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The 85 Year Old Dot to Dot Detecrive

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©

Rick Bates: The Dot to Dot Detective

by Bill Russo

CCA Media

2017

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

(Note from the Editors)

The hero of the tales that follow is a deadly shot. Don’t let his 85 years fool you. More than one ‘yegg’ 60 years younger than the “Chief” has made that mistake.

Though long retired from a Cape Cod police department, he takes the occasional case – but more often than not the case is one of wine. The Chief did not take up drinking until the age of 75, but now he is making up for lost time.

Short of temper, he thinks his own ‘sweat’ doesn’t stink. He of course, used another word, but we (the editors) want this book to be family friendly.

The Chief constantly moans that he has no Watson to puff up his exploits, and perhaps that is why he has finally agreed to release his memoirs. Chapter one, is his most recent adventure, written by himself. After release of that account, he decided to contact Mr. John Charles Weeks and commission him to put his life to ink – or digital representations of letters – depending on where and how you are reading this.

The Chief cautions all that would read; that real police work is not like television. Real cases don’t come with intricate plots populated by genius detectives; actual police work is most often tedious and boring. The solution to cases is not found in brilliant deductions, but in merely putting one foot in front of another.

In the words of the Chief, “To solve a case is to pick a starting point. That is the first dot. Then just go to the next dot and so on. When all the dots are connected the case is solved.”

Without further ado, here is the life of Richard Bates of Cape Cod.

The Cape Cod Name Game Murders

by Richard Bates

 

Mrs. Blade was killed with a knife. Mr. Gunn died from a wound caused by a pistol. John Roper was found hanging from a rope tied to a beam in his cellar. Cape Cod was scared stiff.

 

Somebody was on a crazy killing spree; dispatching victims according to their names in an otherwise random manner. The victims had no common connections other than the fact that their names are also the names of weapons.

 

Chief Sean O’Barry had no clues. Selectman Chairman Gino Romano had no patience. And the Town Administrator Martin Hammer had no time. He was the next victim. Bludgeoned to death in his office with a wooden mallet shortly after lunch.

And then they called me. It was mid afternoon and Sloppy Joe’s wasn’t yet crowded. I wasn’t going to answer the phone. In fact, I generally don’t even carry a phone. I don’t carry a watch either, so sometimes I use the phone just for telling time. Since I had a doctor’s appointment that I did not want to miss, I had brought my ‘cell watch’ with me.

 

On the sixth ring I answered……….

 

“Chief, this is Sean O’Barry. Sorry to interrupt you on your Key West time but we need you. Hammer has just been killed and the whole town is in a panic. Please come as soon as you can. I will text you all the details.”

 

“Hold on Sean. First of all, I’m not the Chief anymore: Just call me Rick. Second of all, you can’t text me. I have a plain old cellphone – the old flip phone deal. I don’t even know if it has texting and I am not going to learn it. And third of all, I am not going to leave sunny Key West for a Cape Cod winter. Hell, I am not even going to leave my bar stool.”

 

I like O’Barry. He was a rookie on the force thirty years ago when I retired. He was a good kid, but I like retirement too. At age 85, I have to admit, I am starting to slow down a little bit.

 

Finally after he told me what was happening on Cape, I agreed that I would go back North to take over the investigation.

 

“Okay Sean. I will drive from Key West up to Miami, leave my car at the railroad station and take the Silver Meteor to South Station in Boston. From there, unless you send up a car to meet me, I’ll grab the Cape Cod Flyer to Hyannis. I will see you in about two days.”

 

“Two days,” Sean moaned. “But Chief, I mean Rick: this psycho is killing at the rate of one person every three days. If you don’t hurry, someone else will die. Mr. Spears is worried, so is Mrs. Axe, and Captain Hook and Mr. Nail too. Mr. Shield thinks he might be safe, but he’s plenty worried.”

 

“I don’t think there will be another murder for a while Sean. You say the murders are random. They are anything but. Your killer is selecting victims based on names, yes. But he, or she, is also very carefully matching the

murder weapon to the crime. Mr. Roper was done in with a rope. Mrs. Blade by a knife, and Mr. Gunn by a pistol. You see he has used up the simple ones. The next murder will take a little more time to plan. While I am on the train, I will be mapping out a plan to catch your perpetrator. I will be leaving Miami tomorrow morning and I will arrive in Boston about 6:00 P.M. the next day.”

 

“Okay Rick. But you know you could fly it in about three hours.”

 

“No Sean I can’t! I don’t have wings. By the way, the train, counting my roomette, will be about $700. I will need you to wire me that here in Key West.”

 

“Seven hundred dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rick, I just don’t know…..”

 

“Okay Sean, why don’t you just let the State Police or the FBI take over….”

 

“No. Rick. You will have the money by four o’clock today. I will tweet you.”

 

“Don’t tweet me Sean, I do not have a tweeter.”

 

“That’s twitter Rick.”

 

“No. It isn’t. If it were twitter, then you’d be sending me a twit not a tweet.

And I think twit is an appropriate name for all of you who….”

 

“Okay, okay. Rick, I get it. What do you want me to do while I wait for you.”

 

“Make me a list of all possible victims.”

 

“I have been doing that. So far I have got about 20 names – Hook, Bolo, Baton, Lance, Halberd, Cannon, Arrow, Cord, Wire, Smith, Wesson, Colt, Razor, Stone, Lynch, and Brick.”

 

“Good job Sean. Now, you’ve got about a hundred officers………”

 

“One hundred fifteen,” he interrupted, “and everybody has been called in. No days off, no vacation, and no sick time till we get this man.”

 

“Or woman. So take your men and put a guard on each of the people on your list. I know you can’t watch them 24 hours a day, but even a limited presence will make it significantly harder for your maniac to do his next murder. And you might luck out and catch him trying. Keep on it. I will see you in two days time.”

 

Before he hung up, I told Sean to call Jim Moody over at the Cape Cod Times. I wanted the paper to write up a big feature article saying that I (the retired Chief of the police department) was coming back to personally head up the investigation into the “Name Game” Murders”.

 

On Cape Cod, everybody has tweeters, eye pads, eye phones, tablets and all the other trappings of the computer age, but they all still read the Cape Cod Times. It’s a tradition. Tourists read it because every day the paper has a whole page of beach and weather information, restaurant specials, and a listing of upcoming events. The locals read it because it is still the best source of information about what’s happening in the 15 towns that make up the quirky little island of 200,000 people off the coast of Massachusetts.

 

I knew that the killer would read the news about me leaving my winter spot in the Keys to come back up North. I knew too, that once I got to Hyannis;

the murderer would have me lined up for his next conquest. And that was exactly what I wanted.

 

I left my vehicle in the lot at the Miami train station. The lot is still free; probably the last parking lot on the railroad line that does not charge you to leave your car. I gave the station agent twenty bucks to look in on my vehicle every once in a while and he said he would.

 

I slid four, crisp hundred dollar bills across the counter to pay for my ticket. O’Barry was going to be happy. I got a bargain. My fare from Miami to Boston was only $120 and my Roomette was specially priced at $220. So for $340 I would be able to ride the 26 hour trip in the comfort of my little room. All my meals were included in the price.

 

I was able to get the 8:20 A.M. out of Miami. The baggage attendant took charge of my bags and the train was right on time. I went to my room and began plotting my battle against the name game killer.

 

The combination was rolling smoothly on its long run three hours later when the porter asked me if I wanted to eat lunch in the dining car.

 

“No thanks, I will eat here in my room. I’ll have the Angus steak burger with Swiss on a corn dusted kaiser roll. Put in a couple of Applewood smoked bacon strips. And for a beverage, a good red house wine will do. Full bottle please.”

 

Railroad food is outstanding. I don’t know how they get it to taste so fabulous, but it never disappoints. And when you have a roomette, all meals are included at no extra charge.

 

My burger was excellent and the wine was perfect. I didn’t start drinking until I was 75 years old, but now I am making up for lost time. Another glass of wine, then a nap. Then it will be dinner time. Did I mention that I love the train?

 

After my nap, I went to the dining car for an excellent herb roasted chicken with rice pilaf and corn, along with three glasses of Chardonnay. I was seated with three Hispanic women from Lake Worth in Palm Beach county. We

passed a pleasant 90 minutes discussing the merits of Spanish Telenovas.

 

Then I retired to my room to work on my plan to capture the name game killer. But I was a little tired and I drifted off, sleeping like an 85 year old baby until breakfast. Before arriving in Boston, I did manage to settle down and craft a plan that I felt would work and when I arrived at Chief O’Barry’s office I shared it with him.

 

“How was the train ride, Chief?”

 

“Sean, don’t call me Chief! You are the chief now. I am Rick. Just Rick. The train ride was spectacular. Why would anybody travel any other way? Now bring me up to speed on the latest developments.”

 

He briefed me and I outlined my plan. I told him that I wanted to set up my office in Hammer’s old office – the place where he was killed. I instructed him to get another item in the Times with all the details.

In a nut shell my plan to capture the murderer was to goad him into returning to the scene of his crime…the very place where he had killed Town Administrator Marty Hammer. How would I get him to come after me? I decided to use radio.

 

There are a dozen radio stations on Cape Cod, but WMIC talk radio, is number one by far. Its success is mainly due to the popularity of the morning talk show, hosted by a colorful guy named Larry Edwards.

 

Larry is a Cape Cod institution. Almost everybody on Cape tunes in. He knows everyone and is on first name terms with every body from the clerk at the corner store, to the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

 

He is even on a first name basis with the jailers of the last three Speakers!!! That’s another story for another time!

 

I was sure that the killer would be listening to Larry’s program because serial

murderers bask in the notoriety of their inhuman acts. I decided to call in to the show and set the baits that would bring an end to the bloodiest reign of horror that Cape Cod had ever seen.

 

I went on between 8:30 and 9:00 A.M., which I figured would be the best time to ensure that that my target was listening. I explained to Larry that as the retired Chief of Police, I had returned from ‘snow birding’ to take charge of the case. I informed the radio audience that I would be in my office 24 hours a day until the killer is caught. I explained that I would be eating and sleeping in the building and would not be leaving it at any time.

 

After a general discussion of the plague of terror and death that had gripped every town and village from Provincetown to Bourne; I fielded half a dozen calls from listeners. I was hoping that the murderer would call in to the show, but it didn’t happen.

 

During that first day back on Cape, I pored through voting lists, telephone directories, and various public records to find names that would most likely be on the killer’s list. There were hundreds of possibles. Last names. Names like Remington, Colt, or Gatlin were bad enough, but even a person’s first name could make him or her a target. Tommy? Tommy Gun. Pete? Pistol Pete. Wes? Wesson.

 

Too many names. Too many possibilities. My best chance was in staying in the office and hoping that my baits would draw the killer to me.

 

On the radio, I revealed that the police station would be empty, except for me, between one A.M. and four A.M. Every day.

 

At midnight that night, I slid my shoes off and laid down on the office couch. I drifted off to a restless sleep. Some time later, I snapped to, when a crack of light appeared at the office door as it began to be slowly opened. An illuminated clock on the wall revealed that it was nearly three in the morning.

 

A figure silently approached me in the darkness.

 

“Before you kill me, why don’t you turn on the light so we can have a little talk,” I broke the stillness.

 

“Don’t move or I will shoot you!” commanded a decidedly male voice.

 

“We both know that you are not going to shoot me. My name is not Gunn or Bullet, so I will not die from one. Just put on the light and let’s talk.”

 

The snap of a switch brought instant brightness and I gazed upon a face I knew very well.

 

“Captain Hook. I am not totally surprised to find that it is you behind all these killings. But why?”

 

“Hello Chief. It’s you. It’s all your fault! Before we talk, give me your gun.”

 

I rose from the couch and handed over my little Glock 19 that I have had since the 1980s. It’s a mini Glock that’s perfect for undercover operations. A scaled down Glock 17; it’s four inches shorter and holds 15 rounds, but weighs less than two pounds fully loaded. I love that gun and sure hated to give it up, but I presented it to Captain Hook, handle first and then sat back down.

