Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 102

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 102

…In this case, Willard Libby had died from complications of hypothermia; so sad, so false…

“Are you absolutely positive that carbon-14, in any biological form, cannot be successfully folded into the current half-life equation?”

“I have taken this right out to the before the first Ice Age and there is an absolute wall at 20K,” Willard Libby is taken to task by Martin Kamen in a final review of his game changing findings. “If life on this planet does not predate 20000 BC, then how can we accurately attach an age to Earth?”

“It sat around empty for a few billion years and then life suddenly appeared,” Martin was joking.

“Good point! In the Creation scenario, God could have done up the Universe a bit early, all the while perfecting the human form… and all the animals, etc, etc. All I know for certain is that this radioisotope does not extend past 20, not even those damned Brontosaurus.”

The pair of research scientists is still in hiding at an undisclosed location in the bowels of the University of Chicago. They are hatching a scheme where Willard Libby can safely release his findings to the world. They begin by purchasing the very first tape recorder commercially available. Of course the Japanese copy/manufacture what the Americans invent. Though it weighs 40 pounds and was hard to sneak in, Libby starts recording audio to accompany his charts and graphs.

The biggest drawback to the plan is that Willard Libby has been declared dead, deceased, checked out, met his maker, bit the dust, crashed and burned, gonzo. The once secret “death” at Elgin State Hospital has fallen victim to an innocent clerical mistake. Someone unknowingly releases Libby’s death notice, along with the other recently departed hospital patients.

Elgin has been under tight scrutiny ever since a scandal rocked the mental health facility. They had suppressed deaths due to the questionable reasons for casualties, yes casualties resulting from the use of untested drugs treatments and what would normally labeled as medieval torture devices.

In this case, Willard Libby had died from complications of hypothermia; so sad, so false.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 92

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 77

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 77

I hate to be the one to tell you Willard, but you are dead… sorry

Tolentine

Tolentine Seminary

“There are diverse forces at work here and it is becoming larger than the people involved, I’m talking a monumental struggle,” Constance tells Libby something he already knows.

“That is exactly what Billy Graham told me at Tolentine. I would have never thought in, excuse me, “a million years” that a simple deductive scientific fact would cause such a commotion.”

Speaking of the Tolentine Summit, Constance has a sad update, “I must tell you something troubling Will, but Ernesto Pacelli was found hanged in Rome.”

“That is too bad, he was such a nice fellow, sure was protective of the Catholic Doctrine.”

“He was the Pope’s brother,” Constance interjects.

“You don’t say? He never let on to his lofty lineage. Modesty is in such short supply.” Willard Libby’s clarity has been miraculously restored, no visible signs of the trauma he had endured for weeks. He now must face a world that has given him a different role. “So you tell me I am dead.”

“We had to protect you while we sorted through some things and death seemed to be the best solution at the time, faked of course. WhenFM dumped you at Elgin State Hospital, they mysteriously tried to give you a chance to survive, when they had earlier done things to you that would make that result difficult. Dr. Steinberg agreed to go along with our plan,” Constance lays the groundwork for what is to come. “Had they killed you outright, which by not finishing you off demonstrates flawed logic, your carbon dating stuff may never have made it out from behind your Hemingway collection? The only other people who agree with your findings would have trouble defending their opinions; who listens to ‘religious zealots’ anyway?”

Sad but true.  Good news muddied by overenthusiastic do-gooders.

“I hate to be the one to tell you Willard, but you are dead… sorry.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 73

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 56

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 56

…a prisoner of his own mind…

“We will leave him in your care, but I need your personal guarantee that you will not tamper with him. As long as he maintains physical viability, leave the rest alone. I mean it.” Martin takes responsibility for his friend.

“Message received loud and clear,” the doctor hears.

“And I will be calling you every day for updates on his condition. And if anyone else calls about his considering his health or lack thereof… you tell them he didn’t make it. No one beside us is to  know that he is still alive.”

“I think I understand where you are coming from. That is agreeable. If you call me at home, at this number,” he hands Kamen a doctor’s script with his home telephone, “say 8:00 PM sharp, I will be available.”

‘Don’t leave Martin; I have things to tell you. Mastadon was misspelled, I don’t know why. Wolf told me that they were in control; a Mastodon is like a Wooly Mammoth, lived 12,000 years ago, identified the age of one correctly sometime, I do not remember. Take me with you, I know you told Doctor to fake my death, don’t allow that to be prophetic. The dinosaurs walked the planet with the mammoth and humans. I sure could go for a plate of steak ‘n eggs. Take care of Martin, you mystery girls, he is my only hope, tell him to look in my bookcase, it is behind FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS.  Hemingway is one of my guilty pleasures; hear that he drinks whiskey, smokes Cuban cigars loves adventure. I want to be the swashbuckling type, danger around every corner. My complete paper is behind THE SUN ALSO RISES, do not know why I had to hide it something about mastodon there too. Never did trust that Wolf, but he was at the meeting in the woods by my house, Auntie Joe didn’t like him from the start, should have booted him out.’

“We are going to head back to the University Doctor Steinberg. Maybe the answers we are looking for is right under our noses.”

Will Libby hears clearly and would nod his approval if only he could move his head.

‘The bookcase Martin, Hemingway, Wolf’

From a prisoner of his own mind.


