Highway to Hell – WIF Myth & Legend

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I-4 Dead Zone:

America’s Most

Haunted Highway

The Interstate 4 highway stretches over 132 miles through Florida, and is frequented daily by those on their way to work or visit friends, and certainly it’s a travel hub for those vacationing in the Sunshine State, perhaps on their way to Disney World.

While the I-4 is a very well-traveled highway, there’s one spot nicknamed the “Dead Zone” where people need to be especially careful. This quarter-mile stretch of the highway has been the location for many car accidents, electronic malfunctions, and even ghost sightings.

Why is this seemingly cursed spot on the highway so dangerous for drivers? Perhaps it’s because it was built over graves, and a disturbed grave site is the perfect recipe for strange things to happen. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that so many people have crashed their vehicles there, although it’s a pretty frightening coincidence. The graves are under one of the eastbound lanes of the I-4, before you get to the south end of the St. Johns River Bridge, but we’ll let you decide whether it’s just a coincidence… or if there’s a more sinister aspect to the stories. Let’s take a look at the strange and eerie part of the Interstate 4 highway known as the Dead Zone…

The Dead Zone

Around the halfway point between Daytona and Orlando is a very dangerous spot for drivers. The Interstate 4 highway passes over the St. Johns River in Seminole County, and at the south end of the interstate bridge is a quarter-mile section known as the “Dead Zone.”

The Dead Zone is known for the exceptionally high amount of accidents that have happened there. Oddly enough, on the first day that the new Interstate 4 was opened, a tractor-trailer carrying frozen shrimp suddenly lost control and jackknifed directly above the disturbed graves of immigrants who had died from yellow fever.

While there isn’t an exact number, it is believed that anywhere from 1,500 to over 2,000 accidents have happened there since the opening of the highway in 1963. Unfortunately, many of those accidents resulted with death. In fact, around 440 accidents happened at that location between the 1999 and 2006. And in just a 24-month period between 1995 and 1997, there were a staggering 44 car accidents that resulted in 65 people being injured.

Many of the locals will not drive on the Dead Zone of the I-4, and instead take a much longer and more roundabout way to get to their destination.

The History Of The Location

In the years before the 1880s, the location was nothing but wilderness with a sand road that ended up at an area that was equipped with a hand-operated river ferry. Then in 1886, a railroad station was built and there was an attempt to begin a Roman Catholic colony named St. Joseph’s Colony. The owner of the land, Henry Sanford, thought that he could get some German immigrants to fill the colony. But after just four immigrant families moved there, Sanford’s efforts to establish a thriving Catholic colony ended.

One year later, there was an outbreak of yellow fever that claimed the lives of one immigrant family. There was so much fear that others would contract the fever that the four bodies were taken into the woods and burned. The priest who was also living in the colony had to go to Tampa to minister to yellow fever victims there, but unfortunately three days after arriving he also passed away from the fever. With the priest dead, there wasn’t anyone who could perform the last rites to the family of four who had passed away and they were buried without any ceremony.

By 1890, the colony had developed into a rural town named Lake Monroe. When a man named D.V. Warren bought the land north of the railroad, he cleared the area so he could do some farming, but he left the cemetery untouched. The graves looked like an island in the middle of the cultivated farmland and, over time, the names on the four wooden markers were erased by nature. Warren sold his land to Albert S. Hawkins in 1905.

Hawkins had leased his land to other farmers but he always asked them not to touch or mess with the burial site. However, one farmer ignored the warning and attempted to remove the wire fence that was around the graves. His house mysteriously burned down that exact day.

Hawkins had a home that was located at the edge of the field, and one day it burned down when he tried removing the rotting wooden markers for the graves. Since his wife was convinced that the fire was because of his tampering with the gravesite, Hawkins immediately replaced the markers.

However, after the Hawkins’ new house was built, they began experiencing strange things in their new home, especially with the children’s toys. A small rocking chair would begin rocking all by itself, and several toys would move on their own. Even his neighbors told him that they had seen strange lights around the gravesite at night. Perhaps this is why many of the locals nicknamed the area the “Field of the Dead.”

