MAX FLY, FROM BURNT CORN TO BURNING BUSH

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

 

FROM THE UPCOMING NOVEL MAX FLY, U977

 

There is a place out there that lies on the fringe of the law. A world of people who cross borders, lose themselves in a crowd. A world that knows where illegal papers can be found, visas, licenses, whatever is needed to move about.
They are easy to find if one mingles with the right kind of people, those who live on that fringe. There are ways to cross borders, avoid checkpoints, and to exist away from the eyes of law enforcement officials. You learn where places are where you can go to meet people with similar interests. People who deal in guns and ammunition, some in information, and others in smuggling of goods or people. These are the people who comprise the underbelly of society. This is the world I know, the one I am most comfortable moving around in and this is why people hire me, to find people in this seedy underworld of humanity.
My name is Max Fly. I’m a private investigator and my firm is located in Burnt Corn Alabama where we specialize in finding errant husbands, outing people who file fraudulent insurance claims, and the occasional people who jump bail. What we don’t do is deal with drug and weapons dealers. That is until the day I received a call from an old friend in Atlanta requesting that I speak to an associate of his whose son recently died from multiple gunshot wounds while in downtown Atlanta. Apparently, he was making a crack cocaine purchase. As I mentioned, we normally stay away from drug-related cases due to the danger associated with it. But, I owed my friend a favor and he turned in the chit, so…
Two days later I left my friend’s office, located on the tenth floor in the Federal Building on Peachtree Street, with a dossier about two inches thick on the guy he wanted me to find.
My next stop was at the Atlanta Police Department, the Homicide Division, where I got as much information as I could squeeze out of an Atlanta Homicide Sergeant, a Loretta Lincoln, who was heading up the investigation. She was a cute little thing, about five foot nothing, but I could tell we wouldn’t be the best of friends when she told me she didn’t appreciate me monkeying around in her business. Luckily my client possessed some leverage with the mayor of Atlanta and was able to pry loose a meager amount of information from the lovely sergeant. Enough to get me started, anyway – a name.
From reading over the files, I found out the main suspect, a Cletus Cooper Morgan, was born and raised in northwest Georgia in a small town called Burning Bush. Up to this point, I thought the burning bush was in Midian near Egypt.
I filled up the Fly Mobile, a 1958 Oldsmobile 98 with its powerful Rocket V8 engine, with twenty gallons of high test gasoline and pointed her north.
I pulled into downtown Burning Bush around three in the afternoon and found a parking space in front of an old weathered building that looked like it once housed some sort of hosiery or sewing mill, one of the countless textile plants you could find throughout the southern states into the ’90’s that used to provide a living for many of the women in the rural south before President William Jefferson Clinton decided to hurry the process of sending all the manual labor jobs to Mexico and points south by pushing through that damned North American Free Trade Act.
The building was painted a bright yellow with brown trim around the windows and doors to match the brown and yellow sheriff’s badge that was painted on a sign hanging over the front door, declaring it was the home of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office, Bodean Johnson, Sheriff. I did a little background check on this unincorporated community prior to leaving Atlanta. Burning Bush is located in the northwest corner of the state near Chattanooga, Tennessee and was named after the nearby Burning Bush Baptist Church. It is so small that the population isn’t given but there are 1095 members of the Baptist church listed, so I assumed the population of the town would be pretty close to that of Burnt Corn, Alabama, somewhere around 100-300 close-knit residents. I also figured that would make it easier for me to find the man I was looking for. Evidently, he had roots in the community. His great-grandfather owned a farm between Burning Bush and Fort Oglethorpe.
By the time I arrived, I had been driving about three hours and found myself a little road weary. As I stepped out of the Fly Mobile onto the cracked and heaving sidewalk, I noticed an attractive and very shapely redheaded woman standing across the street, staring at me.
“What’s your name, handsome?” she asked.
It was apparent her eyesight was 20/20. “Max,” I replied. “What’s yours?”
Della Daisey. Della Daisey Morgan. You got a last name?”
“It’s Fly, Max Fly. Did you say your last name is Morgan?”
“Yes, I did. Why do you ask?”
“No reason, just curious.”
“What kind of car is that?” she asked pointing at the Fly Mobile.
“It’s a 1958 Oldsmobile 98. You are just full of questions, aren’t you? Are you a cop?”
“Ha, ha, no I’m not. What you doin’ in front of Sheriff Floyd-William Floyd’s Office? Lookin’ for someone?”
“Yes, I’m looking for someone. I’m a private investigator.”
“Well, good luck Mr. Max Fly, Private Investigator. If you’re looking for something good to eat, stop by and see me. I can be found down the street at the Della Diner and Dance Studio. Maybe you can show me your private investigator’s badge?”
“Did you say, ‘and dance studio’?”
“I did. We provide live entertainment after 6:00 p.m. on the weekends and Thursday nights,” she replied as she walked away.
I watched her bottom twitch left to right as she walked away, wondering how she did that so provocatively.
After cooling my heels for the obligatory twenty minutes, a burly deputy whose name tag told me his last name was Johnson, ushered me into the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff was a thin, balding older man, at least in his mid-sixties. I was informed that the sheriff held the post for the past thirty-five years and is as well established in Burning Bush as any elected official could expect to be.
He stood and grasped my hand. His hand was warm and his shake was firm.
“Name’s Floyd-William Floyd, you can call me Will. Everybody does.”
“The sign says, Sheriff Bodean Johnson.”
“That was the previous sheriff. I just ain’t got around to changing it yet.”
“How long you have you been sheriff here?”
“Going on thirty-five years, I guess.” He was looking at the card I gave to the burly deputy in the front of the office.
“Max Fly from Burnt Corn, Alabama now visiting me at Burning Bush, Georgia, such irony. What can I help you with, Max Fly, Private Investigator from Burnt Corn, Alabama?”
“I’m looking for someone, Sheriff. He goes by the name of Cletus Cooper Morgan. Here’s a picture of him it’s about ten years old, but it’s the best I could find. I have been hired by a firm to try and find this guy. He is a former boxer who boxed under the name of Kid Morgan, small-time but he got far enough to get into the ring with Danny Cyclone Ciorrocco but that was as far as he got. Cyclone knocked the last nut out of his grill and Cletus quietly faded away until he showed up in South America, dealing in illegal weapons, portable rocket systems, and high tech devices such as night vision scopes, radio sensors and certain explosive detectors. He participated in different types of security operations with foreign governments. Basically, he was doing things he wouldn’t want his mother to know about.”
“You don’t know his mamma.”
“No, I don’t. He was involved with the killing of hundreds of peasants in remote villages and left the bodies for the families to find. He was serving many clients down there. It didn’t matter what their political persuasion as long as their money was green.
He became a partner in a bean processing factory in Jamaica and went on the CIA payroll. Now they are trying to keep a lid on it but it is hard, considering the activities Cletus participates in.
They said he’s into kidnapping, extortion, and robbery, and engaged in the bombing of an El Salvador civilian airlines and hijackings as means of raising money for political upheavals in South American countries-upheavals in which the CIA played an active role.

