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