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

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

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

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

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

December 22nd, 2018

by John Steckley

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

December 21st, 2018

by John Steckley

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James walked into his office.  He received the kind of smile from Ruthie, his secretary, that he was starting to get used to. Saving her life had changed their relationship.  Neither knew where to take the change-or even how to act on it.”

“We’ve got a case,” she said, the smile entering her voice.  “Here it is.”

 

 

 

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

December 20th, 2018

by John Steckley

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“The axe was throwing well.  I was just retrieving it from the target when I saw them: our client and Ruthie.  Their wrists were fastened tightly behind their backs.  Max was pushing them down the trail.

Axe in hand, I pursued them.  I kept quiet and hidden in the bushes while not losing sound or sight of them.  They went to where a deep hole had been dug.  Max was a planner.  He spoke to them harshly with words I could not hear.  He drew out a gun.  They cringed.  It looked like the end.

I had no choice.  The axe went flying through the air and between the trees.  It hit his gun hand dead on.  He dropped it and bent over in pain.  I ran over to get the women away.  Pushed Max into the hole.

Ruthie hugged me.  First time ever.  Then she spoke.  “What an amazing throw! Hitting his hand from such a distance.”

I think I saw something more than gratitude in her eyes.  I felt an emotion I hadn’t expected, but still managed to reply sarcastically, “Who said his hand was my target?”

 

 

 

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Two Days Later

December 19th, 2018

by John Steckley

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Their client went to James’ office to thank him for his work, and to give him the part of his pay that was contingent on courtroom success.  James was not there.  He was celebrating with a few tosses of the axe.

 

 

 

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The Court Case

December 18th, 2018

by John Steckley

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The court case was big news locally.  They were a rich, prominent couple.  The young adulteress was from one of the leading families in town.  In an earlier time she would have been called a debutante.

At the inevitable end of the case, announced by the judge, a woman, Max lost it.  He screamed and went to attack his now former wife.  It created a scene.  No harm was done, except to his pride.  No charges were laid.

 

 

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

December 17th, 2018

by John Steckey

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James gets up slowly and stretches.  He saunters to the door, doing light arm exercises while so doing.  As he exits, he takes out his camera, and plays with it as if he were planning to take nature pictures.  Nothing special here to take notice of.  Just another nature photographer.

He steps slowly into the woods, stops and pretends to takes pictures as he walks down the well-worn path.  He searches for signs of his prey, then stops.  He stares towards a mostly-hidden clearing with only a deer trail leading to it.  Max’s sports bag had carried a big, soft blanket.   He turns on the video function of his camera, and then comments, “I would never have suspected that they were nature lovers.”

 

 

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