptive enough to know that Fanny has always viewed him as a threat, a threat to a love story that has never rung true for the antagonist. Constance Caraway, for as long as he has known her, is a red-blooded All-American gal, not a closet homosexual. Sure they seem to be closer than your average two females, but hardly of the lifelong lovebird variety.

“Would you give Connie a message for me?”

“Sure Fanny…. Say-hey didn’t you know I was in Chicago?”

“Tell her that I have accepted some more work from R. Worth Moore and I will keep her informed about the expense and income reports.”

With that clinical ending, to what never was much of a conversation, Fanny hangs up.

“That was fast,” Moore comments having heard one side of the spotty call.

“It looks like you are welcomed to my services for as long as you need them; Constance is busy with other things.”

Not one for wasting time, Attorney Moore gets right down to brass-tacks, “This woman, down in Live Oak Hills, suspects that her husband is moving their joint assets into new accounts. She thinks he is going to either skip the country or divorce her.”

“Set up a meeting between us three as soon as possible. We may have to move fast on this one.” Fanny Renwick may be flustered, but not about to crumble in the face of her personal anguish.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 114

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.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 104 (end Ch. 10)

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 105

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 105

…What better excuse can there be than a 5’8”, drop-dead gorgeous, whiz-bang of a private eye…

It is a severe clear afternoon on this late January day, the visibility being 10 miles on the ground, but 100 miles at 2500 feet. For a dedicated flyer, there is nothing that compares to the unparalleled freedom that a nearly empty sky provides. If driving a car is like navigating a colony of ants, flying can only be compared to… there are few comparisons; cars require paths to get from point A to point B, whereas the same trip is a straight line in a plane.

Ace Bannion is as straight-in-a-line as it gets. Seldom does he waste time bogged down on the complexities of the ground, which is why he has not been weighed down by such earthly burdens like wives and children.

But even a bird needs to set down every once in a while and after training pilots for the military the past six months and this  free spirit is in need of a diversion. What better excuse can there be than a 5’8”, drop-dead gorgeous, whiz-bang of a private eye; none that he can think of, so it is off to point C² – Constance Caraway.

C-squared could divert the moon in his estimation and is the best excuse for a layover he can dream up. They have flirted with more than friendship over the past two decades, but for one reason (him) or another (Fanny) it never materialized. But when she mentioned that she could use some help AND that Fanny was a thousand miles away in Tallahassee, well he did not hesitate to file a flight plan from San Diego to Chicago and get his single engine prop airplane pointed in the right direction.

Why a knockout like her would not have gone to Hollywood to be in movies or marry a movie star or some powerful titan of industry is inexplicable to him.

As for she, Constance doesn’t understand why someone as darling and downright dashing as Ace has not married some lucky girl by now. God knows he has had one hundred & one chances.

The two do have a good time when the opportunity presents itself, so why not now, smack-dab in the middle of the 20th Century?


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 93

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 65

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 65

…Would you like to come over and talk about life for a while?…

“I’ll have the chocolate cake, thank you,” Constance had not planned on topping off her meal with a treat, but what the hell.

Fanny returns from the kitchen with an impressive pile of chocolate heaven x3, on a plate and places it in front of her, while removing the apron that had been protecting her white tuxedo blouse from Yancy’s version of Veal Florentine and Flounder Alfredo (Chops and Fish), “Here you go, enjoy. I can take your tab.”

Handing her a twenty, the overtly curious customer asks, “Are you done for the afternoon?”

“Yeah, it has been a long day.”

“I cannot possibly finish this by myself, would you like to share?” In a world of filled with possibilities, this woman’s brain seldom rests.

“Sure,” she responds instinctively, “I’ll get your change.”

Upon returning with one ten, one five and a nickel, Fanny sits opposite Constance and picks up a spoon. “I’ve always loved this stuff.”

Constance is impressed with how casually friendly this gal is. The ease at which she carries on a conversation is so refreshing; it’s like they’ve known each other for years and it goes on for longer than it takes for the chocolate creation to collapse into the recesses of her satisfied gut.

“Here are your tips Miss Renwick, were you going to leave them for me?” Yancy is politely trying to free up a primo table for the Friday dinner hour.

“Will you look at the time, thank you sir?” She pockets wads of mostly singles and gads of quarters and gets up to head for the door.

Constance thinks on the fly, quickly as not to lose contact with Fanny, at least not so abruptly. “I have an apartment over east of State Street (Tallahassee) would you like to come over and talk about life for a while?


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 62

The NULL Solution = Episode 175

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The NULL Solution = Episode 175

…When one door closes, another one opens…

Deimostra McKinney has some explaining to do.