Constance Caraway P.I.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Willard Libby’s bookcase

Forever Mastadon


page 54

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 55

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 55

…Might there be something like “brain freeze” going on with him? …

Art by Cure Joy

“The patient has taken a step back since yesterday. He is catatonic, as we refer to it. We think he is fully conscious, but he has no way of communicating.”

“How did this happen overnight? You mentioned yesterday that he said the word “wolf”.” The very reason that Constance made the connection to the scientist, while talking to Steinberg over the telephone, was that this had mentioned the word wolf, as in Wolfgram. “And twelve hours later he cannot speak?”

“He wasn’t exactly a chatterbox before, you understand. We were only able to pick out a couple of words, like wolf and masta – master – masto – something with mast in it.”

“We think wolf is part of a proper name, not the animal, but as for mast, he had scribbled mastadon on a piece of paper in the last place he was seen,” Martin is grasping for meager shreds at this point.

“The Ice Age elephant? Interesting but I cannot say I get the connection to anything I’ve heard thus far.

“All I know is that Security found this man, unconscious in a snow bank outside the front gate. He was hypothermic and we did our best to treat his frostbite. It was only after he had regained consciousness that we started the mental evaluation process. For all we knew, he could have been an unmanageable dementia victim dropped off by a family who were at wits end and did not know what to do.”

Brain Freeze by Danvenky deviantart.com

“In a freezing cold pile of snow, I don’t think so? Might there be something like “brain freeze” going on with him?” Constance grasps at the same scraps of hope as Martin.

“A brain freeze is popular vernacular for misplacing car keys or forgetting what you were about to say,” Steinberg has come to the conclusion that there are no solid conclusions to be had. “I know you were hoping to take Mr. Libby back with you, but as a mental health professional, I would be doing both you and him a great disservice if I release him to you folks now. He needs a medical hospital’s facilities as much as he does the psychiatric, which would be here at ESH.”

“We will leave him in your care, but I need your personal guarantee that you will not tamper with him. As long as he maintains physical viability, leave the rest alone. I mean it.” Martin takes responsibility for his friend.

“Message received loud and clear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 53

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 54

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 54

…The ramblings of a madman…

The King of Siam

“The telephone does not do you justice Miss Caraway,” Steinberg starts his day by stating the obvious.

“You are so kind… my partner at CCPI Fanny Renwick and Mr. Libby’s colleague Martin David Kamen,” she points to her companions.

Pleasantries are exchanged, as well as a chunk of background information to serve as a backdrop about the case, from someone who doesn’t know Willard Libby from the King of Siam.

‘Push me around the corner nurse Koch, I recognize that voice He is telling a story……my hearing hasn’t left me….he is telling the doctor that I was working on an important project having to do with radiocarbon dating, the Libby Half-life he calls it Some of this I seem to recall, dinosaurs did not die off 65 million years ago Billy Graham says six days and a rest, Pope Pius is afraid of Communists, they don’t believe in God, Ernesto says they might, but don’t want their subjects to believe That is Martin Kamen! He has come to rescue me from this enormous place, takes an hour to go up one hall and down another. That is Martin, what a fine good man he is, never takes enough credit for how good, and doesn’t have that drive to be famous Fermi tells me to use his research to augment my arguments Will anyone believe me? He is with two pretty women; they don’t look like scientists, what kind of lady wears trousers? Hubba, hubba good for Kamen, he is too good looking to be a Bunsen burner and beaker man’

“He has taken a step back since yesterday. He is catatonic, as we refer to it. We think he is fully conscious, but he has no way of communicating.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 52

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 52

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 52

…“Take it easy, Eddie, or we’ll leave you behind here…

“The map shows that shows that we should have taken a left off of Route 20, right after the Fox River,“ Fanny has been keeping track of their progress in the darkness of pre-dawn as they take a northwesterly course from the city so far behind them. “And that sign we just passed said Dubuque 127 miles….Dubuque is in Iowa!”

“Okay, okay Fan, I’ll turn around… nothing but corn out there in Iowa anyways.” One of Eddie’s cousins must have told him that. This is as far out ,into the Midwest prairie, as he’s ever been.

Not long after doing a u-turn, on the right, perched on a bluff above Illinois 20 is the sprawling well lit layout of what formerly called the Illinois Northern Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. The building called the Annex is most easy to locate, a couple hundred yards long, one huge continuous people-repairing-factory for the mentally imbalanced.

“Doctor Steinberg told me to come to the service entrance, in the middle back of the Annex, down that road there Eddie,” Constance points to a beltway to the west of the complex. “What time is it Fanny?”

“Turn on the dome light Ed… it is exactly 4:38,” she checks her wristwatch, which when they left Hyde Park, read 3:00.

“Good job everyone, with special thanks to our cordial navigator; we made it here in time for Rise and Shine.”

“That sounds so happy, is that why they call it a funny farm?”

Take it easy, Eddie, or we’ll leave you behind here! I hear tell that they are looking for someone to do the evening story hour.” Constance is more than half-serious.

“Yeah, that would put them to sleep,” Fanny agrees with her friend.

For his part, all Martin can do is to wonder what to do when they join this hospital’s early morning happy hour. What form of Will, will they find in this lost & found for the insane?


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 49