Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 66

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 66

…“That’s it… sure? Do you ever say no?”

“I do plenty, just not today.”…

“I have an apartment over east of State St., would you like to come over and talk about life for a while?”

— ‘Talk about life – what kind of cornball invite is that? Constance thinks, instead of speaks, to herself this time.

Without so much as a twitch, Fanny Renwick responds, “Sure.”

Was that too easy? again, she thinks to her nosey self. “It’s within walking distance. Let’s leave before your boss kicks us out.”

On the walk to Constance’s modest garden apartment and continuing past the midnight hour, they gain a familiarity usually reserved for life-long friends. Seemingly all of their combined 50 years are covered in that span of 7 brief hours.

Everyone remembers talking forever to someone you have known forever, but in this case, two lonesome spirits bond in a blink of an eye. It becomes apparent that neither wants this day to end, but there are far too many delicate topics that need to be broached before overnight stays are proper.

Before surrendering to separation, Constance tosses another softball in Fanny’s direction, “My parents have a cottage down in Panama City Beach, would you like to come down and hang out this weekend?”

 “Sure.”

“That’s it… sure? Do you ever say no?”

“I do plenty, just not today.”

“You are a peach, Fanny! I thought I was doomed to another boring weekender with the folks. Cool. Pack an overnighter and do not forget your bathing suit.” She may not live with her parents, but they still subsidize their only daughter’s university lifestyle and they truly are boring people, according to their dearest “Connie”. “Where do I pick you up?”

“I’ll meet you back here at your place.” At 25, Fanny is embarrassed to tell Constance that she still actually lives at home with her parents in Frenchtown, an increasingly seedy area in the heart of Tallahassee. “What time?”

“Is 7:00 too early, it’s a two hour drive to the coast?”

“It’s a date, 7 o’clock and don’t be late!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 63

 

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 63

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 63

…Caraway & Renwick have been the best of “friends” ever since they met in Tallahassee 20 years ago…

“Can we afford all this Connie, the hotel alone is $40 dollars a night?” Fanny holds the money but it is Constance who controls it, a system of checks and balances that should make Congress feel guilty. Senators and House members go on oversea junkets, in the guise of fact-finding missions, when in fact they are on taxpayer sponsored vacations for themselves and three-quarters of their extended family… plus 2 or 3 loyal campaign contributors. Constance and Fanny are splurging by going a grand total of 60 blocks north of Hyde Park. “And I had to buy a new Polaroid after those creeps nabbed me, another $70 dollars plus sales tax.”

“That was $48,000 dollars I deposited at Northern Trust,“ she speaks to the LaSalle Street branch where she gave the Libby Incident money a safe haven, in a big-time hurry right after her spooky experience at 33 North LaSalle; in their well-gotten gains go a, scant block down the street and none too soon. “You should have the lion’s share of the remaining two thousand left, right?”

“I did advance Eddie $500 for January… and a $20 bonus for showing us a good time this week,” Fanny speaks to her discretion. “It was generous of Martin to pay him for December.”

“Good, that leaves us a good sum to celebrate in grand style!” Just what the new year has in store for them, is story as yet unwritten. “Let’s get back to Palmer House and get ready to ring in 1951!

“Friends”

“This is our first New Year’s Eve away from home,” Fanny reflects warmly on memories fashioned in Florida.

“Times, they are ‘a changing, Fan!”

The two women have been the best of “friends” ever since they met in a Tallahassee greasy spoon 20 years ago…


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 60

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 5

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 5

…“Chicago sure looks different from the air,” comments Constance in a moment  of rare wonderment…

1950 Chicago

The large two-propeller airplane from Florida approaches Chicago from the southeast and the terrain of some 15,000 feet below is changing radically as it descends; from the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky, the Ohio River Valley to the sprawling farm fields of the Midwestern Plain.

And then out of nowhere sprouts a cluster of buildings; one taller than the next, looking like they are daring the Great Lake called Michigan to wash them away.

