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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Four

Updated on March 8, 2017

Waiting on My Muse

That’s how it goes with me. I have an idea so I begin. The remaineder of the story comes to me eventually, when my muse is ready. I don’t rush her. I give her space, and occupy my time giving background and developing characters.

That’s what I’m doing now. I have the basic story in my head but it’s not ready to completely reveal itself.

Anyway, thank you for joining me once again. Let’s see what is happening with Houdini and the cops determined to catch him.

The City of Olympia is gripped by fear!
The City of Olympia is gripped by fear! | Source

New Developments

A task force was formed immediately after the discovery of the body of Tammi Ferris.

Four small children, murdered and brutalized, will kick a city into high gear, and Olympia was running at top rpm’s.

Dawn and I were put in charge of the task force, called “The Houdini Murders,” and given five detectives to assist us. We were assured by the Chief of Police, and the Mayor, that we would have everything we needed to solve the murders.

But we were on a short leash and we knew it. The public was terrified. The Governor was irate and, always the politician, concerned what the murders were doing to his voting numbers. Olympia was a city on edge, a swirling cauldron of fear, Dawn and I were in the eye of the storm, and if we didn’t solve it quickly, the remainder of our careers would be spent in a patrol car.

What the public didn’t know, what the Governor didn’t know, and what the Mayor didn’t know was that we didn’t have a clue.

Houdini was a complete mystery. He had seemingly done the impossible, and he had done it not once, not twice, not three times, but on four separate occasions.

A hotline was established. On average, twenty-two calls were answered every hour, all of them sincere, all of them fueled by terror. They were screened, prioritized, and those deemed as “possible” were given to detectives to follow-up on. It was a hit-and-miss process at best, and we knew it.

Running down a lead
Running down a lead | Source

Running Calls Down

We were responding to one such call, from a Mister Anthony Bitron, who claimed to have seen a suspicious man hanging out at Bigelow Park, watching children play on the Big Toys three of the last four days.

Bitron lived on 8th Avenue Northeast, on the south side of Bigelow Park, with a perfect, unobstructed view of the park’s activities. Dawn parked our department sedan at the curb and we looked at an immaculate “Craftsman” bungalow, midnight blue in color with burgundy trim, front porch the entire width of the house, supported by four posts, an immaculate lawn, landscaped to perfection.

As we began to climb the steps the front door opened.

“Are you the police?”

Anthony Bitron was as immaculate as his home, early forties, six foot, trim, perfectly-styled hair, and snow-white teeth. He was wearing tan Dockers, a forest green shirt, and what looked to be Italian loafers. He flashed a smile and reached out his hand.

“Anthony Bitron, at your service. I called the hotline two days ago. I was wondering if my call would be taken seriously.”

Dawn shook his hand.

“I’m Detective Dawn Robie and this is my partner, Detective Bill O’Dowd. We’d like to discuss your hotline tip if you have a few moments to spare.”

“Certainly, certainly, come in, please. Let’s get comfortable in the living room. Can I offer you two coffee or tea?”

We both declined on the coffee offer and were led along a gleaming wooden floor to the living room, all dark wood, meticulous craftsmanship, one wall a built-in bookcase, overstuffed furniture, with antiques, to complete the picture of successful professional. Dawn and Bitron sat opposite each other while I slowly toured the room, stopping in front of the bookcase, a bookcase filled with children’s books, Seuss and Mother Goose, Silverstein and Nancy Drew, and twelve titles by Anthony Bitron.

“You’re an author, Mister Bitron?” I asked from across the room.

“I suppose you could say that, Detective, although there are some in the literary world who don’t equate writing children’s books with being an author. There are snobs in any business, I’m afraid.”

“Self-published, Mister Bitron?” Dawn asked.

“No, no, I was fortunate. Penguin offered me a contract ten years ago and I’ve been with them ever since. But you aren’t here to discuss my writing, so let me tell you what I saw.”

“What kind of books do you write?” I asked him, thumbing through one of his works.

“Why, mysteries, Detective. My main character is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, but he’s fifteen years old. I’ve found a comfortable niche, and my books have been well-received over the years.”

I joined Dawn on the couch.

“All right, Mister Bitron. Why don’t you take us through your sightings. Describe the man as well as you can, and give us any other impressions you remember.”

