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