“Chicago sure looks different from the air,” comments Constance in a moment of rare wonderment. She is well-traveled, some would say worldly, but she is accustomed to the perspective provided by a plodding train car or the rolling deck of a steamship.

“This is the view God has.” From Fanny’s perspective, that is exactly how she sees it.

Flight 12 from Tallahassee lands at Chicago Orchard, even though commercial air travel to and from Chicago is just revving up. The airfield had its beginnings as a Douglas Aircraft assembly plant, with close ties to the war effort. Just as World War II pulled up the United States by its bootstraps, out of the depths of the Great Depression, so did war-related industries create new venues for a growing nation.

Once the passengers walk down the stairs of the Pan American airplane, they are escorted to a newly built circular structure resembling giant spider; separate “legs” meant to serve the individual companies using the airport. Most of current air traffic moves cargo across the country, so the freight terminal, at the far end of the field, is actually busier.

After retrieving their suitcases, they now must find their way to the University of Chicago. At least when traveling by train, the paths leading away from downtown Union Station are much easier to follow.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 7

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 2

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Constance Caraway P.I.  Episode 2

…We are research scientists with previous ties to the MANHATTAN PROJECT and I suspect some sort of foul play…

“Thank you Miss Connie!”

Jimmy K. calls her by the shorter version of her name, the name she blames her mother for. It is told that Mom had morning sickness for much of the eight months she carried her baby; constantly ill, hence Constance. Mrs. Caraway insists that she is named after a great-aunt from her father’s side. A side trip to the National Archives, while doing some research on another case in Washington D.C., helped Constance disprove that bogus tale. Do not try to sneak something past her; you can’t hide from the prying eyes of a P.I.

Need Truth – Will Find is the tag line below the letters Constance Caraway Private Investigation painted on the opaque mottled glass on the massive front door; motto and credo.

She closes that door which seems to creak more and more these days. Behind the door she opens the telegram as if it were a gift from the coming Christmas morn… RriiippP!

W E S T E R N  UNION

NEWCOME CARLYON – PRESIDENT  J.C. WILLEVER – FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT

RECEIVED AT MAIN OFFICE 221-23 MONROE STREET- ALWAYS OPEN

To: CONSTANCE CARAWAY INVESTIGATION       TALLAHASSEE FLORIDA

24 December 1950

MESSAGE:

I am contacting you because of your previous work at Argonne National Laboratory DuPage County Illinois.

I cannot go into to great detail at this time. I believe that a colleague of mine at the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO is in grave danger, as I have not heard from him several days.

We are research scientists with previous ties to the MANHATTAN PROJECT and I suspect some sort of foul play.

Please meet me at 6137 South Kimbark near the university campus a.s.a.p. Please call me at UOC-495-2101 between 12 PM and 4 PM to confirm.

MARTIN DAVID KAMEN

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Just as she re-reads the tantalizing-ly titillating telegram for the 10th time, her roomy Fanny Renwick, after being out for the morning, 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 fiver for interest) in her hot little hands.


Forever Mastadon ~ 

Episode 2


page 4

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 1

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CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I.

Episode 1

 

Chapter One

 MANHATTAN MYSTERY

…Jimmy K. works for the neighborhood WESTERN UNION office, which encompasses a vital link to the outside world for CCPI…

‘Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong’. Rapid repetition of this familiar noise tells the occupants of 455 East Tennessee Street that someone is at the front door and they may well have ants in their pants.

Molly

‘Ding-dong, ding-dong!’ There is an audible exclamation to the final two rings before the words, “I’m coming, for god’s sake! Do you want me to break my neck? Out of the way Molly!” Molly is an excitable yellow Labrador retriever, whose self-appointed duty is doorbell answerer. Almost a casualty of chaos, the 15 foot fresh-cut evergreen in the foyer, bedecked with colorful ornaments and light, rocks on its tripod base as they pass by.