 

“Well that’s a wimpy little gun Chief, but thanks for it. Now we will talk. You are the reason for everything. You retired more than 30 years ago but everybody still calls you Chief. You go to Florida in the winter but every summer you come back and stick your fingers in the department. Look at me, forty years on the force and they finally make me a Captain just as I am being forced to retire.

 

I could have been Chief. If you had put a good word in, the selectmen would have made me the boss. But you never once went to bat for me. I wanted to be a detective and you always put me on traffic detail.”

 

“You made your own trouble, Hook. How many times were you on the carpet for drinking on the job? How many times did you almost get discharged? I never spoke up for you because you were not a very good cop. But I never tried to get you fired either because I thought at least you were honest and

when you were sober, you did your work.”

 

“It doesn’t matter now Chief. You are my last job. I am going to kill you and then I am going to retire. I am going to open my mouth and blow my brains out. But not before I croak you, you ancient relic. You should have died 20 years ago.”

 

“I am all alone here. There is nothing to stop you. How are you going to do it Hook? What’s it to be?”

 

“Think about it Chief. There’s really only one way to properly get rid of you. I am going to take you to Monomy Island where you can join the thousands of seals as shark food.”

 

“Okay Hook, let’s get going. I’ll just put on my shoes and then I will be ready to go”

 

I reached down and pulled out my spare Glock 17, that I had stowed inside my shoe and shot Hook twice in the temple before he had a chance to even think about firing at me. He crumpled and fell dead to the floor.

 

He really was a lousy cop. He took his eyes off me and had his gun pointing at the carpet when I went for mine. That was idiotic; but not knowing that I would have a back up gun or a ‘throw away’; that’s plain moronic!

 

Later as I was being driven to the train station to go back to Key West, Chief O’Barry asked me, “Chief, why were you so certain that Hook would come after you.

 

“First of all. Don’t call me Chief! It’s Rick. Second of all Sean , that’s a stupid question. What’s my last name?”

 

“Bates. Your name is Rick Bates.”

 

“Yes Sean and how do you catch a fish or a killer? You use baits! I will be 86 years old next birthday, but I knew that my ‘Bates’ are well preserved and would still be irresistible!

 

THE END

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  *The Little Guy That Couldn't, Actually Could. by John Charles Weeks and Fergus Truslow*
pre

Hello dear reader. If you read the first
story in this book you now know a little bit about me. I used to be
a Police Chief. I am old, a little short tempered, I can still
shoot straight and deadly, and I think my own sweat doesn’t stink
(I am trying to be a little family friendly here).

Just a second. There’s a knock on my
door.

“Come in. It’s open.”

“Hello Chief Bates. I’m John Weeks, I can’t
wait to get started on your biography.”

“Time is wasting sit down and get your pen
and paper ready.”

“No sir. There’s no paper involved in this.

Everything will be recorded and transcribed; because when we set up
this interview you told me you want your story to be written word
for word. Am I right Chief?”

“DON’T CALL ME CHIEF!” I like that little hurt look on your face
Weeks. It’s okay, you can call me chief. I just love saying that.
It is a reference to the Superman ‘funnybooks’ of the 1940s and
50s. Clark Kent worked for the Daily Planet newspaper and the
Editor in Chief, Perry White, always screamed that line at cub
reporter/copy boy, Jimmy Olson.”

“I know that Chief!” Weeks affirmed.

“Good. Then you might understand what I am
going to say next. You’d better; because I don’t want to waste a
good quote. Your readers are going to want to know what kind of a
detective I am. I don’t have any Watson to embellish my cases and
the truth is most cases are boring and as simple as one of those
connect the dot puzzles in a kid’s book.

I was a chief and also a
detective. But, to quote pulp fiction detective Nick Carter,
[*‘I am not a storybook detective with a highball
glass in one hand (Nick Charles, The Thin Man) and a Chinese
Proverb in the other, (Charlie Chan) nor can I tell you from the
ashes of a man’s cigar (Sherlock Holmes) that he had kippered
herring for breakfast and hit his grandmother over the head with an
axe!’*]: I hope you got the
references.”

“Chief, I watch Turner Classic Movies all the
time. I am up on my Charlie Chan, my Nick Charles, and of course my
classic Holmes.”

“Good man Weeks. We may get along alright.

Let’s get to it. I am 85 years old and though I am in the prime of
life, I know I can’t last forever. I want to leave something
behind. I don’t mean money and such. I guess I don’t want to be
forgotten. So, I want you to be my biographer. You will be my
Watson. But you have to write down everything. I don’t care if it
is not interesting. I want the readers to know everything. So turn
on your recorder. Here goes.”

My name is Rick (Richard) Bates. Luckily for
me, I was born in 1930 and nobody made jokes about the name Richard
back then. And at school, when I was called Master, it did not
provoke the snickers which it would for a school child in today’s
world.

“For many years I was a police officer, and
later the Chief, of a municipal force in a small Cape Cod town. I
am not really a bad guy, but I certainly am not a good guy. I have
done things I wouldn’t want my Mother to know about. Hell, my
Mother did things she wouldn’t want me to know about! I have shot
some suspects that I could have taken in alive. I have accepted a
few gratuities during my career. Back in the 1950s and 1960s almost
every cop on Cape Cod took gifts.

It was the time of Camelot. You know! John
Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy! The whole Kennedy clan
gathered on Cape every Summer. They were a wild bunch. The old man,
the rum runner – Old Joe. I don’t want to say too much because they
can probably still make trouble for me, but: ‘rumor has it’ that
the old man used to have so much pull that there were standing
orders issued to all cops on Cape Cod, that if a Kennedy got into
trouble, you were immediately supposed to drive him home and keep
your mouth shut and your notebook closed!

I am stone cold sober right now, so I don’t
want to say any more about that. It’s early afternoon, so I think I
will just have a Mimosa. Want one?”

“No thanks Chief, I am going to be taking
notes even though the machine is recording you; because there are
certain things I will want to ask you about later.”

“Okay Weeks. I will have one for both of us.

You know I never drank until I hit 75 years old. Now I am making up
for lost time! Well, actually, I drank as a teenager. We all did.
All of us boys in the neighborhood would get together near the
Police Station. We would go over to the drug store and get some
fountain Coca Colas and then add rum to them and stand in front of
the police station chatting up the cops who walked in and out! They
never caught on to us; or if they did, they left us alone because
we didn’t make any trouble.

Another place we used to hang out was by the
Catholic church, just down the block from the police station. There
would be three or four of us, all sipping our Rum and Coca Colas
and the Priests would walk by and gab with us.

One afternoon, I was feeling pretty
lightheaded when Father Murphy walked by. His red face kind of
hinted to me that maybe the good Father himself had been having a
few spirits. We talked for a few moments about the great slugger
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox.

“Father, I have to go home now,” I told him,
“but I was wondering something. Could I ask you about it?”

“Certainly, Master Bates, ask anything you
wish.”

“Well Father, I was wondering how you get to
join the Holy Name Society?”

“Well it’s easy enough, my boy, all you have
to do is swear a lot!”

Father Murphy laughed so hard at his joke
that he almost passed out. We had to help him into the rectory.

Within a few months time, the thrill of the
secret drinking in front of the Police Station and the Church,
began to fade. I drank less and less frequently, to the point that
by the time I reached the legal drinking age of 21; I had sworn off
the stuff. I had my last drink somewhere around my 20th birthday
and then didn’t have another for about 54 years.

Elizabeth Taylor. I loved her. Elizabeth
Taylor! She drank Mimosas. It was her favorite drink. I guess
that’s why I am having one now. If I have enough of them, I will
tell you some real dirt on that Kennedy clan.

Long before I became a cop I was a fan of the
racing dogs and the horses. I used to bet the dogs at the Taunton
and Raynham tracks in New England and then go to the Florida tracks
for the winter.

I got a job on the security team of the
Taunton Dog Track. That was how I eventually got into the police
department. But before that I worked security at the tracks and
also as a private detective.

I even did a stint as a house detective. It
was just after the Second World War.

I had a strange case involving a jockey at
Hialeah Race Track, near Miami. The guy had lost his nerve after
being badly injured in a 12 horse spill.

He hadn’t been on a mount in more than two
months. A lot of the railbirds were saying that he would never ride
again.

I was the house detective at the Carribean
Hotel at 3737 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. One afternoon, I saw
the jockey talking with the desk clerk and I wandered over to
listen.

“Chipman? Room 1128.” the desk clerk said.

“Who is calling please?”

“D’ Argonne – Eddie D’ Argonne,” the jockey
said. His palms were sweating and and his face was twisted up into
a knot. He looked as nervous as a 16 year old trying to get served
in a bar.

“D’ Argonne?” the clerk repeated, “Oh, yes.”
The polite smile of the desk clerk broke off at the edges into a
sneer. He recognized Eddie by the carrot thatch on his head and the
freckles on this face. And everybody around town knew the story of
the jockey who turned coward after a fall in the middle of the
field at the Hialeah Derby.

The little guy said nothing, but looked at
the floor and turned away, walking toward the elevators, as the
clerk stared at him with an air of smug superiority.

I wasn’t sure why Eddie wanted to see Van
Chipman, but I was curious. Since the accident, Eddie had not
ridden in one single race, but I had heard a rumor that Chipman,
who owned ‘Mom’s Ride’, the favorite in the next day’s feature
race, had booked Eddie as his jockey. Why would Chipman hire a
jockey who had lost his nerve, to ride the race favorite?

I saw Eddie enter the elevator and I signaled
Johnny, the red jacketed operator to hold the doors until I could
get in. There were only three other passengers besides myself and
the jockey,

“How yah doing today, Mr. Bates?”

“Good Johnny. Floor eleven please.”

Then Johnny turned his attention to
Eddie.

“Well, now, if it ain’t Mr. D’Argonne!” he
whispered, letting a sly grin slide across his greasy fat face.
“Where you working these days?”

Eddie’s face blanched as he looked at Johnny.

His normal five foot one height dropped by about three inches as he
said, “I am at the Naval Hospital. I’m a civilian employee. Still
in training though.”

“Whaddaya do at the hospital? Hand out horse
liniment?”

The other riders snickered.

“That’s enough out of you Johnny,” I snapped.

“Eddie was one of the best jockies in the game. Lay off!”

“It’s okay Sir,” Eddie said. “He’s just angry
with me because he was a stable boy at Hialeah until I caught him
stealing sponges and chamois skins from my boss.”

Johnny’s face turned as crimson as Eddie’s
hair and not another word was said until he announced, “Eleventh
Floor” and Eddie and I got out. I wished him good luck and walked
off in an opposite direction from Van Chipman’s rooms. I stopped to
check with Rollins, the other House Detective who was stationed at
the entrance to the East Wing. A famous Hollywood actress had
booked the entire wing for a party that she was throwing for a
company of United States Marines, just back from action in the
Pacific. The party was going well and the Leathernecks were acting
like gentlemen so I headed back to Chipman’s room, number 1128. I
tiptoed to the door and set up an observation post.

The rooms at the Carribean all had transom
windows above the doors, so I had rigged up a mirror device to
monitor suspicious rooms. The transom window was open at a 45
degree angle, so I could see and hear everything that went on in
the room.

Besides Eddie, I saw two other men. One of
them was Chipman. His hand swept across a little dinner table where
he was seated and dropped a napkin on something that sparkled in
the light. The other guy was a blond Marine, not much bigger than
the jockey. He got halfway out of his chair in one move, and his
right hand went to the sleeve of his left.

“Well, well,” Van Chipman’s suave voice said.

His eyes were cold as pale stones in his dark, soft face. “If it
isn’t that bootin’, kickin’ jock, Eddie D’ Argonne.”

“I had to talk to you, Van,” Eddie said.

“Mr. Chipman,” said Chipman.

“OK. Mr. Chipman. Listen, Mr.

Chipman. I gotta know why you bet five grand against Mom’s Ride
—your own horse—in the third race tomorrow?”

