Saturday, November 18, 2017

Chapter 5: Look What You Made Me Do _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story

Chapter 5: Look What You Made Me Do _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story
Copyright 2017 John A. Conte, Jr. &

Sara Morehouse has been dating Harry for 5 years now. Light-up Night in the city of Pittsburgh Friday November 17, 2017 was also their fifth year anniversary.  She still had not been inside of Harry’s house yet. That was a problem. Sara wanted Harry Dick to come home to a surprise.

Harry’s mother was a loving, dotting, caring matriarch of a family mostly made up of men. Henrietta Dick couldn’t wait for a daughter-n-law which therefore is why she was so pleased to see Sara Morehouse at her front door. “Oh what a delight!” Harriet had a smile across her face that was genuinely welcoming. Her eyes beamed as she let Sara inside, “come on in young lady!”

Being likable was never an issue with Sara. She was very likable. She dressed neat and her clothes complimented her healthy figure. Sara had on black slacks and high heels, an off white blouse and a light blue cashmere cardigan sweater and a pearl necklace. Her blond hair pulled back off her attractive face. She looked smart. And she was.

Sara Morehouse was employed as a forensic scientist working in a crime lab. She not only had a bachelors degree from California State University of Pennsylvania - she also achieved a PhD. Her salary was on the higher end making $91, 400 a year which in Pittsburgh went a long way. Her glasses were fashionable purchased at SEE on Walnut Street in Shadyside.

Henrietta didn’t have the opportunity to go off to college. Harriet married Sam Dick shortly after high school. Sam Dick came from a farming family. Sam Dick’s grandfather, George Dick, proudly pictured in an old black & white photograph, hung in an oval frame in the dinning room where Harriet and Sara were seated.

Over Earl Grey tea Sara excitedly shared her plans to surprise Harriet’s son, Harry, on their fifth year anniversary. “Sure, I’ll give you the emergency key Harry left with me,” Harriet still displayed her wide smile, “you know I’m besides myself waiting for grandchildren! And Sam and I all but have given up on that idea for our Chet.” Henrietta shouted out, “that boy won’t grow up! He’s just a big momma’s boy!” It was loud enough Chet may have heard from his favorite position on the couch in the family room, though, most likely the TV was probably too loud.

Sara Morehouse wanted kids too! Her first husband turned out to be a dud. He looked like a stud. Nevertheless, he was a definite dud. He had a herniated disc and became hooked on pain killers. Pills soon led to a cheaper more available solution that did not require a doctor’s prescription, heroin. Consequently, Sara hated drugs. Drugs were the cause of her divorce as far as she concerned.

At the training required for forensic scientist working in the county crime lab is where she met Harry Dick. The police academy training challenged Sara in new ways and that is what she needed at that time looking to start a new life. Harry Dick practically won her over instantly. Harry’s encouragement during the police academy training translated into a reaffirmation for Sara’s biological clock that kept striking with loud gongs at high noon.

Passing Pittsburgh’s newest and second location for a “cat cafe” Sara hurried along Butler Street in Lawrenceville. What a wonderful life Sara was living. She exuded happiness as she purposefully floated down the sidewalk with the holiday lights she purchased from the hardware store. What a surprise awaiting Harry Dick.

Harry was on the land of the person his folks bought hay from out in Evan’s City. He was squatting in a wooded thicket in a cattail slough. Against a downed tree Harry peeled a small pelt of deer fur from the log. He put the fur up to his nose and then pressed it to his cheeks and finally twirling it in between his fingers almost as if in some kind of trance. 

If that buck from the bed didn’t catch the scent of an impending threat, Harry did. Uncharacteristically, Harry Dick pulled out from stalking his buck. In his Ford F-150 pick up truck he sped down 279 toward the city. By the time he got to his home he was anxious, paranoid and uncomposed. Harry Dick rushed through the door. As he heard stirring from the kitchen, he drew his gun from its side arm shoulder holster. He tip toed lightly down that hallway.

Approaching the kitchen Harry Dick commanded, “freeze, right there!” Sara panicked. Whirling around her arm squarely struck her purse on the counter which bulldozed the mason jars from on top of the kitchen towel and onto the floor. Smash! Glass shattered upon impact. “What the fuck?!” Harry Dick demanded while backhanding Sara’s head with enough force down upon her to bring her to her knees. 

