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. mystrawhat.com & TheNewEverydaymedia.com