While I was watching the drama unfold in room
1128 I was thinking I’d seen that blond Marine somewhere. He wore
the shoulder patch of a South Pacific unit and the service ribbons
to go with it. His thin face with the soft blond hair around it
struck something in my memory like a warning bell.

As I was turning this over in my mind,
Chipman picked up a broiled lamb chop and took a bite out of it
with even white teeth. “One thing at a time, little man,” he
chuckled. The blond Marine never took his cold, washed-out blue
eyes off Eddie. He sat there and watched.

Chipman’s eyes showed his enjoyment. The
Jockey was a sort of floor show for him while he ate. He put down
the chop bone, picked up another crisp, juicy chop and sank his
teeth into it.

“I don’t mind telling you why, really,” he
said, chewing. “I’m betting against my own horse, because you’re up
in the saddle, and you’re a gutless hasbeen!”

Eddie seemed to shrink , but instead of
getting weaker; he appeared to be squeezing down like a coil,
getting stronger and ready to spring. He clenched his jaw and
bunched his fists. He took a step forward.

“Chipman…….,” he growled.

“You see,” Chipman grinned. “I only own a
fourth of ‘Mom’s Ride’, and the other owner will race him come hell
or high water. I want to buy the rest of that horse cheap. He’ll
sell after you lose tomorrow. A yellow-belly jockey can’t win
races.”

“I am going back in the saddle tomorrow and
I’ll win! I’ll boot him home!”

“Will you? I’m a sort of a connoisseur of
cowardice. I think you’ll remember how it feels to be out in front
of a big field when something goes wrong and you have to hit the
dirt. You’ll hear the thundering of those hoofs and . . .”

The boom of traffic drifted up to the hotel windows
from the street

below. To Eddie it was like hoofs pounding,
thundering at him, and he was down smelling the dirt, tasting it
again, knowing what he was going to get.

“Damn you!” the words stuck in Eddie’s aching
throat and came out in a kind of dry sob. “You dirty, crooked—”

Eddie picked up the napkin off the table and
threw it at him. Then realized what he had done. A blaze of
blue-white light lay there where the napkin had been. Diamonds! And
what diamonds! The smile faded off Chipman’s face in a wink. The
lines on his face went the other way—up and down. The Marine shoved
back his chair. A thin-bladed stiletto came out of his sleeve, but
the look on his thin face didn’t change. It had been there all
along, and now it fitted. I remembered now. Once at West Palm,
somebody had pointed him out. I didn’t know they took cons in the
Marines, I thought. They don’t, the answer came off my own tongue
in a mumble.

“Never mind, Smitty. Don’t dirty up the
floor. It’s not necessary,” Chipman purred.

“Not necessary?” Smitty’s voice was falsetto.

He didn’t take those washed-out blue eyes off Eddie, and he didn’t
put away the stiletto.

“He’ll play ball,” Chipman
said sharply.

“Since you’ve cut yourself in on this deal,”
Chipman remarked in suave tones, “take a gander at that chair over
by the window.”

It was a big easy chair and the reason I
hadn’t seen the guy in the grey suit before was that he’d been
slumped way down, passed out. His face was a pale, dirty
yellow.

I watched as Eddie put his hand to the guy’s
forehead. A glass on a side table gave Eddie an idea. He poured a
couple of drops into his hands, rubbed them together and
sniffed.

“Mickeyed,” he whispered.

“Just a little bad ice in his drink,” Chipman
said cynically. “We want you to get rid of him for us.” Eddie faced
them, his lungs working hard for air. Van Chipman was grinning.
Smitty stood there with his shiv glittering palely under a floor
lamp.

“Just leave him on a bench in the Plaza,
Eddie. Take him out

the back way.”

“What if I don’t?”

“Pick him up.”

Instead of picking the guy up, Eddie pulled
open the unbuttoned shirt. the guy’s stomach was a dirty yellow
color!

Eddie took a step toward Chipman. “You dirty
rats!” he yelled. “I’ll

see you in hell first!”

Smitty came gliding across the floor with his
stiletto balanced like a toy.

“You lifted those diamonds from the movie
queen throwing the party in the other wing!” he snarled. “You’ve
got a record a mile long. You are Jewel thief and killer!”

With one hand Eddie tipped the dinner table
over in front of Smitty as he closed in. With the other he grabbed
a wine bottle and swung on Chipman. It caught him a glancing blow.
He went down. Smitty was weaving around the corner of the messed-up
table like a blond weasel, with the cold-looking shiv in his
grip.

“You’re no Marine!” Eddie sneered.

Smitty shook himself, blinked his pale eyes,
and dived. With one hand, little Eddie clamped down on his knife
wrist and with the other he smashed hard to the mouth. Blood
spattered. Smitty whimpered. He Whimpered! The cold-blooded little
killer didn’t like being pushed around by a jockey 20 pounds under
his own weight. Eddie slammed home a couple of hard rights. The
stiletto clinked on the floor. A left straightened him up. Another
right put him away for keeps.

Chipman was up and snarling like a mad dog
while he fumbled in a desk

drawer. He swung around with a little black
automatic.

Eddie saw, his face twisted with the thoughts
that were in him and he knew he was done for, but he rushed in
anyway.

He charged across that room at Chipman
feeling like a giant inside. A gun shot crashed against the walls,
stunned Eddie’s ears, but he didn’t feel hurt. He kept going,
wondering if it didn’t hurt to be shot like this.

Then he saw Chipman drop his gun and crumple
into a chair.

“Sorry I left you hanging for so long Eddie,”
I said to the little jockey. “But it took me longer to break down
the door than I expected.”

He looked up and saw me standing in the
doorway, a whiff of cordite spilling from the business end of my
gun.

“These guys swiped some diamonds,” he
began.

“Yeh, yeh, I heard the whole thing. I
followed you to the door and listened outside. Eddie, I saw
everything. There’s no question about your courage at all. You were
a tiger and you tamed two monsters.”

“And I got a race to ride tomorrow and Mom’s
Ride and me are going to be in the winner’s circle.”

“ Eddie,” I said, I am going to put a ‘fin’
on you; maybe even a ‘sawbuck’. Listen pal, how did you know the
guy had slipped a mickey to the Marine and swapped clothes with him
to get into the movie star’s suite?”

“Watch this,” he said. Walking past Chipman,
who sat groaning in a chair. He pulled back the mickeyed man’s
shirt and pointed at his belly. “Yellow as gold!. It’s the atabrine
(synthetic quinine) that they take for malaria in the tropics. I
work at Naval Hospital. I have seen a lot of Marines look like that
when they first come back.”

“Good luck in the race tomorrow: I said to
Eddie as he walked out of the room: and I swear to you Mister
Weeks, that for a minute – Just a few seconds mind you, that little
jockey was six feet tall.

“Good story Chief. Let’s have another,” said
Weeks.

“Wonderful idea,” replied the Chief. “I am
going to have another. Another Mimosa. And then a nap. Come back
next week, Same time. We will talk some more.”

The End

This story was a
semi-posthumous collaborative effort of John Charles Weeks based on
a theme of the late Fergus Truslow, a pulp writer from the early
20th century.

[*Rick Bates, the 85 Year Old, Dot to Dot
Detective*]

 

My name is John Charles Weeks. As a
writer/journalist on Cape Cod for the

last ten months, I have covered two or three notable
stories but most of what I write about is pretty mundane.

 

I spent three weeks in the Spring watching the Right
Whales in Nantucket Sound as over half the world’s population of
the big beasts came to Cape Cod. As magnificent as a right whale
breach is the first time you see it, it quickly becomes a chore to
try and present it to readers with a fresh approach.

 

After two weeks doing stories on the lushly
appointed local golf courses the only thing I did not know about
that boring sport is how the grass always looks freshly cut, though
it seems like nobody ever mows it.

 

But for the fact that I watch the duffers scoop up
great mounds of earth as they are trying to drive the ball, I would
be convinced that the courses use artificial turf.

 

So, it was with some relief that I accepted the
invitation of the old retired Police Chief Rick Bates to talk to
him about writing his biography. Bates

was a storied Cape Cod figure prior to his
retirement some 30 years ago.

 

He still pops up on the news occasionally, as he did
last year when he returned from his winter retreat in Key West to
solve the infamous Cape Cod Name Game Murders.

 

At 85 years old, he was, and still is, a force to be
reckoned with and respected. To a man, the cops on Cape Cod do. In
a previous story, I recounted my first meeting with the old
gentleman.

 

I had tried to get started on his biography but he
had settled into a mix of champagne and orange juice; and his
memories of mimosas and Elizabeth Taylor. This first meeting
yielded only a story from 40 or 50 years ago. I had hoped to have
better luck with my second visit.

 

Arriving at the designated day and hour, the old
Chief admitted me to his spacious three level home overlooking
Nantucket Sound in the middle of Cape Cod.

 

“Come in Watson,” he smiled.

 

“It’s Weeks, Chief, John Charles Weeks.”

 

“Of course it is,Weeks but you are my Watson. AND
DON’T CALL ME CHIEF!

 

I am just kidding as usual Weeks. Let me get you a
drink.”

 

“No Chief. Just a water for me please.”

 

“As you wish. I am having a Slippery Nipple. It’s a
mix of Bailey’s and Sambuca. Notice how the ingredients remain
separate from each other like

two pages of an open book. It’s delightful. You
know, I didn’t……….”

 

“start drinking until you were 75 and now you are
making up for lost time. You have said it before.”

 

“And I will say it again! Look Weeks, at 85 anything
goes! At Sloppy Joe’s in Key West or anyplace on Cape Cod, when I
order Slippery Nipples I am instantly everybody’s favorite uncle or
grandfather or old geezer. And nobody ever lets me pay for
anything! Life is good for an old, old guy.

 

Now what about you Weeks. How did you acquire
this name that interests me, John Charles Weeks?”

“Well Chief, my Mother was a news ‘junkie’
born in the 1940s. There was a man on television she admired. He
was a radio personality and a newspaper columnist and eventually
had a program on TV called What’s My Line?”

“I know the show well Weeks. The host was
John Charles Daly.”

“Correct Chief, and my Mother had a crush on
this guy like the girls of today have a thing for George Clooney.
If my Mother ever had been in the TV audience of What’s My Line,
she would have thrown her house keys up to Daly, wrapped in her
underwear. I swear to you, she searched high and low for a man
named Daly to marry but finally ran into my father and settled on
the name Weeks. When I came along, it was a given I would be named
John Charles.”

“It could have been worse
Weeks. If she had admired comics like Shelley Berman from
Curb Your Enthusiasm,
you’d be Shelley Weeks. And you don’t look like a Shelley. I think
John Charles fits you well and I don’t want my Watson to have a
girl’s name.”

“Let’s get back to your biography Chief.”

“First a refill of my Slippery Nipple. It
really is delightful. The Bailey’s moderates the Sambuca which
envigorates the Bailey’s. It takes some practice to make this
drink. A steady hand is required as you pour down the side of the
glass…………..”

“Pardon the interruption Chief. How did you
develop your powers of detection?”

“Weeks I told you before, you watch too much
television. Police work is not like TV. Oh maybe one case in 5,000
could be a film script, but mostly the work of detection is simply
connecting the dots. In fact, I think you should use that as the
book title. Call it, “Chief Rick Bates, the 85 year old Dot to Dot
Detective.!

Also, please remember Weeks, that Sherlock
Holmes, and those SUV

television programs are just fiction.”

SVU Chief, not SUV.”

“Whatever. The point is that in most cases, a
police officer simply puts one foot in front of the other starting
at the beginning and walking to the solution. That’s how I solved
the biggest serial killing case ever on Cape Cod and maybe
anywhere.”

“I thought the Name Game Murders was the greatest number of
killings ever.”

“That case was only the most publicized. The
biggest case ever, I call ‘The Vanishing Homeless.’ It involved
vagrants and semi professional prostitutes. Nobody really cared
about them or their deaths. That’s why the case never received much
notoriety It all started back in the 1960s shortly after I became
Chief.