Sara knelt on glass as she coward frantically covering her head and face. Harry Dick towered over her and delivered another blow to the head. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” Sara was quickly pleading emphatically. Harry Dick was enraged, unhinged.  “Look what you made me do,” Harry powerfully screamed matter-of-factly, “look what you made me do!” 

Coincidentally, those were the same words Donald J. Trump whispered in the ear of Rhonda Darewyzki’s mother after she having jacked-him-off under the table at The 21 Club. “Look what you made me do,” Donald J. Trump grinned looking down at his wad of sperm ejaculated into Rhonda’s mother’s dinner napkin of The 21 Club. “Look what you made me do.”

Chapter 5: Look What You Made Me Do _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story
Copyright 2017 John A. Conte, Jr. &

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chapter 4: The Baring of Rhonda Darewyzki’s Soul _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story

Chapter 4: The Baring of Rhonda Darewyzki’s Soul _"Who's Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story

Rhonda Darewyzki was peeling off layers. The morning of November 11, 2017 was a record breaking cold day at 18 degrees in Pittsburgh. She couldn’t believe the news she was overhearing from the television. How could Roy Moore and his loyal Alabama voters exist in her perfect world she’s so grateful for everyday? 

And to think that over the airwaves on every news station and in every newspaper what they’re describing in graphic detail. Roy Moore’s accuser is insisting the 32 year old man at the time touched her through her bra and panties and took her hand and guided it where he desired to be touched by the young 14 year old. Breakfast and slut shaming a 14 year old girl who didn’t want to report the incident back then after it occurred! 

Injustices were not tolerated by the moral fabric of Rhonda Darewyzki. She was not one to be her soul however she had an aura about her that was different from the everyday women her age that cluttered the sidewalks of Lawrenceville though she resembled them in many ways. Her jacket was coming off now after having unraveled her pink scarf. 

Rhonda’s dark black raven colored hair parted from a jacket of the same tone as she freed her arms from its sleeves. The black star showcased in the front of her handmade pink beanie shimmered from glitter catching the cold sunshine of a shivering morning. She removed her giant white framed Kurt Cobain sunglasses unveiling her expressive eye rolls. “What a douche bag,” Rhonda sighed out loud to no one but the wooden floors and exposed red bricks of her home. Well, maybe the cat & dog overheard?

Rhonda Darewyzki carried herself like royalty. She had a regale gait even when carrying about going on with everyday routines of life. Back in Russia she kinda was and would be treated that way. Rhonda’s father was what the American public was hearing so much about in the media ever since Donald J.. Trump stated running for president of the United States, a Russian Oligarch. Her father had ties to the Kremlin and direct ties to Vladimir Putin.

However, Rhonda Darewyzki was conceived out of wedlock which is understandable since her mother wasn’t married to the Russian Oligarch. Her mother was his lover. “There are things that a man with a family does not want to do anymore with the wife of his children!” Rhonda’s mother was blunt when providing this family history. 

In fact, Rhonda’s mother had weaponized her sexuality for a living. That’s how she met Rhonda’s father. She attended an exotic animal dining club in Moscow. Her sponsor had prepared her well. Rhonda’s mother knew her mark and knew inside his head already thanks to the keen insights of her sponsor. “For my country I actually tested the virility of men in my hands.” She further debriefed Rhonda matter-of-factly, "people can dominate you for power yet, if you play your cards well, you’re the one that can be in total control.”

Rhonda’s mother was elegantly gorgeous - dripping with refined charisma - and dangerously wicked smart. But she preferred to stay focused on subject matters dear to her heart. She was actually devastated when their affair got too hot after Rhonda’s birth and her father’s enemies knew he was compromised. There was evidence. 

Having a high value target in Manhattan with a highly classified assignment, as a result, Rhonda’s mother was actually appeased by it and she felt like she had won. Rhonda had no idea her mother was in Manhattan to compromise Donald J. Trump. Neither did Rhonda's mother until her sponsor's exact details were followed and she was at The 21 Club in New York City. She was seated at the table of a very important person. 

Her sponsor assured her that the booth was bugged and she was 100% capable of handling this job. After all, the particular booth was, "a favored spot of Mr. Donald J. Trump in 21 Club restaurant," she was informed by the pretty hostess - who incidentally resembled a beauty pageant contestant. The booth was bugged and Rhonda’s mother was doing what she did so well for her profession and her country. She was letting another powerful man dominate her while she was the one mindful enough of the long game to be in control. Donald J. Trump had inserted his hand in between her legs almost immediately after sitting down at the table. Now it was all falling into place like her sponsor promised. At the 21 Club, in Donald J. Trump’s reserved booth, she was clinically testing the virility of a man in her hands. The white heavy starched dinner napkin she casually placed in her in $250,000 Lana Marks Cleopatra Bag was evidence. 

