Friday, December 8, 2017

Chapter 9: Happy Holidays _"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper _

Chapter 9: Happy Holidays

It was black outside and at the kitchen table Harry Dick sat listening to the local morning news, drinking his coffee. More teens were shot. Additionally, more teens were shot, and killed. More people were shot. And, more people were shot, and killed. Notably, a 3 year old and a 10 year old were shot over the weekend during a drive-by-shooting, plus the others. 

Harry wrote in a notebook. Each January 1st Harry opened a brand new note book with fresh clean white pages that were fantastically blank. Harry kept track each and everyday of the shootings and killings reported by the local morning news throughout the year in this notebook. It was November 28, 2017. Detective Harry Dick put the data points together and was trying to connect the dots. What trends in the data would call his mind to attention? 

Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday season and Friday was the first of December. Soon this year would be over and it would be 2018. It didn’t look good. It was overwhelmingly glaring. There were more unsolved murders than solved murders. There were more shootings with no suspects than shootings with apprehended suspects. As a homicide detective this bothered him. But, as a human being, was he as numb and callous to crime, shootings, killings and death that plagued our towns, our cities, our country, our world?

Today was the day that Sara Morehouse and her mother were to meet Harry’s mother for a late lunch. Sara and her mother were going wedding dress shopping first. Harry Dick and Sara Morehouse set a date to be married in the spring of 2018. It would be a May wedding. As Sara drove her car along Route 65 the autumn sun glimmered on top of the Ohio River and shimmered off of the railroad tracks running parallel to the boulevard they travelled to Beaver County. Henrietta suggested they meet half way in the town Beaver at the landmark Wooden Angel restaurant. 

Sara was beaming. She was so excited. She and her mother had found an amazing wedding dress! Sara was already daydreaming about the big day and how she would look in her wedding dress. And how Harry Dick would look next to her dressed up in a tuxedo. Daydreaming how she would be the center of attention. Sara’s mother, and her mother’s money, and her mother’s stature, would make sure of it. Sara’s mother was a judge. Sara’s father, Milton Morehouse, was also a judge (God rest his soul). Milton Morehouse had a partnership within a successful regional private practice before he took to the bench becoming a judge. When he passed, Sara’s mother, Jane, took complete control of the estate. 

Jane insisted that her daughter Sara must shop at the new occasion boutique in the Sewickley Village called Luna. It was a brand new boutique in Sewickley that had just recently opened. And, all the society “tea and crumpet ladies” clamored to find out who was buying who to wear, and, to wear to what event! It soon became Sewickley area central. The owner and workers were well sought out after at Starbucks on Beaver & Locust streets and, also, at the Adesso Cafe on Walnut Street in the Sewickley Village. Women with such valuable information where of utmost importance to the “gossipy, trendy, Nouveau Riche” and Judge Jane Morehouse knew how to exploit it. Her daughter Sara would be one of the first women in Pittsburgh to buy an exquisite wedding dress from Luna and be a May bride in Spring 2018. 

After about a half of a dozen dresses, Sara selected the Penalara Wedding Dress. It was from the YolanCris collection that brings innovative trends, such as, the off the shoulders boho wedding dresses. Hers she chose was absolutely striking with a deeply sophisticated silhouette and, with bulky sleeves in tulle, and, so many lace edgings. It was absolutely exquisite and exclusive. As the owner of Luna relayed practically verbatim - YolanCris, founded by two sisters in 2005, Yolanda and Christina, is a fashion house specializing in haute couture wedding dresses and evening wear. These romantic, hand crafted dresses are designed with the natural authentic woman in mind. That was Sara Morehouse. She was Detective Harry Dick’s little “white-tail” doe as he fondly and affectionately called her as she cooed like a morning dove. There were pigeons lined up the whole way across a few of the colossal street lamps strategically placed along Route 65 around Conrail Yards. Jane commented on it to her daughter as Sara continued down the boulevard. 

At the Wooden Angel the ladies would toast with pink champagne, eat Waldorf salads, and rack of lamb, while discussing wedding plans. Of course, the Penalara Wedding Dress from the YolanCris collection at Luna Botique in the Sewickley Village, would be slowly and throughly discussed. 
Women love the finer details of things and the more detail the better. Henrietta didn’t have any objections to Jane’s decisions as host for the wedding of Mr. Harry Dick and, soon to be, Mrs. Sara Morehouse Dick. Sara never took her first husband’s last name. Maybe that was foreshadowing on her part, or, her late father who suggested it. 

The wedding ceremony would be held at the Sewickley Presbyterian Church and the reception at the Edgeworth Club in Edgeworth / Sewickley. For the rehearsal dinner, Judge Jane Morehouse would have Sam & Lori at Vivo Kitchen in Sewickley shut down the restaurant to the public for the evening and host the private event. Sam & Lori would do their thing perfect as usual. It was all first class, proper Sewickley Heights money. Harry Dick would be entering a family of old Sewickley Heights money.

