Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

The original Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and eventually taken over by a moveable feast of participants when Delores had computer troubles.

The aim of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, whatever comes to mind.
If you are posting an entry on your own blog, please let us know so we can come along and read it.

This month the words are supplied by Cindi and can be found here.

This week's words are:


1. frisbee
2. baseball
3. Winston
4. truce
5. Studebaker
6. diamond

and/or:

1. vanish
2. message
3. Tokyo
4. Wanda
5. twist
6. maim

Here is my story:

Sergeant Carmichael answered the ringing phone and a frail, whispery woman's voice asked to speak to Captain Baldwin. "Captain Baldwin is on holiday right now, I believe he is in Tokyo for another week before he returns. May I ask who is calling and what this is about please?"
"I guess I can wait another week," the voice said. "When he gets in, tell him this message,
Wanda said it is time for a truce." 
Sergeant Carmichael wrote the message on a slip of paper and placed it into Captain Baldwin's message folder, ready for him to review as soon as he got in. He marked it with a red priority stamp while wondering who had called and what it was about. As far as he knew there was no one named Wanda in any of the open cases and no Police Officer named Wanda either. Perhaps one of the cold cases was coming to life?

A week later, Captain Baldwin strode through the doors, laughing with his companion as they discussed the latest baseball scores. "The way they were tossing that ball around, they might as well have been playing frisbee," the companion said. They parted ways and Captain Baldwin moved to his desk and picked up the message folder, reading the priority markers first and dropping the rest into his desk drawer. A stunned look replaced his smile as he read the message from Wanda. He checked the date and came towards Sergeant Carmichael. "Tell me more about this Darren," he said. "She actually said her name is Wanda?"
"Yes Sir," said Darren. "She sounded very old, the voice not much more than a whisper, but didn't leave an address or phone number."  Captain Baldwin gave a little chuckle. "That sounds like her, she always was mysterious. And smoked like a chimney, I'm not surprised her voice has suffered."  "Who is she Sir?" asked Sergeant Carmichael. "We don't know of any Wanda, I've asked around."

"Wanda is the one case I never managed to close, when I was a new young Detective. Her husband Winston and Wanda herself were the masterminds behind several famous diamond heists, we knew this, but could never prove anything or catch them. The job would be done and they would vanish as if they never existed. No one has seen or heard of them since their last job twenty years ago."
"So would we find files in the cold cases locker?" asked the Sergeant. "Yes," said Captain Baldwin, "but way back in the far corners and covered in dust by now. I don't think anyone has looked at them in all this time." Sergeant Carmichael said, "I'll fill out a requisition form and get them sent up to us today, shall I Sir?" 'Excellent idea Darren, did you pass that Detective exam yet?" "It's next week Sir, if I pass I would like to have you as my mentor if that's acceptable to you Sir." 

"I'm glad you asked Darren, if you hadn't I was going to step in and suggest it. I've been keeping an eye on your work son, I think you may be the one who is able to step into my shoes once I'm gone." "You're not thinking of retiring Sir? We'd miss you terribly." "Not retiring Darren, but sooner or later the old fogeys get shunted off the streets and back into desk jobs. Happens a lot faster if we get injured or maimed in such a way the streets are no longer possible." "Let's hope that doesn't happen Sir," said Sergeant Carmichael. "Drop the Sir, Darren, call me Alex, we're practically partners already. Now go get that requistition done and I'll look up the last known residence of one Wanda Gillman."

A few days later, having finally tracked down Wanda Gillman in an exclusive, very expensive nursing home**, the two men visited her in her room. A gentle knock on the door elicited a raspy whisper, "Come in Detectives, we need to talk and I don't have much time left." Captain Baldwin walked to the chair by the window and took her frail hands in his big ones. "It's nice to finally "catch" you Wanda. This is Sergeant Darren Carmichael, my new partner. Not a Detective yet, but I'm sure he'll pass his exam with flying colours. Now, what is it you'd like to tell me?"
"Nice to meet you almost Detective Darren Carmichael" whispered Wanda. "I'm sure Alex here has told you all about me by now, the twists and turns we led him on as Winston and I led our merry diamond stealing lives," she said with a twinkle in her old eyes. "Sit down now and I'll tell you the secret. The doctors here tell me I won't see another Christmas, so I guess it's too late to be sending me to jail."

Alex and Darren settled into chairs close enough to hear and Alex asked Wanda if she understood that recording the conversation was essential to the closing of her case. Wanda agreed, saying it was to be a very short conversation, it was time for her medication soon, "and that stuff always puts me to sleep within minutes."
Darren put the recorder on the table and Wanda began. "You never found us because no one ever remembered the getaway cars. We had a different one for each heist and of course you never found where we hid everything, including ourselves. You know about the house up on that cliff with the fabulous ocean view, it had video cameras  installed as soon as we knew about them, not that long ago actually, and Winston and I used to laugh at you searching the place and always finding nothing. Well, Winston passed away last month, I buried him under his birth name so as not to attract attention, but it's my turn to go now and I think it's time to confess."