Rhonda stood naked. She peered out the square window onto jagged rooftops of rows and rows of houses. Each one with frames painted different colors, such as, blue, red, white, black & yellow. Her milky soft white skin was well hydrated. Her black thick hair was in stark contrast with the cool tile she rested her hands on as she closed her eyes while the hot running water drenched her body. Her iPhone was going off annoyingly. “Can’t I have five minutes,” she muttered to herself. It was Harry Dick.

More detective work ran across her face when her eyes opened at the 3rd attempt to reach her by phone. Detective Harry Dick needed those hair clippings from her shop. Their relationship started when the then officer Harry Dick busted her for possessing 5 ounces of weed: Lavender, Blueberry Kush, Blue Dream, Diesel, and a hybrid cross pollination between Maui and Train Wreck called Maui Wreck.

The then officer Harry Dick was looking to become a county detective. He had smoked homegrown pot while pounding Ham’s Beer back in the countryside at a picnic table while playing the drinking game “Drug Dealer” in his high school days. Ironically, Rhonda Darewyzki was not a drug dealer. Rhonda was a connoisseur when it came to high quality marijuana. Straight-up, Rhonda just liked to smoke weed. It beat being strung out on heroin! It beat being an uncontrollable functioning alcoholic! Or a coke head!

With five ounces of marijuana Harry Dick could pursue charges that would trigger a mandatory minimum having Rhonda Darewyzki jailed. Rhonda insisted it was for personal use only. She was being dead honest. Officer Dick was working the flip. Asserting his power using the threat of serious jail time. Rhonda accepted and agreed to his terms to provide hair samples of her clients from her grooming & goods shop upon request. 

Rhonda knew her security clearance was equivalent to that of a senator’s son, on the other hand, officer Dick did not. She exuded an obtuse pain in officer Dick’s presence. 

Surely she would use this proposition to her advantage. Having a compromised cop might come in handy. Either way, Rhonda Darewyzki would not being going to jail. Unless she shot someone at point blank with a gun on Fifth Avenue that is. Harry Dick didn't know this though and Rhonda wanted it that way. Detective Harry Dick was exerting power however Rhonda Darewyzki was really in control. The more smug and unafraid Rhonda Darewyzki conducted herself the more agitated Harry Dick became. Thrusting his power. 

Rhonda would provide him with hair samples of targeted clients all right. And officer Harry Dick would be commended and promoted for having an uncanny knack for making drug busts. He busted more users buying from their dealers than any other cop on the force. There was a competition too! Police departments that made a lot of drug busts in return received a lot of money for fighting the war on drugs.

Chapter 4: The Baring of Rhonda Darewyzki’s Soul _"Who's Eating Harry Dick?" _ dark comedy crime caper short story

Copyright John Alan Conte Jr. & 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chapter 3: a Deluge of Daily Insults _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick”_ crime caper short story - Copyright John Alan Conte Jr. &

 Chapter 3: 

a Deluge of Daily Insults 

- Chapter 3: a Deluge of Daily Insults _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick”_ crime caper short story - Copyright John Alan Conte Jr. &

There were as many horse and buggies and carriages and wagons as automobiles in the streets of Pittsburgh. Another mode of transportation was a trolley car for the public to ride together as well as funicular inclines. At one time in Pittsburgh there were as many as 23 operating inclines.

River boat captains and lamp lighters would be professions of the time adding to the bunches of factory workers and those on the many railroad yards. Coal powered the town’s glowing embers under the coarse dark blanketed sky - itchy to the lungs of asthmatics as an old damp wool blanket in a den of a home built in 1915.  

The Cathedral of Learning on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh wasn’t built until 1926. Pitt Medical School was already well established by then having been chartered on June 4, 1883, as the Western Pennsylvania Medical College, the school opened with a class of 57 students in September 1886. By 1895 the college had begun a four-year course of study, and in 1908 the college was completely integrated into the Western University of Pennsylvania, the same year the university was renamed to the University of Pittsburgh.

Today in 2017 UPMC is a juggernaut eating competition with a voracious appetite. Pittsburgh-based health care giant UPMC left no doubts about its vast ambitions on Friday.