Eyewitness Report

Bitron described a man of average size, perhaps five-ten, muscular, weighing close to one-ninety, with dark-wavy hair.

“He always seems to be pretending to take a walk, or pretending to eat a snack, if that makes sense. He goes through the motions, but his eyes are always on the children in the park. The first time I didn’t think much of it, but then he returned, and returned again, and finally I just couldn’t stay quiet any longer, so I called the hotline.”

“Did he drive a vehicle?” Dawn asked.

“I saw none. He always appeared to be on foot.”

“Was there anything distinctive about his clothing?”

“No, not really, jeans, sweatshirt, one time a windbreaker, and always one of those white sailor caps, you know the type, with the embroidered insignia on the front.”

“A sailor cap?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, not the type they wear in the Navy, but the type that yachtsmen wear at regattas. I thought that strange as well, it not being normal wear for a small park in Olympia.”

Dawn made a final note and sketched a cap in her notebook.

“When was the last time you saw this guy?” she asked.

“Three days ago. He was there three days in a row and I haven’t seen him in three days.”

I got up. Dawn did the same. I reached out my hand.

“Thanks for your time, Mister Bitron. If we need any more information we’ll be in touch. We appreciate you calling the hotline, and if you see the man again, call 911 immediately.”

Who is the next victim?
Who is the next victim? | Source

Leaving the Scene

Our perfect host said goodbye to us from his perfect home. We got into our car, Dawn started the engine, and looked at me.

“What do you think, Bill? Can we trust his eyewitness report? Maybe we should have a plainclothes cop sit on the park for a few days. Maybe that guy will return.”

I looked back at the house. Bitron was still on the porch. He waved. I waved back.

“I think that’s a hell of an idea, Dawn. Call it in, get someone over here within the hour, tell them to park a block away and approach on foot. I want them carrying a lunch, maybe a book, some legitimate reason for being here, and make sure it’s a female cop.”

“Okay, and I’ll give her a description of the guy, including the sailor cap.”

“Don’t bother with that, Dawn. Just give them a description of Bitron and his address. I want to know where this guy goes at all times. You and I are heading back to headquarters. I want to know more about Bitron.”

The Plot Thickens

Oh, don’t you just love a mystery?

Is the killer this Bitron guy?

Or maybe Bill is smoking some funny grass and they should be concentrating on the sailor cap guy?

Or maybe there’s another player in the game we know nothing about?

Stay tuned!

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 months ago from New York, New York

      Love that you have a basic idea and seeing where it takes you here. Plus the plot did indeed thicken and can't wait to see where this leads to next. Thanks Bill and have a wonderful Wednesday now once again! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! In my mind I'm going in several different directions, but since I think this will always remain a short story, this direction is the one I'll take to the end.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      The plot thickens for sure. Somehow Mr. Bitron seems too perfect, and he writes children's books? Why would the murderer wear a sailor's cap? You've got my imagination running amuck! I'll be back...

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      That author may just fit the profile too well. He must of anticipated that before inserting himself into the investigation. Perhaps in his twisted mind he just wants to be on the know of a real serial murder investigation. Or....

      Very fun one to read, thanks Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Seems too easy, eh, Eric? Perhaps it is, my friend. Perhaps it is. :) Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mine too, Ruby! Running amuck is what I do best. LOL Stay tuned...more twists coming soon

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 2 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Poor Mr Bitron, demonized for having a "perfect" house, LOL. At least that means that I am not a suspect anyway. Now how would Puff the Magic Dragon fit with Mr Bitron? Or is this a red herring or a would-be author embroidering his Walter Mitty fantasies? Twists like my granny's taffy!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 2 months ago from Florida

      Yeah, I was getting a little weary of Mr. Bitron. If you are that cleaned up, there is usually something messy that is unseen with your private life; not to mention a children's book author that writes young Sherlock Holmes type mysteries? Hmmm...very curious??

      Then again, it could just be that Mr. Bitron has written too many mysteries and in turn feels that he is an expert now, and has made himself totally aware of his surroundings and the people in it.

