Some Gave All
Memorial Day 2021
Whatever country you are from, there are people that you may or may not know, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the many.
Eddie Dombroski and his Cousin Rex forge a solid business model with their carriage cartage. Though others will imitate, none can duplicate that Southside family legacy.
Jesse James will always have a connection to Caraway & Associates, but will hang on to his Agent Daniels personae. Or is it that he is terminally tied to government service?
Sister Mary Joseph will continue to serve the Lord at the Tolentine Monastery, fifty yards or so from where a rare, stray lightning bolt struck on a fortuitous January day in 1951.
Doctor Louis Steinberg, formerly of Elgin State Mental Hospital, takes his experience with Willard Libby (John Doe) and makes catatonia his life’s study, writing many go-to books on the condition.
Martin Kamen will go on to extol the virtues of his radioisotope carbon-14, while searching other chemical corners of Creation for undiscovered gems.
Willard Libby wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of carbon-14 half-life, as it relates to dating organic elements. He ends his tenure at the University of Chicago, takes an emeritus position there and he tours the world, lecturing open, eager ears about the probable age of the Universe.
William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. spreads God’s Word through his Crusades, counsels US Presidents (for their own good) and begins to champion the civil rights movement by his association with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks to his crusades and television broadcasts, millions across the globe accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. No better man of God has there ever been made.
The members of Constance Caraway & Associates, Constance, Fanny Renwick, Ace Bannion and R. Worth Moore are united in their continuing mission: No Stone Unturned and No Place To Hide; one for all, each with a particular skill-set to contribute to the cause.
Please stay tuned. Though this is THE END to the story of Forever Mastadon, it is not an end to further adventures; forward or backward in time, Tallahassee/Chicago or the world and beyond, the fictional tales of Constance Caraway will live on, somewhere down the road.
Though not overtly religious, Constance Caraway and Fanny Renwick have always known who butters their bread. They had no idea that, when they agreed to take on this seemingly straightforward case, it would turn into a battle between Heaven & Hell. But it did and they did not shrink away in fear or shirk their moral calling.
Pentateuchian (no plural) n.
Looking up from hell and looking back at bad results, the chief Pentateuchian never has any regrets. He is quite used to his hopeless perspective — a doom with no view.
Copyright © 2019 by Gwendolyn K Hoff All Rights Reserved
The mere thought of 40 or more thousand casualties boggles the mind. It WOULD have been a disaster of epic proportions; unthinkable, unspeakable, inhumane, but none of that compunction entered into Pentateuch’s decision to kill a throng of innocent God’s children.
It wasn’t like he didn’t give it the good ol’ Hades try.
But he didn’t, he wasn’t allowed, he was sent packing back to his fiery lake home where everyday is hot and every moment regretful, most definitely for any of his indentured tenants.
R.Worth Moore has joined the group, to check Fanny’s emotional state, which is okay fine, though she was the most profoundly affected by the evening’s twists and turns. “Are we still driving back tomorrow Fanny? Or would you like for some of this to sink in?”
“Yes we should leave as planned and no, I would rather be back in Tally getting licks and hugs from Molly. When I came back in March, she was the happiest yellow dog I’ve ever seen. She misses us Connie.”
“Let’s see how our new business arrangement works out,” Constance addresses the elephant in the room, “if we make this a two city operation, Molly stays with you. If we shift up everything up north, Worth buying a house up here and all, Molly comes up too.”
“It’s going to be weird for a while.” With Worth and Ace in the same picture, Constance Caraway Private Investigation is morphing into Constance Caraway & Associates, a four person team, complete with in-house legal and a lightly used Beechcraft Twin Bonanza. The latter is Ace’s contribution to the newly re-formed company, trading in his single engine Bonanza for this 6 seat beauty.
Constance is not done reflecting.
“And finally we have THE scientist whose half-life was nearly no life, all because he found out that, that not only he, but just about everyone else had gotten one thing wrong. All this fuss over how old things are! If you can shave years off my age, by all means please do!”
“You would need a huge miracle for that CC!” Ace either douses the nostalgic mood or fans the flames of a tabooed subject.
“At least Worth is a true gentleman,” Fanny chimes in, “he wouldn’t make fun of my age.”
“Sweet Crumbs, oh my, that is a riot!!! Hey Sweet Crumbs, do you give ol’ Worth some of your sugar?”
