Friday, December 22, 2017

Chapter 11: Mister _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper _ wrapped-up before Christmas

Chapter 11: Mister 

It was a cold December day in Pittsburgh, Pa. There was a cold sunshine the morning after the first big snow for the city. The neighborhood side streets in Lawrenceville were still a little slippy. The main roads were fine but the crews didn’t get to those side streets yet, which is, in fact, the common case. Detective Bill Crawford closed the wooden front door with its holiday wreath on it and walked down the three concrete steps of Sara Morehouse’s house on Home Street. It was the home she had bought right around the corner from Harry Dick’s in Eden Way. They were supposed to move into it together after Harry Dick sold his house there behind The Abbey on Butler Street. They had official plans to be married in May 2018.

As Detective Crawford walked up towards Butler Street, he felt a warming sensation up his leg when he witnessed how the sun lit up the unlit Seasons Greetings holiday decoration displayed across the front entrance of the Lawrenceville Activities Center. Looking both ways before crossing the street Detective Crawford admired the old solid architecture of the towers and other fortress like attributes The Allegheny Cemetery possesses. And, while looking over his right shoulder down Butler Street, he was once again stricken with the feeling of communion recognizing the structured organization of the great architecture when witnessing the sun’s reflection in his city gaze.   

Once out of the cold the air, Detective Bill Crawford takes a seat at Mister Goods & Grooming right there on Butler. Of course, no other than thee Rhonda Darewyzki is the stylist he sees behind him in the mirror. Rhonda carefully lathers him up for a straight razor shave. Her tasks are methodically performed. It’s as if she’s an artist in the profession of an artisan barber. She sculpted. She cut. She shaved. She wiped away until she rediscovered that silver glint of the blade. 

Earlier that morning the local NEWS everyone watches in Pittsburgh, Channel 4 WTAE, reported that the head of a 12 point buck had been cut-off and stolen from Schnur’s Meat Market in Butler after the hunter dropped the majestic buck off for processing. The teenage hunter and her boyfriend were interviewed and apparently pretty bummed out on missing having such a prized trophy to showcase to the world. 

On camera she declared that no one could ever take away that feeling she knows from having the perfect shot that killed a red blooded, pulsating, breathing, dashing, virile mammal, such as, this 12 point buck. The teenager ended the interview stating how the greatest feeling, not only in the hunters firmament, but, in her entire life, was known to her while holding the mass in her hands. She repeated how nobody could take that away from her.

“I thought Harry Dick was like all men. Numb in the brain and numb in the heart.” Rhonda stopped frantically. “Oh I’m sorry. I nicked you!” She dabbed a Kleenex in the cut oozing red bubbly blood. “Are there any men out there with a good brain and a good heart?” Rhonda sighed. Bill Crawford was upright staring in mirror. He noticed how red Rhonda’s lips really were. Seductive. Red.

Red as the blood that was his on the Kleenex Rhonda was placing into a mason jar on top of the antique dresser at her station. Detective Crawford didn’t get any connection as his interests were influenced by the lettering tattooed on Rhonda’s hips. She had on denim jeans pegged at the ankles. Her tights were showing through the holes in her naturally faded Levis that rested low on her hips. It was the first day of winter so it was a little cold and recently had snowed. Though not nearly enough to be snowed-in. Rhonda had on a blue hoodie that zipped up and was also wearing a royal blue bra underneath that. The hoodie was small and tight. Detective Crawford read the word on top of her right hip “Put” it read. And then he read the word on top of her right hip “In” it read.

Soon Rhonda’s clean and sterile straight razor blade was back on Detective Crawford’s throat as he eased on back in the barber chair. She kinda had to stratal his right leg to go with the contour of his rough beard. Detective Crawford embarrassingly jerked a bit when he felt the warm inner legs of Rhonda against his bony knee. Detective Crawford was cut again. This time it wasn’t Rhona’s fault and she let him know about it. “Look what you made me do,” she smirked as she dabbed once again at his bloody skin. 

Rhonda paused and deliberately asked, “so why can’t the investigators get to that body in the river to identify the body?” She was asking Detective Crawford loud enough so that others in the Goods & Grooming shop could hear. It was on everyone’s minds anyway. Was that body in the river that of Detective Harry Dick “the city chicken cannibal” serial killer? “Officials say it’s too dangerous,” Detective Crawford retorted, “just like the reports on the local news.” 

MOON TOWNSHIP (WTAE) – Efforts to recover a body from the Ohio River have hit a setback.
Moon Township Police say officers and workers at the Dashields Dam lost sight of the body on Wednesday. Police say it could be under the dam or it may have moved down the river.
Police say the body had been caught in the backwash of the dam. The river has been too high and conditions have been too dangerous to attempt a recovery.
“It is sort of a waiting game unfortunately – we’re sensitive to the family and this is someone’s loved one and it’s hard and if it was my loved one I would want to recover it, but the reality of it is we couldn’t recover it safely,” Seamon said.
According to police, a tow boat crew first observed the body in the Ohio River on Monday. They attempted to catch up to the body before it went over the Dashields Dam, but were unable to do so.
Once police recover the body, they will work to figure out where the body entered the water and how the person died.
The night of what was the last gruesome murder by the City Chicken Cannibal Serial Killer at the scene of the McKees Rocks Bridge a driver on the bridge told investigators he saw what he believed to be a man all dressed in black like a Ninja of sorts go over the bridge. Was it Detective Harry Dick? Was Detective Harry Dick the infamous “City Chicken Cannibal Serial Killer?!"
Just as the Bucks up in the hillsides of the way back, once then farmland above the Smoky City learned to share their habitat with residential and commercial suburbanites, naturally learning they’re less likely to be shot and killed in close together confines of backyards, alleys, public parks, and structures of businesses - today’s Bucks in the once “sticks” or “boonies” outside the city limits casually have adapted to sprawling greater metropolitan development.  

Even out on old man Benson’s land, where The 10 Point Buck was teaching the white tail and younger bucks to live and flourish among the meadows, beds and thickets of the deep woods in spring, summer, early fall and mid to late winter. However, during those weeks that coincided with riffle season, the 10 point led the others to the commercial development, residential neighborhoods, property of churches, graveyards and nursing homes. Living and eating and sleeping and roaming in the land of big box structures. That’s where Harry Dick’s 10 Point Buck was now with his white tails.

Mother Nature looked favorably upon the clean karma of The 10 Point Buck. It used its senses and psychic energy to prudently live the ways of the wise old bucks staying alive everyday until a natural death - having its flesh picked apart by coyotes and scavenger birds, such as, large turkey vultures and black crows. The cycle of life and death complete. Flesh and bone used to nourish living life. While the hooves, antlers and hide decomposed as bugs, parasites and bacteria eased the gentle giant of sun, moon and stars back-to-the-earth. Feasting as they work.

While the mystery of “The City Chicken Cannibal Serial Killer” goes unsolved, the 10 Point Buck at old man’s Benson’s farm awakes either way. If Harry Dick is dead, the Buck continues keeping on, and, if Harry Dick is alive, the Buck keeps on keeping on with the spirit and wisdom of Mother Nature. 

Meanwhile back on Butler Street, in Lawrenceville, at Mister Grooming and Goods, Detcetive Bill Crawford has the vision of those two words on each side of Rhonda Darewyzki’s upper hips seared into his consciousness, “Put” and “In” … There was something plainly obvious about those words together on her soft white skin.

Chapter 11: Mister 
_ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper _ wrapped-up before Christmas 
Copyright 2017 John Alan Conte, Jr. &

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chapter 10: End Game _ "Who's Eating Harry Dick" _ a modern day crime caper

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. &

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