In announcing a $2 billion investment it said will usher in a new digitally- and technology-driven age in health care and solidify UPMC's place among the world's very best hospitals, its CEO said the system hopes to become the "Amazon of health care."
So the victim’s Pitt Medical School friend who came from a wealthy Japanese family. Yes, the father was a Japanese  business man who was widely popular for his contribution to “Western Style Big Fun” in Tokyo - including providing business elites with the finest bourbon from the United States plus a complimentary straw hat for patrons who rock it out for karaoke.
It wouldn’t reflect well if one of Pitt’s Medical students was questioned about any of this and it wouldn’t reflect well on Mr. Isuzu Suzuki. Thus, he wasn’t even mentioned in the local news reports that morning.

The medical student, a young Mr. T.K. Suzuki, did have dinner with the victim, a young Mr. Angus Applebottom, at Muddy Waters Oysters Bar. But after dinner Angus headed to Brillo Box to see a band from Brooklyn called Sunflower Bean perform. Then he headed off to Spirit Lounge. There he was obviously visibly intoxicated. So much the bouncers tried to call him an Uber however Angus played a Houdini and disappeared into the energetic East End night.

“Worth noting,” Detective Bill Crawford told his colleagues Rusty Jones and Harry Dick, “he did try to hail a Yellow Cab at 2:45 a.m on Polish Hill after getting kicked out of Gooski’s! Yeah, the driver stated he wanted to go to The White Eagles on the South Side. The driver exercised some sort of judgement that Angus got angry about of course.” Bill Crawford was interrupted by Detective Rusty Jones, “you know what, that’s exactly how it came over the scanner.”

The police and the local TV reporters have a tremendous rapport with one another in Pittsburgh as in any other city where the scoop and investigative resources are similar and shared hand and hand. The message the public received didn’t mention Mr. T.K. Suzuki or Yellow Cab - just that he was last seen walking down Polish Hill visibly intoxicated or maybe injured a witness had said.

Detective Harry Dick stood out from the tailored tweedy bird twins as Harry nicknamed Bill Crawford and Rusty Jones. They looked like the Dandy’s who were found in the renovations taking place in the newest downtown revitalization plan. Looking like they’re headed The Hotel Monaco for drinks and dinner at The Commoner. Harry Dick laughed at their attempts to appear macho and thought them more of the Detective Friday types from that TV show his grandma & grandpa used to watch “The Streets of San Francisco.” 

Harry Dick was more laid back and informal like his 70’s TV detective heroes Starsky & Hutch. He thought himself more of the salt of the earth type and therefore could fit in more with the suspects he sometimes found himself hunting. He was a hunter. He’s grew up in a farm house. And, even though he lived in the city to be employed as a city cop, he frequently visited his parents and brother out in that old farm house in Evan’s City.

The flannel shirt and chain wallet Harry Dick wore were not because he was honoring the celebrated “hipster” culture of the new Pittsburgh.  If it wasn’t for Harry’s Sports Clips hair cut he might even pass for an aging hipster of 45. Well, he didn’t have a beard or mustache either though. 

By dressing in flannel shirts and denim jeans with a chain wallet and concert tees, Harry Dick was doing what was natural to him as a Western Pennsylvania “hick in the sticks.” Someone who’s easily pictured as a regular in TGI Friday’s in nearby Wheeling, WV as insinuated by the tit-for-tat deluge of daily insults Rusty, Harry and Bill exchanged almost constantly when amongst themselves and sometimes even around other peers and the public. It was almost juvenile and yet endearingly funny like an Adam Sander’s movie.

“And the profile over the scanner of the crazy drunk preppy college guy without shoes trying to hail a cab on Polish Hill,” Harry Dick expounded, “that’s our Angus Applebottom?” Detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford didn’t even reply taking Harry Dick as being rhetorical and not requiring an answer. They began walking to their cars.

It had been another long day and night and the team was tired. Harry, Rusty and Bill said goodnight and went off to their homes. Harry paused at his stoop before turning the key to the red brick working class home on Arsenal Place. Once Harry Dick has entered he’s relieved. He brushes up against the back of the kitchen chair as he reaches for a framed photograph.

The photo is of Harry and his first buck. Harry, his dad, his pap, his uncles and the first buck he killed himself after tracking it for weeks upon weeks. Harry was so proud. That’s also the first time he drank his own can of beer too! He recalls the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

 “Ironic how those stupid hipsters at Arsenal Lanes drink Pabst Blue Ribbon pounders because it’s the cool thing to do now. Hell, that’s just what we drank,” he smugly told himself in a righteous tone of soliloquy. The autumn night was damp and cool yet unusually warmer than in past seasons. Harry Dick lay limp on the couch in front of the TV and fell asleep.

