Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 292

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #292

… It is so ironic that James Ferrell occupies room 209 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, not the hospital he fought so hard to save…

Meanwhile Caption-001Down where the rubber meets the road, nearer to God than Alpha Centauri, James Ferrell clings to life Image result for where the rubber meets the roadafter a ghastly battle with pneumonia. He had been working himself harder than ever, warding off the ever increasing blows being thrown at Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell. In his attempt to maintain A.O.’s flawless reputation, which has become a full time chore, Ferrell put his own health at risk. Having a physician for a client should be a good thing, but in this case, the doctor is not in the house.

He is in New Jersey to visit brother Hosey. No – that was the company line. Angela Ophelia Diaz is expecting any day, nine months pregnant with a certain Florida doctor’s second grandchild. He had not completely severed his ties with mother Camille Diaz, the woman who took him under her wing when he really needed it, and has been checking in from time to time over the past thirty years. He was motivated by his overriding sense of responsibility, being the pregnant girl’s father and all and not having financially supported either of them… other than an occasional birthday present.

Image result for hanging on by a thread

Meanwhile, his attorney was juggling real estate in an effort to keep Laura Bell Memorial Hospital afloat. Legitimate revenues are not paying the bills, other than the rental properties, and even some of them have fallen into disrepair. Roofs need roofing, broken windows remain broken, and tenants are becoming untenable.

It is so ironic that James Ferrell occupies room 209 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, not the hospital he fought so hard to save. Lilly Chevis is at his side, personally attending to him as a representative of LBMH, helping to make the 70 year old man as comfortable as possible.

He was always stopping by the clinic, making sure the bills were being paid and keeping track of the patient register. There have been whispers about late night visits by mostly young white women. He suspects that abortions comprise the bulk of those calls.

Ferrell has been dying a little bit at a time, with the knowledge that the doctor will be indefensible somewhere down the line. The racial climate leading up to 1950 has been spiraling downward. It is becoming fashionable to flaunt the differences between whites and blacks. Whites feel they can be openly hateful and blacks are becoming increasingly vocal in protesting injustice, which has a polarizing effect that trickles down to the otherwise ambivalent. Unfortunately for people of color, the law comes down on the side of prejudice and that can scare the best of lawyers.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Hanging by a thread by Do Ho Suh, textile and thread sculpture

Episode #292


page 275

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 46

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 46

…the patient does mention one incongruous word – wolf …

Wolf by Mark Adlington

“We’ll be there,” Constance bursts into the conversation from the 2nd floor at 6137 Kimbark, “first thing in the morning!”

“Who is that intriguing new voice; does the university have a party line?” asks the curious psychiatric professional.

“That would be Constance Caraway. She represents the private investigation firm we hired to help locate Willard Libby,” injects Martin Kamen.

“Well yes, by all means Miss Caraway, I will be at my office at 5:00 AM, our Rise and Shine time.”

“One quick question, Doctor Steinberg, has our mister Libby had any visitors?”

“My no; we believe someone dropped him off at the front gate… though he does mention one incongruous word – wolf … we are out in the middle of nowhere, but there aren’t any native  gray wolves, perhaps deer and coyotes.”

“Wolf,” Constance makes eye contact with her two allies, both of whom were thinking the same thing; not the four-legged mangy predator, rather the two-legged variety in sheep’s clothing. “You have been an unexpected pleasure Doctor and we will see you at Rise and Shine!”

“Wow, wow, wow, how about that!” This afternoon turns out to be that Christmas morning now passed, Constance Caraway Private Investigation had missed out on; Santa had just arrived a week late.

“Eddie!” she calls out mockingly! It is one thing to have steady work, but the way he has been “on-call”, there is no rhyme or rhythm to this arrangement; but he’ll be there bright and early, though having do dip into his road atlas for their upcoming expedition to Elgin, Illinois.

“It is as important as ever for you to find Libby’s completed work, Martin. Agree with it or not, it appears that your friend’s findings are currently hidden away in a jumbled brain. We owe it to him to preserve it… so no offense, but we’ll be leaving you behind this time.”