Apparently, he is heavy into the shipment of drugs and gun running that started while he was down in Buenos Aires, Argentina, training with their military, which is one of the most brutal and are considered pariahs in other parts of South America. The feds found a canceled plane ticket with his name on it showing he flew out of Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires last week. His destination was Atlanta.
“That sounds like something our Cletus would get involved in. Why are you needing to find him, Mr. Max Fly, Private Investigator from Burnt Corn, Alabama? I’ve never been to Burnt Corn. Is it a nice place?”
“It is. A bit larger than Burning Bush, but still nice. My client’s son got mixed up with Morgan about five years ago and ended up dying at the end of a Mac10. My client was told by a former agent with the DEA that Morgan was pushing about 20 kilos of cocaine into Atlanta every month and they believe he was supplying someone near Chattanooga. Then come to find out, ol’ Cletus has family in these parts, Burning Bush, to be exact.”
“I know Cletus. I haven’t seen him in years. He left to play football down at Valdosta State back in ’63, I think. That didn’t last long. I figured it wouldn’t. As soon as they asked him to read something he was beyond his pay grade if you know what I mean. He ended up in the United States Army and served in Southeast Asia for a couple of years. He came out more screwed up then he was when he went in.”
“If he was to be around these parts, where would you guess he could be found?”
“The Morgans got a homestead ‘bout five miles north of here.”
“How would I get there?”
“Mr. Fly, the Morgans have a reputation around here and it ain’t a good one. If you have no need to, then don’t go near their place. They’re a mean bunch if there ever was one. Ol’ Pa Morgan was known to run shine out of the hills behind his farm and then his oldest boy started growing’ that funny tobacco that all them hippies like to smoke. I was with the ATF and the DEA a few years ago when we arrested the oldest boy, Duane Dale Morgan. We burned down a few acres of his weed. The feds didn’t keep him very long. When he came back he was into something entirely different. He was cookin’ up some of that methamphetamine that seems to be the elixir of choice for all the big city folk nowadays. We had to go up there again and now they throwed his butt into the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Still there, as far as I know.
If you just feel you have a need to stir up a hornet’s nest, then, by all means, go on up. It’s pretty easy to find. You just head north outta town on Burning Bush Road toward the Burning Bush Baptist church. When you get out about five miles, turn right on Poplar Springs Road and go about a half mile and turn right once again on Peggy Sue Drive. About a mile down you’ll see a small dirt road going off to your left into the woods. There ain’t no mailbox or nuthin’ markin’ the place. You just have to take my word for it. Turn down that dirt road and you won’t have to worry, one of the Morgans will find you.”
Sheriff, Meth is no longer the drug of choice, it’s crack cocaine and it’s taking this country by storm. It’s easy to make. It’s cheap and it’s highly addictive. They say one hit is one too many and a million hits are not enough.”
“I just met a Della Daisy Morgan. She doesn’t happen to be related to the Morgan family we have been talking about, is she?”
“I believe she is a cousin. Probably a kissin’ cousin. Up here in these parts that could mean anything. But that red hair gives her away. Ain’t no way you can hide that.”
Well, now the feds are gathering string on Cletus hoping they can put him away. They have to find him first and that’s where I come in.

