Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 76

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 76

…“What is the date Martin?” asks the man who has been frozen in time…

“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.”

FOREVER MASTADON — what a group of nuts that is!”

Can’t spell a lick, but they sure are potent,” Constance comments.

Spell Check 1951

“We found a scrap of paper with mastadon scribbled on it by you, but could not make the connection until recently.”

“What is the date Martin?” asks the man who has been frozen in time.

“January 4th. Do I need to add the year?”

“It should be 1951 by now, if it is not, I’ve lost more time than I realized.” He reflects on the passing of days, when they all run together. “How about that Wolfgram character, there is something greasy about him?”

Constance Caraway-001“No sign of him yet. He has left a trail, but that’s a story for another time.” Connie is happy to see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. “By the way, my name is Constance Caraway and your escort is my partner Fanny Renwick.”

“I hired them after you went missing; the CPD (Chicago Police), DuPage County and Argonne security were no help whatsoever,” Martin explains

“I detect a bit of a southern accent, Miss Caraway is it?”

“Florida, Leon County.”

“Tallahassee I would guess?”

“Precisely Will, you may not remember but they were the investigators who fingered James East, the double agent at Argonne.”

“Splendid! The Manhattan Project was going too fast for its own good; I only knew half of the people involved in it.”

“We, Fanny and I are committed to see this thing through Mr. Libby. There are diverse forces at work here and it is becoming larger than the people involved, I’m talking a monumental struggle.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 72

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 73

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 73

Chapter Seven

 AUTHORSHIP

Nearly every literary work has a creator, the one individual who is responsible for it, an ascribed acknowledged credit. Most of us, writer or reader, have an erudite bent, an area of interest that we are attracted to for whatever reason, be it passion or curiosity.

Authorship can be applied to:

  • A book
  • A philosophy
  • An idea

 

If you copy text from a book and claim it as your own without acknowledging the author, it is called plagiarism.

Now you can be defiant and assign authorship to nothing or no one, but by merely claiming so does not make it so.

So, if this wonderful world on which we live was created for our pleasure, would it not be wise to at least give credit where credit is due?

The University of Chicago serves as a magnet for a wide variety of academic pursuits. Its centralized location in North America makes it the perfect place for like-minded individuals to congregate.

As an example, when it came to developing a war-busting-atomic-bomb, Chicago became to logical choice to do so; not so good for testing it safely, but a swell place for a think tank to flourish.

Willard Libby was not on The Pile Team at Argonne National Lab, but he did play a role in taking it to completion with the greater Manhattan Project. It allowed him to establish a platform from which he could work on other things, like radiocarbon dating.

His office in a remote wing of the Humanities Building at U-Chicago is well “lived in”, a home away from home if you will. If you want to steal something of value from his home in Olympia Fields, you might net yourself a color television or a short-wave radio. However, if you want to make off with something of value from his office home, you would need to find it first. He called it ‘the best kept secret’ around and is proud of it.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 69

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 53

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 53

…Stream of Consciousness from a misplaced scientist…

“Rise and Shine Mr. Doe, were going to see Dr. Steinberg,” the attending nurse urges.

‘My name is Willard Libby, Nurse Koch and why are you wheeling me out of my room at this hour, not that any particular hour is different? Are they going to hook me up to some new machine this time, as if electroconvulsive therapy did me any good? All that accomplished was to separate my brain from the rest of my body; now I can’t move my hands or feet. We are headed to the kitchen, but what good is that, the intravenous food in this place is poor. I must be a real burden to them, sitting lifeless in this chair on wheels all day and night. The last thing I remember is working at my office at Argonne, it was late, but I had to finish my paper for the conference. The conference, what did they do without me? I had something important to share with them. I can’t remember exactly what it was and I don’t know who was going to be there, but I know it was important. Why is it that my eyes are open but they don’t blink or move? That Dr. Steinberg doesn’t know what to make of me, I think he isn’t just one of those mad scientists whose only machines are torturous and the only drugs they give out are hallucinogenic. He acts like he’s in charge; everyone calls him Sir or Superintendent. It sure is cold back here, my loony roommate Mr. Skittles doesn’t like his breakfast cold you know. Steak and eggs; now that is what I could go for. And how did those guys get past the guard at the front gate, let alone get in the most secure building on the grounds. I’ve always wondered why they didn’t electrify that fence, must have cut through it or something. It looks like we are expecting a delivery, it says service entrance.’

