Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top o' the day to ya

A sincere heart can make a stone blossom.

I've always wanted to visit Ireland, among other places. Ireland has a particular fascination for me. There is a mystery to the place, filled with strange and intriguing facts, myths and legends. There is some dispute about where the Irish came from. One theory is that they are lost tribe of Israel. If you look at the Book of Revelation in the Bible, Chapter 7, you will find that all the tribes are sealed for heaven except one, the tribe of Dan. What became of the Danites? Some claim they migrated northwest as far as they could go and ended up on an island which is now Ireland. Surrounding that story are many others of equal fascination.

Many of the Irish people are gifted poets, actors and playwrights. Yeats, O' Casey, Shaw and O'Neill, just to name a few. I once did a play with the actor and folk singer Tom Clancy of the Clancy Brothers.

The Gaelic language is a beautiful one, sung or spoken. It should be better known in the world.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland even though he wasn't Irish. He was a Briton captured by the Irish when he was just a teen and served as a slave for 6 years. Then he escaped, went back home. He got into the early church, eventually becoming a Bishop. He returned to Ireland and went about establishing Christianity in the country. Today Ireland is one of the most Catholic countries in the world.

He returned to Ireland because of a vision he had. He wrote about it.

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish'. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.' "

The largest Catholic church in New York City is Saint Patrick's Cathedral. It's on 5th Avenue, and today the Irish are going to march up the Avenue right past it. Some will go inside, others will go to the bar, drink a lot of beer and have a hell of a good time, as Irish people like to do.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

Will you people get your act together and answer this question, please?
Only 9 responses so far. Winter is almost over.
What happened to old Jasper Fingerhut?

A murder mystery in 7 sections.

Section 1

The police came soon after Brett Salazar called them. He had called to report seeing a man floating face down in a quiet part of the Borden River. A police wagon soon arrived and they fished the man out of the water He was dead.

The man was old, barefoot, wearing large brown corduroy trousers and a tattered and torn blue shirt. There was nothing in his pockets. He had a large metal cross around his neck and on his left middle finger a ring in the shape of a skull with a small green stone in the left eye socket, the other socket was empty. No one recognized him.

Doctor Skinner, the Bordentown Medial Examiner, received the corpse to begin his examination. He was to determine time and cause of death and any other important information he could find about the mysterious dead man.

While this was happening Boris Klipton, Professor of Art History at Bordentown State Teachers College, was way upstream. Sitting by the river, he was working on his latest book. It was an account of recent unsolved art thefts.

During his interview with Detective Rice Turner, Brett Salazar, testified of hearing four gunshots in the distance long before he saw the body. When Detective Turner asked him what he was doing at the river, Brett answered that he was planning to fish but had forgotten his fishing gear and was about to go home when he spotted the dead man floating in the water.

Section 2

At around 3 p. m. Professor Klipton gathered up his papers, put them in his briefcase and got back in his car. He noticed some lint and bits of cloth on the seat, brushed them off on to the floor, put down his briefcase and drove to Sam's Place.

Sam Nevitt opened his general store and gas station about 25 years ago. It was on the outskirts of town, away from all the bustle, which is the way he liked it. He would get business from folks leaving Bordentown on their way home and others who were passing through. He did a good business.

Sam was a good man, but he had one nasty habit. He liked to go down to the river with his rifle and shoot birds.

When Professor Klipton arrived he found Hank, Sam's part time help. When asked Hank didn't know where Sam was but thought he was probably out shooting. Klipton filled up with gas, bought a few items for his dinner and drove home.

The dead man came to Doctor Skinner's office in a body bag. He and Ivan, his assistant, opened the bag and as they did Skinner immediately put a large towel over the dead man's face and upper body. Then he dismissed Ivan for the day and went to work.

section 3

Detective Rice Turner didn't speak often, he seemed to others to be bored with life. That was a mistake. He was very well educated. He had a PhD in Economics from Yale and a law degree from Princeton. He was Phi Beta Kappa and a Mensa member. He was looking forward to a career in government whn he discovered he had a genius for solving problems. That soon became criminal investigation. He settled.

Signing, he opened the report form the Medical Examiners Office. Reading through it he discovered that the dead man was between 70 and 75 years old, approximately. and in reasonably good health for a man his age. Doctor Skinner had removed three 22 caliber bullets from the body, one from the shattered right shoulder, one from the right ventricle and one embedded in the large intestine. All the bullets had entered the body from the right side of the back. There were severe bruises around his neck. There was water in his lungs and a strange substance in his blood stream which Skinner had suspected was poison. He sent it on to the police lab for analysis. Time of death was between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. Cause of death: strangulation.

Attached to the report was an advisory. Skinner thought the body should be buried as soon as possible. He didn't say why.

Presently the report came from the police lab confirming that the substance in the man's blood was arsenic.
Section 4

Detective Turner hated to look at dead people even though he had seen many in his career. Nevertheless, accompanied by officers Rourke and Minetti, he went to the morgue. The cadaver was laid out on a table. Dr. Skinner had done a sloppy job putting it back together but Turner could see that the man had been in his seventies. He had long hair and a long beard, very gray.

Officer Rourke said that they should locate the next of kin if there was any, but since they didn't know who he was it would be hard. Turner told them to take photographs of his face, front and sides, take them around town and see if anyone recognized him.

Turner lifted up the dead man's beard and uncovered two pieces of the puzzle. One, the bruises around the man's neck did not seem as severe as the doctor had said, particularly for one who had been strangled to death. And two, somewhere between the time he was removed from the river and this moment, the large metal cross had disappeared from his neck.