 

NEAL AND HANNAH – DISQUALIFIED AS WINTER CARNIVAL KING AND QUEEN

Neal The Friendly St. Bernard – Spooner Wisconsin newspaper article

Next month, January 2018, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the historic battle between the nationally renowned Yorguls, of which I am one of the proud founding members, and our arch rivals, the Fever House, in our battle for dominance in the Winter Carnival Games held annually on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse.
The Yorguls were still reeling from the devastating news that their candidates for the Winter Carnival King and Queen were recently disqualified from the competition despite their enormous lead in student votes over all the other contenders.

 

 

What happened was really unprecedented in so many ways. During the introduction of all the Winter Carnival King and Queen candidates at mid-court, during the halftime of a home basketball game, the Yorguls candidate for king, Mr. Neal St. Bernard urinated at the center jump circle and their queen candidate, Hannah St Bernard, attempted to bite the nose of another contestant when she bent over to pat Hannah’s head. Everyone knows you just don’t put your face in another dog’s face. It just isn’t a smart thing to do; and poor Neal, he was just a puppy and got too excited and was unable to contain himself.
But we weren’t going to let that injustice keep us down. All week long the lead changed hands for the all-school trophy between the two campus rivals. The Fever House won best ice sculpture and the Yorguls responded by winning the tug of war competition and it was now down to the last event, the human pyramid where twelve people knelt on top of each other to form a pyramid.
The Fever House did it in a record time of fifteen seconds. It surely did not look good for the Yorguls.
Before the Yorguls started we huddled up and decided this was going to require some of our well-known trickery. It would take some ‘Shape-shifting,” if you will, to beat the time set by the Fever House.
We walked to the center of the field and it seemed like the entire student body was standing around for the final moment of the week-long competition. Nobody thought the Yorguls could pull it off. Fifteen seconds beat by five seconds the next best time recorded by the Kappa Lambdas earlier in the day.
The whistle blew and the Yorguls went to work, shape-shifting in front of the entire student body and the Winter Carnival committee, forming our pyramid in an unprecedented five seconds.


The crowd went wild and some of the Yorguls were unable to contain themselves as they ran around pumping their fists in the air yelling, “We are number one.”
But wait a minute. Hold onto your sombreros folks. The Fever House filed a grievance putting the final outcome in question. They said the way we formed our pyramid was illegal, to which we adamantly disagreed. They said you had to form the pyramid with all members kneeling but nowhere in the Winter Carnival Rules was this stated, so we just laid down, one on top of another, forming a perfect, if not flat, pyramid. By all accounts, we won, or so we thought.
After debating the issue, the rules committee came down against the mighty Yorguls for the second time in one week – overturning what was truly two events that we won and giving the Winter Carnival Trophy to the incontestably inferior Fever House. The members of the Yorguls were able to put this disappointment behind them and all became model citizens of this great country of ours.  And whatever became of Neal and Hannah, our  St. Bernard Winter Carnival King and Queen Candidates? Well, I can’t say they had “pups” together, but they both lived out their lives in separate happy home environments. When a group of us Yorguls ended up getting drafted into Uncle Sam’s army, we had to find a new home for Neal the friendly Saint Bernard and he ended up living out his life at a friend’s farm in Grafton, Wisconsin. Hannah stayed in LaCrosse with the Yorgul’s neighbors who originally owned her.

(The newspaper article is from the Spooner Wisconsin newspaper and was written after we had entered the army. It isn’t entirely accurate, just like many of the stories told about the remarkable and distinguished Neal St. Bernard.)

 

