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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Eight

Updated on April 5, 2017

An Ah-Ha Moment for Yours Truly

It happened while I was out feeding the quail.

The final direction of this story.

And most of you won’t be pleased with it.

This story will be Part I of a book . . . a book with some title like “The Magician’s Cape Casts Its Shadow” or something like that.

I’ll let you chew on that for awhile. Meanwhile, there will be a few more chapters here online to whet your appetite.

Shall we?

The weather matches the mood in the city
The weather matches the mood in the city | Source

Clueless in Olympia

“We have no evidence,” Dawn said over coffee at The Spar Restaurant. Outside the restaurant, storm Number Three in a series of summer storms was hammering the sidewalk traffic, making life miserable for mothers with strollers and the homeless with nothing. “We don’t have enough to get the prosecutor to charge Briton or his friends with anything. We’re dangerously close to a harassment charge. Hell, we don’t really have enough to even pull them in for questioning, and we sure can’t get a judge to issue a search warrant. We are officially screwed!”

She was right! We had suspicions. Our gut said that Bitron was our man, but Mister Bitron had five solid alibis, and one of those alibis was from none other than Thomas Braun, a rather famous criminal attorney in Olympia with considerable social standing. If we pushed much harder, Dawn and I would find ourselves at the wrong end of a harassment suit, and that would ultimately lead to a loss of our detective shields.

The rain continued to fall.

“Not screwed, Dawn,” I said between bites of my omelet. “We do the screwing, partner. The bad guys don’t get that luxury. I think we should politely ask Mister Braun if he and his client would be so kind as to come in and answer some questions.”

“Why would they do that, Bill? What possible reason would they have to take that risk?”

One of the mothers, pushing her stroller, flipped off a bus driver outside.

“Because I think they are dying to do so, Dawn. I think their egos are demanding that they face off with us. They want badly to show us how clever they are, and they want to laugh in our faces. This is all about ego. This is all about them declaring to the world that they are smarter than any of us, and they can do whatever they want with immunity. Yes, for sure, I think they will meet with us. Hell, let’s find out.”

I pulled out my phone and called Braun & Braun Law. I asked the saccharin-sweet receptionist if I could speak to Thomas Braun, explained who I was, pressed upon her the importance of the call.

Ten seconds later I had the great man on the phone. One minute later I had a promise that he and Bitron would be happy to speak to us at one p.m. in our office.

Meeting with evil
Meeting with evil | Source

One P.m.

My first reaction when they walked into our office? I wanted to pull out my department-issue Glock 19 and squeeze off two rounds. Five-and-a-half pounds of pressure on the trigger would send a nine-millimeter round out of the barrel at eleven-hundred feet-per-second. The City’s problems would be over in five seconds with just the clean-up to follow.

They were smug.

They were annoyingly polite.

I was positive they were guilty.

We shook hands and I invited them to sit. Dawn left for a moment and then returned with coffee for all.

Bitron was in a warm-up suit, like we were interrupting some workout. Braun was power suit all the way, Brooks probably, an easy grand in threads.

Everyone smiled.

“Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, gentlemen,” I started. “We won’t take up any more of your time than necessary. The last time we saw each other there was a gathering at Mister Bitron’s home. May I ask what that gathering was about?”

“Certainly, Detective,” Braun said. “We all meet once each week to discuss magic. We are, I guess you could say, amateur magicians. We try out new magic tricks on each other at our meetings. I’m sure others would find it a bit boring, but for the six of us it is really quite enriching.”

“Magic or illusion?” Dawn asked.

“Very good, Detective,” Bitron responded. “Very good indeed! Is it magic? Is it an illusion? The chicken and the egg, syndrome, perhaps? Magic is the production of an illusion, is it not? And an illusion is a misdirection of the mind creating a false reality. Which do you think it is, Detective Robie?”

“I think it’s murder,” my partner said, smiling sweetly.

“Accusations, Detective?” Braun asked. “I thought we were just having a lovely chat.”

“Conjecture, Braun,” I said. “Let me give you a scenario and you tell me how a magician, or an illusionist, might create that scenario.