My little town is only a few miles away from
Hyannis, which as you know is the commercial center of Cape Cod. As
such it has a larger and more diverse population than the rest of
the Cape. It is more similar to a city like Boston, than it is to
neighboring Yarmouth, Harwich, and Dennis.

In Summer it was not only a destination for
thousands of well off tourists, but also for hundreds of down on
their luck homeless people. We didn’t call them ‘homeless’ back
then. They were just ‘bums’. If they ended up in court we dressed
them in a little fancier name. We called them Vagrants. Vagrancy
was a crime.

Most of the homeless in Hyannis congregated
around the transportation centers of the bus and rail companies.
They had a camp set up. Some people made hovel homes from large
boxes. Others had tents. Some had no barrier from the elements.
They simply slept on bare ground with cardboard for a mattress.
They mostly kept to themselves except for panhandling by the docks
and in front of the bus station. Other than a fairly rare case of a
drunk getting out of hand, they caused few problems and the police
mostly left them alone.

The other chiefs and I had suspicions that a
few people had gone missing, but it was a transient community and
usually ninety per cent of the homeless moved on to somewhere else
by the end of Autumn. Most of them did not have IDs or even social
security numbers or driver’s licenses. They were pretty much ‘off
the system’.

 

Every once in a while the newspaper would run a
story about ‘a missing person’ but it was rarely followed up.
‘Policing’ is a business in some respects just like any other
business. You have a staff and you have a budget. You allocate your
resources according to priority and looking for a missing ‘bum’ is
always just about the last priority.

 

On Cape Cod, getting on a ladder and going up a tree
to rescue a taxpayer’s cat is much more important work for a police
officer than searching for a missing vagrant who does not want to
be found anyway.

 

The other chiefs and I were pretty sure that a fair
number of vagrants were meeting with unpleasant ends, but we had no
idea how many and we also felt that if somebody killed a bum, the
perpetrator was probably another bum.

 

“So you knew that murders were
being committed and did nothing,” Weeks interrupted.

 

“Yes and no, John. Yes, we would make a preliminary
investigation and record the case in our files. But no, when we
heard of a missing vagrant we did not mount an active investigation
for the simple reason that in the vast majority of these
situations, the vagrant was missing simply because he or she moved
on to another location. As I mentioned, in winter, probably 90 per
cent of the homeless made their way to Florida. Some jumped on
freight

trains, others hitched rides, some even walked a
good part of the way.

 

In Southeastern Massachusetts around Fall River and
New Bedford during the 1980s there was a serial killer who only
murdered prostitutes. That person was never brought to justice
despite slaying nine victims. If those women who were killed were
prominent citizens, you can bet your last dollar that someone would
have been tried and convicted for the killings. It’s all about
priorities.

 

In the Cape Cod case, I got involved because of a
woman. She interested me, so I made the case a priority. The woman
was Dorothy Barton who tried hard not to look beautiful, but
failed.”

 

“Stop a second Chief. You’re telling me you only
took this case because you were attracted to the woman?”

 

“Yes. I told you before, I am not a bad guy. But I
am not a good guy either. She was so pretty and so sweet looking
that I immediately felt sympathy for her and wanted to please her.
I listened to her story and said I’d push the case. It wasn’t about
making a move on her; though I would have loved to try it. I guess
you could say I felt like Sir Galahad and she was the Holy Grail. I
just felt like I had to do my best for her.

 

Her tale was tragic. She was the mother of two young
children. That in itself is a hard job, but it was made much worse
by her husband. Jimmy Barton. He was a bright young auto mechanic
with his own gas station when he and Dorothy married. They had a
nice house in Centerville and were positioned for a great life
until Jim got drafted and sent to Southeast Asia.

 

I don’t know exactly what happened, but Jim was
captured and held prisoner for months before escaping and finding
his way back to American troops. He was broken both physically and
mentally. The government sent him home and thankfully granted him
100 per cent disability, which gave Dorothy enough money to take
care of the kids and the house.

 

Jimmy became more distant and withdrawn. Eventually
he left home and wandered into the Hyannis homeless camp. He felt
much less ‘broken’ when he was in the company of other unfortunate
people. He was liked by the homeless group and on some days, was
fairly clear headed.

 

On those good days, he would sometimes go back to
his wife and kids for a day. Dorothy would get him bathed and
shaved and spread out a king-like meal for him.

 

For a few hours, he was almost normal, but like the
werewolf of mythology, when the moon came up, Jimmy’s mood would
change and he would leave. He would wander the streets for a time
and then end up back at the homeless camp. Mrs. Barton might not
see him again for four or five weeks. She stuck by him, Weeks.
Through it all, she never stopped thinking that the old Jimmy would
come back.

 

I had been to the homeless place a time or two and I
had seen Barton. You couldn’t miss him. Jimmy was well known in the
camp. He was a tall, once strapping man, with thick curly black
hair. Blue eyes, almost as large as cat’s eyes, gave his face the
appearance of a lit-up sign board. He was big, but not threatening
and was popular with all the homeless men and women.

 

I talked to him once. He came over to me, a wide
smile on his face, and asked me if I was joining the camp. I
laughed and told him that I was there on police business. He was
interested in my job and especially in my weapon.

 

Though I have used Glocks for the last couple
decades, back then I had a Smith and Wesson 38 Special. Barton
spoke for a while about his service record. He proudly told me that
he qualified for an “Expert” marksmanship badge in the army and
that he won the Silver badge in competition shooting.”

 

“How good is that Chief?. I don’t know because I
never served in the military.”

 

“It’s pretty good John. Soliders qualify as
marksmen, sharpshooter, or Expert. Jimmy said that he made expert
which is the highest. In competition, the highest award is Silver,
and he said he won that. I believed him too. He didn’t say it like
he was bragging. He just said it as a matter of fact.

 

That was the only time that I saw him or spoke to
him. I guess it must have been six or seven months before his wife
came to my office.

 

She was concerned because it was almost Winter and
Jimmy had not come back for his heavy seasonal clothing as he had
promised her he would. It had been more than two months since he
had been at the family home. She felt sure that something was
wrong.

 

“Chief,” she said, “I have been to the homeless camp
six times. He’s not there. Nobody will tell me anything. I just
know he would not go off to Florida or anywhere else. I think he’s
getting better. The last time he was home he stayed three days and
two nights and for the most part he was acting like his old self.
He even worked in the yard for a bit, doing some mowing and
trimming of hedges. I think a bad thing has happened. Please go and
check for me.”

 

She touched my hand as she asked and I made up my
mind right then and there that I would personally investigate the
case for her.

 

“Mrs. Barton. I’m not the Chief in your town, why
did you come to me?”

 

“Because I have been to almost every other Chief on
the Cape and they smile at me and say they will look into it, but
they have not. I have heard that you are a bit unconventional
and……”

 

She stopped speaking and tears began to well up in
her eyes, but she bucked up and continued.

 

“………and I have just about run out of Chiefs,”
she laughed, “So won’t you help me? Please!”

 

“I told her I would start on the case the very next
day and make a written report to her in a week. I’m no six footer
like Jimmy Barton, but I did have black curly hair back then and
green eyes that looked like they were scooped out of a swimming
pool, so I figured I could go to the homeless camp and win over the
female population and possibly get a clue as to what happened.

 

There was no ‘detecting’ involved, Weeks. It was
just connecting the dots. The first dot was that homeless camp. My
talks with the ‘bum’ ladies would lead me to the next dot.”

 

“It was just normal police work. Right Chief?”

 

“You are correct Weeks. Just regulation. Put one
foot in front of another. All that dramatic baloney is an invention
of Arthur Conan Doyle to sell magazines and books. Films and
television perpetuate the myth. They do it because real life police
work is almost always boring and nobody will watch ‘boring’. Am I
right?”

 

“Yes. I’ve got that Chief. Now what happened when
you went to the homeless camp?”

 

“I dressed in dungarees with a sport shirt and I
drove a private car. I didn’t want anyone to be scared off by a
police vehicle. I carried a paper bag full of chocolates. I figured
that if my green eyes and black curly hair failed to loosen the
ladies’ tongues, the chocolates would come to the rescue.

 

I walked in to the camp and headed for a fire that
was blazing inside of a group of stones. Seated on an assortment of
rickety chairs, boxes, and logs around the edge of the fire were
eight women. Steam escaped from the spout of a coffee pot perched
on some embers.”

 

“Hello ladies,” I smiled, “I am a little lost. I
wonder if you could give me some directions.”

 

“I will give you more than that sweetie, Come on
over here,” said a plump white haired old woman wrapped in a
tattered blanket that covered five or six layers of shirts and
skirts.

 

“No, she’ll give you the stink and crabs, you come
over here with me cutie,” said a cadaverous ghostly looking woman
wearing only a short sleeve shirt despite the late November chill.
Her arms were covered with bruises and needle marks. I nearly lost
my breakfast just looking at her.

 

A solid looking woman, with a heavy jacket stood up.

She had long hair, just turning to grey. She was attractive in a
rugged kind of a way.

 

“I know who you are Pal. What do you want,” she
said.

 

“I only want to talk. Nothing more. I am trying to
help Mrs. Barton find her husband, Jimmy. He’s the tall, skinny guy
with the blue eyes that you ladies like so much.”

 

“What’s in the bag?” she asked.

 

“Chocolates for you, ladies.”

 

“I’ll take the bag. Give it,” she said.

 

I handed it over and she distributed the candy to
the other ladies, taking a few for herself. When the bag was empty,
she threw it in the fire and looked at me. She pointed to a drab
tent and began walking. She motioned to me to follow her.

 

“My name is Phil. It’s short for Philomena and if
you call me that your going to have a high voice for the rest of
your life. Get it?”

 

I smiled. I had to admire this woman who in the
middle of a homeless camp, exuded class, brains, and power all at
once.

 

“Phil I got it for sure. I like your style. My name
is Rick. Can we talk?”

 

“We have already spoken before Rick. When you
hassled me for telling fortunes without a license at the Scallop
Festival in your town in July.”

 

“I thought you were familiar Phil. But I didn’t
recognize you without all your make up and your fortune telling
costume.”

 

“It’s okay Rick. You didn’t book me. You were square
with me. And I should have spent the fifty bucks at your town hall
to get a license. Next year I will. So what do you want to
know?”

 

“Mrs. Barton came in to my office and asked me to
help find her husband. He has disappeared and she’s certain that
something has happened to him. You knew Jimmy. I am sure you liked
him. Everyone did.”

 

“Yes Rick. I knew him. I don’t know what’s going on
but I do know who talked to him last. There’s a guy who comes here
every few weeks to pick up women. He tries to get the best looking
and least sickly women to go to a motel with him for the night. He
never fails. He flashes fifty dollar bills around. He takes the
girl to his hotel, gets her a warm bath and a hot meal and she’s so
grateful she will do anything he wants.”

 

“So, this guy is some sort of a pervert who can’t
meet girls on the outside so he picks up vulnerable homeless girls.
He’s probably a sick-o, but I wouldn’t bust him for it. He’s
actually giving the girls a pretty good deal unless he’s getting
rough with them.”

 

“No. He’s not into rough stuff. Just the opposite,
he wants them to treat him gentle and he’s gentle with them. He
calls them his kitties. He says he loves kitties and likes to take
care of them.”

 

“Do you think that this guy has anything to do with
Jimmy’s disappearance?”

“I don’t know Rick. But sometimes. A lot of times actually – when
he brings the girl back the next day; he flashes a hundred bucks
around and says that if any guy wants to work for a week in his
warehouse moving stuff around, they will get $500.00. He offers a
hundred in advance. There’s usually a dozen guys who want to take
him up on the offer. He picks one and off they go. Funny thing is
Rick. I didn’t think about it before, but I never saw one of those
men come back.”

 

“Did this guy talk to Jimmy?”

 

“Yes he did. The last time he was here, he gave
Jimmy the hundred and Jimmy went off to work with him. The guy’s
due back any day now if he keeps his regular schedule.”

 

“Phil. You have been a great help to me. I’ll give
you fifty bucks and you don’t even have to come to a motel with me
to get it.”