- Chapter 3: a Deluge of Daily Insults _ “Who’s Eating Harry Dick”_ crime caper short story - Copyright John Alan Conte Jr. &

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Chapter 2: Who's Eating Harry Dick? _ a modern day crime caper _ short story

Chapter 2: Muddy Waters

In Western Pennsylvania there are a lot of gray dreary days. A lot of them include rain. It rains in Pittsburgh for days at a time in the fall, winter and spring. The rainy days are part of Pittsburgh's make-up as is going to church on Sunday followed by a family dinner and watching the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. 

People transplanting from Seattle and Portland are used to the rain. Pittsburgh's affordable cost of living compared to Seattle and Portland made it more palatable as long as Pittsburgh stayed weird enough and, of course, there were good jobs available for younger folks. The gray and the grunge of Pittsburgh was evident. It didn't have to pose and put on any airs for that to be apparent and attractive to the Brooklyn, Seattle and Portland hipsters flocking to Pittsburgh. Want a backdrop that helps aide in making your Instagram photos look like your a "working class hero" with a Google salary to afford going out every night for dinner and then going to venues for some music and more drinks every single night of the week? Pittsburgh is the answer.

Sunday October 29, 2017 Harry Dick was in the bathroom of his childhood home. "Come on, Harry, the Lord don't care what you look like in Church anymore! Didn't you get the memo?" His older brother Chet was teasing. He liked to tease Harry and was actually really good at it. "Go help Mom and Dad to the car and I'll be out in a minute before you stink the place up!" Harry hurriedly blurted out with a little brother's agitation on display. Just then Harry's cell phone started buzzing. It was work.

Harry's partners in the team taking the lead on the string of bizarre murders were pretty good guys. Typical detectives and liked Harry Dick enough that their relationship was a congenial one. It made it easier  to do the job. Although detective Rusty Jones and detective Bill Crawford were a little more buttoned-up than detective Harry Dick, they all had a mutual respect for one another. Harry being the senior and having the experience to create more of winning track record on the force was the team lead. And detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford had pressing information. "Harry, you'll want to get down to Edgeworth along the banks of the Ohio River at Riverfront park right away. There's been another murder and it seems to fit the pattern."

"His fucking head is cut off!" A younger officer from the neighboring Leetsdale police department was heard in the background. Harry rushed passed his brother while smacking him in the groin area and darted out the door, "bye Momma. Bye Daddy. I gotta go!" Harry was obviously wild with adrenalin, "duty calls." Harry Dick slid into his dark colored SUV and turned on the sirens and lights. From Evan's City he could get to Edgeworth in about 45 minutes he figured. And sure enough in about 45 minutes Harry Dick was on the scene.

From the picture that was pulled-up on this 23 year old male a barbed wire tattoo was noticeable around his neck. Detective Bill Crawford handed it over to Harry Dick. Harry started at the picture and calmly stated, "the killer cut the head off along the barbwire tattoo." Detective Rusty Jones had a look on his face that was a mix of disgust and of curious fascination. This was his reality right now. "The body was found along the beach in the muddy waters so they didn't know the victim was headless at first," Rusty continued, "the local cops thought it may be some fetish Halloween thing. Once Detective Crawford heard about it he knew we had to come." Crawford gave off a little laugh, "severed body parts and removed organs is a pattern."

The local Edgeworth and Leetsdale police came over to wear Harry and his team were standing. "Well Mrs. Applebottom is coming down. She said he was out with a friend of his after picking him up at Pitt. He was out with a longtime family friend who's now in medical school there. They were supposed to be out in the city for dinner in the East End at Muddy Waters Oyster Bar." Harry blurted out, "a medical student wouldn't necessarily need use a barbed wire tattoo as to know how to severe a head but we gotta talk to this boy, pronto." The group was watching the crime scene at work. They waited for Mrs. Abblebottom as she pulled into the parking lot of Riverfront Park in her Volvo SUV and cut the headlights. They needed to console the victim's mother of course yet they also needed information on his longtime friend the medical student so he could be questioned. 

