Friday, May 24, 2019

Seven Skinny Cows: Working on mysteries without any clues

“Tell me again what we are looking for?” Milo asked.

Nyssa said, “We are looking for any clues about where Carson and Cameron went. “

“And if we cannot turn up any clues, we are looking for anything the kids can wear or that Brittany can sell so she can be self-supporting.” Nyssa said.

“Everything about this guy creeps me out.” Milo said.

That was so out of character that Nyssa stopped and looked at him. That had the unfortunate effect of blinding him. Even though it was mid-day and the curtains were open, it was so dark in the cavernous house that they were both wearing head lights.

“You are over-reacting.” Nyssa said. “Just because you don’t like somebody doesn’t mean they are bad people.”

“You didn’t hear me.” Milo said. “Nothing about this guy rings true.”

“Like what?” Nyssa challenged.

“Did you see the tools when we walked through his garage?” Milo asked.

“Yeah. So?” Nyssa said as she returned to sweeping the room with the beam of her headlight.

“They were all new.” Milo said.

“New tools are nice.” Nyssa said. “You told me that you wished you had newer tools.”

“Not ‘newer’. His tools are new...still in the box.” Milo said. “Every one of them.”

“He is supposed to be some kind of hot-shot pipe-fitter and all of his tools are still in the box.” Milo said.

“Maybe he just stores them in the box?” Nyssa offered.

“Still got the factory tape sealing the flaps of the boxes.” Milo said.

“What else bugs you?” Nyssa asked.

“His truck is too clean.” Milo said.

“Maybe he is just a inherently clean person.” Nyssa said.

Milo snorted. “You go to new construction you get mud on your truck. It gets splashed up into the frame. His truck looks like it came off the show-room floor. Not a single scratch in the bed, either.”

Nyssa was willing to chalk that off as “men” stuff.

“Anything else?” she asked sweetly.

“Have you seen any pictures of his family? Any diplomas or certificates? Any pictures of Cameron playing sports or doing anything?” Milo asked.

That started to get Nyssa’s attention. “Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen a single picture on the walls. Maybe they just aren’t picture people.”

“Every guy has an “I Love Me” wall, even if it is just a couple of pictures of fish he caught.” Milo said.

“Look at the décor.” Milo said. “I am not an interior decorator, but this place looks like a Hollywood stage set for the inside of a 1955 Memphis whorehouse.”

Up until then, Nyssa had been pushing away that same thought. She liked Brittany and was ignoring the ugliness in an attempt to be kind...perhaps Brittany was one of those poor unfortunates who simply could not harmonize interiors.

“I bet Carson picked all of this stuff out.” Milo said.

“No.” Nyssa said.

“Flocked wallpaper? Gold tassels on the curtains? A naked cherub lamp stands? Brass spittoons?” Milo pointed out.

“I’ll ask when we get back.” Nyssa said.

For all of the baroque splendor of the rooms, there was very little that was usable.

They had finally worked their way through all of the rooms in the house except for Carson’s “man cave.” It was locked.

“I guess we will have to ask Brittany for the key.” Nyssa said.

“I bet you a months worth of doing the dishes that she doesn’t have a key to the man-cave.” Milo said.

Thinking of mousy, brow-beaten Brittany, Nyssa declined that bet.

“So what do we do?” Nyssa asked.

“Wait here while I go back to the garage and pick up a couple of skeleton keys.” Milo said.

He came back a minute later with a three foot wrecking bar and an eight pound sledge. He also brought along a brand new pair of gloves, still joined with the zip-tie. The wrecking bar was still sticky with cosmoline as shipped from China.

Nyssa held her tongue.

It is a common shortcoming of people to use the screws supplied with the door and frame. Carson was no different. The $500 heavy duty, steel, exterior grade door was no better than the screws attaching the hinges to the door frame.

“The problem with brute force” Milo pontificated “is that people rarely use enough of it.”

He had been prepared to chisel his way through the stud-wall and was pleased that he didn’t have to break a sweat.

The man-cave was starkly utilitarian. In contrast to the parts of the house that somebody might see, it was nearly bare. The only thing of interest was the 14 gun, gun safe.

A strong man, well versed in the use of large hammers and cold chisels can un-zipper an exposed piano hinge in about the time it takes to read this sentence. Milo was that man.

There were no guns in the safe but there were ten boxes. The top box was open and revealed six, bottles filled with white tablets.

Milo opened one and shook out a handful of tablets. He inspected them in the bright light of his headlamp. It was a white scored tablet that was slightly longer than a half inch with M367 impressed into the side.

Nyssa whistled. “That is hydrocordon. Well, hydrocordon and Tylenot.” Nyssa said using the name of a common, brand name for acetaminophen.

“Hydrocordon?” Milo asked.

“Norco. Vicodin.” Nyssa said. “When I was working up in Saginaw it had a street value of $10 a pill. It is probably counterfeit because I can’t imagine this much product disappearing out of the supply line without huge alarms being raised. Even so, it is still be worth $10 a pill.”

Milo hefted the bottle. “Feels like it is about a pound.”

“At 400 mg to the pill, that would be more than a thousand to the pound.” Nyssa said.

Doing some quick math, Nyssa said “A thousand pills to the bottle. If all of those boxes hold six bottles the we are looking at sixty thousand pills.”

“Holy shit. That is over half million dollars worth of street drugs!” Milo said. "Duckworth sure-as-hell didn't walk away and leave this. Something happened to him."



  1. And now there is an emergency stash of one particular med if properly hoarded and dispensed.

    Can't wait for more info on Duckworth's history.

    The interrogation, I mean, interview of Brittany will be 'interesting.' Very interesting...

  2. Holdin' for someone up the food chain. When Carson's contact comes to collect they are not going to be 'happy'.

  3. My house has a strict "No Bob Seger" rule. (Actually, this rule led me to meeting The Mrs., really)

    I guess I'll make an exception for you, Joe.

  4. Ah, the plot now twists... :-)