 

“Honey, I’ll give you fifty bucks if you come to a
motel with me,” she laughed.

 

“Phil, that’s very flattering, and I sure would take
you up on it except for this case. Listen, here’s the dough and I
will give you another fifty if you let me know when this guy shows
up again. I want to know who he is.”

 

“As soon as he comes in and picks up his girl, I
will walk over to the drug store by the bus station and call
you.”

 

I thanked Phil and drove back to the office. I
couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to call Dorothy right away and
tell her that I made some progress on the case. My better judgment
stopped me before I called her. It would not make sense to raise
her hopes.

 

Phil Tips Me Off

 

It was Sunday night and I was watching the Ed
Sullivan show. Lou Monte had just finished singing “Pepino the
Italian Mouse” and Hypnotist Sam Vine was up next. I had seen him
work in person up at the National Hotel in Madawaska, Maine and he
was an amazing performer. He had seven female volunteers on stage
and he had convinced them that they were exotic dancers.

Just as they were beginning their routines, my phone
rang. I snapped off the TV.

 

“Hello.”

 

“Hi Cutie. Want to take me to a motel? This is Phil.

He just left Rick. He took a new girl named Maizie with him. Swing
by and pick me up and I will show you where he took her.”

 

“You are a doll Phil. I will be there in 20
minutes.”

 

I did not need to bring Phil along She could have
just given me the address, but I felt I owed her something and if
she wanted to come along, that was okay.

 

Connecting the Next Dot

 

When we arrived at the motel I was not surprised to
see only three occupied spaces in the parking lot. In November on
Cape Cod, there are few tourists. Many of the motels close from
Columbus Day to the following May.

 

“Phil, I am going to snoop around the lot and run a
check on the license plates. Do me a favor and go in and talk to
the clerk. Get him to tell you who’s staying here and find out what
rooms they are in. If the guy doesn’t want to talk, give him that
line about fixing it so he will have a soprano voice for the rest
of this life. Okay baby?”

 

“You call me ‘baby’ again and I will do whatever you
want Rick.”

 

“You’re a doll Phil. I’m going to give you a free
license to tell your fortunes at all the Scallop Festivals! I will
be inside in a few minutes.”

 

I made a quick examination of a Lexus, a BMW, and a
Box-Truck and determined that the owner of the truck was the guy I
was seeking.

 

When I went inside I found that Phil had made a list
of the occupants of the three rented rooms.

 

“Good work Phil. Now just tell me which room belongs
to that truck.”

 

“The clerk said that a Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson
arrived in the truck.”

 

“Ask the clerk if Mr. Johnson has brown hair, is
about 40 years old, about five and a half feet tall and weighs
close to 400 pounds.”

 

Speaking for himself, the clerk said that I had
indeed described Mr. Johnson.

 

On to the Next Dot

 

“Hey Rick, how did you figure out that this Johnson
guy was the one?” Phil asked me after we were back in the
cruiser.

 

“Elementary my dear Phil. Elementary. It’s just
connecting the dots is all. The two cars had out of state plates.
The lettering on the truck said “Sam’s Music and Film Exchange” and
that store is in my town.

 

I know the guy. He’s gentle enough but being so
heavy, he’s kind of scary looking. He’s semi-weird. He sells movies
and books. A lot of his stuff is just South of illegal: girly
movies and books and things like that. He’s never sold anything
outright unlawful and he always pays his taxes. He keeps up his
building but he has about ten cats that live in the store. When
customers are browsing the cats browse right along with them.”

 

“I like cats,” Phil said.

 

“I do too. But it just seems a little odd that he
has so many of them. I don’t really care that he has to buy a woman
- he would probably never get one any other way. The guy seems okay
but I never have fully trusted him.”

 

“So what are you going to do now, Rick?”

 

“After I drop you off, I am going back to the Motel
and fix it with the clerk to let me know when Sam and his rented
girlfriend check out.”

 

“How bout taking me for a little cocktail at the
‘Improper Capon’?

 

“I don’t drink Phil I haven’t touched a drop since I
was a kid. But, here’s 20 bucks, you go have one for both of
us.”

 

The motel clerk said that he would call me just as
soon as his guests departed. I had also told Phil to be on the
lookout for him and contact me when he brought the woman back to
the homeless camp.

 

I decided to drive out to Sam’s place of business.

His store is in a large two story former shoe machine factory that
was closed down in the late 1950s. He inherited the building when
his Father died.

 

He has managed to make the old structure quite
profitable. Sam leases out part of it as warehouse and storage
space. His store is on the first level which fronts on main street.
He is a known hoarder, and he has thousands and thousands of items
in the store and in storage in rooms on both the first and second
floors as well as in the expansive cellar. But though he has an
inordinate amount of materials, everything is boxed, labeled, and
orderly. The cats are all clean and well cared for. He regularly
takes them to the vet for shots and wellness treatments.

 

After riding around for an hour thinking about the
case I decided to call on the smartest man I know. His name is Ben
and most people in town think he’s dim witted. They don’t know him.
It’s shyness. He’s a huge, muscular six footer who can bend an iron
bar with his hands, but is too bashful to talk to most everybody in
town.

 

I got to know him when my cruiser broke down on
desolate Telegraph Road that runs along the dunes on the East side
of town. There are no homes on Telegraph Road, because a lot of
times, there’s no Telegraph Road! Storms and high tide surges
frequently submerge and temporarily obliterate it.

 

The engine of my Galaxie 500 suddenly stopped, about
two miles away from the intersection of Depot Street, which is a
paved and well traveled byway. Just when I thought I was going to
have to make that long walk in the Summer heat, a big strapping
pirate looking guy said softly. “Do you want me to start your
car?”

 

He wore only a ragged pair of faded denim shorts. A
bleached out bandana partially covered a tangled mass of reddish
brown hair that looked like it came from a Bob Marley album
cover.

 

For the next half hour, he spoke less than a word a
minute and with almost no tools, fixed the ignition problem that
had caused the cruiser to come to a dead stop.

 

Over the ensuing weeks, I visited Ben at his shack
that he had made from plastic tarps and we became friends. Though
he was not considered intelligent, I found that he could do just
about anything. I hired him to maintain the police cruisers and he
did that to perfection, while also fixing broken locks on cell
doors, balking heating and cooling units and anything else in the
station that troubled us.

 

By this time, Ben had moved into a rented room in
town and the owner of the rooming house was so grateful to him for
the hundreds of repairs he did simply because of his good nature;
that he gave Ben the room rent free.

 

“Hey Ben,” I knocked on his door. “It’s Rick Bates,
come to take you out to the clam shack for a couple lobsters. You
in?”

 

That door opened quicker than a Northeaster sweeping
down the bay and it was followed by a bear hug that almost knocked
the wind out of me.

 

As we ate, I told Ben about the case. I explained
that people have gone missing and may have been killed. I told him
how Sam was offering people $500 for a week’s work, but those
people were never seen again.

 

“I’ll go to work for that guy and I will find out
what’s going on,” Ben promised.

 

“It is going to be very dangerous. As soon as
anything looks off key, get out of there and come and get me.”

 

I dropped Ben off at the homeless camp. Phil
promised to speak up for Ben to help make sure that he was selected
for the job. I was worried about him, but I was certain that a slow
plodder like Sam could never get the best of Ben.

 

Back at the office, I sat waiting. At six in the
evening I got the call from Phil. She told me that Ben had just
left with Sam in the Box Truck. I went to the Town Garage and got
an unmarked car to stake out Sam’s store.

 

It was Saturday night and the business would be
closed on Sunday. I had people manning the phone at the station and
I had three officers with me, ready to break in, if we heard any
kind of a signal from Ben.

 

Ben Goes to Work

 

“Well Mr. Sam, I sure do appreciate this job you
have given me. I am ready to go. What do you want me to start
on?”

 

“Nothing tonight Ben. Tomorrow, we are going to be
moving things from the cellar up to the store. Tonight you turn in
early and we’ll have a nice big breakfast in the morning at the
‘all you can eat buffet’. How’s that sound?”

 

“All I can eat? That sounds really sharp. I can’t
wait.”

 

“Okay. Downstairs, I have a beautiful room set up
for you. Come on down and I will show you.”

 

Sam walked as fast as his huge frame would allow as
they headed for the stairs. His cumbersome movements reassured Ben
that there was no way he could be harmed by the plodding, gasping
fat man.

 

Sam opened a door near the foot of the stairs
revealing a well appointed room with a twin bed on one wall. A desk
and bookcase covered another, that also contained a door. There was
an easy chair and coffee table near the desk. A large curtained
door was behind the easy chair. The room was neat and clean but Ben
thought it odd that there were no rugs on the bare cement floor. He
noticed too that the floor had a slight pitch to it, leading to a
drain next to a wall that had an over sized door.

 

Sam bid him good night and left. Ben waited until he
was sure that the Sam was back upstairs, then he tried the door. It
was locked from the outside. He went to the other door. It was
covered by thick, black draperies that extended from the floor to
the ceiling. He drew apart the curtains, revealing a solid oak door
with a small window, about the size of a lady’s handbag mirror. He
peered through and saw that it led to another room that that had
windows and a door to the outside. The only problem was that the
door in his room was secured by six iron bars that were planted in
the cement floor and were connected to a hardwood ceiling beam.

 

Ben knew he was a prisoner. He heard a kind of a
scraping noise that seemed to be coming from behind the door next
to the bookcase.

 

The Chief Gets Jumpy

 

By mid afternoon Sunday, I had run out of patience.

I had expected Ben to break a window or do something, so that I
could rush in and arrest Sam. But there had been no activity. No
one had left the building and no one had entered it.

 

I called Judge Francis Lee at his home and asked him
again for a warrant to enter the store. Again, he said no. The
judge was a friend of Sam’s and refused to believe that Sam would
be involved in the disappearance of anyone.

 

By four o’clock my nerves were stretched to the
breaking point. I signaled the team to break the door down. The
solid oak portal was strong, but our forty pound steel doorbuster
splintered it as if it were made of toothpicks.

 

I expected that I would have to search for Sam, but
to my surprise, he came waddling towards the remains of his front
door.

 

“What’s the meaning of this?” he demanded.

 

I answered by winding up and backhanding him across
his fat face. It was like slapping a blood-soaked sponge. Sprays of
crimson rocketed out from a dozen eruptions. He fell to the floor
and burst into tears. I kept smacking him until my crew pulled me
off.

 

“Where’s Ben?” I screamed at Sam and made another
charge for him.

 

“Easy Chief,” commanded Sgt. Jim Bengini, as he and
the others dragged me away. “He can’t talk if you beat him to
death. Back off a minute and let us get him sitting down and then
we’ll see what he has to say.”

 

They gave Sam a wet cloth to wipe away the blood on
his florid face and then Bengini, in a soft voice, said: “Tell us
everything. Now.”

 

“It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything,” Sam
whined. “I gave the guy a job. If anything happened, I can’t be
held responsible.”

 

“What could have happened to Ben?”

 

“Well Sgt. Bengini, like I said. I didn’t do
anything. I gave him a room in the cellar and you guys know I have
a lot of cats.”

 

“Ben’s not afraid of cats Sam. What are you not
telling us?”

 

“Well one of the cats is a lot bigger than the
others.”

 

“How big is it Sam?”, Bengini questioned.

 

“It’s a lion.”

 

Shoving Bengini aside, I pulled the sweating 400
pound lump from his chair and pushed him towards the entry to the
cellar. On the way down the steep stairs Sam admitted that he had
been keeping a lion for more than three years. He got it as a cub
and managed to hide his secret from everyone, including his
employees and the tenants in the building.

 

The stairs ended at a dry, airy cellar lit by large
lamps hanging from the ceiling. The space was divided in half by a
long corridor with four large doors on either side and an overhead
door at the end.

 

“What’s the setup here Sam? Be quick,” I advised,
“What’s in all of these rooms?”

 

He explained that one side of the building was
devoted to his store stock and to items that he had collected. The
other side of the cellar had two bedrooms and a larger chamber that
could be entered from either of two regular doors, or the overhead
door.