“How was your drive out here from the city,” the Doctor inquires of the bright eyed and bushy tailed trio there to meet him.

“We missed a few turns, but at least the roads weren’t icy… Constance Caraway here,” CC takes a hand from out of the warmth of her down coat to greet the boss of this place.

“My pleasure, Miss Caraway; the telephone does not do you justice.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Cartoon by John Atkinson.

Forever Mastadon


page 51

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 14

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 14

…“You have to understand what the man’s life was like; he did not have one…

Fanny’s simple solution of interviewing everyone at Argonne may have some holes.

“That would seem logical, Miss Renwick, but we have a new, state-of the-art, and panoramic film camera system that records everything… and I mean everything that goes on here.

“I went over the pictures with Security two days before the Carbon-14 Summit was to start and then three days after we suspected that he had gone missing.” People at a Top Secret government facility just don’t walk away unnoticed.

You have to understand what the man’s life was like; he did not have one. He’s been like a bloodhound on the trail of raccoon, obsessed by radiocarbon dating. With little family, no wives or children and a general distaste for conventional forms of entertainment, all he has was his work and the respect that it provides.”

“Too bad security wasn’t this tight back in ’42,” Constance refers to the double-agent case they worked and chronicled in CONSTANCE CARAWAY: SPIES AT WAR. “The Feds were all over Los Alamos, so we mopped up here at Argonne.”

“Wow, I was working on my Masters way back then,” young Martin spouts inoffensively.

“Ouch, thank you for reminding me of my age—-I mean years of experience,” some offense taken.

“That is how I learned about your investigative prowess.” He respects his elders. “I do my homework and you were the one who exposed James East as Victor VonOeste.”

“We got lucky there. Most of the secret selling came from within the nuke program. VonOeste had only acted as if he was double-crossing the Germans, when in fact they were as thick as thieves.” In perhaps her best-ever masquerade, Constance had been inserted into the program as a micro-technician (Fanny was a cleaning woman and not happy about it). That was only thing small about her investigation. “But enough about the past; we are looking for your friend and colleague who left the grounds undetected.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 14

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 13

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 13

…Nagging questions; we all have them…

Chapter Two

 SILENCER

Nagging questions; we all have them.

Like:

  1. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  2. Which falls faster to the ground, a bowling ball or a ping-pong ball?
  3. Is gray really a color?
  4. How many scientists does it take to guess the age of the universe?
 Answers: 1. no one knows   2. the bowling ball hurts more if it lands on your head   3. no, unless it’s your favorite   4. three, if they live to tell the tale

The last question is different from the others and the only vexing one that concerns Constance Caraway, even though she has strong opinions about the others. When you are starting from the ground floor, it makes no sense to be standing on the roof.

( Cab driver Eddie has been sent home, mercifully, for the remainder of Christmas Eve and may even make Midnight mass with his family at Saint Stanislaus Catholic Parish. He then must explain why he has to return to Lemont Township to pick up a fare early on Christmas Day.)

None of this here all exactly has that holiday feel for anyone involved; while the rest of Chicago  celebrate Christmas and the folks back in Tallahassee, for that matter.

State Street 1950 Christmas

The detective duo is moving at the same brisk pace of their current employer Martin… or whoever came up with the 50 grand… you can take your pick.  He is leading them down into a series of hallways that have a subterranean feel to them. Hansel & Gretel would be leaving breadcrumbs behind so as to find their way back out.

It is entirely possible, from what  has been gathered so far, that Kamen’s colleague Libby seems to have developed a theory or come upon some information that someone definitely does not want to see the light of day.

“You are saying that this is the building, here at the lab, that Willard Libby was seen last?” Constance is piecing together the man’s last known moments.

“Yes. The guard at the east Bluff Road entrance recorded his coming, but not his going.” People at a Top Secret government facility just don’t walk away unnoticed.

“Alright, then! All we have to do is interview everyone who was on the grounds that day,” Fanny’s simple solution may have some holes.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 13

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 3

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 3

…Private investigation pays no mind to holidays, sleep or any other aspect normal life…

Fanny Renwick, walking tall and proud after being out for the morning, returns with her not-so-subtle Polaroid & its “electric eye” hanging from her neck and 5 crisp $100 bills (+ a $5 for interest) in her hot little hands.