Martin David Kamen takes unusual exception to Constance, assuming an upright assertive position, “I am paying the bills and I will be going to Elgin; Will needs to see a familiar face!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 44

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 38

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 38

Chapter Four

 REVELATION

…There is no 39th floor lady, see?…

The ground floor, good old Mother Earth, terra firma has never felt so comforting to one Constance Caraway. The elevator at 33 LaSalle has stopped one floor shy of the basement parking garage. Out on the street, automobiles provide a background for a sidewalk filled with pedestrians, so unexpectedly reassuring.

An added bonus: not one related relative story from one Eddie Dombroski on the way down..

You would think that having just experienced something inexplicable, that the leader of this expedition would guide them out of harm’s way. Instead of following Eddie back out to their car, she stops at the front desk to speak with the doorman. So should have Eddie stopped 20 feet away.

“What’s with the 39th floor? Do you know anyone from WORLD AGNOSTICA?” She hands him their card.

The polite professional Negro employee of many years, judging from his gracious interaction with the comers and goers, stares at Constance as if she had a single blue eye in the middle of her bang covered forehead, saying nothing.

“Isn’t that the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?” she rewords.

Without a response, she becomes annoyed.

“Have I become invisible?”

“There are only 38 floors in this building Miss.”

Now it is she who falls is mute.

“The Penthouse Suite is occupied by the Foreman State National Bank.”

“Excuse me, but we were on the top floor, the 39th, you know World Agnostica!”

“Who are “we”,” he inquires to the woman standing alone in front of the desk.

“Me and ………Ed……. well, he was with me.” The 20 foot rule has bolted out the lobby doors.

“This is not at all funny,” she proclaims while dashing to the right of five elevators, the one she had taken up. “Look, number 39 is right here.”

The lone person who, is patiently waiting to begin his ascent, is snickering at the crazed woman who is chasing phantoms.

There is no 39 lady, see?” states the doorman.

No odd numbered 39 on the top of row of 8 with 5 to each row. Most buildings are designed without that anomalous odd final story.

“I’ve been here since they opened her up in ’29, know her better than I know my wife. If there is a 39, I’ll quit right now and ask for a devorce!”

Leaving a job of 21 years is as inadvisable as it is for Constance to carry this conversation any further. She just shakes her head and blends into the bustling crowd outside.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 37

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 37

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 37

…Instead of empty, #39666 is a castle adorned in gleaming gold, sparkling silver and precious gems…

“I’ll take your word for it. Can we leave?” Eddie D. pleads.

“No, I have one more office to check.” Constance insists.

This suite has a different feel from the outside. The door knob for one is freezing. None of the others were colder than the unoccupied ambient temperature of 55 degrees. She uses the hem of her sweater to tolerate the icy handle. One easy counterclockwise turn and the door swings open, “Eddie!” she summons her timid pal.

Their jaws drop with unadulterated amazement. Instead of empty, #39666 is a castle adorned in gleaming gold, sparkling silver and precious gems. It is not arranged at all like an office, rather a chamber of unknown purpose. The temperature beyond the door, matches that of the knob.

“This feels like a meat locker, Con.”

“We have the golden calves, and golden rams, silver falcons and wolves?” Everything is arranged like a diorama, each piece purposely placed. “And what about this, she points at one particular golden statue. Aren’t those the three smokestacks from Argonne?”

“Yeah and look at these. They look like real people to me?” Eddie is shivering on multiple levels.

Constance knows there may be clues in this glistening fantasyland, but she expedites their stay in the room for the time being, leaving the door ajar.

The haunting phantom voices have hushed, but the dead heavy air around them is beating down her chest, making it hard to breathe.

Let’s get out of here before the owner returns. I don’t think he would be pleased to see us.”

She presses the lone down arrow and the middle elevator responds to take them down,

“Who exactly is the tenant of a place like this?”

“I’ll be damned if I know. We can come back later… with reinforcements.”