SHOOTS PLENTY, THE COWBOY, AND THE DREAM CATCHER

Carmen walked out of the general store carrying the merchandise she purchased that included a slab of bacon, cornmeal, and flour as well as some other dry goods when Shoots Plenty approached her and relieved her of her burden.
“You needn’t do that, Shoots Plenty. I am certainly capable of carrying these things.”
“Shoots Plenty wishes to,” he replied. “You work very hard. It gives me pleasure to help.”
“Hey whore, what are you doin’ with a filthy Injun,” a gaily dressed cowboy barked. “No one in they’s right mind is gonna wanna touch you after you with one of ‘em.”
Shoots Plenty stopped and turned to look at the cowboy sitting his horse in the middle of the street with his hand resting casually on the butt of his gun while looking at Carmen.
He was wearing leather leggins with a gun belt sporting a Colt .44 revolver on his right hip. His brown Stetson was adorned with a rattlesnake skin hat band that was sweated through and caked with mud from the dust gathered from riding the dry trails in western Texas. The hat was retained by a leather cord caught about the back of his neck and garnished with 3 perforated silver dollars. He was wearing a red handkerchief knotted loosely around his neck with the knot around the back of his neck so he could wipe the sweat from his face on those hot Texas days when the sun beat down unmercifully on both man and beast. He wore iron spurs and his chaps were made from the hair of a Newfoundland. The hair was thick and long and laid in the correct way that defied the rain. His saddle was made of fine Spanish leather, stamped with an intricate design with gold inlay on the saddle horn and cantle. His saddlebags, or war bags, were made of the same Newfoundland hair and most likely contained his wardrobe, a change of underwear and another shirt.
Shoots Plenty handed back the merchandise to Carmen and stepped into the street.
The cowboy got off his horse, slapping it in the rump as it walked slowly to a water trough located in front of the general store.
They made an odd couple, standing there in the street. Shoots Plenty with his cotton shirt and deerskin leggings, knee-high moccasins, and a black stovepipe hat, bearing an eagle’s feather, cocked precariously on his head. He was covered with crossing bandoliers slung sash-style over his shoulder and across his chest filled with .45 shells for the two Colts he had holstered on each hip, with the butts of the revolvers facing forward affording a faster draw. The bandoliers kept the ammunition off his hips, making it easier for him to retrieve ammunition when needed, something he learned from his old friend and fellow bounty hunter, Esben Hjerstedt
Shoots Plenty recognized the cowboy he was facing from a poster Esben had given to him before he came to town that morning. He was a hired gunman from Paris, Texas who was wanted by the law for killing a store clerk in Austin, Texas. He had been on the run for close to two years, hiding out in the New Mexico Territory and Matamoros, Mexico. At the top of the poster it said $500 Reward. That was all Shoots Plenty needed to know.
It was a game of two and Shoots Plenty got there first, slapping leather so fast the cowboy looked stunned as he gazed down at the hole left by the .45 round that pierced his chest before his hand was even able to twitch. He folded like a paper fan.
Shoots Plenty bent down and removed the gun belt containing the Colt .44 revolver and threw it over his shoulder.
“Are you all right, my brave chief?” Carmen asked.
“I am. You should go to your crib and I will meet you later. I have a gift for you but first I have to file for my reward money.”
“Reward money? What reward money?”
“This man is wanted by your Texas Rangers. We help your Rangers find bad men and bring them in dead or alive. I prefer dead.”
Shoots Plenty went over to the cowboy’s horse and picked up its reins and led him in the direction of the Marshall’s Office. Maybe now Wasichus will take this pretty horse and let me shoot his one-eyed mule.
Later, after finishing off a meal of cornbread, fried bacon, and bean soup, prepared by Carmen, Shoots Plenty reached into his bag and removed a dreamcatcher that he made for Carmen to keep in her crib.
“What is this, my big brave chief?” she asked.
“It is what we Lakota call a dreamcatcher. Dreamcatchers represent the web of life. You should hang it above your bed. It will sift your dreams and visions capture the good dreams in the web. They will be carried with you but the evil dreams will escape through the center’s hole and will no longer be part of you.
There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with you and the harmony of nature and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings.
The Lakota believe the Dreamcatcher holds the destiny of their future.

MAX FLY PRIVATE EYE AND THE PHAT HO CAPER

This is another episode from the files of Max Fly, Private Eye, President and CEO of Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control Services located in downtown Burnt Corn, Alabama, where we have been protecting the innocent people of Burnt Corn from murder, narcotics distribution, robbery, extortion, loansharking and other nasty mafia behavior as well as rodents for over ten years

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control
Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

My name is Max Fly, Private Eye and I am a damned good one at that. The night in question was a hot Friday in July, the office was thick and heavy with cigar smoke in spite of the oscillating fan that was blowing in humid air from downtown Burnt Corn Alabama. The flashing red neon lights from Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall, located across the street next to the Burnt Corn All Night Diner and Laundromat, were dancing eerily on the office wall as Wanda Winchester, who heads up our reconciliation division, walked in with two large five cheese pizzas, a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a box of Cohiba Cigars, and a quart of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

Wanda Winchester
Luigi Licavoli, V. P. Operations

The pizza was from We Serve It Hot Pizza Parlor located next to the Burnt Corn General Store which is next to the Mockingbird Inn out on Alabama Highway 84. Normally their driver, Freda Livery, would bring the pizza to us but she has been experiencing some personal problems lately and we found it to be quicker just to drive out and pick it up ourselves. I was sitting around the card table with Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, head of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions, Tommy “Sneakers” Corona, head of our Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Division, and Luigi Licavoli, V. P. Operations. We were playing a game of Canasta, a card game I learned while on an assignment in Uruguay a few years ago, and which I taught to my staff upon my return. I was wearing my brown freshly polished Dan Post cowboy boots, my tight skinny Wrangler stretch jeans, sporting my bucking bronc belt buckle, a blue Snead State Community College sweatshirt, and my new white Stetson hat, which was cocked back on my head. I looked really good.

