Good Afternoon Ted and Jody:
I had an appointment with my new talk person this morning at 10. As is my custom, I left several hours early just in case there are unanticipated photo opportunities. While the lake at the 9-mile marker was, at first blush, marginal. I pulled off to the side st the RV park where the dock and little cabin like structure on the lake. I took some shots for a promising panorama of cloud reflections in the lake. When I pulled away and increased speed I could hear a whirring sound. So I pulled off at the next opportunity to check my tires. Sure enough, a price of cardboard was securely stapled to my right front tire. My next stop was Fred’s. Fred pulled off the cardboard exposing all of the staples (more than one would want). He said it would need a patch or a replacement. So off to Les Swab I went. They could not get to me in time for my 10 O’clock appointment. So the adventure was not quite over. So at 11:00 I returned to the tire store and had a couple of hours waiting. I am told waiting is good for the soul. It turned out a new tire was indeed needed as some of the staples were in the sidewall of the tire. So, that photo I stopped to take cost me $289.73.
Reading about what the pestilence in Poland I am not reassured about our future. The next article I read was a 5.8 earthquake in Montana near the Yellowstone caldera, more un-reassuring news about the future. I have to stop reading the news.
Warmest Regards, Ed
018 The First 48 Hours: Part VI
Fiction in 1293 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
“I have a photo of Alfred Hitchcock Blanchard when he was a senior at FSU., ” said Detective Philipson. “Our sketch artist age-progressed it to produce this,” he said holding up an 8X10 drawing.”
Captain Batan took the sketch, held it up in a better light and said, “You and I, Eddie, need to burn this into our minds so we will recognize him.”
Detective Philipson gave his Captain a sideways look and said, “You really do expect he is here in the city someplace.”
“Yes, his wife was here,” said Captain Batan, “so will he.”
Special Agent Fleishman entered the Captain’s office and said, “Agent White planted a temporal and spatial tracker on the SUBV just before the robbery and kidnapping. It was a beautiful piece of work.” He paused for a minute but when neither officer asked a question he continued. “Outreach Agent Simmons will have the SUV’s itinerary shortly.” HE saw the sketch on the Captain’s desk and asked, “Who is that?”
“Our best estimate of what Alfred Blanchard should look like today,” replied Captain Batan.
“We are going to memorize it and then eat the sketch,” said Detective Philipson with a broad smile. The Captain thinks he is close by.”
“Why eat it?” Asked Special Agent Fleishman with a puzzled expression.
“I think he will be a target. He testified over a quarter of a century ago in a murder case that put a Mafia Don away for life. The Don is still alive and those guys live for retribution.” Pointing at the sketch he went on. “I figure the U. S. Marshal’s put the two Blanchard’s near each other since there was no evidence of a man in her home and they weren’t living together. Eddie and I are going to interview every man on her block. We can’t publish the sketch; for if he is here, publishing it could get him killed.”
“I could . . .” Special Agent Fleishman was interrupted by Agent White knocking on the Captain’s office door.
Holding up a price of paper she said, “Here is where the SUV has been and when.”
Handing the list to Special Agent Fleishman, she said, “First stop after the bank robbery was at a gas station in Ladoga WY on June 16, 1926, at night. Anyone got a flashlight?”
Captain Batan opened his bottom desk chair and produced four LED tactical flashlights. He handed them out and said, “Let’s go and try to rescue a damsel in distress.”
Special Agent Fleishman gave Agent White a thumbs up and the four of them vanished.
[June 16, 1926, Ladoga WY] The two ATI operatives and the two city detectives materialized in the middle of a dusty road. All four turned their LED tactical flashlights on. Detective Philipson had his light focused on the gas pumps. The other three followed his beam when a shotgun blast at the side of the gas station caused them all to turn off their lights and Special Agent Fleishman to pivot them back to the Captain’s office.
[PRESENT DAY] “What the hell happened?” Asked Captain Batan.
Special Agent Fleishman looked sheepish and said. “Agent White and I do not carry weapons unless you consider our hand, elbows and feet weapons. So, when contented by gunfire from an unknown source we pivot out. Knowing that Agent White is quite adept at close combat, I chose to forestall that occurrence and took pity on the unknown adversary; and, I got us the hell out of Dodge. Besides, we will go back earlier or later until we see what we had pivoted into the middle of in the dark.”
Agent White smiled and said, “You forgot knees. Should I do the surveillance?”
Agent Fieldsman picked up the SUV initiatory and handed it to her. You are more familiar with this list than I am. I only know about Ladoga, WY. I’ll check that out you check out the other places the SUV stopped on its journey.”
While you two check in the past, Eddie and I will interview the men who live near Mrs. Calkins,” said, Captain Batan.
“Why just the men?” asked Agent White.
“We will talk to the women too, but we want to see the men,” replied Captain Batan. “Just in case I am right about Alfred Hitchcock Blanchard being in the neighborhood.”
Captain Batan and Detective Philipson got our of their unmarked car in front of Mrs. Calkins’ house. Detective Philipson said, “I’d like another look around Mrs. Calkins’ house before we interview neighbors, Captain. There is something about the place that isn’t quite right.”
“I come with you,” replied Captain Batan. “Two sets of eyes are better than one.”
After going through the living room and kitchen Detective Philipson said, “Everything is just too neat as it if were not regularly used. It is more like a hotel suite with a maid coming in every day. Even the refrigerator and cupboards are stocked, but just barely. Know what I mean?”Detective Philipson paused and then said, “I have a hunch.” He beckoned Captain Batan with his finger and lead him into the master bath. He pointed to the counter and said, “In the bathroom, off my bedroom, there are jars of creams, tubs of things and brushes, mirrors and twelve different kinds of swabs. Here, nothing.”
Captain Batan opened cabinets and drawers in the vanity and shook his head. “Same thing at my house. I thought all women required a ton of exotic things before they emerged in the mornings. Nothing here tells me she didn’t live here.”
Both men looked perplexed. Detective Philipson said, ” I noticed a fence out back. Let’s look at that.”
The back yard was indeed fenced in with a six-foot privacy fence. There was a gate facing the front next to the garage. There was another gate in the middle of the back fence with a stone walk leading to it. Both detectives instinctively walked toward the back gate. The back gate was made of the same material as the privacy fence with a keypad beside the handle opening in. Detective Philipson tried the handle. It did not move. “I guess we need to know the passcode. Have you ever seen one of these on the inside of a gate before?”
Captain Batan shook his head. “No, there is only one reason to have a keypad on the inside,”
“Beats me, what is that reason, Captain?” asked Detective Philipson.
“To keep people like us, uninvited and curious outsiders, from going through the gate,” replied Captain Batan. “or at least slow them down. I saw a step stool in the kitchen pantry. Go get it and let’s see what is on the other side.”
It only took Detective Philipson a few minutes to fetch the 3-step, step ladder. He put it down, stepped up to the top and holding on the fence looked over. He pulled himself up and looked down at the other side of the gate. “Keypad on the other side. This fence separates what appears to be two identical houses.” He climbed down. “Looking at the other houses in the neighborhood they all are one story and all have smaller fences than these two houses. What do you bet the code on both sides of the fence is the same?”
Captain Batan held up a finger and climbed up on the step stool and looked around. He too pulled himself up on the fence so he could see the other side of the gate. After he got off the step ladder he said, “I want to talk to whomever lives in that house,” pointing to the other side of the privacy fence.