Once a safe distance away, Constance is getting warm, or at least warmer, on the inside.  The castles she has visited lately do not seem like welcoming places to be.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Burg Scharfenberg at Night by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme, 1827

Forever Mastadon


page 36 (end Ch. 3)

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 35

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 35

…I may need the back-up, but stay 20 feet behind me and let’s pretend we’re not together…

Once the initial shock of discovering Fanny safe ‘n sound has set in and the requisite debriefing is out of the way, Constance leaves her in Martin’s care for the remainder of the day. The excitement meter needle has been redlining for the last day. It needs to return to normal levels.

33 North LaSalle

Eddie is re-gathered for the task of taking his employer to 33 N. LaSalle Street. She is going to see what she can find out about World Agnostica, at the address listed on that fortuitous business card. What is their deal?

“That building at 33 LaSalle is one of the last skyscrapers built before The Depression. I don’t get many fares from there… bankers are cheapskates and their secretaries are heavy smokers. I pretend not to see ‘em.”

“That’s a bank building, interesting?”

“I don’t know if you know, being an out-of-towner, but 39-blank, blank, blank means you’ll be going to the 39th floor?”

“Thanks for the tip in higher arithmetic Eddie,” she looks up at the top of the building. “If I’m not back in 30 minutes, call the Coast Guard.”

“The Coast Guard is another name for the sissy’s navy. I don’t think they have guns on their boats… my Uncle Fred (not a cousin?) rescues ducks or something…”

“I was only kidding. On second thought, instead of waiting, let’s park the car and you come in with me. I may need the back-up, but stay 20 feet behind me and let’s pretend we’re not together.”

“If anyone asks me what I’m doing, I’ll tell them I’m here for a mortgage on my house.”

“Meet me on the 39th floor and don’t talk to anyone,”

He visually zips his mouth shut.

“You’ll need a lock for that Eddie!” the out-of-town sleuth quips.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 34

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 33

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 33

…A simple 2×3.5” handout gives them their first truly tangible clue…

The good news: Fanny is set free. The bad news: her hands are tied and they have pushed Schneiderher out of the car, somewhere near a rail yard. She is tossed into the heart of Midwest industrialization; factories, diesel powered trains and trucks. Needless to say, she sticks out, a Florence Nightingale in a Rosie the Riveter world.

As luck would have it, she is picked by Schneider Transportation truck driver within ten minutes. He questions not, her bound hands and rumpled appearance, “I’m headed to Wisconsin,” she is told.

“I’m taking Halsted all the way back into the city. I bet those guys are headed for the Loop,” Eddie advises. The Loop is what makes Chicago industry tick.

“Just get us back in one piece. We now have two missing people to locate.” Constance has learned to act in a calculated manner, unlike her spontaneous friend whom they now must add to their to-do list. “This is getting harder to figure out by the minute.”

“Well I found out how to get into this attaché.” Martin delivers the first of a series of fortune reversals. There was also some meaty paperwork tucked into a hidden compartment in this “cold war” era design. “There is a business card in here:”

The simple 2×3.5” handout gives them their first truly tangible clue.

“Agnostica? That implies that they do not believe “in” God or “a” God.”

agnostic

aɡˈnästik/

noun

 1. a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

“That certainly is consistent with the religious theme we keep running into,” they continue to stumble upon more clues with each passing pothole littered on their path back through the Chicago South Shore. This briefcase is a huge coup.

“There is a list of names in here… and my name is on it.” Martin Kamen swallows hard upon seeing his name right below Willard Libby while above Fermi and Sam Ruben.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 32

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 31

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 31

Hindsight always provides the best view, Constance…

The letters F M are scrawled on the reflective glass, using a bar of soap.

F M —- F for what? Fanny? Then what does the M represent.

The meaning of the 2 letters is secondary to the fact that Fanny is nowhere to be seen. She scampers to the order counter. “Have you seen a skinny redhead about my tall?”

No.

Connie gallops out to their empty car. She sprints back inside to report on the mysterious happenings to the guys, who fan out to cover more ground.