“A young girl disappears from her bedroom. She next appears in a mudflat, thirty feet from hard ground, no footprints, no sign of any disturbance to the mud, just a body where a body shouldn’t be. How would one do that, Mister Bitron?”

A murder scene masked by illusion.
A murder scene masked by illusion. | Source

REVELATION

Bitron smiled.

“Are you sure it was mud, Detective? If, as you say, it was impossible to deliver the body to that area without disturbing the mud surface . . . if it was impossible . . . then the muddy surface must have been staged to draw your eye to that conclusion. That is the work of an illusionist, to make you see what he wants you to see. Really rather elementary, Detective.

“Now, if this were my trick, I would prepare a substance that looked like mud, like brown plastic sheeting, or something similar, and I would drop off the body and then spread that sheeting over my footprints as I returned to solid ground. When the tide comes in it covers the sheeting, and when the tide goes out, the sheeting goes out with it.

“To the untrained eye, it would all look like a pristine layer of smooth mud leading to the body, when in reality there was a clear path of footprints leading out to the body. And since we’re just playing with scenarios, I would surmise that those footprints were from a size eleven boot.”

He was enjoying himself. I noticed my hand had slid to my Glock and was resting on its handle.

“So, the six of you, you sit around, shoot the shit about magic, try out some new tricks, maybe have a few beers, and then call it a night? Is that about it, gentlemen?”

“That’s about it, Detective,” Braun said. “Oh, on occasion, we might go out for a beer, or catch a movie, something like that. Certainly nothing sinister in that, is there, Detective?

“Now, if you don’t mind, my client and I have a performance to give at the Boys Club in two hours and we need to get prepared. It’s been a lovely chat, and I do trust we won’t be hearing from you again on this matter. Unless you have solid evidence of a crime please, please, refrain from bothering my friends.”

Dawn stood.

“You think you’re pretty clever, don’t you, Braun?”

“I don’t know how clever I am, Detective, but I do know I’m more clever than you. Good day to you both. We’ll find our way out.”

The Aftermath

Our guests did, indeed, find their way out, leaving Dawn and I seething in their wake.

“What do we do now, Bill? More surveillance? That’s going to be a tough sell with the Chief.”

“I guess we keep trying to gather evidence, and while we’re doing that, hopefully the murders will stop. Surely those six wouldn’t risk another murder while they’re under investigation.”

But even as I said those words I thought to myself that’s exactly what I would do in their place. Their egos would not allow them to stop. They for sure considered this the ultimate challenge to their skills, to commit the perfect murder while being investigated. I expected a new body soon.

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK

One or two more chapters and then we’ll put it to rest until it’s time to write the book. Sorry, folks, that’s the best I can do for you.

Thank you!

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe Bill and Dawn aren't as smart as we want them to be, Sha? Maybe there is something else "afoot" here. LOL It's going to be awhile before we find out the answers to your questions, but thanks for playing along.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      19 months ago from Central Florida

      Magic, huh? Pretty sinister stuff, Bill. But I guess, to an evil mind, what better illusion than to pull off the perfect murder? These guys are creeps. And which of them wears a size eleven boot? Why didn't Bill and Dawn pick up on that lead balloon of a clue?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'll try not to, Lawrence. Thanks so much!

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Awesome, loved the story, and a great idea. Though don't leave us 'hanging' too long for the book :-)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, my friend. My mind is already working on the scenes of this book, and I'm beginning to get excited about writing it. I thank you for the kind words.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      20 months ago from Mesa, AZ

      As intrigued as I am by this tale, I am even more excited that you are developing this into a book! I know you struggle with the subject matter and I understand. I truly want to use the word "enjoy" while expressing how I feel about your ability to spin an engaging tale but hesitate because who wants to enjoy what these sick b......s are doing to these babies. You do have amazing story telling skills.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, Missy, thank you! As for it doing well, it's all a crapshoot in self-publishing. I doubt any of my books will ever do really well, but I still love creating, so I'll continue on.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      20 months ago from Florida

      I hate smug people! Well, if they are being smug for evil that is. I don't know if I could refrain from shooting them if they were in my presence.