Another chilling event happened in the early 1950s when a young boy was disturbing the graves, and the following night he was killed by a drunk driver. The driver was never identified or caught.

Hurricanes And The I-4

The government bought the property in 1959 for the purpose of building Interstate 4. The four graves were supposed to be relocated to another area, but never were. The surveyors of the land decided that the graves were very old and “felt it was best, as well as beneficial to construction and time issues to ignore the graves and build over them.” One of the engineers was even quoted saying, “It’s not an ancient Indian burial ground, they’re just a few old bones.” Their choice not to relocate the graves would be one of the worst decisions they could ever make.

In September 1960, dirt was poured on top of the graves in order to raise up the highway. At the same time that the fill-dirt was being poured on the graves, a powerful storm named Hurricane Donna was hammering the southern region of Florida. The hurricane was on its way to the Gulf of Mexico but suddenly and unexpectedly changed course toward the exact location where the new interstate was being built. In fact, the eye of the hurricane passed directly over the gravesite at exactly midnight on the night of September 10, 1960. The damage from the storm delayed the construction of the highway for almost a month.

Then in 2004, another major storm named Hurricane Charley took almost the exact same route Hurricane Donna had. Hurricane Charley passed directly over the graves of the four deceased immigrants, and what’s even more eerie is that there was construction happening around the graves right before the hurricane passed over. It seemed as though something – or someone – didn’t want anyone disturbing the resting place of the four deceased immigrants. Researcher and author Charlie Carlson wrote a book called Strange Florida, and has talked about the hurricanes:

“Charley followed almost the same route as Donna. They referred to Charley as the ‘I-4 Hurricane.’ Strangely enough, there was construction going on around the graves. The land where the graves are was being disturbed again. It was almost like a repeat of Donna.”

There have also been a high number of tornadoes that have ripped through the area, following the route of the Interstate 4.

An Eerie Coincidence

It’s definitely a strange coincidence that two hurricanes seemingly made sure that they hit the exact location where the graves were being disturbed by construction, as well as the many tornadoes that have traveled up Interstate 4, as if there was some sort of force or magnet attracting them to the location. But there is another coincidence that is absolutely bone-chilling and deeply disturbing.

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that there were 44 car crashes that ended up injuring a total of 65 people between 1995 and 1997. If you take a moment to do the math, when you add up 44 and 65 you get a total of 109. In 1996, it had been exactly 109 years since the four members of the immigrant family died in 1887. Now that’s an incredibly eerie coincidence.

Paranormal Experiences

In addition to the countless car crashes, deadly tornadoes, and strong hurricanes, Interstate 4 is also known as the most haunted highway in America, especially in the quarter-mile Dead Zone.

There have been many strange occurrences and paranormal activity associated with the highway. One common claim is that cell phones, radios, and CBs stop working when people drive through the Dead Zone. Others have claimed to have heard static or the sound of children laughing coming from their electronics. They have also heard disembodied voices, such as a person asking “Who’s there?” or the simple question of “Why?” But when drivers respond through their devices, there is nobody on the other end to answer. Some people have even claimed to have heard the sounds of snarling or growling coming from their radios. What’s even more frightening is the fact that there are no cell phone or radio antennas in that area, so the strange sounds coming from electronic devices are a real mystery.

Some people have reported seeing ghost cars, shadow people, and ghostly apparitions of hitchhikers, as well as suddenly driving into thick fog that appears out of nowhere, and even feeling cold spots. Some have also witnessed unexplained balls of light that zig-zag above the road. Others have claimed to have seen the ghostly apparition of a young woman in a flowing white dress or nightgown. An even more disturbing allegation is that some drivers have claimed that an unseen force had taken over control of their vehicles.

While state officials have blamed the exceptionally high amount of car accidents on congested traffic conditions, many people believe that the crashes are caused by restless spirits that are looking for revenge after their graves were disturbed.