Both Detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford were expected to be invited to the wedding. Despite the mounting pressure from the Chief and the Mayor to close in on “the city chicken cannibal” - Jones & Crawford were determined to take Harry Dick out to celebrate his engagement. Plans had been made and confirmed for them to go out and they were looking forward to cutting-loose a little on the town. They wanted to do so before the holiday season fully kicked-in and establishments would be booked and overcrowded with holiday parties. But, the contents of the meeting in the Chief’s office that Harry Dick skipped wasn’t something the tweedy twins wanted to hash-over with Harry Dick. That’s for sure.

The sun lit the sky a fiery stained glass red color - slowly flowing like slag under the clear horizon - as Detectives Jones & Crawford hit a nice vantage point crossing the South Highland Bridge revealing a magical-looking late autumn early sun set. 15th century renaissance painters painted intense skies like this sky. It was a day with plenty of sunshine and in the mid-fifties for the temperature. Whereas, just a few days ago there was blood-on-tracks below, glittery sunset and streetlights coming on now shined like gold glitter right there on that spot. As the two detectives walked their gait showcased well tailored inseams hemmed with cuffs of their tweed suits. The suits were tailored so well, that as they moved at the waist and shoulders to turn to each other discussing the meeting in the Chiefs office earlier in the afternoon, there was no hint of uncomfortable pulling, pinching or catching across the chest and shoulders. It was a smart look.

Jones & Crawford were absolutely clear the F.B.I. was now taking over the case and Harry Dick would be besides himself. The Chief broke-it-down in his office where Harry Dick was absent. Working on some hot lead he couldn’t pull out of at the moment. That’s what he had told Detectives Jones & Crawford to tell the Chief. The lead field agent for the F.B.I. was present as well and, surprisingly, did not demean the work of Detectives Jones & Crawford. That was a surprise to them having expected it. Technically, it had to happen this way now. There was no other choice, no other decision, no other command, no other order. “Stand down now boys,” the Chief proclaimed, “and let the F.B.I. do its job.” Quite frankly Jones & Crawford appeared relieved. Making it crystal clear, the Chief added, “and tell Detective Dick it’s too late.” The Chief paused to motion towards the F.B.I. agent sitting to the right of Chief’s desk then barked, “whatever Detective Dick thought was such a priority not to be here - have him turn it over, now!” The Chief was sour, “he’s not returning my calls!”

The energy of the East End started to take hold of the night. There was an electricity that could not be denied. People were out and about, and, because of the unseasonable warm sunny weather, were in general cherry, good moods. Plus, it was the holiday season and festive lights and decorations were everywhere. Out on the sidewalk in front of Addas Coffe & Teahouse on S. Highland, a sage at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was holding court with his disciples. As Jones & Crawford passed bye the sage could be heard articulating that like the South Highland Bridge which existed before them - connecting the history of the East End to the present reality of the East End - he too was a bridge. His disciples were transfixed by his every notion. He presented the notion that he was a bridge between millennials, who had no experience with 20th century and 19th century culture, and the baby boomers, who knew and were even raised by some people born in the late 1800’s. It was an interesting perspective. 

It was apparent that Detective Harry Dick was standing-up Detectives Jones & Crawford for drinks and dinner at The Urban Tap. Nick was bartending. At the bar, they were two Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon Manhattans in when the idea of meeting-up with Harry Dick left them. The case was out of their hands. They could relax a little and celebrate the reason of the season. Continuing with their streak of Asian, Arab and MIddle-Eastern university girls. Well, young professionals weren’t excluded, if they were still going out and participating in the mix of things. That is. 

It was great. Those university types had their daddy’s money and were looking to rebel and be bad for a night. And, the medical students were too busy for anything serious and just wanted to blow off some steam for a night. Daddy wouldn’t allow two lowly detectives as husbands anyhow - no two ways about it. As for the young professionals still in the mix maybe looking for something a bit more steady & stable to introduce to the parents as a show of progress - well, daddy wouldn’t approve of two Caucasian lowly county homicide detectives anyways either. So, there was little chance any of these fetish flings would last at all. This was part of the new, new Pittsburgh dating scene: an influx of exotic, rich, educated Asian, Arabic and Middle-Eastern women introduced to the local homegrown garden-variety that naturally inhabited Pittsburgh.

