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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Case Notes

Monday, December 31st, 2018

by John Steckley

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“He told us what he had seen.  Kids in a box car.  Taken to a large white van.  It would be a dangerous case.  These guys were serious criminals.  Signed on to the case anyway.  Needed the money.  Would send a tip to the police, once we got hard evidence.    

Time for the hobo outfit.  Jeans with big pockets to keep my phone in. Shredded at both cuffs.   T-shirt with holes.  No underwear.  Old socks.  Had to get the smell right. A concoction of sweat, pee and cigarettes butts did the trick.  Local sauna and a rim-less paper coffee cup for the sweat.  Watered the mixture down a bit.  Put it in a spray bottle.  Applied liberally to clothes.  Smelled right.  Ruthie kept her distance. 

Found a bench near the tracks for a home base.  Appeared to sleep on it.  Talked to myself when anyone looked and listened my way.  After two days the boys in the rail yard got used to my presence.  Laughed.  One even held his nose while pointing at me. In private investigation, it’s not whether you are seen but how you are that counts.

Have a few props.  Two bottles, one full, one empty.  The full one contained gin and one big surprise.  Took several strategic walks around the place – stumbling steps – empty bottle in hand. Fell twice.  Nothing broken

Third day, a lot of attention to one box car separated soon after the train stopped.  Small engine took it to another track.  Would watch it tonight.  Had my bush hideout picked out as my lookout point.

Had suspicions concerning what would happen tonight.  Called Ruthie.  She is involved with every case now.  Told her what I suspected and what I wanted her to do.  She said she could handle it.  Knew she could. 

 

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: The Case Begins

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

by John Steckley

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It was a slow day in a quiet month. They needed a case.  Bills wanted paying – soon.  Then a man walked in.  Fear shone in his eyes like a bright light in a tunnel.  In an unnecessarily loud voice he said, “I work for the railroad.”  He paused.  James and Ruthie waited.  Then he spoke quietly. “I’ve seen something – trafficking – humans.  Just children really.  Mostly girls.  I need your help.”

“Why don’t you go to the police?” Ruthie asked.  James stared at her.

“I’m afraid they’ll know it was me that snitched.  That would have deadly consequences.  I’m getting suspicious looks.  They may suspect that I’ve seen something.”

 

 

 

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Join us for our own online !New Year’s eve party!,

Defenestrationism.net style,

as we publish the last segment of

the Case Notes of P.I. James

at 12:10 on January 1st, 2019

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Third Case

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

by John Steckley

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“Gotta say.  Things are different now.  Never thought it could happen: Ruthie and I.  She’s thinking of moving in.  I know.  She hasn’t asked.  Thinks it’s my job.  Don’t know.”

 

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Finale

Friday, December 28th, 2018

by John Steckley

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Ruthie and James stood outside the police station after their interviews.  They stood close in the small space between their two vehicles.

“You saved my life” said James.

“Now, we’re even,” she replied

“Café Noir?” he asked, referring to a nearby late night coffee bar.

“I make pretty good coffee myself……But not with the office machine.”  James nodded, and took her hand.

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Reporting

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

by John Steckley

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The old couple come out.  They had called 911.  I search around the outside of the shed for clues.  You never know.

I find the phone that one of the thugs had used.  Help arrives. I tell the cops about the phone call.  The old couple tell their story.  Ruthie and I  go to the police station.  The firefighters extinguish the shed fire to an audience of two – in lawn chairs.

We didn’t say much as Ruthie drove me to my car.  “Are you hurt?”  “No”  “Were you scared?  “Yes”.  Few words more.

The cops are not long in identifying the phone’s owner.  And who he called.  Turns out it was a big developer.  The old couple said that he had made several offers to them.  They turned him down.”