There’s no doubt that there have been an unusually high number of car accidents on the I-4, and there are a lot of claims coming from people who have experienced strange and unexplained things in that area. Add in the fact that the Dead Zone is resting on top of four graves, and… well, it’s no surprise that this is the most haunted highway in America.


Highway to Hell –

WIF Myths & Legend

Crazy Railroad Tracks – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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Crazy Railroad Tracks

Around

the World

While we don’t think of them in the same way as cars or even commercial airplanes, trains are a staple mode of transportation and may be the very definition of the “standard routine” at times, being guided by rails. Yet rail and train construction is often anything but standard or routine, and is sometimes hatched from the brains of ultra-creative and – at times – desperate engineers.

We’ve already told you about bizarre locomotives themselves, so in this account we’re going to get into some of the crazier railroads from around the world…

10. Hindenburgdamm, Germany

Rail and sea travel might seem to be worlds apart, but when trains appear to run across the waves on a narrow causeway, the role of a ferry may be replaced by the capabilities of a train. The island of Sylt, off the coast of Germany, is not accessible by either roads or ferries. Instead, the method of traveling and, most significantly, of bringing cars to and from the popular island destination consists of what might best be called a sea train.

Locomotives pulling railcars stacked with personal vehicles travel between Sylt and Schleswig-Holstein on mainland Germany just barely above the waves on rails laid upon a precarious-looking causeway called the Hindenburgdamm that crosses almost 7 miles of water. The causeway is solid but exceptionally narrow, and also has very little height above sea level. The shallow waters in between the mainland and the island of Sylt made the creation of this remarkable alternative to the more typical means of transporting vehicles to an island by boat possible. Around 100 trains per day travel between the island and the mainland, half of those carrying cars and trucks.

9. Rail Transit No. 2, China

Chongqing, in China’s Sichuan Province, is a populated area where spicy food is popular and urban residential, commercial, and transportation space is at a great premium. So much so, in fact, that when the planned construction of Rail Transit No. 2 Line in Chongqing was set to go forward an apartment building was right in the way of the track slated to be built. While such a defined problem might baffle some designers and planners, a remarkable planning compromise was reached that balanced the competing transportation and residential needs.

Lacking an alternative route for the railway and not wanting to take the drastic step of demolishing the building, transit planners and engineers concocted a successful plan that removed several suites and passed the elevated train track right through the apartment building. While not easy, taking the approach of routing the railway through the building was still more feasible than trying other paths, given the little available space. The apartment still houses most of its original inhabitants, who apparently don’t mind a monorail barreling through their place once in awhile. Care to maintain the structural integrity of the building through the tunnel-like modifications combines with the quiet and efficient railway system to make the building livable, and surprisingly without significant noise or disturbance to residents.

8. Gisborne Airport Railway Crossing

Planes, trains, and… wait, planes and trains together? Yes. New Zealand is not the largest nation on Earth, and the competition for flat land that can be used for purposes dependent on flat land (especially, for example, an airport) is significant in certain areas. In a dramatic example of space sharing in transportation infrastructure, a railway intersects with a runway. On New Zealand’s North Island, thePalmerston North – Gisborne Railway Line crosses the runway of the Gisborne Airport.

Any mistake by a pilot or an engineer could potentially cause a plane to crash right into a train crossing the middle of the runway at right angles, but not to worry: schedules are carefully coordinated. Still, a locomotive steaming across a runway may shock the eyes of the unprepared. The railway is busy throughout the day and into the night, according to scheduled train routes. In contrast, the runway is only in operation to handle air traffic between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. During the day when both are in full use, it is a job and of itself to coordinate the arrival and departure of aircraft with the seemingly out-of-place trains that cross the runway. Aircraft and trains both stop for each other.