Tommy “Sneakers” Corona, Heads our Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Division

Zippy was about to deal the cards when the buzzing began. It was coming from the alarm monitoring panel we had installed when we contracted with the Burnt Corn Good Humor Alarm and Security Systems to monitor the alarms installed in the businesses and private residents in Burnt Corn, Alabama.
Wanda dropped the pizzas, cigars, and PBR in the middle of the table, scattering plastic chips in all directions, she kept the Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey clutched to her ample bosom, and walked over to the panel where lights were flashing and the buzzing continued indicating a break-in was in progress somewhere. She flipped a switch and the noise stopped.
“The alarm has been tripped at Phat Ho’s Curly Que Hair/Nail Salon and Massage Parlor. Do you think it’s a false alarm?”
“Most likely,” Luigi Licavoli uttered as he gathered some of Zippy Doo’s plastic chips, stuffing them in his jacket pocket. “Who in their right mind would break into Phat Ho’s place?”
“I saw that Luigi,” Zippy yelled reaching out and grabbing Luigi’s arm. “Give ‘em back.”
“I’m going to give her a call and let her know,” Wanda announced. “Should we bother to call Sheriff Wyatt Hertz to get him to go over there? It’s Friday night and he usually can’t be found until morning unless he is spending the night with Lacie Shorts but she is on that weekend cruise down the Saugahatchee Creek she won in that drawing at Patty Mae’s last month.”
“I will call the sheriff as soon as Luigi coughs up my chips,” Zippy screamed.
“Oh, all right,” Luigi yelled, slapping the plastic chips down on the table in front of Zippy.
“Do we have any clean glasses in here, Max?” Wanda asked looking around the room while she unscrewed the cap on the Fireball bottle.
“In the lower lefthand drawer of my desk,” I replied.
Wanda pulled out the drawer and took out a glass. “Hey, ain’t this the one where the clothes disappear on the girl as you add the liquid?”
“Yeah, don’t use that one it’s my favorite. Use one of the other ones with the PBR logo that Sneaker’s took from Patty Mae’s place.”
One of the many services that we provide the residents of the lovely metropolis of Burnt Corn Alabama is residential as well as business alarm monitoring and we were busy at work fulfilling our duty.
After Zippy confirmed that Sheriff Wyatt Hertz and his deputy, Hiram Firam, were nowhere to be found, we went into action.
“Okay, listen up everyone,” I bellowed, “it appears we are on our own. Everyone grab your rigging and Smith and Wesson .357’s. Make sure they are loaded and you only have five in the box. I don’t want any unwarranted shootings. Zippy, you and Luigi will cover the back entrance of the Phat Ho’s shop. Sneakers, you come with me and Wanda, fill the cooler with some PBR and bring some pizza in case we are in a standoff.”
“You got it, boss,” she replied as she threw back what was left of the Fireball in her PBR glass.
“I’ll bring around the Fly Mobile,” Zippy hollered as he ran to the door.
“Zip, we don’t need the Fly Mobile.The Phat Ho’s place is next door,” I responded, shaking my head.
“Okay, boys, and girl, let’s git ‘er done.”
Once I was sure everyone was in place I nodded at Tommy “Sneaker’s, who had a black belt in Karate, to bust down the door.
Sneaker’s lifted his left leg and spun around, sending a mighty kick aimed directly at the lock below the door handle.
“Holy shit,” Sneaker’s yelled, grasping his knee and falling to the ground. “I think I busted it.”
“The door?” I asked.
“No, my knee.”
I looked over and noticed the door was still shut and appeared not to have been damaged at all from Sneaker’s roundhouse kick when Wanda walked up to the door with the cooler filled with PBR and the box of five cheese pizza in her hands.
“You should know that Phat Ho never locks her door, Max,” she said as she turned the handle and the door opened.
“Can you walk, Sneaker’s?” I asked.
“I think so,” he replied.
“All right then, grab your iron and stay close to me. If someone is in here, it will give them someone else to shoot at.”
We noticed a faint light in the back of the shop and as we approached we could see someone sitting in the chair while another person was bent over opening a cabinet drawer.
“Damn,” Sneaker’s whispered, ‘that’s Ronnie Blokkenbak, that former Auburn University football player who just moved here from Monroeville.
Ronnie Blokkenbak was sitting in a chair with curlers in his hair and a big hair drying bonnet over his head, reading the National Enquirer while his girlfriend, Sue Flay, a part-time cook at the Waffle House out on Highway 84 was holding a bottle of Dippity Doo hair gel and rummaging through a drawer next to the chair where Blokkenbak was seated.

