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…”Alley Oop – Betty Boop – puppy poop, it’s all the same to me,” Stanley & Gus have agreed to sneak inside the Harmonia

A new plan of attack was hatched…

Not only is Solution hermetically sealed from the vacuum of space, it makes a dandy submarine, except it will use its wheels for propulsion. The thrusters would kick up too much red mud.

“I guess we don’t have anything to lose? I can use some excitement. This botany duty is for the birds!”

“Now there are birds?” That would be show stopping news, would it not? They will need to settle for a pristine source of water flowing into Harmonia. “Have you noticed that the creek goes in, but it doesn’t come out?”

“By golly, you are correct Stanley. Not only do you have 2 first names, you don’t miss a trick! That gives us an even a better reason to swim on in.”

“Here’s another riddle for ya, ‘What goes in, but doesn’t come out?’”

“Good question. I believe I want to find the answer to that.”

Gus guides Solution into moving water, several hundred yards upstream for good measure. As they approach what is expected to be a thwarting thud, they slow the manned rover to a crawl. No need inflicting another blemish, like the boo-boo on the bumper when they unsuccessfully drove in the first time. The one constant about invisibility, is that it’ is hard to see.

“Well, here we go. What the hell!” he screams while holding his breath. “Are we in? We’re in… we’re in Roy!”

Galveston Launch is awash in high-fives. It turns out that hunches still have their place.

“Rather than swim with the fishes, I’m choosing popping out before we can’t get out.”

“Trout or Topeka Shiner?”

“Me and Ricko are the only fish in these waters. Here we go… alley-oop!”

“Did you know that Alley Oop was a comic strip in the 20th Century; a time-traveling caveman.”

“That describes our Gus for sure!” Rick lets slip.

“Oh yeah! Crip is old enough to remember when newspapers were made of paper.”

“I was merely providing historical context to your live-action metaphor.”

Alley Oop – Betty Boop – puppy poop, it’s all the same to me. I’m taking us to the front door.”

Water has barely stopped dripping from Solution, when they pull up to what is referred to as Harmonia. An ant at the foot of NYC’s Freedom Tower would be ratio-based comparison. Neither man has ever not been able to see the top of any object – that is until now. It is a daunting edifice, no matter whatever its purpose is.


Photo by @cpplunkett

Episode 122

page 121

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 38

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 38

Chapter Four


…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

Nearer to Heaven, Closer to Hell

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Noël Coward

“I don’t know what Chicago’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.”

― Noël CowardCollected Sketches and Lyrics

Tall Buildings

“Mr. Coward actually used London as the city in the queet–my editorial meddling.”


33 North LaSalle, a Devil of an Address (Ch 3 pgs 45)

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33 North LaSalle, Chicago

Eddie, for his part, escorts his road warrior brother back out to his truck, “My cousin Jimmy drives for England Trucking, part of the million mile club, but he drives forth and back to New York twice a week. Do you drive in Ohio? Make sure you watch out for the speed traps……”

Once the initial shock of discovering Fanny safe and sound, the requisite debriefing are out-of-the-way, Constance leaves her in Martin’s care for the remainder of the day. The excitement meter needle needs to return to normal levels.

Eddie is re-gathered for the task of taking her to 33 N. LaSalle St. She is going to see what she can find out about World Agnostica. 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.”

“That’s a bank building, interesting?”

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

“Thanks for the tip 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……..”

“I was only kidding. 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.”

“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 38th floor and don’t talk to anyone.”

He visually zips his mouth shut.

“You’ll need a lock for that.”

The right elevator takes Constance up to the #39 she had pushed, noticing that it wasn’t as worn as most of the others. After several stops and starts on the way, she alone disembarks at the final floor of the building. She steps out into an incomplete level, without form or function; no carpeting, no paint, no lighting and not a single non-believing soul to be seen.

She begins looking into each of the six doors on the floor starting with 39660. Empty. 39661, empty. 39662, 39663, 39664 + 39665 all empty, yet spotless, floor to ceiling. Before she gains access to the last, Eddie pops out the left lift. “They saved on furniture!”

“Nothing here, but I feel like I’m being watched.” She looks back at where she’s been. “Look at my footprints, they last for three seconds then disappear.”

“Footprints, do you see the water vapor coming out when you speak?” Eddie is getting the creeps.

“Do you hear that,” she asks reacting to the sound of whispering?

“Hear what? I had a grenade go off inside a building at the Battle of Verdun. Didn’t see the kraut who tossed it, but it bounced into another room, my ears still ring some.”

“It’s like a half-dozen people came up with you. The chatter is non stop, but I can’t pick out any single words. It’s babbling.”

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

“I have one more office to check.”

“With Fanny safe at Martin’s house, Constance & Eddie D. tackles a building that may give up some clues……or something else???? The Devil?”