"Wait a minute here, are you telling me those aren't your real names?" said Captain Baldwin. "No wonder we had such a hard time of it. Pretty poor Detectives that makes us," he said glumly. 
Wanda said, "well there's much more technology these days, those forensics people with their new fingerprinting techniques and so on, you didn't have any of that available." "Of course if the case files had been unearthed, we might have discovered something about you sooner," said Darren Carmichael and Captain Baldwin agreed. "We should have, but.."

"Never mind the 'but'," said Wanda. "Here's the thing. Go to the cliff house, into the garage. The floor in there is a false floor, sturdy enough to pass as real, but fake all the same. Twist the handle inside the bottom drawer of the blue toolbox and you'll find everything you need to know."  Darren and Alex looked at each other, then rose from their chairs as the nurse entered the room with Wanda's medication. "Go now," said Wanda, "I'm worn out with talking, the old lungs can't take it anymore, I need to sleep a while." She waved them off dismissively as if they were nothing more than a couple of menial servants. 

Things moved along fairly quickly after that. The entire cold case was reviewed, a team was gathered, forensics people included to take prints etc and the whole shebang entered the garage of the cliff house to watch as Captain Alex Baldwin turned that blue toolbox handle. Noiselessly, the entire centre of the floor dropped down several metres revealing a wide staircase leading down into the earth, and to the left of that staircase, a large alcove where Winston and Wanda had hidden a very well maintained old Studebaker. The key to the boot had been left in it and the honour of opening it was given to Alex, it had been his mystery case after all. Inside the boot was a carpet bag containing many documents detailing the heists, where the diamonds had been hidden and also their original birth certificates, naming Winston and Wanda Gillman as Warren Jones and Wendy Lucke. 

Captain Alex Baldwin and Sergeant Darren Carmichael left the car to be fingerprinted and slowly descended the wide staircase to find an almost identical copy of the house above. "No wonder we could never find them, with all that earth between this and the house above, we wouldn't have heard if they'd laughed out loud at us. They probably did. We'd better get back and explain all this to the Chief, he'll want to know every little detail before the media gets hold of the story."


** don't ask me how, I'm no detective, I'm just writing the story


19 comments:

  1. That held me captive to the very last word.....this is a great story.

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    1. only slightly confused; thank you :) I'm really glad you got me started on this, however long ago it was.

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  2. This is a very well written story River, you have outdone yourself with this one. I love how you have Wanda/Wendy coming clean and basically taunting the Detectives as she reveals how they hid and watched them search their house over the years, it's almost like they have formed a friendship just as her days are running out. I really like what you did with this story.

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    1. Jimmy; thank you. I suppose Wendy/Wanda decided to clear the decks before she died. Confession being good for the soul, maybe now she thinks she'll get to heaven.

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  3. Wow, you write the best stories. The only problem I have is that you leave me wanting more.

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    1. Arkansas Patti; thank you. I guess the rule of show business, "always leave them wanting more" applies to writing as well.

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  4. Fantastic, River...great little story. I love it! :)

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    1. Lee; thank you. I liked your story too, I think I forgot to leave a comment there, I'll give myself a smack on the wrist.

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  5. Well done. You certainly did a great job of using those words..

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    1. Margaret-whiteangel; thank you. I've always wanted to use the idea of a secret identical house built under the ground level one.

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  6. Do those pills you take assist your power of vision.
    A well compiled story, again, well done.

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    1. Vest; I'm not sure what pills you mean, all I take is vitamins and antihistamine for allergies. Thank you.

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  7. Super story! I especially like the imaginative idea of the "house under a house."

    Last year, an elderly woman was caught stealing jewelry in an upscale store, and she'd been living that life for decades. Even though she's stolen millions of dollars worth of stuff over the years, because of her age, they didn't put her in prison. She was caught months later stealing something else. I guess it was in the old gal's nature...

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    1. Susan; some people just can't get the "sticky" off their fingers. Wouldn't it be great to have a hideaway right where you live? You'd have to be sure and build where it never floods of course.

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  8. That's a good conclusion to a good mystery!

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    1. Val; thank you, I thought it sounded believable enough.

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  9. You never fail to amaze me with your writing ability. Great use of the words.

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  10. I enjoyed this! Your writing is always seamless and smooth to read. I had a chuckle over the asterisked part :)

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  11. I like the old guy young guy interaction.
    And the twinkle in her eye.

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