“Our mister Simms saw me taking pictures and accused me of working for his ex-wife. Boy he sure is paranoid, perhaps a tinge of guilt no doubt about his overdue bill?  He couldn’t reach for his wallet fast enough and you should have seen the moths fly out!” As a rule, Fanny personifies unfettered child-like joy.

“But I told him I would have him castrated if he didn’t give us the money,” Unfettered joy meets Constance’s unforgiving reality.

“Ouch Connie, that’s hitting below the belt.”

“We have the dough, don’t we Fanny?” She often brings her friend down hard, just to balance out the woman’s default sweetness.

“While you were out, we got a telegram from Chicago, must have cost a small fortune, reads like a book… Somewhat cryptic, I must say. This guy wants us to come and look for a missing scientist.” The glazed strawberry blonde Caraway whisks her long hair back away from her face. “Here, what do you make of this.”

Dear Fanny, no really, dear Fanny looks at the half-crumpled paper, struggling to read the choppy text. “What is a.s.a.p.”

“Always say a prayer.” Not true. “That is short for RIGHT Damn NOW!”

“But it’s Christmas Eve Connie! Do we have to work?” Private investigation pays no mind to holidays, sleep or any other aspect normal life. “And that’s an awful long drive and the car is at Sam’s Garage.”

“We’ll fly to Chicago… they have Christmas too you know and maybe even real snow!”

“Oh snow, swell.” Fanny loves it. “Hey, isn’t Manhattan in New York, not Illinois?” Fanny points out upon reading the word ‘MANHATTAN in the wire from Chicago’.

“The atomic bombs that took out Japan, ending that stupid war, were developed by scientists working for the government; top secret stuff.” She proceeds to connect a few dots. “Manhattan Project, project, get it? Remember that spy case we were working at the end of the war?”

The light bulb goes on above Fanny’s scattered little brain, but still cannot connect the dots. “That was in New Mexico though,” she points out.

“Yes,” deep breath, “but the spy was traced back to the Manhattan Project at Argonne National Laboratory, which is out west of Chicago.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 5

CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I. ~ Episode 140

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Forever Mastadon ~ Episode 140

…Most anything can happen at a Top Secret facility and the fire chief is reminded of that. “I absolutely hate killing myself…

“My Penty?” Daniels is guilty by association. From out of a handy dandy tool belt he pulls out a powerful penlight to guide their way. “What is this place?”

Waterfall Glen

 

“It must be an interconnecting tunnel system. I bet it leads to a bomb shelter.”

“I guess you never know when the Soviets are going to launch a missile at a prime target.”

“Exactly. Hey, if we head this way I think we can make Waterfall Glen,” Martin beckons Daniels toward the rugged terrain beyond the Atom-smasher perimeter. After making a straight southerly line, they come to a steel door with a sign warning: “Beware of Wild Animals”. “I’ll take my chances with the carnivores; you can keep your Devil!”

The sign did not warn them that the other side of the door had a cliff-side exposure; the gully below is easily two hundred feet down. “I think we better go up,” Daniels suggests.

“Up is good.”

They scale to the top of the ridge and follow the plume of smoke and flashing lights roundabout Building Four. Kamen knows the firefighters pretty much by name and tells the Chief what he could about the fire. He leaves Satan off of the suspect list, instead blaming it on a Bunsen-burner.

“A Bunsen-burner, isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well, neither of us smokes and there wasn’t a toaster oven in there so, you bet your beaker it was an experiment gone badly.”

Back inside the charred office, Martin heads to the fireproof file cabinet. The top compartment is missing the Carbon Dating file, meaning the fire was a worthwhile consequence.

“Would you please report that there was at least one fatality in the fire…? Director Zinn will sign off on that; no names just unrecognizable bodies.” Most anything can happen at a Top Secret facility, don’t you know and the fire chief is reminded of that. “I absolutely hate killing myself.

“That means we need to get you back to the University safe house, so Penty has to look hard to find me. I think I can stay dead for 24 hours.”

“Just ask Willard; pretend dead is much more fun than the real thing.”


 

CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I.

Episode 140


page 111

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