"Gray and dreary," Rusty Jones said over his shoulder. "The weather-woman had warned us that we'd want to stay inside today and drink coffee and read a book." Bill Crawford started to follow in his direction and replied, "gray dreary days with misty cold rain and Halloween around the bend and headless bodies and victims with their hearts cut out from their chest cavities. This is one sick case." Harry Dick joined in, "or it could be a random set of random murders." The TV trucks were pulling in now. Local media and local law enforcement swam in the same main stream mediums of action and information. This would count as a newsworthy "action news" breaking news story for sure. Was Pittsburgh in the grips of a serial killer? Or was just some strange batch of bad shit going down around town?

Chapter 2: Muddy Waters

"Who's Eating Harry" _ a modern day crime caper _ short story

Written By John Alan Conte Jr. October 29, 2017

Copyrighted October 2017 John Alan Conte Jr. & 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Chapter 1: "Who Eats Harry Dick?" _ a modern-day crime caper _ draft 1 _CopyRight 2017 by John Alan Conte, Jr.


Harry Dick is a detective.

He’s investing murders in a trendy revitalized area in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The murders are alarming and start occurring more frequently with a pattern the media aids in bringing to the public attention placing law enforcement under the spotlight.

Harry is casing spots that the murdered seems to be using us stalking grounds - hipsterville spots - including the mothership of maintaining that dandy hipster look Mister Grooming & Goods.

Harry is secretly buying the hair trimmings from hair cuts and “the quiky” which is basically nothing more than a quick beard trim. The rugged lumber jack, beehive, Amish,  1800’s mill worker, chimney sweep looks have to be worked on as a skilled craftsman carves a pictorial scene  out of wood.

Harry becomes obsessed with the hipster culture as the murders create a frantic pitch of fear in the media among the public and the fact that the killer is definitely targeting “the hipster.” Male hipsters are his target. And new evidence suggests the killer is a cannibal.

Chapter 1: Chops and Hops

“They don’t like us looking up at the sky,” she spoke with an amused austere tone. “Who’s they?!” Detective Harry Dick sarcastically replied. She laughed in a mocking manner, “the people you work for - the government.” Her eyes as green as “go” and her hair as black as the coal mined from the hinterlands beyond the city limits. Her white milky skin only made her red lips shine like the red stained specialty manufactured in Pittsburgh factories more than a century ago. Neon and electric stained glass was a good way to describe the revitalized neighborhood now thriving once again at night time after work on a weekday.

Chops and Hops was a newer restaurant that met the criteria of blending that old rustic rugged charm and simplistic brilliance with the new-new in innovations. After all, along the banks of the Allegheny, part of western Pennsylvania’s civil war arsenal was recently discovered. Cannon balls recently excavated reminding the city that Lawrenceville housed a huge armory. It was working class hustling and bustling part of town at one time. It wasn't always that way. It happened organically and wasn't part of the masterplan for a big industrial city. Today it is part of the master plan for attracting talent who might work for Google, Facebook, Oracle, Amazon, Uber, Carnegie Mellon University or Pitt. Once flourishing farmland up in the hills above smoky downtown, Lawrenceville was a little paradise. An idyllic town where the father of American music was born and his bones rests to this day after a world class career and living in Manhattan.

The old lamplighters lit up the sidewalks, streets and bench parks of the 1800’s neighborhood until neon light signs were invented in Pittsburgh as part of the glorious gritty story. From being the industrial hub of three rivers and river valleys and their hinterlands which accounted for the iron and steel powerhouse Pittsburgh had made itself into among other competing northern cities. it was a smoggy city with dense air pollution. Coal trains rain down the tracks of mainlines directly into Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago. Steam boats and barges filled the waterfront wharfs as does litter unveiled by the melting spring sun of March. Funicular inclines carried goods, live-stock, supplies, wagons and even automobiles and people up and down the steep cliffs of mountanious terrain of the Appalachians. 

Nevertheless Chops and Hops was a select place to be on a Friday night in a neighborhood that was not only a premier location in the city however Lawrenceville and, the East End in general, have been written up in ink by current journalists and bloggers as the coolest neighborhoods in America. From the father of American Music, Stephen Foster, to the lead singer of Rusted Root renting a building on Butler Street across from the Thunder Bird Cafe to house a studio, rehearsal space and music gear storage for the constantly touring and recording lifestyle of 90’s rockers still managing to keep on keeping on! … and onward it does go. Across the 40th Street Bridge is Millville and Mr. Small’s Theatre which helped put Pittsburgh on the music map along with the previously mentioned late great Stephen Foster. Mr. Small’s Theatre also rooted in Rusted Root 90’s rock stardom. This is a scene for sure. Children's Hospital now commands respect among the city scape instead of giant mills with their billowing smoke stacks.