7. Gotthard Tunnel Route

Northern and Southern Europe may be geographically different and set apart by massive Alpine peaks towering above sloping forests and fields, but the remarkable Gotthard Tunnel solves the problem by tunneling directly through the mountains, connecting Europe on either side of the imposing Swiss Alps by going right under especially difficult sections. The tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world at 35 miles in length, greatly reducing the need for truck traffic. The tunnel is also not only the longest railway tunnel existing on the planet, it is also the deepest under the surface.

At its greatest point of depth, the remarkable tunnel is 1.42 miles below the mountainous surface above as it carries trains in the subterranean desolation. Replacing the traffic of a million trucks that have been transporting goods every year, the twin-bored tunnel links the municipality of Erstfeld, with its German language name and located towards Switzerland’s north, with the south of Switzerland municipality of Bodio, closer to the Italian border and with a corresponding Italian name – examples of Switzerland’s linguistic diversity. The tunnel route was opened in a ceremony that involved hundreds of passengers getting the opportunity to ride the train in each direction.

6. Maeklong Railway Market

Playing on train tracks is not recommended, but the Maeklong Railway Market in Bangkok, Thailand takes things one step further. You see, not only do people gather around the tracks, but an entire marketplace is set up and dismantled daily. When the market is open, stalls are erected and goods are sold… right on the tracks upon which trains will soon arrive. Each time trains are scheduled throughout the day, items and people are moved hastily off the track, before the trains come through. Paying attention to the time is certainly a matter of survival in this particular set up.

The scale and complexity of the market in its cumulative sum makes its dismantlement seem immensely challenging. But it is the coordinated effort of multiple vendors working together that also makes it possible for the entire set up to be moved out of the way of oncoming trains when the need arises. Close attention is duly paid to the schedule of the train despite the apparent distraction of the busy selling conditions and throngs of market visitors. As the tracks are cleared according to train schedules, disaster is consistently averted.

5. Katoomba Scenic World Railway

Australia may be thought of as a land of flat terrain and desert, but it is worth remembering that while that impression may be true across much of the Australian landscape, there is topographical variation. The Blue Mountains of New South Wales are not only noteworthy natural features but also home to an incredible railway system that forms a tourist attraction. Remarkable as the world’s steepest funicular railway and the steepest passenger-carrying rail system worldwide, the Katoomba Scenic World Railway was originally built in the late 1800s and has a rich history, given its construction to aid in transportation aspects of mining operations.

Funicular indicates that the railway operates with the assistance of cable traction, pulling cars up the steep inclines that would otherwise pose an insurmountable challenge to rail travel. With tracks positioned at 52 degrees, which is a 128% incline, the incredibly steep railway now sees modern vehicles operating as an attraction for daring rail travelers. The railway offers spectacular views of mountain, forest, and cliff formations as it traverses difficult terrain. In one particularly hair-raising section, the railway drops 1,017 feet as it travels through a tunnel in the side of a mountain cliff.

4. Tren-a-las Nubes, Argentina

The Andes are known as exceptional geographical formations that offer some of the most ambitious mountaineering routes on the planet. Translating to “Train to the Clouds,” Tren-a-las Nubes in Argentina rises just over 13,779 feet above sea level. Passing through numerous spectacular landscape types and climate zones, the train traverses arid lowlands, rocky precipices, and high elevation landscapes where the air is thin enough to potentially create challenges for those not accustomed to the height. And speaking of that height: onboard oxygen is available in case of medical symptoms due to the exceptional height reached on the journey.

Construction of the incredible railway route began in the year 1921 under a plan to connect Northern Argentina to Chilean lands by reaching across the Andes. As the tracks cover variations between peaks and immense valleys, the differences are leveled out by carefully constructed trestles equipped with an incredible array of beams, abruptly transitioning into railway track, skirting slope edges with sufficient clearance made in the rocks. Typical track may seem to be the exception rather than the norm in such parts of the route. While the train to the clouds reaches astonishing heights, the name actually refers to clouds of steam from the locomotive hovering in the cold air rather than any natural clouds that may be encountered on the route.

3. Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The highest railway in the world, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway reaches the exceptional height of a little more than 16,640 feet at its highest point, while its average height is still exceptional at nearly 14,764 feet. The railway passes through the world’s highest elevated railway tunnel, with sections of the track experiencing severe freezing conditions. The route contains a number of record-holding elements in the track layout, including the most lengthy plateau tunnel on the planet at Kunlun Mountain, extending 5,531 feet, while the Fenghuoshan Tunnel is at the top of world records for the tunnel that is at the highest elevation, being built at 16,092.52 feet.

The railway is recognized as a Chinese engineering feat of great significance, standing out with many ingenious and challenging engineering solutions given the vast distances involved in the route, remote locations, and the need to build sections of the track on frozen soil that never thaws. The thinness of the air at the higher elevation along the route has presented challenges not only to passengers, but significantly affected construction workers to the point where oxygen facilities were set up. Passengers fill out a health declaration and are also supplied with personal oxygen masks, while train windows filter excess UV rays.

2. Mauritania Railway, Sahara Desert

Yes, there is a train running through shifting sands and shimmering heat. At 437 miles in length, the Mauritania Railway braves the blistering isolation of the Sahara. The seemingly endless trains running from desert to coast along this route, the national railway of the sizable, Sahara desert-dominated African country of Mauritania, are the longest freight trains in the world at 1.5 miles in length. The route is used to transport iron ore vast distances across the desert to port locations, where it is shipped.

Given that the nation is almost entirely stark and desolate desert, iron ore export plays a crucial role in the economic survival of the country. While the trains are mostly intended to carry freight, passengers can hitch a ride on the trains, either opting to ride for free in the hoppers or to pay a small fee to travel on available benches. But if the train were to break down in the extreme heat of the Sahara, the results could be disastrous for travelers. The risks of the adventure on the desert tracks include extreme sandstorms brought about by the harsh desert winds and easily disturbed fine sands that characterize the desert landscape.

1. Dawlish Railway Station, Exeter to Plymouth Line

Trains on the beach, a seawall station, and sea cliff tunnels. That’s a lot to combine together in a railway route, and sometimes, the cause of an awful lot of trouble due to collapsing tracks. An example of particularly notable and extreme railway line construction that has left much to be desired, the Dawlish Railway Station in southern England and the railway tracks to and from the areas close to the station have at times been fraught with problems. The challenges have included the collapse of a track section after being partially washed away by the waves caused by extreme weather.

The spectacular appearance of the beach-side station and nearby tracks stands out, seemingly being out of place due to the station being right on the seawall, allowing salt spray to easily wash over the tracks. The sight of trains in a view-scape where one might expect beached or moored ships adds great interest and creates fantastic photography opportunities. Adding to the drama of the exceptionally challenging rail route, the track travels through tunnels bored into challenging sea cliffs just to the south of the station, creating a contrast between track running through the closed seaside tunnels, and track laid along open seawalls.


Crazy Railroad Tracks –

WIF 10 Cent Travel

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 34

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 34

…“Looks like you made a friend, Fanny?” who is giving her the “he’s married” look…

“It looks like we’re close to home.” Martin is relieved that Eddie has gotten them back in one piece..

 “Don’t forget, the walls have ears,” warns Constance.

 Kimbark 6137But before they can re-enter those 50 year old plaster partitions, they spy 2 some-ones sitting on the front stairs, who were hoping upon hope that William would show his elusive self and let them in out of the late-day chill.

 “Should I drive around to the alley?” Eddie asks.

 Constance jumps out of the stationary vehicle, a half block from the front door.

“Fanny!!!!!!!!!” She blasts past the person sitting next to her to apply a world-class hugs to a once lost partner. None of them expected such a swift conclusion to Fanny’s abduction. She Schneiderdoes acknowledge the stranger seated beside her, “And this would be?”

“Frank Herman. I do long hauls for Schneider Trucking, out of Wisconsin.” He extends his hand in friendship and does so in parting, “You’re safe now Miss Fanny, I’ll be on my way.”