“I will tell you what I told Chasonn. I am not ready to make any long-term commitments to a world that is not my true home. I may have been born in space, but I have a brother, that I have never met, on Earth.” His head drops. “And I am not sure that I would be accepted as your mate. I am a social minority here on this planet, but not in a Null sort of way. From what my brother tells me, the Gifted threw a fit when they found out he and Princess Cerella were going to wed.”

“The Null believe what I tell them to believe.”

“That doesn’t work with a McKinney. Have you ever seen Sammy Mac do what he is told, at least the first time? Or my mother… she leads Ekcello around by the nose, if he had one I mean. And what about that rascal Joyner, they need to put that boy on a leash. I wager that he is in the NEWFOUNDLANDER with dad as we speak. He is every bit a child of Earth.”

“Do you prefer Chasonn to me?”

“This must be my lucky day,” two marriage proposals in the young hours of one cycle.

“What is luck?”

“Luck is an imaginary condition that relates to good fortune.”

“Then I am lucky for you?” She is confusing the man.

“I am lucky to have made your acquaintance, yes, but…”

The word “but” is an opposing proposition, not a positive conjunction in any language. Skaldic sees the writing on the wall, “I choose not to test my good fortune. Perhaps Offingga is the better choice for me after all.”

“You are pressing your luck Skaldy ol’ boy. My daughter is not for sale,” insists Sampson who is back from serving as doorman for Chasonn’s melancholy exit from the Spaceflight Expository. Now he rebukes the efforts of another suitor. Predictably, he has a rambunctious youngster in tow.

“You are fortunate to have such a loyal daughter Sammy Mac. She will make some Earthling a worthy mate.”

“Or drive him to my distillery. She is child of space; born to wander and free to make her own decisions.”Related image

Ekcello joins the group. He searches out the Null for a specific reason: to ask Skaldic if he would serve as Eridanus’ representative to Harmonia, not an insignificant gesture for the Gifted patriarch. When one door closes, another one opens.

That completes the roster of charter representatives to Harmonia, making the peacekeeping multinational officially complete. It is a bona fide hit in the Terran System, celebrated on Eridanus and accepted by the Seljuk, but will it play in Peoria?


The NULL Solution =

Episode 175


page 171 (end Ch. 17)

The NULL Solution = Episode 174

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The NULL Solution = Episode 174

…Skaldic happens to show up… him and his convenient home-field advantage…

“Do you prefer Skaldic over me?” Seljuk Chasonn asks.

“You certainly don’t beat around the bush.”

“What bush?”

“An imaginary bush; the unadvertised issue of my affection,” she needs to speak clearly, when diverse customs can be misunderstood. “My brother Deke has taken an Eridanian mate, but they have had years to get to know each other. Skaldic was hid from my sight until recently… and you… you are dashing and smart, but that is not enough for me to judge your character.”

“You are wise for one so young. I could take you to Seljuk, to meet my people.”

“I need to meet the people of Earth first. Do you understand?”

“Chasonn and Skaldic could prepare a contest to prove we are worthy of Deimostra.”

“What is the rush Chasonn? You must have a female on your world that will provide you an heir to your throne.”

She need not hit him over the head with a hammer. She has declared as unavailable. It is time to leave.

Skaldic happens to show up… him and his convenient home-field advantage. His shared experience with the Seljuk leader had brought them close, but only for a while. He would be happy to see him leave for home.

They do a manly exchange of pleasantries, knowing that they would not be seeing each other for a while; a neighboring galaxy is like not having a neighbor at all. Like a relative who lives on another continent on 19th Century Earth.

His cruiser is near the expository and after bidding Sampson farewell, it appears he is edging his way toward it.

“I guess Chasonn has another invention to work on?” Skaldic guesses wrong. The scorned foreigner will have plenty of time to repair his pride.

“Maybe,” Sampson says of his friend as he walks away… back to polishing up the NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“He is an interesting man,” Deimostra has unique insight, “I hope to see him again.”

Feeling like he has a clear path to victory, Skaldic tries his hand at furthering his own cause. “While we were gone, I had a chance to think about my future on Eridanus. I believe there is room in my life for partner, a mate who completes my assent as foremost Null.” His pride is evident, but premature.

“What about Offingga? You two make an awesome team.” Her hammer comes out again.

He thought he had made himself clear. Deimostra McKinney is not usually careless with her words.

“Offingga is like a sibling to me, certainly not a mate. I would be honored if you were to be by my side, to bring Eridanus into a new era, like Deke McKinney has with Cerella.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 174


page 170