 

“The big section is where Kitty is. It’s next door
to the bedroom I gave Ben. It’s not my fault. When big cats are
hungry they need to eat almost 200 pounds of food. Kitty might have
pushed his way through the door….OUCH!”

 

“Shut up,” I cut him off with a vicious backhand
across the mouth. It was like cuffing an over ripe tomato. Teeth
and red juice shot from his maw. “Get Ben’s door open. You’re going
in first Sam. We’ll follow.”

 

As Sam opened the door, Bengini and I, along with
the other two uniformed officers, drew our weapons. All four of us
pushed the fat man aside and then trained our guns on the biggest
lion any of us had ever seen.

 

It took us a second to realize the thing was dead
and then another second to spot Ben who was busy trying to get
through the barred door.

 

“Are you hurt Ben?,” I asked.

 

“No I am fine. As soon as he locked me in here, I
began working on these iron bars. They were in pretty solid, but
lucky for me I had one of them pulled out when that door over there
opened and that big cat came bounding through. I didn’t have enough
time to be scared or even think. When that lion came at me I shoved
the iron bar down its throat. I guess it hit the thing’s brain,
cause it died instantly.”

 

“Ben,” I said, “That animal weighs about 500 pounds,
you’re lucky the momentum didn’t kill you.”

 

“You are right Chief it was luck. I was right in
front of the door, when I swung around and saw it, I had the iron
bar in my hand. The bar is over six feet long and sharpened to a
point at one end. The other end is flat. When I shoved the point in
the creature’s mouth, the bar got pushed back to the door and the
door didn’t give way, it just allowed the big cat to impale
itself.

 

We learned later from Sam that in the middle of the
night, he had pushed a button which opened the door, letting the
lion into Ben’s room. Sam admitted that he had done it many times;
resulting in human meals for Kitty.

 

Sam told us that the lion was a cub that he had
stolen on a whim from the circus, which sets up in a field behind
his building every Summer. He had simply walked in to an unlocked
cage and taken the cub while its mother was performing in the
center ring.

 

As it got bigger, the lion required more and more
meat. Sam felt that many of the homeless would be better off dead
anyway; so he decided that each time he went to meet a homeless
woman, he would bring back a homeless guy to feed to the lion.

 

We never got an exact count of how many deaths Sam
was responsible for but we believe that it is at least 24 and
perhaps double that. We based our findings on small bits of
remains, such as teeth and pieces of bone.

 

“Well that’s a gruesome case,” said John Weeks after
the old Chief finished his story. “What happened to Sam? And what
happened to you for the beating you gave him? I imagine his lawyer
used that against you.”

 

Chief Bates didn’t say anything for a minute. He
just looked at his recently refilled glass with the ‘slippery
nipple’ inside. He watched as the Bailey’s and the Sambuca gently
rolled up to touch each other but still stayed separated.

 

Taking a swallow and then smiling, he said. “I told
you I am not a bad guy. But I am also not a good guy. I smacked him
around pretty good. I did it because I knew he was guilty, because
I was mad at him, and because I wanted some fast answers. Weeks, do
you know the date of the last execution in the State of
Massachusetts?”

 

“No. But I suspect that it happened during your time
as Chief.”

 

“It did not. The last execution of a convicted
murderer in the State was in 1947. I will tell you this Weeks, I
believe very strongly in the Death Penalty and I knew that Sam was
not going to get it. I figured the best we would get would be to
put him in Walpole Prison for the rest of his life. I also
suspected that he would hire a team of high priced lawyers who
would use an insanity defense and get him placed in a mental
hospital.”

 

“Is that what happened?”, Weeks asked.

 

“As long as we stopped Sam and got him off the
street, I didn’t care if he rotted away in Walpole Prison or the
Taunton State Mental Hospital. So I made a deal with his lawyers. I
told them I would not contest their insanity defense, if they
didn’t bring up the roughhousing. They agreed. Sam was put away for
life in a ‘hospital’. His room has got bars and he’s
institutionalized. It was the best we could do.”

 

“Why was there so little publicity in this
case?”

 

“I told you at the start. It is all about
priorities. Except for poor Jimmy Barton, we didn’t even know the
names of the victims. The newspapers told some of the story but the
public never knew that we had solved the biggest murder case in the
history of the Commonwealth. And it was done with no sleuthing.
There were no mental acrobatics. It was just like I always say.
Connect the dots. That’s what I did.

 

I’m tired now and going to take a nap. Come back
next week and we will do another chapter. I’ll tell you another
story that never got any publicity, but was pretty bizarre.”

 

“Okay. Goodnight Chief.”

 

I drove back to my apartment in Hyannis and wrestled
with myself about whether I should keep the next appointment with
the old Chief. I wanted to write his story but he was holding me
back. Every time I submitted a dramatic, but factual account of
what he told me, he complained that I didn’t write it the way he
said it. I explained to him that he had exciting cases, but a
pretty boring way of explaining them. He shot back that he told me
in the beginning that I had to write it down just the way he told
the tales.

 

In the end, I decided to go back for another
meeting, and air out my feelings.

 

The Chief’ House

 

The noonday sun was shining on his sea-shell
driveway when I arrived. Unless you’ve been snow blinded in Alaska,
you cannot imagine the brightness of those white shells. It’s like
driving into a double sided row of 10,000 high intensity
photographer’s lights. Shading my eyes from the glare, I took a
moment to look around his home.

 

At one time, the Chief’s massive house had been the
site of a cottage colony of eight buildings. There was a three
bedroom house, a pair of two bedroom cottages, three single bedroom
units, and two efficiencies. Starting in the 1960s he began buying
up the units as they became available. After he had collected the
last one, he got permission from the town to knock them all down
and build an elegant, three story structure on a cliff overlooking
Nantucket Sound, in one of the villages of Barnstable Township.

The back portion of the home had his living
quarters, spread across all three floors. There were several
bedrooms, a dining room, sports room, library, television room,
kitchen and more. Facing the sea, the front of the building
featured a single, great room of one floor, sixty feet tall, with a
nearly all glass front. Catwalks were positioned in various spots;
complete with telescopes and video recording equipment so the Chief
could indulge in favored pastimes such as storm or sky
watching.

 

Getting out of my car, I walked along the sandy
trail that wound from the back of the house and around the side,
before ending at a wooden deck built right at the edge of the
cliff.

 

A table was set with some kind of foamy white drink
in martini glasses and a variety of appetizers. Without being
invited I sat at the table and began working on some shrimp and
salad while wondering what kind of a crazy drink was in the
glasses.

 

A few moments later, a section of the wall of glass
that formed the ocean facing part of the home, parted, and Rick
Bates walked quickly across the deck and sat down opposite me.

 

“Ah my Watson. How are you?”

 

“Not really great Chief. I am pretty frustrated. I
would like to do your book, but so far you have not let me write
anything interesting. You tell me a story. I try to make it
readable and then you say that I have to rewrite it exactly the way
you say it.”

 

“Yes, Mr. Weeks. That is the arrangement that we
made and I am paying you to do it my way.”

 

“Your way is boring Chief. You need to let me write
these stories in a more dramatic fashion.”

 

“What was wrong with last week’s story?”

 

“Everything!!!!!! You captured a serial killer. You
told a story of a lion trying to eat one of your best friends. He
killed the lion with his bare hands and yet when you tell the
story, the reader never hears a single word about the battle. The
reader never feels the tension that the man experienced when that
500 pound monster lept at him with razor sharp fangs more than a
half foot long! It was way too boring.”

 

“It’s simple enough Weeks. I don’t know why you
don’t get it. I wasn’t there when the lion attacked Ben. I can’t
tell you about it. Anyway, I don’t see how solving a huge case like
that could ever be boring. Let me offer you a drink, and then we
will talk some more.”

 

“Well Chief, I don’t usually accept your offer of a
beverage, but I think today I need one. What’s in the glasses?”

 

“This is a little drink called the Ghost Martini. I
made them because we are near the end of October. It’s almost
Halloween, so this is the perfect, scary little drink Notice how
everything in the martini glass is white. I use whipped vodka,
vanilla vodka, and white chocolate liqueur.”

 

“It’s kind of girly, but it is cute. How did you
make that ghost shape that’s floating on the top?”

 

“That’s vanilla ice cream, cut into a ghostly form
and plopped into the ocean of vodka. It’s excellent. Try it.”

 

After four or five Ghost Martinis and some really
good crab dip and salsa, things began to look a little better. The
Chief promised me that if I wrote one more story his way, the next
one after that, could be written my way.

 

“So let me get this straight Chief. You are going to
dictate another case to me today. I will write it down in exactly
the same boring way as you say it. Then, the next case you tell me;
I can re-write any way that i want?”

 

“Mr. John Charles Weeks. My Watson. Yes. Yes. Yes!
Just write this one down exactly as I tell it. Then the next one is
yours to tell – any way you wish.”

 

“Deal,” I said. “Start the story.”

 

“Okay,” the Chief replied. “Now, I want this
narrative typed up and sent to the newspaper. I already talked to
the editor and they will print it.”

 

“I can’t ‘type it up’ Chief! There hasn’t been a
working typewriter on Cape Cod in 20 years. But don’t worry, I will
create the story in Word on my laptop and email it to the
“Independent”, and they will use my file for the printed
version.”

 

(Editor’s note: The following is the story as
printed)

 

The Cape Cod Independent

Barnstable County’s Senior Weekly Newspaper

Published continuously since 1856

 

Hyannis

September 2014

 

by retired Chief Richard Bates as told to reporter
John Charles Weeks.

 

A Look Back at

“The Case of the Verdant Man”

from the files of former Chief

Richard Bates

 

[_Forward by Weeks. Chief Bates cites this case as
another proof of the lack of detection involved in solving
mysteries. He maintains that all he did in this situation, as in
all matters, was simply put one foot in front of the other and
connect the dots ———_]

 

 

