Chapter 10: End Game
Most cities only have one river and one river valley. Pittsburgh has three rivers and three river valleys. Two of the rivers fall down from mountainous valleys to come together to meet and form the Ohio River. Where the three rivers meet is a vortex. Mighty ley lines joining in union and in cosmic alchemy creating an energy vortex. The early occupiers of this fruitful, lush land, unblemished by the disruption of industrialization, referred to it and treated it as a “sacred spot.”
Lewis & Clark termed this triangular piece of land where the three rivers meet, “the forks.” By the time a young King Loui IV of France would come to explore the same unsettled wilderness west of Fort Duquesne and Fort Layfeyette, at the forks, the confluence, Pittsburgh was termed “gateway to the west.”
On a morning like this one at the confluence, Friday, December 1, 2017, where the Allegheny River and the Mononnghehela River reach the end of their valleys spilling their essence into the Ohio River Valley - forming the Ohio River - it appeared mysterious and mystifying over this triangular point (many years later termed “the Golden Triangle”). Before dawn would be unveiled, exposing the city of the three rivers and its populated towns along the three river valleys, and vast hillsides, the dense fog made it impossible to see out of the darkness.
The dirty dark past of Pittsburgh would have Pittsburgh painted this coal black during actual daytime hours because of all the smoke, ash, and soot from the hundreds of mills and burning of coal for just about everything needed to forge one of the biggest and wealthiest and most productive cities in the world. It was well documented. Pittsburgh was dubbed “the smoky city” and “hell with the lid off” back when the smell of sulfur and smoke literally choked your lungs. Public Health Data has studies that conclude that once the lungs of an average everyday Pittsburgher were as black as those employed to work in the coal mines.
But, in modern day, and dawn of the new, new Pittsburgh, the river valleys are as clean as they have been for a long, long time. Not quite as clean as back when the Native American Indians thrived in the fertile river valleys good to loyal tribes - burning torches and keeping the fires lit in the predawn days at the end of a long harvest season. Essentially, things were getting better in terms of pristine environmental conditions in 2017 under Pittsburgh Mayor Spudutto, complete with a long lasting, prolonged. gorgeous “Indian Summer” as the WTAE weather personalities would refer to it - "being how it’s unusually warm for this time of year."
Mornings, nevertheless, were indeed as “chilly" as WTAE morning news anchor, Bofta Yiman, would describe. The rivers had not come close to freezing yet due to all the warm weather. There were frosts in the higher elevations and north of the city up towards New Castle, PA and Lake Erie. However, the region still had not experienced that dramatic drop in temperature yet that would force a human’s skin to freeze and get “frost bite” having been exposed to the frigid cold for an unwanted duration of time.
This particular morning would eventually unveil a sunny, pleasantly warm autumn Friday. First it would endure the crazy kind of fog which the WTAE weather-cam was showing live on air. Making the weather-forcaster read off of her prompter, “crazy fog over Pittsburgh.” This description would prove to be accurate in more ways than one.
As the fog continued to persist it veiled the cityscape which was barely even visible. Only the tip of the tallest building in Pittsburgh - the USX Steel Tower - was visible in the Fog Advisory. This was the kinda fog dangerous for hunters. Each year hunters were shot in the woods of Western Pennsylvania during deer rifle season. In this dense fog it would be utterly foolish to expect to shoot and kill your hunt. When the muffled and muted shades and patches of pinks, purples, reds and gold eventually give way to full rays of brilliant sunrise, once the thick fog finally dissipates, then it is safe to shoot in the distance and kill your hunt.
Harry Dick found a dead body of a hunter in the woods once as a licensed youth deer hunter. Harry Dick found the dead body of a hunter under some leaves piled-up against a mossy log and never told anyone about it. As the years went on he would become conflicted about this encounter.
In this kind of Fog Advisory the Pittsburgh region was under, if you’re one of those rare people out at 6:30 a.m. you’ll only find a certain subset of people out & about along with you. Paramedics, firemen, police officers, delivery drivers for bakeries and food distribution, dog walkers, joggers, baristas, newspaper delivery drivers, waste management workers, people who need their coffee made for them. Someone, such as an everyday dog walker, would certainly welcome the brights lights of rot iron lamp posts and the holiday lights on trees, houses, storefronts and decorations in the dark, let alone, on a dense foggy morn.
