Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 212

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 212

…Attorney Worth has located an abandoned stable on north Dearborn, the actual coach house for a Louis Sullivan designed home…

Coachhouse

North Dearborn

Also not very common in the middle of the Twentieth Century is specialized upscale livery by horse drawn carriage. Partially inspired by wife Edie’s insistence that he gives up his Checker Cab days, coupled with the inheritance left behind by his wife’s rich aunt from Jersey, Eddie Dombroski is teaming up with his cousin Rex from Western Springs on the concept of carriage rides in what is considered to be the downtown Chicago’s Loop.

There is a gaping hole in romantic conveyance in the city, in fact there are none at all. The only problem is, that despite his extensive knowledge of the byways and side streets, he has zero experience with Cleveland Bays, those 16-hand mahogany colored beauties that will tow the high-wheeled four person enclosed cabs.

Eddie is coachman to Rex’s footman, though one cannot exist without the other. Edie has broken away from her domestic chains to become the hawker for the fledgling undertaking and the three of them work together.

And seeing as Fanny has parked he fanny at that shyster Moore’s South Loop Hotel, they will be the perfect guinea pigs for this groundbreaking rebirth of a long lost mode of transportation. But he may be switching from the South Side for the North Side. Attorney Worth has located an abandoned stable on north Dearborn, just south of Lincoln Park, the actual coach house for a Louis Sullivan designed home. After clearing away the legal hindrance to keeping live farm animals, the Floridian decides he likes the home itself and buys it.

“What a wonderful place to start a family,” directing his comment to “we know who”, a “who” that is creeping up on the upper reaches of motherhood – tick-tock, tick-tock.

That puts Fanny to thinking. If he is thinking about children, he must have sexual intimacy on his mind. If he has carnal relations on his mind, then he knows that marriage must come first; which is the very same hurdle that Ace and Constance have facing them.

“Let’s get Rex and his horses into the stable first. The 28th is coming up fast and Constance wants us to meet up with Agent Daniels as soon as possible,” Fanny declares.

“After the stadium crusade is over, you’ll have to help me furnish the place.”

“I used to have simple tastes!”

To be foretold is to be forewarned. (or something like that)


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 178

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 205

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 205

…Constance interrupts the frisky librarian’s fantasy before it can get out from behind the research desk…

Interrupted

Ace’s hitherto humble homebody aficionada takes a closer look at Constance’s intensity, conveniently ignoring exactly what she means.

Man ‘O Meter Art by Bill Frymire

“They are leaving Cedar Rapids and are headed to the Mississippi River. Then, they are to catch a paddle wheeler to the Twin Cities.” He sees the two women in a private discussion, accidentally stepping all over his own territorial rights. “Do you have any suggestions about how to intercept them on the way to Minnesota? Can we get there from here?”

“My family is from Mankato (MN),” Sarah’s man-o-meter is spiking into the red. “I could show you the way Mr. Bannion. I have some time off scheduled for next week. The crocuses should be blooming right now and I need to help plan a family reunion… let me get a road atlas, the new 1951 Edition…”

Constance interrupts that fantasy before it can get out from behind the research desk.

We have our reliable State Farm road map and we really must be going! We need to pick up our things in Eagle and check out of ­our motel and bid Polly Pabst farewell…”

Can’t a librarian dream a little?

Leaving Cooney is exactly what they (Ace & Constance) do, by heading due west to Prairie du Chien, with intent to deliver a radical religious recipe for demonic demotion, in the form of a lambskin scroll, to Billy Graham. Just how far the preacher will go to put the ancient script into action remains to be seen, but for the two temporary Wisconsin citizens, the end justifies the means, even if it meant braving a lusting librarian.

—United States interregional highways are improving, albeit slowly, but the need for a nationwide roadway plan is recognized and in the works. The issue of national defense is the driving force behind these logistical studies—

They could use a superhighway about now.

US Highway 18 will take away from Oconomowoc and provide them a concrete pathway, through the rolling hills, past the Wisconsin state capitol of Madison and out to the mouth of the Wisconsin River, where it empties into the Mighty Mississippi.