“Sweet Crumbs is going to strangle Gator, yes the Liti-Gator as in alligator, but not before we make an announcement.” Fanny Renwick rises above the “pet name game” to deliver breaking news. “Worth and I are going back to Tallahassee tomorrow. Doc Campbell needs some help, so Eddie and especially you Rex keep an eye on the house… and make sure that the city of Chicago doesn’t evict the horses.”
“Not to worry Fan, you know that I must have a cousin who works for the city streets and sanitation, buildings, water, fire,” Eddie D. guesses.
Fanny looks at his wife, “The Dombroski’s/Baxter’s got it covered, right Edie?” who nods supportively, appreciating the man who she almost lost twice.
“Why do I doubt your cousin-power Eddie?” Fanny pauses to bolster spirits on a more personal note. “I hope we can keep both Florida and Chicago working Connie. The local gumshoes here are pretty lame, as are the ones who aren’t are on the take. But you know that we cannot abandon our friends back home, they keep me grounded and it will do us well to stay connected.”
As the weeks in Chicago rolled on, away from their first Christmas outside the Panhandle, the ground that needed covering was wide and it meant that Constance and Fanny had to operate independently of the other. With the unofficial addition of Ace and Worth to the team, the once inseparable women have learned to adapt quite well.
“As long as we can be flexible, you know, when another hot case falls in our laps, I know we can do it Fan.” The two best friends embrace each other in a way that almost encourages the others to give them some privacy.
She saunters over to the shorter Martin Kamen to plant a kiss on top of his head. Of all the people and situations that Fanny and she have encountered, it is Willard Libby’s closest colleague who has been there every step of the way. Whatever it took, whenever it was needed, Martin stepped out of his comfort zone to make things happen. He opened his home to two strange ladies and allowed them to take the lead.
“Without Martin, I am afraid we are not standing here ready to ride around a baseball field filled with people, in C-14 Coaches. He discovered carbon-14, which prior to very recently, we thought were 14 pieces of burnt toast. If he doesn’t get someone else involved, Willard may still be squirreled away in a mental hospital, right Dr. Steinberg?”
Looking at Willard’s Aunt, she comments, “I understand that you and our man of many names, let’s see: Jesse James/Agent Daniels/Bernard Spencer/The Rogue and whatever else Penty and Forever Mastadon calls him, have bonded over that lightning strike; Mother Teresa meets Elliot Ness meets Mother Nature…
“You’re a man who travels in more circles than a carnival pony, Jesse. If you ever want to write a book, I have a friend named Gwenny who can help you with that; such are the quality stories you can tell. But even if you keep your secrets close to your vest, you have renewed my faith in government employee and again, without your dances with the devil, we’re not successful.”
“This has been one helluva 5 months you guys,” Constance glances apologetically at the present preacher in deference to her use of words, “I mean heck, one heck a bumpy ride, but we all made it here in one piece. Eddie did take two for the team and my partner did her best to get kidnapped and top that off by having her neck broke, but all things considered…”
“… Amen,” her assessment is punctuated by Reverend Graham, who raises both hands high, “Thank you, dear Lord of us all, for your loving protection. Please use us to accomplish your good, on the Earth that you created. May this weary world see you for who you really are, our Father who loves his children.”
“And would you place your blessing,” he holds the Holy parchment high, “on this, your instructions for the banishment of demons.”
Amen and amen’s make their way around the semicircular gathering of Libbyites; from those who have always believed, to the ones who have recently seen the light; both equal is the sight of God.
“Thank you Billy. You have given us the gift of an ultimate goal and we’re 2 hours from achieving it. When Fanny and I came to Chicago, we expected to solve a crime and go back to Florida, now here we are, surrounded by old friends and new and hating to leave.
“But after seeing what we’ve seen and learning what we’ve learned, we are changed women. Fanny can tell you that a case like this would never happen in Tallahassee; messy divorces, petty extortion, that’s what we do down there. What did we get here in Chicago: kidnappings, murders, conspiracy, demoniacs?
“Having guys like Worth and Ace around doesn’t hurt either.” CCPI’s heart and soul, bares both. “And what can I say about that Eddie D. and his Cousins. Rex is the only one of them we have met, but the rest have been with us, ever since we came to town. I can tell you this Eddie and Edie; you will be the cousins they will be talking about from now on. Thank you for your friendship.”