      You have gotten all of us trying to figure this one out, Bill. You are very good at this. I'm enjoying the read!!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      Nice take. All very suggestive, isn't it? or coincidence that Bitron just happens to write mysteries about children and have an interest in Sherlock Holmes. Talk to Penguin. Ha ha.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The Penguin knows all, Manatita! LOL Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Missy! I'm somewhat of a neat freak, so maybe I'm a suspect. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Meg, I'll take you off the suspect list for now. Just don't start cleaning your home. :) Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      They do say that arrogant killers get a thrill from teasing the police, seeing if they're good enough to catch them. Perverted people often seem to be perverted in many directions. I'm putting my money on this guy! You're still keeping us in suspense, bill!

      Have a way-to-go Wednesday, bill!

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, we'll just have to wait and see. This guy may be too easy for my convoluted mind. :)

      Wishing you a wistful Wednesday

      bill

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 months ago

      Ah ha, you're leading us on a merry chase, friend Bill. Of course Bitron sounds like the perfect suspect, mystery writer, interested in kids, perfect house, but just too perfect an ending. I'll play wait and see before I accuse Bitron. This is wonderful reading, Bill! Great for a lunch hour break.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, do you really think I would do that to you? My friend? A merry chase?

      You bet I would. LOL

      I hope you had a relaxing lunch. Thanks for spending it with me.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 2 months ago

      What a lot of things to have to take into account now. Mary had a little lamb, puff the dragon, placing bodies in impossible places, a perfect author who writes detective stories for children and can even tell where people are looking at a distance! I know you will bring all of these together some how but I don't have a notion how!!! Great read.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      RoadMonkey, I hope I live up to your faith in me. LOL Thank you so very much.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I am always impressed by the details you include in your stories. I guess that's what makes fiction. Following the plot, but also your writing style. Again, I love a good mystery!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 months ago

      A self disqualified commenter following rules of the game at the beginning of present "game", Michael would like to sneak in illegally crossing a 'great wall.'

      It seems hard to resist temptation to step in defense of Mr. author as a potential "suspect'' at a turning point of your exciting story. His plans are to allure detectives into a final chapter of his following children's book ... Ooops.

      God night my friend.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      The sailor's cap conveniently takes us back to "Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea..." and to where Tammi was found in Boston Harbor. I wonder if Mr. Bitron has ever been married or has any children. He also has a perfect view of Bigelow Park. The excessive neatness seems obsessive, and one wonders if this fellow is a loner, which is a bit odd for an author of children's books, with the central hero, a teenage Sherlock. Such clever writing, Bill. The plot does thicken with more suspects. You are a master story-teller. :-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

      Really enjoying this:-)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      LOL Bill, you are messing with our minds, throwing Bitron into the pea soup thickened with corn starch, he Mr. Bitron, is too convenient and near a park. You have me got thinking crazy thoughts.

      Blessings my friend

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 months ago from Dubai

      It could be the Briton guy but then again it is too predictable. I think there is more than what meets the eye in this chapter. Wonder what will happen next.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting turn, Bill. I immediately got suspicious about Anthony Bitron knowing that he is a crime writer. He may be trying to distract their attention. Or, maybe, I am too much suspicious.

      Waiting for the next episode, hoping it may offer some clues.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I meant to add this to my comment: At first I wondered if the man was really Briton. (Sorry, but my mind goes into odd places with mysteries.) But since Bill thumbed through one of his books, I assume Briton's photo would have been on the back of the book jacket. I know you're probably tired of hearing this, but you are an excellent writer, Bill. :-) We are so looking forward to the next installment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Genna. I'll try to live up to your praise, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, when reading a mystery, I believe it is good to be suspicious. :) Thanks so much for following along.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe you are correct, Nithya! We will just wait and see, and hopefully you will be surprised.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, I do have a tendency to mess with peoples' minds. LOL

      blessings to you

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so glad, Larry! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Genna! I just wish I knew where my muse was taking me. LOL

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 months ago

      My apology, please.

      Thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, my plans are always questionable, but I'm trusting my muse to do what is necessary to see this to the end. Bless you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Never an apology necessary, Michael my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora! I've read many mysteries over the years. Thankfully, some of that has rubbed off on me.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I just read the first four chapters and wow, this is captivating. Where did this dark side come from? I love a good mystery and this is quickly becoming a great one. You never, ever, disappoint. Have a great weekend and looking forward to the next chapter.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 months ago from Mesa, AZ

      I'm a little late to the party but really glad I didn't miss the latest installment! I'm really enjoying watching the story unfold. I also like the personal touch you add as your introduction and end!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Good one Bill, I can see this going in a couple of different directions but I am sure you have a twist in store. Mystery and detective story authors often see themselves as budding sleuths and take great pride in trying to solve real life cases the way their heroes or heroines would. Maybe Bitron as a suspect is a red herring but we won't know until you inform us. Looking forward to the next chapter.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, that is the great fun of writing mystery for me...trying to fool everyone who is reading it...listening to their theories....it really is a fun genre to write in.