Jones & Crawford found a party of six exotic hotties out celebrating for the night. In the warm November evening the young women were radiant. Their shiny, luscious, thick black hair bouncing-around-the-room while depicting the epitome of comfort and luxury in brand label clothing, shoes and accessories.  Pulsating real life Emojis. One looked like an anime princess. This was a higher grade than what Jones & Crawford would’ve found had they gone to where most native born Pittsburgh men instinctually gravitate towards - Mario’s on the SouthSide, or, Tequila Junction on the North Shore. Both would be jam packed - guaranteed. Each of the girls had perfect white teeth and smiles. Eyes that were big and full of optimism like primary colors of a color chart. Furthermore, important to both detectives, most of them had made fashion choices in shoes that exposed their toes. Perfectly pedicured little feet.

Detective Bill Crawford was particularly amazed how all of their ten toes were beautifully pedicured. He kept commenting on how they weren’t all gnarly like the girls from the Greenfield neighborhood that he grew-up-in in the city. Greenfield wasn’t too far from were they were in Shadyside, though, it was a world away in cultural norms. Surprisingly, that could not be detected in Bill Crawford. He was "turning out all right” as Jimmy from the old neighborhood would say of him. He kept them laughing while Detective Jones played it more straight like the more serious one of the pair. Actually, they had it so down-pat, Jones & Crawford could have their own TV show. Geesh, if Jimmy could see the young woman Bill Crawford bedded with tonight during the annual "holiday season hunt” - he’d double-down on that testimony if pressed! Rusty Jones took one home into the liquid night too. All and all the evening was a success. 

Chapter 9: Happy Holidays _"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper _

Copyright 2017 John Alan Conte, Jr. &

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Chapter 8: The Pinball Cafe __ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper

Chapter 8: The Pinball Cafe _ Who's Eating Harry Dick _ a modern day crime caper

It was one of Rhonda Darewyzki’s favorite places to kickback and chill out when she wasn’t managing her Goods & Grooming Shop or actually cutting hair there as one of the stylists. Her hands would sometimes get cramps at work after customer after customer. Playing pinball exercised her fingers, wiggling them letting them stretch and, in addition, Rhonda would exercise her brain there. Of course, after getting completely baked on weed.

Rhonda smoked some O.G. Kush and was at her favorite pinball machine “Theatre of Magic.” She had told Harry Dick she’d meet him at 3:30. She had gotten there 15 minutes earlier and was getting into the zone. Rhonda’s fingers stretched and wiggled back & forth working the bumpers. It was a welcoming feeling from having them curled up and positioned to cut hair. Lots and lots of hair. Working her brain with mental excercises while she worked the bumpers calling play by play to herself, “left brain, left brain, right brain, right brain. right brain, left brain, left brain, right brain, left brain, yes, nice one!” Her brain lit up with the flashing lights of the Theatre of Magic pinball machine - neurons firing from stimulation.

Before headed to The Pinball Cafe, besides getting baked on O.G. Kush, Rhonda had stopped real quick at The Candle Lab also on Butler Street in Larryville and close by her Grooming & Goods Shop and The Pinball Cafe. Her Candle Lab shopping bag with three soy scented candles rest on top of the red formica counter top near the two pinball machines in the back of the first floor near the bathrooms where she played on the Theatre of Magic machine.  Theatre of Magic was also the “special ops” code name that Harry Dick gave her. It was convenient for Harry Dick to send a quick text, “When can you meet at Theatre of Magic?" And Rhonda would reply with a time and then show up at her favorite pinball machine.

Detective Harry Dick entered through the door - darting toward the line of customers at the large colorful counter before it got too long. Harry Dick had been meeting Rhonda Darewyzki at this location for a while now and new the drill. If he wanted to grab a hot prosciutto panini and large coffee he better bust a move. The coffee being from La Prima in the Strip was good and strong and a nice kick for the later part of the afternoon. It was Saturday November 26th and the place was packed. Lawrenceville itself was packed. It was a warm fall day on Thanksgiving weekend and people wanted to be in Larryville for Shop Small Saturday (encouraging people to shop at the local small business owners places on main-streets and cool sidewalks of towns and cities across America).

Harry Dick attacked his sandwich with a voracious appetite, though, for the time being, he slowly sipped on his coffee, trying to focus more on Rhonda’s world. Detective Harry Dick had trained his cohorts for doing special-ops rogue sort of cop work of this nature and Detectives Bill Crawford and Rusty Jones had both cultivated their own “Theatre of Magic.” As homicide detectives, if they needed to find out if a so & so suspect was on drugs so they could run a joint parallel investigation, they could do so.  Furthermore, they could match DNA this way and be sure, and, then, figure out another way to secure the DNA through the proper paper channels of the law. It had been working out great until this series of murders provoking an intense special interest due to their alarming ritualistic manner.