{color:#000;}
It was a warm evening in May of 1965.  The driver's window of Chief Bates'   brand new Ford cruiser, was rolled down to admit the salty Cape Cod air.   He drove slowly, whistling the theme song from the Andy Griffith show.  Ostensibly he was on patrol; but the simple truth is, he loved that black and white Galaxie and just wanted to go out for a drive.  He'd been cooped up in the office all day long battling both  paperwork and  the selectmen - so he just wanted to get to the edge of town and relax.  Dusk was approaching and the setting sun backlit beautiful layers of white and red clouds that seemed to well up from the blue waters of Nantucket Sound.     Suddenly, he was startled by cries for help that came from  a narrow dirt road that was wreathed by giant maple trees.    The Chief  sprang from his cruiser and ran through the maples and the surrounding underbrush. He soon saw the source of the screams - a girl of nineteen, supporting a younger sister who was very near fainting.  The Chief knew both of them well.  They uttered a cry of relief when they saw him approaching.  "It was horrible Lisa", one exclaimed.  "It's okay now Mary.  Oh Chief Bates we are so glad to see you. We were just about scared out of our minds."  "What's the problem, Mary?"  "That man — that horrible man !"  gasped Lisa, the younger girl, still cowering close to her sister. Has he gone?  Mary, HAS HE GONE?"    "Yes, yes, he ran off.  I never saw such a frightening........... "    "There, there, calm yourselves," the Chief kindly interrupted. Rick Bates had a happy, calm looking face framed by a montage of thick, black curly hair. His eyes were so green it looked like they were ladled out of the YMCA pool.   He was well liked in town and trusted by all - even the selectmen though they were always after him to cut down on expenses such as overtime pay and traffic details.     "There's nothing to be afraid of. Where did you see the man? What sort of a man was he?"  "Freaky, scary!" Lisa Venner repeated. "He came through the shrubbery over there and stood staring at us. We were afraid he was going to attack us. His eyes were like balls of fire. He was as green as grass."  "Green !" the Chief echoed. "When you say green.  Do you mean inexperienced, like a newcomer?"  "No, no, not at all," Lisa exclaimed. "I mean his color. He was bright green from head to foot."  "Who ever heard of a green man?  You aren't color blind, are you Mary?"  "We aren't both color blind," said Lisa, jumping in to back up her sister. "The man was green, Chief , nearly as green as grass. I saw him plainly. He was horrible. The creature was gigantic....."  "No, no, Lisa, not gigantic," Mary interrupted more calmly. "Don't exaggerate. He was appalling enough without that. He was tall, Chief, but not basketball player big.  We were both scared 'bleepless'.  Lisa was so frightened that to her,  he looked like a giant."  "How was he dressed?"  "He wore shabby dungarees and a red and black checked flannel shirt, both very dirty, and a tattered Red Sox hat. He had no coat. His shirt was partly unbuttoned, exposing his neck and part of his chest. They were a striking shade of green, like his hands and face. I think he must be that color from head to foot. This sounds incredible, I know, but it's absolutely true," Lisa Venner earnestly insisted. "He looked like a crazy man, a maniac. I never saw such a bizarre..........."  "Stop a moment,"  the Chief interrupted,  "somebody on a horse is galloping towards us.  I think it's Dr. O'Kelly.  His mansion is just a mile or so from here, over by West Encounter Beach.  Doctor Larry O'Kelly  was a wealthy Cape Cod surgeon, philanthropist and medical researcher. He was known over the entire United States and Canada for his O'Kelly Medical Research Foundation.    His group was pioneering a process of dissolving blood clots using an ultrasound device he had patented.  O'Kelly was convinced that he would be able to eliminate blood clots in the brain or anywhere else, without surgery.    He also had several patents on devices that he called "Frequency Healers".   They were machines designed to treat various illnesses using electricity.  The research had far to go, but looked as though it might have many practical applications.  O'Kelly had offices on Cape, in Boston, and in New York City.  He also had a high tech laboratory in the grounds of his estate. He was a well-built, impressive man of forty-five, with a strong and somewhat austere face.  An avid horseman, he often played Polo at the Myopia Hunt Club, North of Boston.    At the moment, he approached the Chief and the girls, astride an all white horse, in a cloud of dust through the woodland road.  He reined his stallion in, just a few yards away.  "What's wrong, Chief" he inquired familiarly, evidently somewhat excited. "Hello girls.  What's the trouble?"  "The Venner sisters saw a kind of a wild man and they were afraid they were going to be attacked."  "I heard screams and cries for help, or thought I did," said the physician.  "I came to find out what caused them."  "You heard them all right, These girls were badly frightened by some guy dressed up for a Halloween party.  He was painted green all over."  "It was probably some kind of a prank," offered Dr. O'Kelly.  "Where did you see him, Mary?" He turned abruptly to the elder girl. "What was he doing? Where did he go? "  "He ran in that direction when we began to scream," said Lisa, pointing into the woods. "He was like a wildman, Doctor, and vanished as quickly as he came."  "I am going to  look for his footprints," the Chief said.  "Solving a case is just like one of those kid's puzzles.  You know what I mean Doc?  It's just like connecting the dots.  So the dot that I have to look for now is a footprint.  And that dot will hopefully take me to the next dot."  Doctor O'Kelly dismounted and followed him, while the girls remained by the side of the road. The Chief soon found several footprints in the damp soil under the shrubbery, one of which he carefully measured while telling the physician more precisely what the two girls had stated.  "I don't know what to think Doc," he quietly added. "There was a man here, no doubt, but I guess him being green was an optical illusion. They were deceived in the dusk, or got the impression that he was green  from the surrounding foliage.  Well, I guess we all have heard of little green men.  But this was a big verdant man.  What do you think Doc?  Are there green people"  "Probably not Chief.  Probably not.  In any case I'11 ride on a bit, and try to find the guy, and if I do...."  "Grab him and bring him to me."  The Chief thought that this was an isolated incident.  He knew that the Venner girls were very impressionable and believed that they were mistaken about the man being green.    But Rick Bates soon changed his mind. Other persons saw the mysterious green man. They confirmed the statements of the Venner girls. None had more than a brief glimpse of him, however, always in some part of the woods, into the depths of which he fled when discovered, uttering wild, discordant cries and making fierce gesticulations. Children playing in the woods caught sight of him and ran home in frantic terror. Petty thefts soon were reported. Footprints identical with that measured by the sheriff were found in back yards and alleys. The marauder was prowling into the town by night. Women became alarmed and dared not venture out. Doors and windows were kept securely locked. Men who never had owned a weapon, and who scarcely dared to fire one, bought guns, revolvers, and pistols. All efforts to trace and capture the "Verdant Man" were proving futile.  Cape Cod was becoming terrorized. The Boston and New York media were reporting that in the woods of Cape Cod was a dangerous madman, a green maniac, whom the police could not capture. Chief Rick Bates found himself with his reputation at stake and his official head in danger.  "It's got to be done! I've got to connect the dots and get this guy and I have got to do it quickly."  The Chief  was alone late that evening in his office on the ground floor of the police station. He had been detained by a storm, which still was raging. Vivid lightning flashes illuminated the two windows behind him, while he sat at his desk and tried to connect his dots.  "This alleged green man can't be any different from other men," he grimly reasoned, The Chief did not pretend to be an expert detective, but he had plenty of good common sense. "There must be some natural cause for his extraordinary color."  The Chief remembered a case from more than 15 years back - he published a story about it called, 'The Little Guy Who Couldn't, Actually could'.  It was a  report  about a gutty jockey who solved a mystery involving a Marine whose skin had turned bright yellow from taking  malaria medicine. He made a mental note to ask that doctor if there was a medicine that would turn a man's skin green.    The Chief felt that the 'Verdant Man' couldn't simply be pranking.  He wouldn't prolong it day and night for two weeks. Furthermore, he could not have come from any great distance, or he would have been seen in other areas. He must be a local man, familiar with the town and neighboring woods."    The Chief's  frowning gaze rose a little. It rested on a mirror on a wall back of his desk. He felt a sudden chill. A vivid lightning flash illumined the window directly behind him, and he saw a man gazing through the window, his eyes were abnormally bright, and he had a round, repulsive face, drawn and tense, but void of any definite expression and of a peculiar shade of green.  The Chief stood as still as a block of ice. He saw that his discovery was not suspected. He watched the uncanny figure in the feeble light.  Then he got up deliberately and took off his coat, as if the room were too warm and he had no intention of going out. He walked slowly to the adjoining corridor.  Then he moved quickly to the front door, and dashed around the building, his S&W 38 in his hand, and made his way to his office window - where he found... nothing.  The Green Man had figured out what Bates was up to and he had disappeared.    The Chief did not catch "The Verdant Man", but was pretty sure that he had just connected a dot.    The next afternoon he made an appointment with Mrs. Dudley Carroll, a wealthy widow, prominent in local society, and whose home was among the most beautiful on Cape Cod.   Her house rivaled anything that the Kennedy clan owned.  She was a very attractive woman of middle age and was well acquainted with Rick Bates.   "What have I done, Chief?" she joked, laughing when she received him in her library. "Are you after me for something?"  "I would be, Mrs. Carroll, if my bank account was about 500 times bigger than it is!"  "Rick, we don't have 'bankrolls'.  In polite society, one has a 'portfolio'."     "Pardon my error," Rick smiled.  "No, I'm not after you," he said more seriously when seated in a lush chair next to one occupied by his hostess. "I've heard that your chauffeur, Sam White, has been away for a month or more."  "Sam?" Mrs. Carroll queried. "Yes he has. You surely don't want him for any offense. He has grown up in my employ. He's as honest as the day is long. He's the best-natured man in the world."  "I agree with you."  I merely want to learn where he has gone."  The sheriff was acquainted with Sam White. He had often seen him going to church on a Sunday with Liz Black, a young woman who worked for Mrs. Carroll as a maid.  Eliza was a beautiful girl of mixed ancestry.  Her dad was a sailor from Cape Verde and her mother was a local girl.  A few eyebrows were raised when they were married, but for the most part Cape Cod, even in the 1950s, had a liberal attitude about such things.  Liz had the fair skin of her mother, but darkened up in Summer.  Miss Black and Mr. White were in love and had been for some time.  Since they both worked for Mrs. Carroll, most everyone on the island knew them and liked them.   People made good natured jokes about the dark skinned Mr. White possibly marrying the white tinted Miss Black.  "Well, to tell the truth, sheriff, I don't know where Sam has gone," Mrs. Car- roll admitted. "He asked for some time off.  He said he'd need a week or two; and that was  about a month ago," she explained. "I gave him some money and told him to go ahead and enjoy himself as it was his first holiday."  "Did he say where he was going?"  "He did not, he was very reticent about it."  "What did he say?"  "He stated that he had  an idea that he had to investigate.   He did not tell Eliza about it, either."  "Did he say when he would return?"  "Probably in a week or ten days was the way he put it. He admitted, however, that it might take a little longer."  "Have you heard from him during his absence?" The Chief's calm green eyes had narrowed slightly.  "Only once," said Mrs. Carroll. "Eliza received a letter from him three days after he left. She's worried about him. Perhaps he has been killed by that terrible madman we are hearing so much about. She made herself so ill over it that I called Doctor O'Kelly yesterday. He gave her some medicine and  said he thinks the madman will soon be caught. In fact, he is spending much of his own time trying to catch him."  "I heard that this morning, Did he say why he was specially anxious to catch the Green Man?"  "He did not."  "He may want to diagnose the extraordinary case," the Chief speculated, "experiment to learn the cause and cure of what may be a rare disease.  He certainly is a fine medical researcher."  "Very true; that has made him both rich and quite famous," Mrs. Carroll reminded him. "Would you like to talk to Liz?  She may remember something that I have forgotten to tell you."  "I don't think so. Do you know what he wrote to her?"  "Not a word relating to his 'idea', or regarding his whereabouts. He did say, however, that he was with a friend, that he was feeling fine, and that she wouldn't know him when he came back home."  "Do you know where the letter was mailed?"  "Just off Cape Cod, in the Town of Plymouth'' Mrs. Carroll quickly informed him. "Liz called my attention to the postmark. So you see,  Sam has not gone very far away."  "Yes, I see." Rick Bates smiled a bit oddly. "No, I won't question Liz right now" he added as he rose to go. "You know, Mrs. Carroll, I've always liked Sam.  I would have put him on the force if he weren't so devoted to you."  "Yes.  Sam's like family.  He's been working for me since he was about eleven years old.  But to tell the truth, I suspect he likes my cars a little more than me."  "Who doesn't?"  Your late husband's car collection was known from Cape Cod to New York City."  "Yes and Sam has the use of every one of them when he's not on duty.  I hope I have helped you Chief.  Have you got any clues in this case?"  "No, I don't get clues Mrs. Carroll.  I'm no Sherlock Homes.  I am just a connect the dots guy.  I find a dot and connect it to the next one and I think you have just shown me where the next dot is."  "Really?   I am glad to have helped.  And where is the next dot?"  "A few miles from here, in that massive estate by West Encounter Beach, that is home to the famous doctor, Larry O'Kelly.  The Chief freely admits that his methods never would work today in the world of  'proper procedure', but the plain truth is, that he had little regard for what he considered legal technicalities that prevent police officials from doing their job.    Search Warrants were one of the things that he often disdained. And so it was that he set off at six P.M.; knowing that the Doctor would be at dinner and he could explore the laboratory in secret.  Rick Bates parked his car more than a mile from the estate, jogged rapidly until he came to a low wall in the rear of the physician's extensive mansion. He was a few hundred yards from the choppy waters of Nantucket Sound and less than a quarter of a mile from the woodland road where the 'Verdant Man' first had been seen.  Hidden from observation by the orchard, the stables, a garage, and a large cement laboratory, all of which occupied the rear grounds, he began an inspection of the area on both sides of the wall.  He soon discovered what he was seeking - several footprints corresponding with that of the wanted man. He found them on both sides of the wall, and he soon noticed that all of them pointed away from the grounds and toward the distant woods.  "Not one points toward the place," he muttered. "Plainly, then, he did not come this way and leave afterwards. Instead, he only left in this direction and escaped toward the woods. The space between the tracks shows that he was running directly in a line from the laboratory.  He jumped over the  low wall and creeped through the orchard, where apple and peach trees were in blossom, sweet and beautiful in the softened light of the setting sun.  He paused at the rear wall of the laboratory, where he briefly inspected two windows and peered through a small hole where a piece of glass had been broken from one of the panes. He could see indistinctly that slats appeared to be nailed across the window, and that the room contained a cot on which a wrinkled blanket and pillow were lying.  He stole around to the front door to be sure it was locked and that the building was unoccupied. Then he returned to the rear and quickly broke the other window sufficiently for him to open it and enter.  He climbed over the sill into a shelved closet, where there were countless bottles, vials and jars, each labeled with a red sticker. It obviously was a closet in which poisons were stored for safe keeping.  He found the door unlocked, however, and he entered the adjoining room, a spacious, finely equipped laboratory. He was not interested in the lab, but went to a small rear room, instead, where he soon confirmed his suspicions. Stout slats were nailed across the window casing. The cot and the room itself were in some disorder. In one corner was a suitcase containing a quantity of clothing. Most of it had not been worn since it was laundered.  He crouched in the corner to examine the garments. The sun had set and the light in the room was waning, but after a brief search he found what he was looking for , the man's initials on one of the shirts. He was so wrapped up in examining the clothes that he didn't hear a thing until.......  "What are you doing? Here?  Get up!"  The sheriff jumped up as if hit with a thumbtack in the rear end.  He turned sharply toward the door, and saw Doctor Larry O'Kelly.  "What are you doing ?" O'Kelly demanded.    "Put down that gun." the Chief said calmly.  His green eyes focusing on the doctor without moving.  "It may go off accidentally. You could possibly end up killing me."  "You broke in here like a thief,"  If I killed you Chief, it would be just like shooting any burglar that broke into my home."  "Slow down Doc.  You are not a killer.  What's the deal?  What are you so jumpy about?"  "Chief.  I have spent twenty years in research.  Helping the sick.  Investing in and inventing new technologies to make life better for people.  And now I might lose everything.  My family, my home, my foundation, my medical licenses.  You alone, are standing between me and the loss of  everything."    The Doctor's voice trembled slightly, but still he held the revolver which was pointed at the Chief's heart.    "Put down the gun, You don't intend to shoot me, or you would already have done it," said the Chief who was as calm as a tiny fish pond on a lazy summer afternoon.  "What are you doing here?" the Doctor again demanded.    "I want to learn what you know about Sam White."  "Why do you think I know anything about him?"  "You are in trouble Doc.  It looks like you had Sam jailed here. Bars on the windows.  Sam's clothes are over there in his suitcase.  Your only chance is to come clean with me.  What happened to Sam White, that turned him as verdant as grass?"  O'Kelly drew up stiffly and tossed his pistol on the cot.  "I wasn't going to shoot you. I would not kill you, or any other man.  Even to save everything that I have worked for."  "Look Doc.  I will help you.  I will do anything that I can for you," the Chief  assured him. "If it is necessary to suppress............ "  "No more of that.  No more hiding.  Please  sit down. I'll tell you all about it."  "Everything would have been okay, Chief.  I expected to get Sam back here and fix the problem without anyone knowing who the Green Man really was.   I was trying to help Sam and also to help the people of the world.  I really was Chief."  "I was carrying the gun because  I thought I would find him here. I hoped that I would, but I was not sure in what condition I would find him, or how violent he still might be. That's why I entered quietly and discovered you. I had my gun in case Sam was still out of control.  He went crazy.  Not that I can blame him."  "Tell me about it,  I'll do all I can to help you."  "It would take hours for me explain the  scientific features of the case. I will tell you the facts, however, and later give you all of the details."  "Okay Doc.  Let's have it."  "It is by no means a new thing Chief, for human beings to make alterations in their personal appearance.  Changes which they regard as improvements upon nature, or which fashion arbitrarily dictates. It began in the Garden of Eden and has been continued in every country and by every race up to the present day. Beauty is really a matter of taste and custom. Small feet is a requisite in China. The Fiji Islanders dye their hair various bright colors. Stained teeth and nails, painted bodies and — You know all that as well as I."  "Certainly, go on."
 "It's common enough right here at home, Women paint, pencil their eyebrows and stain their lips. Specialists study the problem of removing wrinkles and the telltale traces of old age. One's complexion is often one's chief concern. Look at me. I have an Irish name and genes, and yet I am very dark and swarthy. That is one reason, perhaps, why I have made a special study of the skin and sought ways and means to modify the pigment causing a person's color and complexion."   "The color of the skin has always held .an important place among physical criteria of the human race," the Doctor continued. "Physiology explains color as a consequence of climate and even diet. This pigment, or coloring matter under the epidermis, or rather under the second skin, is not exclusive to the African race, but is common to all human beings. It is simply more abundant in certain people."  "I understand," said Bates.  "Here's the point. I have been trying for a long time to find some way to reach and modify this coloring pigment so as to permanently alter a person's complexion. I thought I had succeeded, both by means of an ingredient taken internally, and by the injection of a chemical composition into the skin. I have invented a machine with which the injection may be accomplished, somewhat as tattoo work is done."  "When I developed my ultra sonic machine for the dissolution of blood clots, there was universal acceptance and acclaim.  But in matters of skin coloring, there is much more emotion, not to mention prejudices.  But having faith in this process,  I was very anxious to get a willing subject for the experiment. I realized that my reputation would be placed in jeopardy, but I felt so sure I was right that I decided to risk it. It so happened, however, that the subject came to me voluntarily."  "How did that occur?"  "It appeared that Sam White heard me discussing the possibility of altering one's color with a friend one day. Well, he came to me a little later and wanted to know if I could reduce his color, as he put it.  I asked him why and he said that in the African American community there are some prejudices against darker complected people.  Sam's skin is literally almost black and some African Americans with lighter skins look down on people with more pigment.  You see Chief, there's prejudice in all people.  You know Sam and Liz Black are in love and Sam wants to get married.  Sam wanted to be lighter, because when Eliza is angry at him she sometimes teases him about his color and Sam was worried that deep down she resented his being so black."  "Poor Sam,"  said the Chief.  "I have always found that love is blind to everything - including color."  "Sam was carrying a lifetime of hurts inside.  He wasn't trying to become a 'white guy'.  He simply wanted to be a few shades lighter. Is this so sinful?  We don't hold it against people when they spend eight hours on West Dennis Beach trying to get a couple shades darker!  Why should the reverse be wrong?"    "Calm down Doc," the Chief said.  "I got no problem with your motives.  I just want to get Sam back to normal!"  "Right Chief.  Thanks. Well,  I told Sam I thought it could be done. I also was perfectly frank with him. I told him he would be taking a chance, that it was only an experiment -  but he begged me for the operation."  "Well, to make a long story short, I consented to attempt it," said the physician. "I bound Sam to absolute secrecy." He paused, then shrugged his broad shoulders remorsefully. "Well, I performed the operation. To my horror, I found that the process not only had turned him green, but that the ingredients injected into his blood had also affected his brain. Sam went violently insane for a time.  I drugged him heavily to prevent his escape and kept him in the laboratory for two weeks, hoping his abnormal condition would in time be dispelled. It had begun to do so, I think, when he escaped. That was just before he terrified the Venner girls one evening. I was after him when I joined you at that time."  "Since then I have been trying to get him back here. I will be ruined professionally and criminally liable unless he can be found and cured. I feel reasonably sure that he is gradually returning to a normal condition. I base that belief upon the latest descriptions of those who have seen him and say that his color is becoming darker and taking on a mottled appearance. If he could be found and brought here where I could give him proper treatment, I feel sure I can restore him to his normal condition. "  "Stop! Quiet!  Don't make a sound."  "What do you hear?" Doctor O'Barry whispered.  "Wait. Not a sound. Don't move."  The Chief arose and tiptoed toward the open front door. His trained ears detected a sound like stealthy footsteps in back of the building. The physician waited, with ears strained and eyes aglow, his nerves quivering with suspense under a sudden unexpected hope that Chief Rick Bates had inspired. Then he heard voices from in back of the building, shouting sternly :  "Hold on Sam!  Don't run away.  I am here to help you. And the Doc is going to fix you up.  I promise Sam."   A moment later Chief Bates came back inside, accompanied by Sam White.    It later appeared that the Doctor was right  Sam White had begun to throw off his abnormal condition, and he had just begun to realize his own identity and that something was wrong with him, and he was returning to the physician for aid and advice.  Sam White received a generous amount of both. He came out of the experiment in fine shape and back to his original color - which he found a lot more satisfying than Green!  He and Liz were married and had an elegant wedding in the Carroll mansion.    The details of the case were never made public, much to Doctor O'Barry's relief.  Liz and Sam had a happy marriage and produced four children, all of whom excelled in college and became well to do, established professionals    *The End*.   The preceding story is a derivitave work written by John Charles Weeks for Chief Rick Bates and  based on a theme by Scott Campbell.   *The Next Story*   "Okay Mr. Weeks.  That's the end of my story for this week,"  said old Chief Bates with a wry smile.  "Yes Chief.  And now, tell me a case that I can rewrite and make truly interesting.   If I get to write it the way I want to; we will probably end up with a best seller."  "Ah my Watson.  I have no doubt.  And when I get back, we will have at it."  "What do you mean 'get back'?"  "It is late October, Mr. Weeks.  I leave tomorrow for Key West.  Don't fret.  I will be back in May and then you will get your story.  Have a nice winter!"  [*Weeks wonders, 'What to do?'*]  The following morning the Chief was at Boston's South Station to take the Acela Express to New York City where he would hook up with his beloved 'Silver Meteor' train to Miami.   Then for five months, he'd be sitting on a bar stool at Sloppy Joe's in Key West.  That was it. He left that quickly, leaving me on Cape Cod twiddling my thumbs while he was 'snowbirding'.  I didn't know what to do.  I could wait until his return in the Spring.  Or,  I could pop in on the old guy in Florida and drag the stories from him over glasses of Slippery Nipples at Sloppy Joe's.     TO BE CONTINUED, maybe.     THE END (for now)
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Bill Russo, retired on Cape Cod, was
educated in Boston at the Huntington School and at Grahm College in
Kenmore Square. He was editor of several newspapers in
Massachusetts as well as a former disc jockey, news
writer/presenter, and broadcaster for various outlets in New
England.