Ronnie Blokkenbak Former Auburn Football Star
Sue Flay

I hollered, “Freeze, you mothers and get down on the floor.”
I looked over at Tommy Sneaker’s Corona who was laid out flat on the floor with his hands over his head. “What are you doing, Sneaker’s, I’m talking to them, not you.”
About that time the back door swung open and in came Zippy Doo and Luigi Licavoli with their .357’s pointing at Sue Flay and Ronnie Blokkenbak.
Ronnie’s eyes got as big as they did when he was about to be hit by that big Alabama defensive lineman in the Iron Bowl up in Birmingham back in ’72. The one that ended his football playing days for good.
Then Wanda Winchester came in chewing on a piece of the five cheese pizza when she recognized Sue Flay.
“What in cornbread hell are you doin’ in here, Suzie and who is that thing with them metal things in his hair?”
“Why, Wanda, that’s my new beau, Ronnie. You know, the one I told you about, the football hero from Auburn?”
“He played football?”
“He sure did and now he is going to be a big shot attorney, as soon as he gets accepted in law school somewhere.”
I had enough of all the girl talk and broke into their conversation, “You do realize, Sue Flay, that breaking and entering will most likely keep Ronnie Blokkenbak from becoming a lawyer just like the lickin’ he got from that big ol’ Bama boy back in ’72 ended his football playing days.”
“What breakin’ and enterin’ you talkin’ about, Max? That Phat Ho said I could come in here after hours and use her facilities whenever I needed to. We do what they call bartering. I get her some free cheese eggs and grits and a side of hash browns, which she likes scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked, and in turn, I get free use of her facilities. That way we don’t have to pay taxes.”
We holstered our irons and confirmed with the Phat Ho that Sue Flay was telling the truth and they actually were in a business bartering group.
We made amends for interrupting and scaring Sue Flay and Ronnie Blokkenbak by sharing our PBR and five cheese pizza with them while Ronnie’s hair finished drying.
Later that night, after picking up empty cans of PBR and disposing of leftover pizza, I wrote my report to the Burnt Corn Good Humor Alarm and Security Systems, informing them of our fast response time to what turned out to be a false alarm at the Phat Ho’s Curly Que Hair/Nail Salon and Massage Parlor.
I am one lucky man. I get to do what I like to do best, protect the good people of Burnt Corn, Alabama and I get paid well to do it.

Yinnuwok – The Ghost Stallion

The Ghost Stallion

They set out in a northeasterly direction toward the Sierra Madre. All that afternoon and most of the following night they pushed rapidly on until they emerged upon the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre and looked down upon the town of Canutillo. Not until then did they stop to rest and make camp.
“Tomorrow we will ride into Canutillo to find Dick Lloyd and Charley Snow, two more cattle rustlers who ride with John Kinney and what he calls his chain gang,” Esben said, as he unfolded the two wanted posters to show to Shoots Plenty. “This is what they look like” He threw two more logs on the fire. Sparks and flames shot into the air.
Shoots Plenty removed his pipe and looked at the posters.
“Hmm, all you white eyes look the same to the Lakota.”
“Just make sure you shoot the right ones when we find them or I might be finding your face on one of these wanted posters.”
“What is this thing the chain gang that they run?”
“A group of horse and cattle thieves that are operating between the Texas Panhandle and southern Arizona Territory. They alter the brands and sell the cattle to butchers and ranchers who ask no questions. Tomorrow we are gonna put an end to that.”
“And how do you know that this Lloyd and Snow are in Canutillo?”
“Captain Smith said that is where they visit their favorite whores. If they aren’t there, we wait. I’m tired and I’m going to turn in.”
“You should think about getting rid of that one-eyed mule, Wasichus. Have I told you the story of Yinnuwok?”
“No, you have not. Who is Yinnuwok?”
“Yinnuwok is the Ghost Stallion”
“I don’t want to listen to you tonight, speak to yourself. I’m turning in.”
“Do not close your ears to our talk. It is important that you should listen, Wasichus. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what the Lakota have to say and so should you, li meta cola.”
“Well, make it quick. I’m tired.”
“ This story has been passed down from generation to generation by my people. My grandfather spoke to me of when the wind blows the stars clean, and the coyotes jump, and, if you remain still, you can sometimes hear the sound of running horses. When you do you should move closer to one another and pile more wood on the fire, he said, and listen to the old ones tell this story from long ago. It is about a great warrior and chief of the Lakota but a foolish one as well. What the man’s name was, no one knows now, and so they call him the Traveler.
Long ago, the Traveler was a wealthy chief and he had taken many scalps and many horses. He increased his wealth by hard dealings with the less fortunate and younger men who were no match for his cunning.
The Lakota did not love him but they did admire his bravery for he drove hard bargains and prospered from the ills of others. His wives were taken away by their parents; his children hated him and he had no love for them.
There was only one thing he cared for, his horses. They were fine horses, beautiful horses, for he kept only the best. When young warriors returned from a raid with a particularly good horse, the Traveler never rested until he had it in his possession. At night, when the dance drum was brought out, and the other Lakota gathered around, Traveler went alone to the place where his horses were picketed, to gloat over his treasures. He loved them. But only the ones that were young, and handsome, and healthy. A horse that was old, or sick, or injured, received only minimal care and consideration.
One morning, when he went to the little valley in which his horses were kept, he found in the herd an ugly white old stallion, with crooked legs, and a matted coat, thin, and tired looking.
The Traveler flew into a rage. He took his rawhide rope, and caught the poor old horse. Then, with a club, he beat it unmercifully. When the animal fell to the ground, stunned, The Traveler broke his legs with the club, and left him and returned to his lodge, feeling not the slightest remorse for his cruelty.
Later, deciding he might as well have the hide of the old horse, he returned to the place where he had left him and to his surprise, the white stallion was gone. That night, as the Traveler slept, he had a dream. The white stallion appeared and slowly turned into a beautiful horse, shining white, with long mane and tail – a horse more lovely than any the Traveler had seen.
Then the Stallion spoke: “If you had treated me kindly, I would have brought more horses to you, but because of your cruelty to me I shall take away the horses you have!”
When the Traveler awoke, he found his horses were gone. All that day, he walked and searched, but he had found no trace of them. At night when he was asleep and exhausted, he dreamed and in his dreams, the White Stallion came again, and said, “Do you wish to find your horses? They are north, by a lake. You will sleep twice before you come to it.”
As soon as he awakened in the morning, the Traveler took a young warrior’s horse and hastened northward a two days’ journey, and when he arrived there were no horses.
That night, the Ghost Stallion came again. “Do you wish to find your horses?” he asked. “They are grazing in some hills. There will be two sleeps before you come to this place.”
When the sun had gone down on the third day, the Traveler had searched the hills but had found no horses. That night the Stallion came again to the Traveler, directing him to some distant spot, but he never found his horses but he continued to look.
His horse became thin, and footsore. Sometimes he got a horse from some friendly camp; sometimes he stole one.
In the night. before morning, there would come a loud drumming of hoofs, the Ghost Stallion and his band would gallop by, and the Traveler’s horse would break its picket, and go with them.
And never again did he have a horse; never again did he see his own lodge. And he wanders, even to this day, still searching for his lost horses.
Sometimes, the elders say, on a windy autumn night when the stars shine very clearly, over on the quiet plains, above the wind you may hear a rush of running horses and the stumbling footsteps of an old man. And, if you are patient, you may see the Stallion and his band, and the Traveler, still pursuing them, still trying to get back his beautiful horses.
Perhaps tomorrow I will catch a horse for you, Wasichus, and then we can eat that one-eyed mule you have been riding before he decides to kill you.”
“He won’t kill me, Shoots Plenty, and he is better and surer-footed then any horse.”
“You need a good Indian pony, Wasichus.”