Rhonda Darewyzki and Detective Dick conversed for a while under the constant background noise of pinball machines and lots of happy, energetic chattering people on a Saturday of a favorite holiday weekend. The first floor of the Pinball Cafe offers 10 pinball machine and, on the second floor over looking Butler Street, it is equipped with about 33 pinball machines which all take tokens only. “Look, Harry, you know I’ll do what you ask of me when I have the opportunity,” Rhonda sighed, “but there’s only so much I can do! We can’t force people in a barber’s chair off the streets! There’s only so much I can do for you so quit trying to handcuff me with unrealistic expectations in a no win situation."

Me and whoever else you, and Crawford & Jones have working for you! Rhonda Darewyzki assumed that Detectives Crawford and Jones had other shop owners existing on "Shakedown Street” too but she wasn’t exactly sure and none of them would let on anyway - claiming it was classified information. Rhonda wouldn’t struggle with it.  It wasn’t worth it. She knew she ultimately had a path out anyway. This more or less amused the unofficial Russian princess and always helped keep her calm, cool & collected demeanor in life - especially when dealing with Harry Dick.

Harry Dick reached inside her shopping bag grabbing one of the candles and remarking, “ok, this smells like rosemary.” Placing it back in the bag and going back in for another he sniffed, and coughed, and laughed, and blurted out, “dirt! This smells exactly like dirt. Wow! Why would anyone want to by a candle that smells exactly like dirt?” Shaking his head back & forth with a disapproving look he put the second candle back in the bag and came up with the third. Giving his review of this third candle, he instead asked Rhonda a question that was more rhetorical than directed at her, “how do you know what Morning Dew smells like?” Harry Dick paused and then continued, “I sure as hell don’t!” 

Rhonda stopped playing pinball and turned away from the machine. She was now facing Harry Dick, and, relayed why she bought that particular candle. "John Mayer - who is a pop musician - is now playing with the band the Grateful Dead and calling themselves Dead & Company," she began confidently. Dead & Company is touring and Sirius XM has been playing their live music on its Grateful Dead Channel. And John Mayer with Dead & Co. have been paying the song ‘Morning Dew’ at the shows and just crushing it!” Harry Dick had an expression on his face as if he were lost in translation. He didn’t really care or know about what she was talking about. He broke his silence and said, “are you high on pot?!”

Rhonda Darewyzki spun herself around and played another bonus-ball in the Theatre of Magic machine she had earned. She was crushing it! She felt the rush and need to assert herself over Harry Dick and spoke daringly to him now, “what are you going to do arrest me for possession of marijuana? Let me be the first to contact the press. I’ll tell the true narrative. That Detective Harry Dick, and company, can’t catch the East End serial killer nicknamed 'the city chicken cannibal’ and, moreover,” Rhonda had more to get off her mind, “they can’t catch the killers in the streets! Everyday they’re shooting up in the Hill District or Homewood, Wilkinsburg, Homestead, Hazelwood, Duquesne! You know, where all the black and brown bodies live?!” 

And Rhonda Darewyzki wasn’t finished with her speech just yet, “yeah, and, so, since they can’t catch and arrest the violent criminals committing all the serious violent offenses, killings and crimes in the streets at night and now even in broad-day light - these cops are still trying to demonstrate and convince the tax paying public that safety has prevailed over danger - because another pothead has been busted for possession of marijuana!”

Harry Dick turned throbbing red. He looked like he might blow his top. He took another sip of his coffee. It was a long hit from his mug. His anger turned soft. His eyes watered up a bit. Rhonda and Harry definitely developed a rapport, however, it was always more the professional snitch & cop conducting special-ops kind of rapport. Clearly this feeling Harry had confused him - this border-lined more of the territory of a quirky friendship of some sort. It was a place where his footing felt unsteady. Where honesty and emotions are expressed. Where there exists winners and losers. Because of honest words spoken by someone you’re that familiar with can hurt - you feel a need to posses power over them. 

Harry Dick didn’t have to say a word and he didn’t. Rhonda Darewyzki frustratedly concluded, “this isn’t just your country, Harry Dick, it’s our country.” Rhonda still focused on not letting the ball she was playing go in-between the bumpers controlled by the buttons her fingers pressed. She offered up a cvil rights attorney she knew from New York City that was a real bitch to be on the other side of and was politically savvy enough to navigate Rhonda Darewyzki’s past, present and future. “If you have a problem with me freely expressing my opinions, then please contact my civil rights attorney friend, Maya Wiley.” She coyly added, "or maybe she’ll contact you.” Detective Harry Dick’s butt cheeks clenched.

Rhonda Darewyzki then had a flashback. This moment triggered a  strong memory of an inspiring encounter with Willie Nelson. That’s how Rhonda became introduced to Attorney Maya Wiley. She had met the performer, activist and American icon, Willie Nelson, backstage at FarmAid. They started in on talking about the need for quality food in the inner cities, urban farming and social justice / criminal justice reform. Willie Nelson, hailing from Texas, was carrying on about how he had friends in law enforcement and what a great respect he had for Texas Rangers. Mostly all being good, professional people.