His sighting of a swamp creature just
before the turn of the century, led to appearances in the
Bridgewater Triangle Documentary Film, America’s Bermuda Triangle,
and on Destination America’s Monsters and Mysteries series.

In addition to his radio and newspaper
work, he held management positions in logistics and warehousing as
well as a stint as an ironworker and President of Boston Local 501
of the Shopmen’s Ironworkers Union.

 

Contact Bill at
[email protected] All
e-mails are personally answered

Bill’s Blog is called
Adventures in Type and Space: http://billrrrrr.blogspot.com/

He also shares news and
videos on his Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/billrrrrr

 

 

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The 85 Year Old Dot to Dot Detecrive

Retired Police Chief Rick Bates is always eager to dive into a case - usually a case of wine. He didn't start drinking until he was 75; but now he's making up for lost time. But it's not all play and no work for Rick, Even in his 80s, he is a one man stone wall against the waves of crime. In Chapter One, he solves the case of the NAME GAME MURDERS. Mrs. Blade was killed with a knife. Mr. Gunn died from a wound caused by a pistol. And John Roper? He was found hanging from a rope tied to a beam in his cellar!. Cape Cod was scared stiff. When the Town Administrator, Martin Hammer was clubbed to death with a wooden mallet; they summoned the old chief from his bar stool at Sloppy Joe's.

  • ISBN: 9781370120819
  • Author: Bill Russo
  • Published: 2017-04-26 17:05:11
  • Words: 20436
The 85 Year Old Dot to Dot Detecrive The 85 Year Old Dot to Dot Detecrive