MAX FLY AND THE WALMART CAPER

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

The name is Max Fly and I am a private eye, a damn good one too! I was sitting at my desk staring out the window at the Burnt Corn All Night Diner and Laundromat watching a well-endowed waitress by the name of Bea Heine, serve up an order of cheese grits and scrambled eggs with a side of hash browns smothered and covered,  to Wayne Dwopps, our local TV weatherman, and wondering why the phone hadn’t rung in over a week.

My desk is located next to my partner’s, Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, a sort of illegal green card carrying Hispanic from Matamoros, Mexico, a small town a few miles across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas. Zippy heads up our displaced persons and pest control divisions.

Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

“You all right, Max?” Zippy asked. “You look like one of them dummies at the Burnt Corn General Store.”

“I don’t know, Zip, a little down I guess. Today is kinda slow. Nothing on the docket. Actually, the whole damn week is kinda slow. Okay, it’s been a slow year. The last case we had was when Alan Skidmore contacted us and told us that someone had broken into his trailer and stole five pounds of bacon out of his refrigerator.”

“Wasn’t that when his wife got up for a midnight snack and was afraid to admit it.”

“Yeah, it was. Luckily, I took along Wanda Winchester, our reconciliation expert and she detected a faint bacon scent on the breath of Skidmore’s wife and she finally confessed.”

The phone rang. Both Zippy and I reached for it. Zippy was faster.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control. Who is this?”

“This is Freda, Freda Livery, what’s your address there?” Freda is lacking in social graces and is the delivery girl for the “We Serve It Hot Pizza Parlor” located in downtown Burnt Corn where she works to pay for her tuition at the Burnt Corn Automotive and Bus Mechanics College, an online technical school.

“Freda,” Zippy began, “there are only 300 people in Burnt Corn and you have made deliveries here before how can you be lost? Aren’t you part Muskogee Indian? I thought Indians were supposed to be great trackers.”

“My people were great trackers until the white man civilized us.”

“Where is Gilroy doesn’t he usually ride with you?” Zippy asked.

Gilroy is Gilroy Skindancer another local Musgokee Indian and Freda’s boyfriend.

“Gilroy’s in jail. Sheriff Hertz pulled him in on an outstanding drunk and disorderly warrant.”

Sheriff Hertz is Wyatt Hertz, Burnt Corn’s ersatz Sheriff the main reason people refer clients to us. He and his deputy, Hiram Firam, are about as incompetent a pair of law enforcement officers as a pair can be.

Freda walked in with our pizza within five minutes after Zippy got her straightened away.

“That’ll be $7.95.”

Zippy paid her out of our petty cash fund, which was beginning to dwindle pretty fast, along with a $1.00 tip.

“Hey, hold up there, Freda,” Zippy yelled. “This pizza is cold. What’s up with that?”

“Oh, I had to stop at the laundromat and put my clothes in the dryer before they began to stink. Gilroy was supposed to do that, but you know what happened to him. Don’t you have a microwave in this dump?”

“If we had a microwave, we wouldn’t have had to call you for a HOT pizza!” Zippy yelled.

“Whatever,” she replied slamming the door behind her.

“Damn, Max, what are these fishy looking things? I didn’t order fish on this pizza. It’s supposed to be a five cheese pizza.”

“They look like anchovies, I think. Just pick ‘em off. I’m not hungry anyway.”