Normally Rhonda and Detective Harry Dick would not be paired up together talking in a bar named Round Cantina with narrow dimly lit exposed brick walls forcing them to sit even closer together so that their knees were touching. Hers bare. Showing the slightest sensation that she was athletic and probably in quite good shape despite the black goth exterior meets Austrian outback pub life well furnished and supplied by Robert Redford’s SunDance Catalogue. No, Harry Dick was exhilarated by hunting deer up near his parent’s farm in Evan’s City, Pennsylvania. Outside of Pittsburgh’s big city lights and nostalgic fiery glow of long gone haunted memories of slag being urged from the mill’s machinery into the river. Outside the city where men and women still snapped the necks off of chickens and canned vegetables and made homemade sausage and salami and deer jerky. 
Harry Dick knew how to shave sheep. He knew how to butcher an animal. Animals such as goats, and pigs and rabbits and, of course, deer. 

Men around these parts were obsessed with hunting deer. In fact, Harry Dick’s mind was wandering to his tree stand in the woods and to tracking his buck for the season. He could smell the young buck’s virile fur after urinating and secreting feces that Harry Dick would pick up bag & tag and study. Detective Harry Dick soon recalled why he was in hipsterviile to begin with meeting with some tattoo clad, pierced everywhere 27 year-old female about 5 foot 9 sprite yet slightly jaded and apathetic but driven for success. 

Rhonda owned and operated the mothership of men’s prized identity as a “hipster.” Rhonda owned Mister Grooming and Goods. If you wanted to maintain that dandy hipster look and rock an Amish beehive looking beard or chimney sweep mustache a fellow dandy barkeep would notice and serve you first in a crowd that looks like the cast of Oliver meets early to mid 90’s MTV music videos back when MTV actually played Music on TV instead of reality shows, Mister was the place to go. Yes, Rhonda drove a Prius and Harry Dick a Ford F150. Harry Dick felt the surge Donald Trump was giving to all enforcement and moaned at the notion of NFL players taking-a-knee for the National Anthem and Rhonda calmly believed and stated that Donald J. Trump and his brainless zombie followers were missing the point! It’s about criminal justice reform not the flag, not the troops. 

“Is this the guy, Harry?” Rhonda said into her glass of East End Big Hop with a nod while asking. “Yes, that’s him,” Harry answered. “Yeah, he’s a client a Mister. Why him, Harry? Because he has a beard with oil in it, wears patchouli to mask the smell of grilled meats and has a pompadour with a sweet fade and a chain wallet? That’s reasonable suspicion?!” Rhonda thought Harry Dick was a total tool. And Harry Dick didn’t particularly like the strong minded independendt uppity queen of Hispterville. And though their fates were intertwined. “No, because his job here at Round Cantina is to butcher meat,” Harry curtly countered. "If the murders are not random and are connected and the work of a serial killer, it appears the killer knows a thing or two about the anatomy of mammals and how to slice and dice them so to speak for eating. Also the killer appears to be someone that has an interest in preserving the good parts for eating by the method of canning.” Harry Dick was penetrating the crowd with a steel glaze so intense it burned as bright as the bulbs in the mason jars hanging from the ceiling. 

"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper _ prologue and chapter one

CopyRight 2017 by John Alan Conte, Jr. 

Monkey Suit by The UnderCover Hippy 

Downtown _ new October 2017 photo poem

#downtown these buildings talk to each other in the #language of #architecture communicating past info, present reality & tomorrow's #dreams

Good wishes,

Sent from my iPhone

“An Old Country Song” _ new October 2017 poem

"An Old Country Song" _ new October 2017 poem

Momma said get on your knees and pray
No time to waste, son, do it today
And if you survive another day
Go back to pray again on Sunday
Or devil's gonna get your soul for pay

For you escaped the 27 Club
And drowning at two in San Juan
At 18 from metal compaction, son,
Take action don't hesitate I tell you
Or demons will hand you a shot gun

Now's your time to show you're alive
If you stay away from home too long
- You won't make it 'til dawn -
With out any time to say goodbye

Down on your knees momma said
It's time to pray and bow your head
Be humble in the Lord's good grace
At the bottom you can't fall no more
For you landed at the devil's backdoor

Now's your time to show you're alive
If you stay away from home too long
- You won't make it 'til dawn -
With out any time to say goodbye