“He gave me a ride back,” simply put. She points out at 61st Street and the big orange truck too large to come down Kimbark.

“Thank you Frank Herman. I guess Fanny will fill the blanks, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was not expecting to see that one for… a while,” she stops short of saying forever. “Can I give you something for your efforts?”

“I have your address in Tallahassee. I’ll stop by the next time I get down that way.”

“I’m sure Fanny will make up some of her famous fried chicken for you.”

“I’m counting on it.” The modest hero moves on down the road.

“Looks like you made a friend, Fanny?” who is giving her the “he’s married” look.

Eddie's Cousins-001Eddie, for his part, escorts his road warrior brother back out to his truck, “My cousin Jimmy (cousin #3) drives a White Freightliner, part of the million mile club, but he drives forth and back to New York twice a week, has to go through Ohio. Do you drive in Ohio? Make sure you watch out for the speed traps… well any way he……”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 33

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 18

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 18

…There are  stories for every occasion and two on Sundays…

“I hate to be a Scrooge, but I had the feeling someone was watching my house; there was a car with one guy in it sitting across the street. His engine was running, but he hadn’t moved all morning.”

“Maybe he was a visitor at some house on your block,” Fanny speculates about a holiday guest.

“Nah, not the Englewood type, if you know what I mean, Fan.” Con and Fan’ are the new monikers he has adapted for the girls. “Plus, plus I think I picked up a tail going west on 79th. He dropped off in Willow Springs though, so I can’t be 100% sure.

“We’re going to have to be more discreet here folks; the streets have eyes.”

streets

Constance doesn’t like being fingered. She does the fingering, thank you.

“We are going to rent an ignominious car from Hertz Car Rental at Chicago Midway Airport, so let’s go there first and then park your ‘I am bright yellow, look at me’ car for a while.” Connie is taking charge of the situation, at least as it applies to the covert nature of their comings and goings.

“Now that’s an airport! It ain’t out in Timbuktu and the City Council just named it after the Battle of Midway. The Navy really took it to the Japs with that one. If we don’t put a hurt on their fleet, we may be speaking Japanese or German right now!” Eddie is proud of the war effort, including his service with the Army. He rolls up his right pant leg, “Took a bullet in France.”

Back to the task at hand

“225 West Randolph, I know exactly which building that is? My brother-in-law works on the 23rd floor, some sort of accounting guy. He is a persnickety sort, but he does our taxes for cheap, so I shouldn’t complain.”

There are  stories for every occasion and twice on Sunday.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 17

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 10

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 10

…“No, problem. We have Eddie!” Outside in his idling yellow auto, Eddie Dombroski has nodded off, unaware of what is in store for the rest of this Christmas eve-‘ning…

The basement door is in fact unlocked –

“Curious.” Martin Kamen points down the rickety stairs. “Watch your heads; cover your hair from the dust and spider webs.”

“No one uses these stairs and yet there is a pair of footprints in the dust, in both directions.” Fanny is first down.

“Check for booby traps Fan!”

“Very funny.” Instead of trip-lines Fanny traces the stray telephone line to what looks like a transmitter. “Look, the yellow and black wires are hooked up to this thing, but the red and green continue on to what must be other extensions.”

Fishy.

Related image“We need to get out of this building, before we discuss anything other than the weather.” You never know who may be listening.

“William has the car, but there is a café over on 57th.”

“That’s swell, but we need to get down to business in a hurry.”

“We have a safe room out at Argonne, but how do we get there? The University bus doesn’t run on Sundays.”

“No problem. We have Eddie!” Outside in his idling yellow auto, Eddie Dombroski has nodded off; unaware of what is in store for the rest of this Christmas eve-‘ning.

The three of them pile into the spacious back seat of the Checker auto, could even fit two more of slight build if needed, as they roust the driver to action.

“Argonne National Laboratory!” Constance Caraway belts out the order, passing a 100 dollar bill up to the front seat.