When Professor Klipton returned to his home he put his briefcase down next to his computer, checked his watch and took a shower. About an hour later someone rang his door bell. He opened the door. Without a word a man handed him a large, thick envelop, then turned and walked away. Klipton didn't open the envelop. He knew what was in it. Two hundred thousand dollars. His commission.

Sam Newitt leaned his unloaded rifle down against a chair and unbuttoned his shirt. Roy, his gay lover, was waiting for him in the bed.

Section 5

Detective Turner reread Dr. Skinner's report. He looked in the evidence bag, found the dead man's clothes, a tattered blue shirt. underwear and corduroy trousers, no shoes or socks. He found a ring in the form of a skull, and a smaller bag containing three bullets, but no cross.

He made a phone call, then filled out a police form assigning the body to himself and went home for the day.

Early the next morning Sam left Roy in the bed still asleep, dressed, took his rifle and went off to open his shop.

The police lab had made about six copies of the dead man's photographs and some of the officers set out to interview anyone they could find who might recognize him.

When Detective Turner arrived at the police station he got Officer Minetti to help him get the cadaver back into the body bag. Then the two of them carried it out and put it in the trunk of Turner's car. He got in and drove to Farmington.

Professor Klipton had put the envelope with the money into his safe with the other envelopes and went off to his job at the college, two towns away. He wasn't home when the police came around with the picture of the dead man.

When Dr. Skinner arrived at his office Ivan was cleaning things up. Skinner said he would be gone for a while he was going to take a drive. But just at that moment they brought in two more bodies. The police wanted a rush job because thee might be a crime and if so there would be a third person involved. One of the bodies, a woman, was badly beaten. So Skinner sighed and went to work.

It was mid day when turner got back from Farmington. He drove to Dr. Skinner's office to ask him some questions. When he entered Skinner was at work carving up a cadaver. Turner noticed some mounted deer heads on Skinner's walls and asked if Skinner was a hunter. Skinner replied that most of the men around those parts were hunters. Turner also asked if Skinner knew anything about a large metal cross that was around the dead man's neck when they pulled him out of the water. Skinner said he had no knowledge of it. Turner believed he was lying.

Back at the police station Turner was informed that in the whole town there was no one who recognized the dead man. Turner asked how far they went looking and was told everywhere except Sam's. Who is Sam, he asked. They told him it was far out of town but had some local business. Let's go talk to Sam, he said.
Section 6

When Detective Turner and the officers arrived at Sam's place, Turner showed his badge and Minetti showed Sam the picture. He identified the man as old Jasper. Sam told them he lived way up in the woods somewhere, by himself Sam figured. He told them there was a dirt road about a mile further down the highwasy and that he might be in there.

Sam also said "Jason was a nasty character who kept telling me I was a devil and a miserable sinner and God hates me and I'm going to hell, because he knows I'm gay. He used to shout at me in some strange language I didn't know. I threatened to pop him one day if he didn't shut up."

"Did you pop him?" asked Turner.

"No. Why?"

"He's dead." Sam seemed genuinely shocked and surprised. At least Turner thought so.

Boris Klipton finished he morning class and went to his office. He made a note on some papers and looked them over. "One more" he said. All the evidence of his involvement had to be secured before he could wrap it up.

Ivan noticed that Skinner was unusually nervous as he worked on the first cadaver. He was impatient and was barking out commands to Ivan who was trying to do his best.

When Turner and the officers reached Jason's place the first thing they saw was a van with the windows painted out. Around the side they saw pens of chickens and rabbits. Turner knocked on the door. He wasn't expecting an answer. He tried the door it was unlocked. When he opened it there was a hissing noise and a large rattle snake was writhing on the floor ready to strike. Officer Minetti grabbed his pistol and killed it with two shots. He kicked it to make sure it was dead and threw it outside.

Jason's shack was two rooms with a barn attached. The furniture was simple but of good quality. In the corner they saw and glass case tipped over, where the snake usually lived, they thought. There was a table and on it an envelop addressed to Jasper Fingerhut After inspecting the rest of the room they entered the second room which was a bedroom. On the wall was a wooden plaque with writing on it.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them' they shall lay on the sick and they shall recover."

At the back of the room there was a curtain and behind it a large metal door which they thought led to the barn. There was no handle on the door but there was a large square hole at the side of it where a handle and lock should be.

"I've never seen a key hole like that" said Rourke. "Maybe we should get our locksmith up here to see if he can open it."

"I don't think that will be necessary." said Turner.

Back at the station Turner immediately sent out an arrest warrant.

Who or what killed Jason Fingerhut?

The conclusion, Section 7, tomorrow.


Jon said...

You've offered some wonderful facts about Ireland and I'm admittedly ready to go there! I desperately need a change of scene. But before I go, I'm gonna hang around to read the conclusion of the murder mystery......

Valerie said...

Thanks for the lesson on St. Patrick. I am a wee bit Irish (an eighth, I think. But isn't everyone Irish on St. Patrick's Day? I would love to visit the country someday, too. I just watched a two hour concert from Celtic Thunder on PBS and it was so beautiful. Off to read part 6 of your mystery...

Arlene (AJ) said...

A very informative read about Ireland, DB. I'm ready to pack our bags. Once a year we become Irish and enjoy an Irish Meal, biggest problem down here in the South is trying to find a place that serves corn beef and cabbage, each year it becomes more of an ordeal.

Lisa said...

Happy St. Patrick's day to you as well! My mom loved Ireland and has often said it was her favorite country, Greece being second.