Yet, he blatantly made it clear to Rhonda his belief. “There are good cops and there are bad cops,” Willie Nelson continued, “the bad cops are the ones busting people for smoking weed who are nonviolent otherwise good folks. And the good cops are the ones who don’t care if they smell a little bit of weed or not and tell ya to go into your dressing room or get on your tour bus and smoke-up.” Willie Nelson lifted the black cowboy hat from his head and used it to point towards and direct a selected few away from the security, police officers and state troopers and to his dressing room door.

In Willie’s world this was fact and not some random point. Rhonda Darewyzki did not question or doubt his sincerity and pretty much adopted that same point of view. Willie Nelson was very personable, real and upfront. He provided her with an eye opening perspective that seemed to be where her heart, body , should and mind wanted to gravitate towards for the longest time. She wasn’t naive or dumb. And Rhonda Darewyzki developed a bravado akin to Willie Nelson’s spirit that was courageous, brave, unabashed and not afraid. It was an ethical integrity that a lot of artists are equipped with and exuded. Most importantly, through experience, Rhonda was prudent about being patient. And, she knew how to play the hand she was dealt pretty well. 

Withdrawing himself from the Pinball Cafe, Harry Dick entered the street where he slightly tilted his head down and moved with the traffic. Harry felt like he just had a spat with a lover, even though, it was Sara Morehouse that was his lover. They were engaged to be married in the spring. Did he have a thing Rhonda Darewyzki? He knew he wanted to sleep with her. He knew he liked how her hair smelled. Sometimes Rhonda would demand, “what are you doing?!” And Harry Dick would be smelling her. Did he need more? What was going on here?

There were pressures mounting for Harry Dick in the city. The country boy who loved nothing more than the feeling of being that boy who watched the elders of the family come together in the early fall and can the bounty of their harvest. That old time feeling haunted him. More and more living and working in the city felt like he was suffocating there without his family out on the farm. They canned vegetables, fruits and made jams, jellies and preserves. It was a simple life. They even canned fresh deer meet from a kill in season or a fresh pig or cow that they had freshly slaughtered and butchered. Nothing was wasted. And it was from this nostalgia that the embers of Harry Dick’s fire were stoked. Burning with a wantonness he couldn't describe with words. It wanted things like they were. 

Things felt precarious to Harry Dick. Now the F.BI. could very well likely be taking over the murder cases suspected to be at the hands of a cannibal, serial killer.  To make things worse off for Harry Dick’s psyche,  he hadn’t had the time to keep up on stalking his 10 point buck for the season. This Monday the 27th of November was the first day of rifle hunting season for deer. It was a big deal in Western Pennsylvania. Schools would be off on Monday. Boys and girls going off hunting with their dads and grandpaps. While Harry Dick was stuck in the city, the 10 point buck out on old man Benson’s property lifted its massive rack on its head from the stream where it had stopped to drink. His nostrils flared as he took in the warm breeze coming from the south. Harry Dick wasn’t in it.

Chapter 8: The Pinball Cafe _ Who's Eating Harry Dick _ a modern day crime caper

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chapter 7: Blood on the Tracks _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper

Chapter 7: Blood on the Tracks

"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper 
CopyRight 2017 John Alan Conte Jr. &

“Just because the DNA found in Specs hair clippings we got from Rhonda matches the DNA found on a cigarette butt outside of Gooski’s doesn’t mean Specs murdered the Applebottom kid,” Detective Rusty Jones was lecturing Detective Harry Dick.  Detective Bill Crawford pensively awaited Harry’s response. Detective Crawford felt the same way as Detective Jones. 

“Specs goes to Gooski’s all of the time and he lives around there," Detective Rusty Jones added. Harry Dick asked, “wouldn’t you say Specs 'the tailor' knows a thing or two about the anatomy of male bodies?” Detective Bill Crawford couldn’t wait to insert some humor to lighten up the mood, “oh, oh, he knows how to pack my big Ploughman’s Platter inside a three-piece-suit! If that’s what your insinuating?!” Harry Dick smirked, “what kind of tweed?” “Herringbone, of course,” Detective Crawford jested. 

The sidewalks sparkled with crystalized frost refracted from the light of street lamps in the predawn of a cold Thanksgiving Day. DeLuca’s serves-up a great breakfast and was a favorite of a lot of cops and FBI agents. It opened for breakfast this Thanksgiving Day at 6:30 a.m. Located in the Strip District it was about 10 - 15 minutes away this time of day on a holiday from the next victim discovered. 