“That’s that Top Secret place out Westmont way. Yeah, down on the way to Saint Louie on Route 66; some great taverns out there. I can pick it up at Jackson Blvd.”

“Stop by your house on the way and tell your wife you have been commandeered by two beautiful government agents for a secret government mission… not to worry, we will have you home for Christmas morning.”

“You folks aren’t school teachers are you?” Eddie senses something greater than that.

“He is.” They both point to the man in between them.

Martin David Kamen timidly raises his hand.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 12

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 7

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 7

…This is going to be a long drive. Eddie has more tales than a book of short stories…

“You are so kind Eddie, but our friend is in the academic field. He is a scientist and a professor.”Eddie's Cousins-001

“An egg head, eh? My 4th cousin Wilfred, yeah I know… what a name… is really smart. He invented the paddle board.” He demonstrates how, when a rubber band and ball is attached to a ping-pong paddle, it keeps coming back.

This is going to be a long drive. Eddie has more tales than a book of short stories and he is determined to regale the girls with every single one; each stoplight seems to trigger one to the next.

The Yellow Cab mercifully makes a right hand turn off 55th St onto one-way south Kimbark and stops in front of a two-story gray stone much like the others on either side. He stops the cab, gets out to open doors for his passengers and opens the huge truck to take out their luggage.

“Could you hang to our bags Eddie? We don’t know how long we will be here.”

“Your friend ain’t much for guests? Figures. I’ll turn off the meter for 1 hour, seeing this will be my last fare. I’m too close to home to go back out to Orchard Field.

“Orchard?”

O’Hare, whatever they want to call it now. I have a bungalow over in Englewood that me and the Mrs. bought a couple years ago, just ten minutes away.”

“One hour?”

“One hour and then the meter starts up again.” He squints at the device mounted above his rearview mirror. “You are looking at 12 buck and change so far.”

Escalating cab fare will not be the determining factor in how much time they spend here.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 9

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 6

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 6

…You must be from China sister. That is clear down by the lake….

Once the Constance and Fanny retrieves their suitcases, they now must find their way to the University of Chicago. At least when traveling by train, the paths leading away from downtown Union Station are much easier to follow.

“I can see the skyscrapers from here, but this airport is out in the boonies,” laments the frustrated 3rd grade teacher.

As if on cue, a boxy yellow car pulls up alongside them.

“Where are you headed ladies?” yells the bold driver of a Checker automobile painted in striking yellow with a Taxi light affixed to the roof. “It’s mighty cold out and ain’t nowhere I can’t take you.”

“That’s a triple negative,” the librarian mentions.

Shush,” Constance pokes.

“We’re looking for the University of Chicago,” Fanny blurts “Is it nearby?”

You must be from China sister. That is clear down by the lake.

“We saw a thousand lakes on the way here, which one is it near?”

“Are you for real? Michigan, come-on, that big one over that way!” Eddie points.

“My friend was merely kidding sir; we know where the university is located. We just need a reliable way to get there.”

6137 South Kimbark

“My name is Eddie, not sir and Avondale Avenue will take us to Lakeshore Drive, bing-bam-boom.” Eddie Dombroski has been a cabby since his discharge from the Army at the end of the Second World War. “That’s unless the wind drifted that snow we got last night, then we could cut down State Street to 55th.”

“Splendid! 6137 Kimbark and don’t spare the horses.”

“Horses?”

“That is just a saying Eddie,” explains Constance. “Just get us there quickly.”

“I don’t speed on slick roads are Missy, but I do know all the shortcuts.”

“We have the utmost confidence in your driving.” They have no other alternatives, but just in case, that yellow taxi is built like a Sherman Tank.

“Let me introduce us: my name is Carolyn and this is Sara.” She points to Fanny, fending off an approaching elbow with a timely wink. “We are visiting a high school friend who has made it to the big time.”

“You mean like Benny Goodman, or maybe that Rita Hayworth? She ain’t got nothing on you, if I must say so myself.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 8