“I’m thinking that our close call was no accident,” Eddie concludes.

The day manager of the restaurant blocks public entry down the restroom hall, allowing Martin to legally enter to women’s facilities. “F M, frequency modulation? Not likely.” Using his other senses, he wonders, “That smell, I know it….. CHCl 3, chloroform or dichloromethane.”

“That was used as anesthesia in early surgical medicine. Doc Campbell used it at his hospital back in Florida.”

“Correct and it is the fastest way to render someone unconscious, against their will.”

“She’s been kidnapped, hasn’t she.” Constance shivers at the thought. “How in God’s name did whoever know we were stopping to eat? Were we being tailed Eddie?”

“No! We’ve only gone 2 miles since we left the nunnery and we weren’t followed there or here.”

“In the world of cause and effect we have this: unknown device and missing woman. We must have a track-able gadget locked it in the trunk and we didn’t figure that out?.”

Hindsight always provides the best view, Constance.”

“But I allowed us to let our guard down and Fanny is gone!” That is no ordinary woman to her. Fanny Renwick is her housemate and partner in crime.

“Don’t think the worst, Con,” Eddie, while beside his self in worry, has to maintain a clear head; he is driving.

“If she’s still alive, there are four million people here-about – about being 2000 square miles,” Eddie then proceeds to bring up the worst.

“I get the feeling that Fanny may be a pawn/bargaining chip in this widening mystery. They may be contacting us sooner than later.” Martin draws a daunting comparison.

“Like your friend, Libby?”

“Let’s head back to the house and sort through the goodies we have. Just think, in oneRelated image secluded meeting we have a famous Evangelist in Graham, an incomparable scientist in Fermi, leading Catholic figures outside Rome, not to mention Willard Libby.”

“Don’t leave out that government guy, Wolfgram. If the US State Department or FBI is involved, who knows what is going on?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 30

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 29

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 29

…you Florida gals haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at a White Castle…

“Back to the University, Eddie!” Constance orders.

“Yeah and don’t spare the horses, I know!” The gregarious cabby is all jacked to get some action. It seems that while waiting for the other two, they were not just twiddling their thumbs. “Hey, show ‘em what you found when you jimmied that lock.”

“Fanny?”

“I couldn’t resist,” Fanny holds up what appears to be a device, electronic in nature.

Constance looks at Martin, who shrugs his shoulder. “Put it in the trunk. We’ll make some sense out of that back in the city.”

The Packard’s trunk is unlatched and the unlatched portfolio is placed inside, as if it were cursed.

“Say, can we get something to eat, I’m starved?” pleads Eddie.

“Any suggestions? I don’t know if we have time to waste.” Connie inquires.

“Hey, my tummy is growling. We passed a White Castle on the way down, over on Halsted. It’s on the way and you Florida gals haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at a White Castle. No waiters or tipping!”

“Sliders,” Martin confirms with some disdain. White Castle Restaurants are burger joints famous for their size: small, requiring more than one to fill you up. The white castle building is modeled after Chicago’s Water Tower, one of the few structures to escape the Great Fire of 1871.

“Alright, eating at a castle sounds romantic,” ever the conduit for positivism, Fanny adds her Eddie's Cousins-001approval. “Let’s go inside.”

“My treat,” Eddie insists. “My cousin Harold (#2 if you’re keeping score)) owns White Castle stock; says it’s the best investment out there. They call it fast-food; I call it heaven, in three bites or less.”

“Heaven and hell intersect at Halsted & 179th Street.”

“What’s that Marty?”

Martin need not clarify.

All of a sudden Eddie swerves to miss a wayward black sedan. His passengers are jostled about. “That goof almost hit us! He must be on his way home from the tavern!”

Once they safely gain White Castle’s dining area, standing at the counter, Eddie does the ordering, “A Variety Sack of 30 and three Cokes.”

Constance picks out a booth by the front window, where Homewood meets Glenwood. “Busy street,” she comments.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 28

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