The three were on their way. Detectives Crawford and Jones drove in one vehicle. Detective Harry Dick driving alone in his vehicle was in the lead although both vehicles arrived on the scene at the same time. Under the South Highland Avenue Bridge the body was discovered. It was on the tracks. The city cops on the scene were in disbelief. They couldn’t have imagined this scenario on any morning let alone on Thanksgiving Day. This was beyond normal. No doubt.

Despite the fact that only two decades ago in the early 1990’s East Liberty had a problem with dead bodies stacking up due to two rival groups, now it was a hot place to be. Once two rival groups were competing with each other over turf in the city and were so trained to wip-oue their rivals that they would even kill solely based on the colors red or blue members of the opposing group would  be wearing. 

The reds were the Bloods and the blues were the Crips. It wasn’t pretty. But gang warfare never is. Pittsburgh had a major gang problem hidden under the umbrella of a rust belt city fallen on hard times trying to reinvent itself. That was the narrative of the politicians and the local media. The East End used to be a desirable location for rich industrialists who wanted to leave the the smoky working-class districts of the city. Stately custom carriages pulled by fine, strong horses would make the trek to and from the opulence of the East End mansions to the slums and iron & steel mills of the smoky city referred to back then as “hell with the lid off” by a respected international journalist and author.

The Main Line that was built connecting Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in 1852 fostered the growth of some of Pittsburgh’s earliest suburbs. Soon the farmland of the old East End had commuter service to downtown. The first of the cities trolley cars or, street cars as locals still refer to them, were also pulled by fine, strong horses. Carriage and trolley car commutes by original horse power took a few hours back then. The rail line helped expedite this commute. By 1868 the MainLine spurred annexation into the city of twenty-one square miles of rapidly expanding the East End suburbs. And today in 2017 the South Highland Avenue Bridge connects a charming Shadyside neighborhood with the revitalization of a hot new East Liberty distention location. 

From underneath the bridge at the base of the 1876 stone pier and original abutments on the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line a Whole Foods was now visible along with an array of thriving businesses and newly modern urban housing. This important stretch of railroad tracks that brought men together for work back in the later part of the 19th century had brought men together today to also do a specific kind of work. Hunting a serial killer.

These men gathered this morning for something evil. It was the awful work of a 21st century serial killer who more and more appeared to have a fancy for body parts. The city cops first on the scene were being debriefed by Detective Dick and his county homicide detective partners, Jones and Crawford. This was unbelievably way outside the parameters of any road of any case they went down before this gruesome series of murders haunting the city.

This would surely freak the public out and furthermore both disturb and infuriate the good Mayor Will Spudutto!  The timing sucked too. In the early 20th century Woolworth’s and Jacobson’s and Mast’s attracted shoppers in East Liberty and surrounding neighborhoods in big numbers as a hub of culture and a place where men and women wanted to be seen and to see who’s who doing what. 

East Liberty was one of Mayor Will Spudutto’s prized roses among a dozen blooming neighborhoods with that American beauty quality. Red is a popular color of roses. And red is the color of blood. And this young fellow on the tracks under the South Highland Avenue Bridge lost a lot blood. Blood on the tracks. “What a way to start the morning,” a city cop greeted the detectives. “Or what a way to end a night,” Detective Crawford jokingly reacted. The cop was a rookie and too freaked out to be funny and kept walking. 

The victim was shirtless. He rested on his stomach. On his back there were two words. At first glance the words looked like they were tattooed along the back. Given a closer look and it was evident that the words were carved into the skin. The wounds were fresh. Blood had coagulated around the edges of the letters in the cold of November. “Eat Me” read the bloody words.

In consistent fashion with the other murder victims of similar nature they were dealing with the heart was removed. Though, the head still attached to the body of this victim, other body parts were missing. The victim’s denim jeans were unzipped and wet with blood and maybe urine. Missing were the genitals. Missing were the genitals of the victim from his body. 

Recovered were the likely genitals of the victim about 20 yards away and up against a graffiti covered concrete wall. Two mason jars sat side by side. One of the mason jars contained two items. 

Inside the one mason jar was a ticket from the Rex Theater on the South Side for a Free Show With Michael Glabicki & Dirk Miller of Rusted Root Thanksgiving Eve and the other was a receipt for Kelly’s Bar. The victim’s I.D. listed Ellsworth Avenue for an address so one could reasonable assume after last call at Kelly’s he tried to walk home. Inside the other mason jar labeled “gobble gobble” and contained a penis and testicles. 

“What a twisted turn of events,” Detective Rusty Jones muttered. “This is fucked,” declared Detective Bill Crawford. Pink hues swashed across the sky above the rooftops, chimneys, steeples and big box structures of the cityscape from which the three detectives looked up at with uneasy dispositions. Dawn was breaking. 

