Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Because of threats of bad roads yesterday, I took the day off and read a book. I got into the latest Harry Bosh novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly. Connelly along with Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite reads. I like Pratchett for the ludicrousness of his dialogs, footnotes, and overall sense of humor. Connelly writes in an entirely different style a bit closer to Mickey Spillane but not hardnosed all the time. Since I also like Heinlein, Michener, Asimov, Doyle and a bunch of others, I suppose there is no real pattern to my taste in good reads. Regardless, I recommend them all as ways to enjoyably and productively waste a day here and there.
I don’t know if the roads around us were all that bad, but the ones down in Portland roads as depicted on television in the morning frightened the bejesus out of us and kept us in (Portland is at least 50 miles south of us).
We had to order checks just after Christmas. We largely use cards, cash, electronic transfers, and I even use PayPal. Well in ordering the checks they came back different from the ones we had before. They were only in my name and then that name is the one only my mother used when I was about to be severely reprimanded; they left Nancy off completely. Then they added our phone number and left off our four-digit zip code extension. Needless to say, this displeased Nancy greatly. The purpose of most of the check writing is to escape buying and shipping gifts to various little people (neither elves ror leprous, but grandchildren and great grandchildren). Then too, Nancy is the primary generator of these checks. So, off to the credit union we went on Friday to humbly ask them to amend their ways and please issue checks that we want with the information on them that we want. I took very little part in the request until the young woman asserted that by law they had to have the checks printed that way. That is the point where I asked to see the law in question. Or, failing that any written notice of such requirements. Three “credit union officials” later we left with some checks that met Nancy’s specifications and promise of more to come. Officiousness seems to be running rampant these days.
I did manage to find a few odd moments yesterday to write another segment to the Amanda Saga and am attaching it.
Stay warm and healthy.
Warmest regards, Ed
PS: This is a panorama of an orchid plant that Liz sent to her mother.
033 The Attorney General’s Investigator Comes Calling Fiction in 1285 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Detective Batan turned the card over in his hand. It read ‘Thomas T. Murphy, III, Investigator, Office of the Attorney General.’ Looking at the impeccably dressed man directly in the eyes, he said, “Yet you carry no other credentials other than this.”
“We haven’t had to carry more official looking credentials since we work by appointment only.” Replied Thomas Murphy.
“So, how do I know you are on the up and up and not some guy from the press or worse.” Asked Detective Batan.
“Would my operator’s permit help?” Asked Thomas Murphy. “Perhaps you could call the main office in Albany and they could vouch for me.” He reddened a bit. “Oh, dear me, this is embarrassing. I have been employed by the Office of the Attorney General for 16 years, investigated hundreds of insider trading complaints and never had my legitimacy questioned. I have never been requested to show credentials; not even by a court of law.”
“Relax. Perhaps if I knew what this was about it might be easier for me to talk.” Said Detective Batan.
“We have the most curious document” said Thomas Murphy as he patted the thick case under his arm. “It seems to hold closing prices for various equities over time; and, that time runs well into the future. We have puzzled over them for some days now and can find nothing in the owner’s financial records that would suggest where he got this information.”
“Mr. Murphy, this may come as a surprise to you, but we have a team here looking into Judge Belemany; for the man attempted to kill a Child Protective Services caseworker. The papers you took from us, and I presume are in that case, has hampered our investigation, severely, hampered our investigation.” Said Detective Batan. “But if you would care to share, we will let you in on what we are discovering.”
Thomas Murphy sighed and said. “Taking the papers,” he again patted the case under his arm, “was not my doing. I argued to bring you in on this from the first hour. While this is. . . “
Detective Batan interrupted Mr. Murphy, “Good then if you would care to join our little group in the conference room we might be able to make some progress.” Detective Batan, handed Thomas Murphy’s card to his partner and said in a quiet voice that Mr. Murphy could not hear, “Call the AG in Albany and make sure this guy is on the up and up.” Then turning back to Mr. Murphy, “This way,” and led him to the conference room.