      This book should do very well when you publish! Congrats! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wednesday for sure, Dora. I just finished the next chapter. Thanks for being here in this battle of wits.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      20 months ago from The Caribbean

      I like watching the wits play see-saw. So the next episode should be soon, seeing how late I am reading this.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! In a sick, twisted way, this has been an enjoyable write.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, that's just another way of saying I have a twisted mind LOL which would be an accurate statement. :) Thanks my friend and Happy Sunday to you.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      20 months ago from Massachusetts

      Great chapter Bill. It would seem that our detectives are convinced that Bitron and his friends are responsible for the murders. I'm not totally convinced just yet. Seems too obvious and logical that it's them and I'm sure you have a twist or two in the chapters to come. Great read.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      20 months ago from USA

      Very interesting twist. Illusions can perplex. I like that you are going for the book write.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 

      20 months ago from India

      It is wonderful to follow this series. It is going to be an excellent book. All the best for that. Keep going and gift us with your wonderful writings.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Chris, count on it. These guys are going to fall hard!

      Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Maria! I have the best followers and friends in the world, bar none!

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, my mind is working overtime as I consider how I'm going to expand this story in the book...and many of you have given me great ideas on how to do that. That's my way of saying thank you for being so invested in the story.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, there are a lot of curious things about this case....more shall be revealed, my friend, but I love your suspicious mind.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Shoot. I meant to add that it's curious the early morning jogger just happened to be there at the right time.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      “Now, if this were my trick, I would prepare a substance that looked like mud, like brown plastic sheeting, or something similar, and I would drop off the body and then spread that sheeting over my footprints as I returned to solid ground. When the tide comes in it covers the sheeting, and when the tide goes out, the sheeting goes out with it."

      Hmmm. Well, for all of his cocky, insensitive arrogance (even if he isn't Houdini, I don't like this guy, Bill), I'm not sure but it seems he might have overlooked a couple of things. For starters, as with the strength of the outgoing and incoming tide, its timing is everything, as well as the water level and sinking 1+ feet into the mud with each and every step. Is he Houdini or someone who's researching for his next book? We can't know yet because the devil's in the details. You've got my head spinning, Bill, wanting to read more. :-)

      I love how you bring your characters alive with imagery and dialogue. It's a pleasure to read such smooth, skillful writing. I so look forward to reading the book, my friend.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      20 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      I'll follow this story through and hope you other loyal readers do as well...to make this your best selling book to date.

      Have a peaceful weekend and see you next time.

      Love, Maria

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      20 months ago from Hartford, CT

      Arrogance of that magnitude is setting them up for a fall. Great story, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Clive! I appreciate that.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      Good writing as always Billy

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL I'm glad you think so, Shannon! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's my job, Shyron, so thank you for confirming that I'm doing it. :) See you next week, my friend, and blessings to you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      20 months ago from Texas

      Those pompous AHs, I would feel the same way the detectives felt about the lawyer and his client.

      You always leave us wanting more Bill.

      Blessings Always

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      20 months ago from Texas

      Me too, but I wouldn't call my friends anything that bad!!! I mean you're a tease in the nicest possible way. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Michael my friend. Perhaps there will be no evidence. Perhaps justice will be delivered in a different way.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I would hate to think those guilty would get away with the horrendous crimes.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've been called worse, Shannon! LOL Much worse!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      20 months ago from Texas

      Well, you're nothing but a big tease! This should make for one very interesting book!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      20 months ago from Dubai

      Magic taking the main stage. Wonder how they will collect evidence for the murders they committed. Waiting eagerly for the next chapter.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Sis, you're cracking me up. They are smug and cocky and trust me, they will get what is coming to them.