It was Thanksgiving morning. It would be a sunny day. People would go about their holiday eating turkey and watching football and napping in front of the TV. For those working this crime scene, understandably, time stood still. The day existed in a shroud of mystery.  Harry Dick seemed as lost as everyone else and articulated the notion, “what the hell is going on?"

A well liked seasoned veteran city cop who was displaying a sheet on his clipboard shouted out, “see, this says Softball Roster! Now before Janelle Hallway from WTAE arrives on the scene with the others we have to finish up and determine who is on the final roster is on squad A and who’s on squad B! Squad A says $20 bucs the victim’s junk was cut off after the killer took his life and Squad B says $20 bucs the county coroner is gonna state the victim lost his junk before he was wasted by our guy!” Detectives Crawford and Jones were among the shouts, “I’m in!"

Chapter 7: Blood on the Tracks _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper CopyRight 2017 John Alan Conte Jr. &

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Chapter 6: Eden Way _"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper

Chapter 6: Eden Way  _"Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper
Copyright 2017 John Alan Conte, Jr. &

From observing Detective Harry Dick sitting in his plain clothes at one of the wooden picnic tables on the sidewalk outside of Zeke’s Coffee on Penn Ave in East Liberty one wouldn’t even know he was a plain-clothes-dick. Not all detectives were trying to be retro remakes of the cartoon comic book crime caper classic series Dick Tracy like Harry’s millenial partners Detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford, the tweedy boy twins. It was a fact they had their suits tailored at the same location on Murray Street in Squirrel Hill. This guy quit a popular downtown hair salon and became a tailor to the hipsters specializing in tweed. The shop owner got his nickname “Specs” because he wore cool thick black framed glasses kind of like Simon from the Chipmunks.

Detective Harry Dick lifted his coffee mug from the table. Carved into its wood were the words “eat me.” It was carved by a penknife by someone who took their time. It was also finished with a dousing of lighter fluid and a charbroiling done with a Zippo. Seared into the consciousness of those who sit down and lay eyes upon it. Just then Harry Dick had one of those flashes he’d been there before as a tall man with an old school red Adidas athletic suit and white Kangol lit a cigar with a pack of matches. “Did I carve that into this table?” He had a vague feeling similar to experiencing vertigo. Sara Morehouse texted him. Jolting Harry with an electronic buzz, "I’m ready for you to pick me up."

The drive to Harry’s parents was a good time for Sara and Harry to talk to one another openly and honestly. “So the house is just a block from where yours is now and its on Home Street?” Sara was being assertive. “Yes,” Harry responded, “one block away from my place on Eden Way behind The Abbey Cafe and Pub." Before its renovations The Abbey was one of Lawrenceville’s oldest funeral parlors. Now it was a social gathering place for people for other reasons. It was in a good location. “So, you’ll fix up your house on Eden Way sell it while I buy the house on Home Street and have it fixed up and then we’ll both move into that house together as a married couple?” Sara asked still being assertive in her tone. “Yes. I love you and I am so so sorry for what I did and what happened.” Sara turned and gazed out the window of Harry’s truck while they passed the exit for Cranberry. It was the day before Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2017.

“I don’t know how you can manage that horrid stench from your basement?!” Sara sounded quizzical. “That smell is atrociously horrific!” Harry had told her that it was from the old sewer lines of the neighborhood. It was only now that new apartment buildings were being built all over the East End including Lawrenceville that the old sewer lines were finally getting some much needed attention by teams of master contractors.  Severe lines running from houses to the street were sometimes still as old as the early 20th century when they commonly used terracotta piping. “That’s why I didn’t want you going into the basement, Sara,” Harry said calmly. “Those wigs of yours, Harry! OMG!” Sara laughed. “A room full of wigs," she continued while laughing, “you must have a lot of sources for hair clippings?” Her eyes gave away that they were doing something that thrilled her, “we know if they’re on drugs - we know their DNA - gut feelings - our little secret,” Sara now brought her voice down to a seductive whisper, “just for you.”

The Dick’s family farm became a refuge for Detective Harry Dick while living in the city and while working in the city. After all Harry Dick was just a good old country boy. There were animals, frauds and felons in the city. Out on the farm the animals were good animals and the only frauds were those who voted for them Clintons. Furthermore, the only felons were those who voted for them Clintons. That sums up with the Dick’s mentality and was pretty much how most of their rural neighbors thought and voted. Tribalism. “Now you behave yourself, Sam Dick, otherwise our Harry here will have to convince his finance, Sara, that mental illness doesn’t run in the family!” Henrietta shouted from the kitchen table. “I’ll be as politically correct as the fine gentleman serving as our President of the United States of America  in the White House - the greatest president of all time - President Trump!” Sam Dick hung his hat on this. He beamed with pride resembling a Christmas cherub with fat rosy cheeks glaring at Sara from underneath a piece of homemeade nut roll on the decorative holiday plate in front of her. 