The hurried woman comes from her upstairs office, home base for Constance Caraway Private Investigation. She had been on the phone with a fairly recent client, a guy named Simms, who has been ignoring her repeated mailed bill for work they had done on his messy divorce case. Five hundred dollars is $500 dollars and she was counting on the money for a little time away from “their” two-story building in downtown Tallahassee. And it is Christmas Eve to boot.

Henry JThe other person constituting the “their” portion and partner in the practice of legalized prying, Fanny Renwick, is out taking pictures of their debtor, a well-to-do retiree who owns the building adjacent to them. She captures him driving a brand new 1950 Henry J automobile, $2000 dollars at Cal’s Cars… and he can’t pay them for ridding the man of his gold digging floozy of a wife of six short months?

Constance grabs the huge door with brass handles, nearly dislocating her right shoulder, flinging it open.

Jimmy

“Oh—it’s you Jimmy.” The boy works for the neighborhood WESTERN UNION office, which encompasses a vital link to the outside world for CCPI. “Where is the fire, Jimmy? You nearly rang the bell off the wall.”

“My boss told me there would be a $1 bonus for me if I get this to you girls and back to the office in 5 minutes… down Molly, yes I’m happy to see you too.”

Constance orders Molly, who loves company and cannot help herself, to leave Jimmy alone. She backtracks to the banister, where her purse is hanging.

“Let me sign for that and here’s another dollar; I hope you bring some good news for a change.” Not every telegram bears a positive message, but she is a serial tipper regardless of the message.

“Thank you Miss Connie!”


~Forever Mastadon~

Episode 1


page 3

 

 

 

Constance Caraway P.I. Coming Tomorrow

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What’s Next on WIF

… We are going to take a break from the Space Family McKinney {for a while} and revisit a book I posted in 2014…

CONSTANCE CARAWAY ~FOREVER MASTADON~

A private eye and her colleagues are blinded by science…and a greater power

Historical Fiction from Gwendolyn Hoff

Creation vs. Evolution, Heaven & hell collide on Earth.

CONSTANCE CARAWAY ~FOREVER MASTADON~ 75,000 words that chronicle an early case taken on by CONSTANCE CARAWAY INVESTIGATION, a Tallahassee Florida based private detective agency, consisting of the title character and her partner Fanny Renwick.

Constance and Fanny are drawn [paid] to Chicago to investigate the disappearance of Willard Libby, a University of Chicago biochemist who has been working on a breakthrough project. They are hired by an associate of Libby, who does not trust his conventional local options.

Set in 1951 Chicago, Forever Mastadon (Mastodon is intentionally misspelled) is an organization that is bent on permanently quieting Libby, as it applies to radiocarbon dating. Bottom line: the devil himself is behind a conspiracy that includes textbook publishers, the United States Justice Department, a cult leader and a handful or two of 2-bit hoodlums.

As a result of good detective work and some dumb luck, the scientist is located…catatonic–at a mental hospital. But that is just the beginning; his mind will be fully restored, he is hidden away and his death wrongly reported,  all the while the antagonists behind his abduction are about to be found out.

It is not long before a supporting cast comes together to combat the unknown forces behind the “Great Deception”, the lie being that carbon dating has identified life on Earth as 100 of millions of years old. A Chicago taxi driver, a pilot friend of Constance, a Tallahassee lawyer and a CIA rogue, unite to see that Willard Libby’s truths see the spotlight of day.

While God has his angels, the Libbyites (13 people who are his advocates) get help from a young Southern preacher named Billy Graham, who incorporates the science supporting Creationism into his Crusades and finally a Revival Meeting for the ages, a finale that will either make you sit up in your chair or stand up and cheer.

I have branded my own style of Historical Fiction, which I first brought to the world with my book, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR (1896-1959),(ISBN13 978-1-4691-9018). Constance Caraway and her friends give me the wings to bring history to life, with this riveting story.

I have been updating the format [to match my recent books], as well as creating the graphics.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Coming Tomorrow