      Thanks my friend and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Randi! Like all of my writing exercises, this one just took on a life of its own. Now I don't think I can stop with it until the conclusion and this killer is taken care of.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you! Where does the dark come from? Reading mysteries for decades, I suppose, but having Ted Bundy as our paperboy had me thinking about evil since the 1970s.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I had Briton's number as soon as I saw he was wearing tan dockers. You can't trust people who wear tan dockers, which is, of course, most men over forty, except me and possibly you, Bill. Anyway, good job putting the cops on him. If he didn't commit the murders, he's done something else.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      You need to watch out for those writers. They're a different sort. Just what I hear.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Flourish! I'm not even sure they can be trusted. :)

      Happy Monday my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, such a suspicious mind, Bill said, wearing jeans on this Monday morning. LOL I think I'll throw Briton in jail just for poor fashion sense.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 months ago from United Kingdom

      No writer worth his salt would introduce a character without purpose. And you, sir, are worth your salt. I'm keeping an eye on Briton.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There is something shady about that bastard, Zulma. LOL Thank you and you are correct, of course. No good writer would do that.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "I want to know more about Bitron" as well, dear Bill.

      Despite the length of time since my last visit, this story jumps right back inside my head - just in time for you to mess with it!

      Moving on and love ya, Maria

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Doing some major catching up and I have to tell you backwards or forward your story is very intriguing and I always cannot wait to find out more and see what develops.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Rasma! I'm having great fun writing this one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, I'm just a big kid with a new toy, trying out all its parts, seeing how to make it into something different. Thanks for coming along on my twisted ride.

      love,

      bill

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 2 months ago from Illinois

      It's funny, after reading the last chapter, I was very concerned about the terror all the towns people were feeling, then I open this chapter and that's the first thing discussed...anyhow, I'm worried that Detective Bill just told Mr. Bitron to call 911 and he didn't give him his card and tell him to call him directly...what if the 911 dispatcher blows it off or says 'there's nothing we can do about a man hanging out in the park' or something...hahaha...I'm getting all worried when I'm sure you have it all figured out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Honey, worry not, but thank you! LOL I actually figure it all out as I go along when writing these short stories, and then when I turn them into a book, I have all the kinks ironed out. :)

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 7 weeks ago from Texas

      It did indeed get juicier! But that would be too easy. For it to be the Bitron guy, I mean. Because we readers are thinking like Bill. So there must be some other twist. Unless of course, the real twist is that this guy is the guy and you lead us in circles awhile guessing. LOL. Mysteries drive me crazy! One of the last mysteries I read was not so much of a crime mystery. Well, it was, but that wasn't the main focus of the story if that makes sense. It was like this love story wrapped up in a mystery and it had so many twists I never saw coming and a few that I did fairly early on. You just never can really tell where a muse will take the author until it's over.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I love that I have you guessing. Sometimes the obvious is the correct answer. We shall find out soon, my friend. Thank you!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 7 weeks ago from Texas

      Of course, I guess! What's the fun in reading a mystery or a thriller if you don't try to guess? It's like watching a horror flick. When you foresee something, it's a little less shocking. If you're wrong, it's even more shocking and then there's the duh moment because hindsight is 20/20 when you realize you should've seen the pieces of the puzzle falling into place all along. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Shannon! I've been reading mysteries for decades and I never get tired of them for that reason.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 7 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I'm intrigued, there's a 'red herring' here, maybe more, but the brain's going into overdrive just thinking about them!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, red herrings abound. LOL More shall be revealed next week.

      Thank you and blessings always

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Hmmm. I didn't think of Bitron being a possible suspect, but it's entirely possible that the perp is putting himself in plain sight to throw them off his game or to add a theatrical twist to the game.

      You've got my attention, Bill. Can't wait to see how this plays out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Darker and darker we go, Sha, and where we'll land nobody knows. :) Well, hopefully I know...stay tuned and thank you.

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