Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #34

As I ran, I thought that this situation has really ramped up.  A man killed to prevent his telling me -- what????  I was already aware of his efforts as to the maps, but what else could be so important  as to kill a man, and obviously they were working together in order for the killer to be on the scene and armed.  Just ahead, the two police had closed to a respectable distance and were shouting for the running man to stop.  Suddenly he cut across the street just in front of a trolley car; I suppose in order to put more distance between he and the police chasing him.  Suddenly he tripped and fell into the oncoming path of the trolley.  A sharp scream of pain and then just the sound of the trolley rolling to a stop.  When I came up to the trolley, the driver was out to see what had happened, and the two police were there,  The man was jammed under the trolley wheels and it was clear from the angle of his back and head that he was dead.  I turned away and went back to Willard's.  I got to the lobby and asked for a runner.  A wide-eyed young man was escorted into my presence.  It was obvious that he was scared and kept looking at the body on the floor.  A couple of hotel staff were standing by the body keeping the curious clientele away.

"Now listen young man carefully," I said in a low voice, "take this ring and take it to the Office of Col. Abert in the Military HQ building just down the road, and get past the guard any way that you can."  I pulled the ring off my finger and pressed it into the young man's hand.  "Tell Col. Abert that a man has been killed and Major McKay is in the hands of the police. There is ten dollars in it for you when the ring is delivered back to me.  Now Go!!! Out the back way."  The boy nodded his head and ran back through the reading room.

"Hey, you, boy, Stop," the beefy policeman who had just walked through the door, shouted and disappeared after the runner into the reading room.

Within minutes the policeman was back, puffing heavily from his exertions.  "All right," he snarled pointing his finger at me," What was that all about!"

I looked at him thinking that 'I should start the way I intend to finish.'  "Perhaps if you lower you finger and ask me in a more gentlemanly tone, you might get more satisfactory answer to your obviously brutish query."

The Policeman simply looked at me with his mouth open.  At that point the main doors opened and four more police entered the lobby.  One was a Lt. and he walked over to the body on the floor.  He said to the hotel Staff, "Don't let anyone touch the body !!"  He turned to the officer who had queried me and said, "Tell me what happened."

The officer related what had occurred and ended his explanation by indicating me and adding," This man was the man holding the victim when he was shot."

The Lt. asked," Why were you holding him?"

I explained that the man had been following me and was involved in an area of military security that I was not at liberty to discuss further.

"Who are you ," asked the Lt. taking a notebook from his pocket.

"Were I you," I said, "I would not write anything down until you get permission from the proper authorities."

"I am the proper authority," he responded in a surly manner,"Now, what is your name and what are you doing here?"

"Very well," I said slowly, "I have warned you.  My name is Ian McKay, I am a Major in the Topographical Engineers, and I am attached to the staff of Col. Abert Commandant of the Topographical Engineers."

At that moment, the street doors opened and several men walked in One was a Lt. Colonel of the Washington City Military Provost, One was a sergeant wearing a provost badge on his chest, and the other four were privates armed with rifles and bayonets.

"Which one of you is Major McKay?" Asked asked the Lt. Colonel, walking into the group around the body.

"That would be me, Colonel, " I said reaching into my pocket for a ten dollar bill.

"I believe that this is yours," He said handing me the ring.

"Please see that the young man gets this Col," I said handing him the money.

The Colonel nodded to me and turned to the police Lt.  "This man is now under the auspices of the Military Provost.  I see that you have written down his name.  Please give me that information."  He gestured to the Provost Sergeant, "Station your men around the body.  Nobody is to touch it until I give you the word."  The Colonel took the notes from the police LT. and stuffed them in his pocket.  He then said to the Lt. "You are relieved, this accident never happened --- Yes I know," The Colonel said over the objections of the Lt, " you will file a report, such is your privilege.  Sergeant please escort the Lt. here to the door."  Two of the sentries and the sergeant moved around the police and they were herded to the door. The other two sentries took up positions around the body.   " Now," said the Colonel, turning towards me, "Col. Abert wants to see you earlier than now, so we better be going," and he escorted me out of the hotel and into a waiting carriage guarded by two more soldiers.

It seemed that the problem was escalating far out of my level of understanding.  I hoped Col. Abert had uncovered something of what is going on, As the carriage pulled away from the hotel, I noticed that there were military sentries at the trolley, and there was an army ambulance backing up next to the trolley car.  A Provost Capt. was working with wagon jacks  to lift the trolley off the tracks.  The body of the dead man who shot the man I was holding onto was wedged between the wheels and the forward rim of the trolley.  It would be a real mess to get him out of there.  I did not look forward to the coming interview.

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