The over travelled roadway to downtown Pittsburgh called Ohio River Boulevard Route 65 is a rut many daily drivers find themselves in hours of the morning most of us would rather spend in a warm cozy bed. It was ungodly to some people to be up at this hour driving to work. Most drivers didn’t look beyond the rut ahead of them. Today they couldn’t see anything anywhere but straight ahead anyhow because it was a crazy foggy day with little to zero visibility.
Approaching the McKees Rocks Bridge on Route 65 are butting-up concrete sidewalks lined by rot iron railings protecting pedestrians and vehicles from going over the 100 foot + cliffs up above the river. Down below on the flat river banks are railroad tracks. Also down below is ALCOSAN. And there’s a penitentiary. Across the river is the town of McKees Rocks and the spot still known as “the Indian Mound.” On a normal day it would be visible along with the city scape of downtown Pittsburgh and Mt. Washington above it. It was a cool view of the city on days with normal visibility.
There was nothing normal to the beginning of this day. The animal control worker called out to the scene was the kind of woman who would gladly declare, “morning!” She greets just about everyone like this everyday before noon. The dialect is between a proper northeastern, “good morning;” and a southern “morning y’all;" and a midwestern, “morning!” She loved animals and loved her job despite the sometimes cruel and unusual way deviant and violent offenders treated animals. But this gruesome discovery broke her.
At first, as dawn was unveiled in the fog of the morning light, calls were coming in about a large dog. There were a couple calls for a creepy halloween prop. Yet nothing came in which accurately met the horror. This would be the most bizarre crime scene Pittsburgh would see in its history of documenting such events for public record. This was beyond savage.
It wasn’t a large dog. It wasn’t a halloween prop stolen from a yard of a family that didn’t bother to make that transition yet into holiday season mode. What it was took a little detective work to figure out and try and explain. For the sake of decency and respect for the kind of law and order President Donald J. Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, decree should not ever be made a mockery of - we will omit details here and stick with basic facts for public consumption.
A male body was found handcuffed to the sidewalk's rot iron railing along the Brighton Heights section - southbound side - of Route 65 - at the McKees Rocks Bridge -approaching downtown. It was hard to see this overgrown, unkept, litter filled area of sidewalk, in any event, due to the lack of efficient overhead street lamps there. The male body was decapitated, and, in place of the victims head was that of a pig. A pig’s head was sown onto the neck of the male body. There was a thick dog chain chained around the neck and the rot iron railing securing the weight of the large pig’s head sown onto the male body. The male body did not have identification on it.
The male body was that of a man in his mid-twenties. The male body was otherwise naked for the execption of a thin cloak or sheet of some sort made out of some type of hair. Not like the camel hair garment that John The Baptist covered his body with, but, what looked like human hair. Made out of human hair. It was a fabric like mesh made out of human hair. The male’s body was cut up. Again, at the discretion of the President and his A.G., we are not permitted to share the words and symbols carved into the epidermis of the victim.
Routinely dispatched to county homicide scenes, Detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford were called to the location. The initial calls, findings, and decisions were all handled routinely by locality protocols, per usual, until the unusualness of the crime scene was evident. The F.B.I. would soon be on the scene. Once the autopsy would be performed it would reveal the crafty sowing capabilities of the serial killer “the city chicken cannibal.” Where the victim’s heart would be, was a toy sheriff’s badge.
After Harry Dick was an unresponsive no-show to the urgent calls Detectives Rusty Jones and Bill Crawford made to him from this latest murder scene, they had a haunch they should drive to his parent’s farm for some answers. Where was Harry Dick? Harry Dick’s whereabouts could not be accounted for for a couple days now. The Chief and Detectives Jones and Crawford had made numerous attempts to get-a-hold of Detective Harry Dick.