      Thanks a bunch, Sis! Hugs from Olympia!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I sure hope so, Venkatachari M. Thanks for reading along as I sort it all out.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Time will tell for sure, Zulma! I may still have a few twists up my sleeve. :) I hope you are well...thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      20 months ago from United Kingdom

      The clues were staring in the face the whole time and we never caught on. Well played, sir. So, was it magic all along or is this another misdirection. Time will tell.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      20 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very thrilling. The murderers are very clever and challenging. It's going to be a great book.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Well....OK, FINE! I'll be damned if I know what you're (They're) up to, Mr. Holland! Believe it or not, I had thought long and hard about the "footprints" mystery. I'd already decided that someone, somehow had covered or disguised any footprints that may had been made....but I wasn't expecting them to come out and admit this! Cocky, smug, S.O.B's they are, I see!

      Let me at 'em BILL bro....I'm really getting pissed!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 

      20 months ago

      Yay evidence, evidence. By them will be determined who more clever is. Sitting and waiting might get deluding. (Better to be equipped by the nerves made in Yugoslavia.)

      Blessed day my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, that term is used here as well, though not as often, I'm sure, as in England. One thing is for sure: lawyers are not liked nor trusted here, and I doubt that will ever change.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Ruby! I'm having loads of fun writing this one, which says something about me, but I'm not sure what. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks MizB! The thing is, this might all change in the book. I'm just warming up and I can go in a number of directions, all the while having a blast.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, John! I appreciate you stopping by....teaser? Me? LOL

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      The magicians angle is perfect, Bill. It is amazing where ones creative mood can take you. What a great teaser for the coming book. You are drawing us in more with every chapter. Great work.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      20 months ago from Beautiful South

      Got started reading this and then I got called into a meeting this morning. I just now finished and I think these "illusionists" are under the illusion that the detectives won't figure them out. However, I think they just gave a big clue, but they didn't use this method because the tarp might just appear floating a few miles away in the ocean. We'll see. I eagerly await more, my friend. The book idea is a good one.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      20 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I don't know if you use the word, but our description for someone like Braun is 'shyster', a legal eagle who goes out of their way to court shady characters because that's where the money is.

      Bill, you know how to string your readers along... It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Smug shysters aren't popular here either, with the general public or law enforcement.

      Shysters also tend to represent terrorists, that's where they can claim legal aid and rip off the public (like a well-known 'tank-chaser' who recently came a cropper when trying to frame squaddies [soldiers] who'd been in Iraq through bent lawyers in that neck of the woods).

      Keep it stewing, Bill.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      20 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I think the detectives have found the murderers, the creeps! When he had his hand on the glock, I was thinking, " Go ahead " This was another great episode and only a couple more. I don't blame you. It will be a thriller book....

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Larry!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      20 months ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful book idea!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ah, the Greyhound, Manatita! America's forgotten transportation. Sing the old song by Simon & Garfunkel while you travel...."America"...I can feel teh wheels beneath my butt. LOL Safe trip and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, in the book I'll expand, of course. We'll meet the other players and get a good feel for them. I'm a little restricted by the short story format.

      Anyway, it's pouring outside and a good day to create, so back I go to my next book. Thanks my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Awesome bro. I wonder what the other four would say. Thanks for keeping the chapters coming.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      20 months ago from london

      Another great read as I travel to my son in Maryland via Greyhound. You'll catch them. I swear it's divine intervention with the little slip-ups. The Light inside, wants them to be caught.

      No surprise re book. Sometimes, with flash, I don't know where I'm going. Yet it comes good in the end.

      A charming read!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      RoadMonkey, I'll take the answers to my grave. LOL Thanks for playing along with my twisted mind.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      20 months ago

      Well! One mystery solved! What does that tell us about the other illusions and the one where no illusion was used? That also fits in with Puff the MAGIC dragon. Does that suggest all smoke and mirrors? Getting VERY interesting.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Janine! And I greatly appreciate your loyalty all these years. I know these short stories aren't necessarily your thing, and how busy you are, but still you arrive faithfully. Hugs from Olympia!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      20 months ago from New York, New York

      I love that this will be a book for you and not at displeased with the direction of this as this is your prerogative. So, thank you just for sharing this tale with us thus far and truly just appreciate your writing always. Happy Wednesday once again, Bill!! :)

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