Constance Caraway P.I.

long road2

Forever Mastadon


page 172

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 115

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 115

…After a good night’s rest, the pair, dressed like any other tourists, stroll down the historic thoroughfares…

Docking an oceangoing freighter is a landing of a divertive sort. Though the seas are rough, the fully loaded cargo vessel cuts its way through chop without much bother. And though it is a ways in from the Tyrrhenian Sea, the City of Seven Hills’ territory extends to the shore, with arterial aquatic access on the Tiber River. Not a commercial seaport, Rome serves as a touch ‘n go stop for tagalongs like Caraway and Bannion and their lumbering transport ship.

Much like any other international destination, Ace knows where to go and who can get him there, “Don’t lose track of me CC.”

“Not a chance Ace, I may just feed off your leftovers.”

“No chum here for you chum. There is not a pretty girl in every port-o-call like you may have speculated.”

She does not lead on like she was paying much attention, but she is, “Let’s find a place to stay for the night, we can hit it hard tomorrow….”

“Yes, hit it hard!”

“In separate rooms…….”

“Same room, I’ll take the sofa.”

“That’ll work,” she concedes, “then we can go over our strategy.”

After a good night’s rest, the pair, dressed like any other tourists, stroll down the historic thoroughfares, set out to case the building at Tre Sei (666) Via Catone. Constance always has a camera in her handbag, and sometimes it even has film in it, but not this time; it makes a neat click sound either way. Ace is Ace, checking his tour guide, which is a nondescript piece of paper from out of his wallet, serving as a map.

“Creepy building CC… has to be from the days of the Roman Empire.”

“Look up… try not to be obvious man… at the top floor windows.”

“Let’s see, they are pitch-black and have beads of water on Worn stairsthe outside of them. I believe that means it’s much colder inside than out, right?”

“But a building this old does not have a heating or cooling system. It may be winter in this hemisphere, but it is still 60 degrees or so, so how do account for the condensation,” she lays out the facts? “You can’t, can you?”

“Can’t say that I can,” he looks up, down and around and inside the portico. “The granite on the stairs is well worn. I see a set of footprints, one up, one down, same shoes.”

“I see two up, one of them older and then one down.”

“That would mean someone is inside.”


 Constance Caraway P.I.


page 100

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 86

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 86

…Connie suspects there is more than piano tutoring going on between William and the Dean’s daughter…

The Dombroski involvement in this universal affair is part and parcel the result of Eddie’s chance offer of livery; a simple airport fare differs greatly from risky short-term employment. They had provided cover for themselves in renting the Packard sedan for him to drive, but protecting Eddie’s personal interests had not crossed their minds. Eddie will not be of any good service until his wife is found.

“Do not touch anything Eddie, we’ll be over soon… 45 minutes,” she dons panty, bra, slacks and blouse while concluding the call, asking Fanny, “Is William with Martin?”

“No, I saw him trying the bathroom door knob while you were in the shower.”

“How about Martin and Willard…?”

“They have been staying at Will’s office ever since he snapped out of his coma,” Fanny serves as the crew’s social secretary, sees all & knows all of everyone’s everything.

“Good,” Connie runs back down the hallway to the common bath, barging in without knocking. “Get the car William!”

With nary a towel to cover him and a beet-red face he reacts, “This better be important Constance, I have a lesson scheduled with the Dean’s daughter.”

“You can tickle her ivories another time sonny,” she has seen the two together and suspects there is more than piano tutoring going on between them, “get dressed and warm up the car, we have a friend to help.”

“Poor William,” Fanny expresses sympathy for a nice young man who is challenged when it comes to romance.

Constance is not the least bit concerned about that. Ramifications are spreading like an allergic rash, with benign redness leading to serious discomfort. And for all his foibles, Eddie has been nothing but loyal to them despite the uneven cadence of his employ. Never once was his wife to be part of the deal. Innocent coalitions have lead to collateral damage.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 78