In the conference room
“Timothy T. Murphy the third of the Attorney General’s Office,” said Detective Baton. “Meet the Informal Task Force: Agent Fleishman, Ms. Gunderson, Mr. Eastman” he said pointing to each in turn. “And my partner whom will join us as soon as he checks out your credentials. We also have a Technical Officer who is working in ‘her lair” on the case as we speak. She will join us when she has something or we call her. So, Mr. Timothy T. Murphey what can you tell us about what the late Judge Belemany was doing to want him to cause Ms. Gunderson’s death.”
“Ah, err, check out my credentials? I thought I explained.” Said Mr. Murphy.
“So, you did. Do you have another card?” Asked Detective Batan.
“Why yes,” as Mr., Murphy pulled out his card case and handed another card to Detective Batan.
Whith a chuckle, Detective Batan handed the card to the Special Agent Fleishman. “this is his credentials.”
Special Agent Fleishman looked he card over, turned it over a couple of times and handed it to Ms. Gunderson. She gave it the same treatment that Special Agent Fleishman had and then handed it to Jeremy Eastman.
A puzzled look crossed Jeremy Eastman’s face and he exclaimed, “Why this is less official than my student ID card” He then handed it back to Detective Batan.
Detective Batan said, “Well?” Looking squarely at Mr. Murphy as he placed the Mr. Murphy’s card on the open case book.
Mr. Murphy finally took the case from under his arm and laid it on the table. “Now, we must be very careful as the pages in this are very fragile.” He said pointing to the case he has just laid on the table. Indeed, it would be best if some lab personnel handled them. While we had them, we used gloves and photographed them. We then worked with the photographs. I have a copy of the photographs on a solid-state drive.” He said pulling out a thumb drive from his pants pocket. “In addition, we applied some character recognition software to the photographs and translated the photographs into spread sheets, and in the case of the scores of patent applications into searchable documents.” He looked around the Informal Task Force as if to say, ’didn’t we do well.’ But getting no reactions he went on. “We were able to determine that all the equity information was accurate as to dates that have passed. We did note three sock closings that the papers predicted in the past several days. That I can tell you alarmed us. We checked the patent information and all are valid patents with correct dates, but the patents on file from the Patent Office appear to be in Franklin Belemany’s name and those on the pages from his office bear the name of others—those in the case. Except in one case of a patent issued to Amanda White for rendering rare earths into cool housings for transistors. Then there are a large number of patents that have not been filed simply because the dates have not happened yet. While they have various names on them. quite frankly I would not be surprised if when they are filed they will be filed under the deceased’s name.” With that statement, Mr. Murphy paused. “But, since he is dead, that will be rather impossible.?”
Jeremy Eastman broke into Mr. Murphy’s presentation with a question. “As impossible as him having stock closing prices in advance?”
“Yes, err, rather impossible. It is all not possible, yet,” pointing to the unopened case “there is the evidence that it happened. ERR, that it will and has happened.”
Special Agent Fleishman suggested with a twinkle in his eye, “Would this all make sense if the late Judge Belemany were a time traveler from the future.”
Mr. Murphy smiled and let out a breath of air. “No, one cannot explain the impossible with something that is impossible.”
At that point Detective Philipson entered the room and gave his partner a thumb’s up and held up a piece of paper.
Detective Batan took the piece of paper, looked at it and then looked at Mr. Murphy. Detective Batan then handed the paper to Special Agent Fleishman. The paper made the round of the Informal Task Force. The paper contained a photograph of Thomas T. Murphy as of the date he was hired onto the Office of the Attorney General some 16 years prior.
Detective Batan took his cell phone out of his pocked dialed a number and waited. “Renee, I think we may have something that will make your job easier up here in the conference room.” Then he hung up. He looked at Special Agent Fleishman and said “Are you ready for show and tell?”
Agent Fleishman chuckled. “You know working with you guys is turning out to be a world of fun. Can we go for hot chocolate with marshmallows again?”
Detective Batan said, “We’ll all go when Technical Officer O’Brian gets here. I think she would like a fresh cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows too.”