From the moment that she answered her Florida front door on the day before Christmas 1950, the road to Chicago was being laid out for her and she didn’t even know it. It was her rambunctious dog Molly – who heralded the approach of Jimmie from Western Union – who carried a message from some perfect stranger – who was missing one good scientist.
**When Willard Libby went missing, Martin Kamen needed a course of action that was swift, immediate and without an obvious local choice to aid him. He came upon a paper written by Libby, referring to a private investigator (Constance Caraway Private Investigation) from Tallahassee who had the moxie to navigate the fuzzy border between legal and not so much, while skirting the hornet’s nest that is local and federal law enforcement.
**Back in WWII, while the FBI fumbled, the OSS stumbled and internal security at the Manhattan Project tumbled into a paranoiac stupor, Constance and Fanny were able to ferret out the double-crossing German where the others failed.
**Is it a coincidence that Eddie Dombroski was the taxi driver who picked up the girls at the airport? On the surface, he is a human run-on sentence, with more relatives than smarts. But no other single driver knows more about Chicagoland roads. And not only the city proper: His regional knowledge has taken them, accurately & timely, to rural DuPage County (Argonne), Kane County (Elgin State Hospital), Olympia Fields (Tolentine) and every path from there to here. Constance has managed to make this odd coupling work to a tee…
C-14 COACH ONE:
Billy Graham (ditto)
Sister Mary Joseph (lucky charm)
Dr. Louis Steinberg (good-luck doc)
C-14 COACH TWO:
Constance Caraway (fearless leader)
Fanny Renwick (right-hand gal)
Martin Kamen (faithful Libby friend)
Agent Daniels (man of many names)
C-14 COACH THREE:
Eddie Dombroski (taxi driver/storyteller)
Edie Dombroski (dedicated to Eddie)
Ajax Bannion (fearless flyer)
R Worth Moore (legal eagle)
Above is the lineup of the parade that will enter Comiskey Park through the right field gate, after the concluding altar call. The trio of Carbon-14 Coaches will make an undetermined number of circuits around the ballpark. late this April 1951 afternoon.
Sam Goldwyn has assembled a film for the occasion, each of the coach riders retelling the highlights of their experience for posterity; to be projected onto a 40’h x 60’w screen bought from a drive-in theater for the price of hauling it away. It will be shown after BG’s opening sermon and before Communion.
Heaven only knows what will happen in~between.
When Billy Graham envisioned his Midwest Crusade, he thought about asking many titans of faith to join him, but the more time he spent around the so-called Libbyites, he realized that he had all the evangelistic fuel he needed with them alone.
Ding-ding-ding, everyone is a winner. Some “-ites” are more famous than others and if you can name the hundred or more “-ite” clans, God bless you.
Libbyites are found only in the collection of words named CONSTANCE CARAWAY ~ Forever Mastadon~. To add your name to the current roster of the lucky twelve dedicated members, there will be a form to fill out in APPENDIX B section at THE END of Forever Mastadon. (Placed therein for WIF readers only)
“I just talked to Constance and she said that they need 3 convertible carriages for the 28th,” Fanny is speaking to the co-owner of Carbon-14 Coaches, Eddie Dombroski. His footman/cousin Rex is where he always is, with the horses. The two of them have assembled three wagons and six horses, every one of them living the kings’ life behind Worth Moore’s new Near North Chicago Louis Sullivan residence. (The coach house concept is quickly losing its relevance in modern Chicago, with automobile garages replacing the buildings where the horses and carriages used to be kept)
“It’s a good thing we hired some new coachmen – two of them are 70 years old for crying out loud – but this will be like falling off a log for them, they were born in 1880 for crying out loud! They are used to the horse ‘n buggy. I can’t keep from poking the floorboard for the gas and brake.”
For crying out loud.
“You do not need any accidents, Eddie. I got a special use permit for the stable and out of the ordinary liability insurance, so keep the place and your nose clean.” Attorney Moore is ankle deep in horse apples, knee deep in hay and up to his neck in angst.
“Not to worry Worth old boy, Rex has everything under control. I remember when we were kids and I was out visiting his pop’s farm, two of the cows and a goat got through the fence and were walking down the Burlington Northern train tracks on their way to Downers Grove.Well Rex and me jumped on a couple of their hay-burners and went over to round them critters up, which was good because there was a mile long freight train loaded with coal trying to get to the city and the engineer was furious because it takes him 5 miles to get up to speed from a dead stop. But we went over to the General Store and bought him a carton of Camels and a Baby Ruth and he was happy.”