 

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Shed Thoughts

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

by John Steckley

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“I come through the fields this time.  Inside the shed I sit down in an old lawn chair – carefully.  I hear them, then see dark figures, crossing the fields: four of them.  Dressed in black, armed with baseball bats, and maybe an axe.  Should have brought my gun.  Didn’t think it necessary for such a lightweight case.

I search for potential weapons.  Just small tools – screw drivers and hammers. The villains are heading towards the shed – tonight’s target?

Sudden inspiration.  I call Ruthie.  She answers after two rings.  Maybe she expected my call.

“Hi Ruthie.  James.  I’m not bored.  Four thugs are approaching the shed- baseball bats.  Maybe an axe.  Get the gun in my office.  Can you load it?

“Yes.  Dad was a hunter.  Be there in a flash.”

She hangs up

They come closer.  Good thing the door opens inwards.  I block it with an old chest loaded and heavy.   Slide it across the dirt floor.   Arm myself with the biggest hammer I can find.

Someone tries to open the door.  Not a lot of patience.  Kicks the door.  .

Loud words – anger from two sides.  Meaning not clear.  Silence, then the axe.  It smashes against the door.  The tip of the blade sticks through.  Pulls out with difficulty.  Another swing -stuck in farther.

Strike the blade several times with the hammer.  Three strikes and the blade comes off the handle.  Impatient fellah strikes the door with the handle. Then throws it at the door.

Words are shared, quieter than before.  Soon I hear breaking glass.  They’re using their baseball bats.  The windows are too small for them to crawl through.  Shards are stuck to the edges. I toss one fallen shard their way.  Hear a shout of pain.

Words come through the broken windows.  The word ‘fire’ is spoken.  A phone call is made.  Probably calling their boss, not one who rewards independent thinking. 

I then hear paper ripping.  See a flash of light outside one of the windows.  Flame flies inside.  Loose garbage catches fire.  I’m in trouble.

I have to get out the door.  They probably know that.  I pull the box and the chest away.  Take a deep breath.  Arm myself with the hammer and a big screwdriver.  Rough situation: four to one, baseball bats vs hammer and screwdriver.  Oh for a chain saw!

Then I hear a gravelly sound.  Seconds later, the sound of gunfire: three shots. Then the sound of running.  Then quiet broken by a knock on the door.  I open it.  It is Ruthie.

“I didn’t know you could shoot.”

“Neither did I.  Daddy only let me load his gun.”

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: First Night

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

by John Steckley

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The first night nothing happened.  He considered calling.  The next night is different.

 

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: At the Office

Monday, December 24th, 2018

by John Steckley

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James drove back to his office, and told Ruthie his plans.

“Call me if you get bored.” She said.  She had never said that before. “I might do that,” he replies.  He means it.

 

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: Case Notes

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

by John Steckley

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“Used to run my dog here…fields and rabbits, freedom and fun.  

The old house is all that remains of that time.  I drive up beside it.  I case the joint.

Knocked on the door.  Bell didn’t work.  “Coming” could be heard close but sounding far away.  The door soon opens.  “Come in” says the woman.  I’ve had warmer invitations, but I know I am welcome.  They want were to put their faith in me.

We go into the living room and sit.  Strong tea and homemade biscuits.  They tell stories about tools taken from the shed, ketchup sprayed on windows, shingles ripped off the roof.  They mention lack of response by the police.

I give them my price.  Not a flinch.  They have money.  I tell them what I plan to do.  The shed has two small windows.  Big enough for me to watch out for vandals.  I will park my car at a friend’s place, not far away, then walk back here.  

I will hole up in the shed at night, detecting and photographing the suspects. I figured they are just kids with too much time and too little supervision.

 

 

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The Case Notes of P.I. James: The Case

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

by John Steckley

read it in order

 

An old couple lived in an even older farmhouse just outside of town.  They were surrounded by grounds cleared for a development that was big on houses, small on land.  Minor thefts had taken place, along with small acts of vandalism.  Nothing the police were interested in.

James called and set up an appointment for later that morning

 

 

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