Written Sunday Morning
October 15, 2017
John Conte

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

American Tapestry _ new Poem Fall 2017

American Tapestry _ new Poem Fall 2017

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Monday, October 2, 2017

"Spoil My Heart" _ new October 2017 poem / song

When you come back
This time next year
I'll be wearing a wedding ring
I'll be married in the spring
Yet you can still
Spoil my heart

If you cook
Like you fell off a turnip truck
Hey I'll still be in luck
The way you look
As long as you still
Spoil my heart

In the fall I'll be warm
When the tugboat blows its horn
Walking arm and arm with you
Hey world we got nothing to prove
Yet you can still
Spoil my heart

Sugar kisses
Upon my head
"I do" it was
That we had said
As long as you still
Spoil my heart

Turn your lamp down low
Throw the hour-glass away
We're snowed-in today
We got no place to go
Yet you can still
Spoil my heart

Sugar kisses
Simple sweet
If it's we
I'll take the devil's heat
As long as you still
Spoil my heart

If you're successful
Being the best you
On the verge of fame
Honey I'll be the same
As long as you still
Spoil my heart

(From the start
I knew it was you
The things you could do

You stole my heart
Only you in my view
There were only a few)

I used to walk aimlessly
Until you waved at me
And now I'm still here
And you're still my dear
As long as you still
Spoil my heart

Written October 2, 2017
By John Alan Conte

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"For Charleston & Savannah" _ new September poem ---{@

"For Charleston & Savannah" _ new September poem ---{@

Etched in stone left alone 

Centuries old foundation 

Many trains have left the station

Ways we swayed & roamed

Memories are poetry

- John Conte 12th #day #september #2017 #CharlestonPlace #charlestonsc #southcarolina #savannah #georgia #atlanticocean #eastcoast #seaboard #portcity #hospitality #history #iloveyou #inspired #inspiration #travel #learning #writing #prayer #published #poetry 

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

"Pacific Son" My Guggenheim FamilyMuseum Quality Poem reviewed by BillGuggenheim

"Pacific Son" My @Guggenheim FamilyMuseum Quality Poem = reviewed by BillGuggenheim who's profiled in book TheGuggenheim's: An American Epic

- Bill Guggenheim is author of book "Hello from Heaven" - thankful & grateful back in late 90's he took time to review my poem "Pacific Son"

#guggenheim #guggenheimmuseum #original #poetry #nineties #review #shamanism #pacific #son #poem #poet #writersofinstagram #writerscommunity #museum #whale #oregon #quality 

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

me Awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship

me #Awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship for tangible & significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding & friendly relations between peoples of the world!

Instrumental in sending hospital goods to those in need in Nicaragua; securing a $2,000.00 grant from #Pittsburgh #Downtown Rotary for @ohiovalleyhospital's School of Nursing + securing key accounts for OVH's Occupational Medicine Dept as the @pittsburghpg states -- laminated & presented by State Senator Wayne Fontana 2007 #rotary #paulharris #fellowship #nursing #school #grant #hospital #goods #nicaragua #people #inneed #betterment #assistance #understanding #peoples #ofthe #world #laminated #presented #by #state #senator

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bob Weir's Gifts as Guitarist & Singer: Creatively Creating Space & Time


My response to Bobby's (Bob Weir's) Facebook post = video of rehearsal for "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad" with Avett Brothers :


Fantastic! Wonderful rendition Bob Weir and I love how your guitar solo really showcases your genuine genius in voicing & phrasing playing creating space (what busy poets & musicians need keeping tight schedules with the public and all)! But I've also noticed you not only have the gift of creating space with your guitar playing but with your singing too -- it reminds me of how Thelonius Monk would play with time & space playing piano -- and not a lot of players can play along with that kind of play as a lot of players think every single measure has to be filled-up with notes (fast & hard). But, you, Bobby! "go, Bobby, go!" .... after a RatDog gig in Pittsburgh in Burgettstown, Pa where my buddies Rusted Root opened for you I caught a glimpse of you after your show in your dressing room and you were smoking a cigarette and there was the Elvis "gun slinger" Andy Warhol silver screen print canvas behind you = And that was one of the most memorable rock & roll moments in a pretty good life filled with pretty good moments that I will never ever forget! Thanks Bobby and #KeepOnKeepingOn

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Monday, September 4, 2017

"Good Vibes Only!!!" #goodvibes #only

"Good Vibes Only!!!" #goodvibes #only #positiveenergy #positivethinking #positivevibes #everyday #everydayeverywhere #namaste #magic

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