Driving along the white fencing down the lane leading to the Dick’s farmhouse, Detectives Jones and Crawford were able to spot Harry’s Dad outside of the barn. He was inside the pig pen and the gate was wide open so that the Detectives could see most of the pigs inside the pen. As they exited their vehicle and started towards Mr. Dick he cautioned them, “my pigs are a little stressed this morning so please walk slowly around them and be careful not to try and further excite them with your movements and voices.” The pigs weren’t the only ones who were stressed. Harry Dick’s dad looked horrible.
One of Sam Dick’s pigs had been killed. Sam Dick was confused, sad and angry. Sam Dick turned to the detectives and asked, “who would do such a thing? Who would cut off the head of a pig, a well taken care of farm animal, and take it, and leave the body in the pen like this?” He was kinda tearful when saying his carefully spoken words. “Poor Darren,” Sam Dick lamented, “he was one of the most intelligent, friendly, funny pigs I ever raised in all my years of farming.” He was petting one of the pigs that was hovering around him almost like a dog would do around its owner when company arrives. “And, poor Charlotte here!” Sam Dick was staring right into the faces of Jones and Crawford as he tried to keep it together, “this sow here is going to miss her daddy. Her daddy’s gone. Gone, baby, gone. Your love has gone away."
Sam Dick was confused indeed. Providing low-stressed, healthy and humanely treated livestock was the pride of Sam Dick’s life. Maybe even more so than his wife Henrietta and sons Chet and Harry Dick. He loved his farm animals. He loved and treated his animals well, from the time they were born, until the time they were prayed over before being humanely butchered by Sam himself or approved trained apprentices of Sam. This was serious business to Sam Dick, a man of ethics. Animals that sacrifice their lives for our nutritional needs and well being in order to live deserve to be respected. It wasn’t too far off from the native Shawnee that lived on the Dick property before it was settled.
Detectives Crawford and Jones raced to Harry Dick’s home, in the city, in Lawrenceville. They pulled into Eden Way and entered Harry Dick’s home. No one answered the door after a good bit of pounding. “Harry!” The detectives were hollering. Nothing seemed too odd or out of place. But then they stumbled upon surprise number one. On a chalkboard in the kitchen were dinner features with extremely exotic, rare recipes. The header at the top of the chalkboard read, “Today’s Features: F U.”
The latest victim found murdered at the McKees Rocks Bridge was definitely fit-to-order by the main suspect “the city chicken cannibal” serial killer. Missing head. Missing heart. This was astonishingly different though because of the fact that in the place of the victim’s head was a sown on pig’s head. Newly slaughtered. And sown shut into the chest cavity, a tin toy sheriff’s badge there where the heart should be located. Could Harry Dick possibly be an offender? Could Detective Harry Dick really be a socio-path, narcissistic, obsessive, sick, twisted, violent, cannibal, serial killer, abusing his power, wanting the ultimate control over life and death?
Down the stone steps to Harry Dick’s cellar a stench hit Detectives Jones and Crawford that was so strong not even the lingering of burning incense could mask it. They often thought Harry’s clothes smelled like incense because he did what a lot of cops do, and, that is, pinch a little marijuana from the office’s confiscation stash, no big deal! They figured Harry Dick was like the burn-out-type of “hoopy” hick from the country that he often honestly portrayed to be to them. A lot of cops pinched confiscated stashes for friends & family - sometimes even selling it on the side to these folks for a little extra pocket change.
At any event, they never thought in a million years that they’d find out what they found out at this time, this very moment. In mason jars in Harry Dick’s canning cellar were canning shelves storing hearts and brains. The rows of mason jars were well organized on the shelves. They were even chronologically dated. An old pot belly stove is what Harry Dick used to cook his meat. It was there in the cellar. And, on top of the pot belly stove’s cooking surface, was something ungodly, unimaginable to Detectives Jones & Crawford. There was a note beside the prepared dishes. It was a now familiar message. Typed out neatly on an index card - it read, “eat me.”
Chapter 10: End Game _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper
Copyright 2017 John Alan Conte, Jr. mystrawhat.com & TheNewEverydaymedia.com