Chet called in from the couch, “Mom, I told you to buy me Snyders of Berlin cheese puffs and not Cheetos! Next time I’m doing the grocery shopping!” This made everyone laugh for the obvious reasons that need not be listed. Harriet sternly teased, “why did you buy all that beef jerky last weekend?” Waiting for a reply the house fell silent, “because Harry ain’t gonna be making any deer jerky this year down in his canning cellar in the big city because that old 10 point buck is too country for him!” Chet bellowed once again, "Harry ain’t getting no deer this year!” Sam Dick chimed in, “oh, yeah, he is! I got that buck feeling nice and comfortable over in old man Benson’s woods. Ive spent months making his beds more comfortable for him and his whitetail family and friends.”  Sam Dick looked like he had something up his sleeve as he cockily paraded around the kitchen. “I’m sure Harry’s gonna get this buck, Chet, just as sure as I am that he’s gonna turn Sara into a republican!” Laughter erupted. 

Sara noted, “I might as well vote republican. I’m fiscally conservative and I hate drugs. If their on drugs they should be locked up - and throw away the damn key!”  Sam Dick portrayed a ray of hope until he unfortunatey heard Sara follow up with this fatal blow, “but I’m prochoice.” The mood was altered. Sam Dick sway back and forth as if on a ship that had suddenly come upon turbulent seas. He steadied himself on the back of his wife’s chair as he quietly changed the subject, “speaking of old man Benson - I think his son’s coming around now to deliver some more hay before Thanksgiving Day.” Like the homemade nut roll on Sara’s decorative holiday plate Same Dick was gone. “Oh, Sara, dear, we’re as normal as any family out here in the country. We’re all a bunch of happy country bumpkins,” Henrietta had a way of making everything seem okay. In opposition was Chet.

 “Our family was always a good normal family despite all the rumors that Harry was a theater fag in high school enjoying prancing around in wigs a little too much!" Henrietta became pissed, “Chet, you watch that trashy Twitter talk of yours or I’ll smack the shit out of you and you know it!” Sara played it cool, “hey, Chet, with all the wigs Harry has in his spare bedroom I thought he might be a homosexual too!” Henrietta choked on her bite apricot roll as Sara proceeded, “but then he put a ring on my finger.” Harry Dick popped-up with an approving smile and hooted after Sara put the icing on the cake by adding, “and your his older brother who lives at home with his parents who can’t seem to get his ass off the couch and get a job!” “Boom!” Harry added.

Defiantly Chet came back, “Harry, the ground isn’t frozen yet. So before you leave I got a job for you to do planting tulip bulbs for the spring. Planting tulips.” Chet was now in the kitchen and pointing downwards, “two lips right here."

The drive back home flew by for Sara with a springlike dizziness although it was fall. She was lost in a daydream. She was dreaming about her future with Harry Dick. On the other hand, Harry was quiet. Detective Harry Dick who was bound and determined to catch this serial killer. She knew he was obsessed with this case. He was a secretive guy. Sara had to accept that. Even Harry’s mother conveyed that about him in an anecdote about him dissecting animals out behind the barn as a boy. It all seems like a logical path to an interest in forensics. She was convinced Harry was the last great American hero. Pure as the countryside he cherished so much.

In order to profile and catch a serial killer who lives outside the boundaries of laws and normal behaviors - sometimes a true detective has to think and know those strange and deranged ways too. Similarly, the detective has to employ methods and tactics outside the boundaries of laws and normal behaviors. Though, whereas using “sting ray” for making run-of-the-mill pothead busts to increase law enforcement funds coming in for the war on drugs even though “sting ray” is a monitoring tool supposed to only be used on terror suspects, there was an unofficial cover-your-ass (CYA) protocol for special-ops by running parallel investigations about this or that. Surely illegally obtaining hair samples from a suspect’s hairstylist to illegally have forensic testing done would be seen as foul play plain and simple - outside fraternal order’s blue veil of protection - and in the realms of “rogue cop” territory. Detective Harry Dick had the idealistic forensic scientist, Dr. Sara, persuaded.

Sometimes to be the law - you have to stoop to the level of those who break the law - and that is unwritten law - they don’t teach that in the police academy - t’s learned by survival of the fittest out on the streets. Detectives Harry Dick, Bill Crawford and Rusted Jones were in the terrain of rogue cops. If caught, that landscape would be one they’d have to traverse alone. Bitterly and utterly alone. It was a dangerous risk if caught, however, how often do you hear about corrupt cops found guilty of being corrupt cops? 

Chapter 6: Eden Way _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper 

CopyRight 2017 by John Alan Conte, Jr. mystrawhat & theneweverydaymedia 

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. &