The phone rang. Zippy was slamming the first piece of pizza sans anchovies, in his mouth so I beat him to it.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control, how may I help you?”

“Mr. Fly?”

I knew I didn’t know who this person was as nobody who knows me calls me mister.

“Yeah, who is this?” I replied.

“This is Frank, Frank Ferter. I am the security guard at the Walmart out on the by-pass.”

Frank didn’t need to tell me where the Walmart was as Burnt Corn only encompasses about five square miles and it isn’t really a bypass, it’s Alabama Highway 84 and there is only one Walmart. The next nearest one is in Monroeville about fifteen miles to the east.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Ferter?”

“Well, it appears we have a situation here and we can’t reach Sheriff Wyatt Hertz nor that worthless deputy of his, Hiram Firam. Nobody is answering the phone at the Sheriff’s office. My boss, Ms. Derry Yare, suggested that I call you.”

“Did you try reaching the sheriff at Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall?”

“Yeah, and Patty Mae said she ain’t seen them either. Can you come on out? Ms. Derry Yare said she would pay your fee if you can help us here.”

I looked over at Zippy. There was a pile of anchovies sitting next to the box of pizza. He had already consumed half the pizza and was guzzling down a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

“Well, my assistant and I are in the middle of our dinner. Can’t this wait?”

“Not really, Mr. Fly, I’m afraid it can’t. We have a situation here. There is total chaos and I am the only security personnel in here. The rest are female Walmart clerks and in spite of what all the wimmen are claiming these days, they just ain’t up to handling the altercation that I have on my hands now.”

“Tell me what’s going on, Mr. Ferter.”

“You don’t have to call me mister, mister, you can call me Frank. We got a Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez here. She was driving a motorized shopping cart, without a drivers license I might add, through our Walmart while gorging herself on five-finger-discount grub and guzzling down some of our finest discount wine. I caught her grabbing a package of our week old fresh sushi, eat a piece, and then return it to the shelf.

Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez

Next on her menu were mini muffins and cinnamon rolls. The damn woman consumed them in the same fashion as the sushi and, are you ready for this, Mr. Fly? For the main course, she ate a whole damn rotisserie chicken. By the end of the meal, she had drained two bottles of wine. All told, Ms. Derry Yare said she consumed $32.36 in food and drink, without even leaving a tip.

When I asked Sanchez why she did it she said that she was hungry and did not want to take any of the items outside of the store, but did consume everything she could while inside the store.”

“Where is she now, Frank?”

“She broke loose and jumped on the motorized shopping cart and is now riding around our parking lot. She has already rammed it into a Toyota Yaris and it looks like the Yaris is totaled. That damn Yaris is smaller than our motorized shopping carts. I didn’t know we had any tree huggers living in Burnt Corn who would buy one of them things. They must be visiting or passin’ through.

How soon can you get here, Mr. Fly?”

I glanced over at Zippy again and noticed that the only thing left to eat were the anchovies.

“You can call me Max,” I said. “We can be there in five minutes, but we have a hasty response fee of ten dollars that we charge when responding to situations without prior notice.”

“I’m sure Ms. Derry Yare will be inclined to pay your hasty response charge.”

“We are on our way.”

I hung up and grabbed my hat and my Smith and Wesson .357 that was located in my rigging hanging over the back of my chair.

“Finish that Pabst Blue Ribbon and grab your shootin’ iron, Zippy. We got us a situation.”

I filled Zippy in on what was happening as he slid behind the wheel of the Fly Mobile and headed toward Alabama Highway 84 that Frank Ferter referred to as the Burnt Corn By-Pass.

When we pulled into the Burnt Corn Walmart we noticed a large crowd of people milling around in front of the store, staring out at the parking lot where a diminutive Hispanic woman was driving erratically with a portly uniformed guard, who we assumed was Mr. Frank Ferter, in hot pursuit on foot.

Zippy pulled in next to him and asked him if that was the suspect he was chasing.

Mr. Ferter bent over at the waist and placed his hands on his thighs as he wheezed, “What in the hell do you think? Of course, it is. Do you think I’m out here running a freakin’ 10K road race?”

“No need for the sarcasm, Mr. Ferter,” I replied. “Hop in the back we’ll give you a ride.”

“Head east,” he gasped, “she’s heading to the store. We can cut her off. Damn, the battery on that cart should be about dead by now. She’s been riding around for a good forty-five minutes. I feel like I sweated off at least five pounds.”

“Which way is east,” Zippy asked.

Mr. Frank Ferter looked at him and said while pointing to his left, “If you don’t know directions, how in the hell did you ever get out of Mexico?”

Zippy looked at him with disgust and replied, “That’s why we hire coyotes. They know where they are going and none of them are fat.”

When we turned the corner around the back of the store the suspect almost ran head-on into the Fly Mobile. She yanked the wheel to the right and jumped out, doing a perfect jump and roll, making me wonder if she was a former airborne ranger, and proceeded to run up a hill on foot.

“I can’t run anymore,” Frank Ferter snorted, “I’m plumb worn out. One of you has to go get her.”

I looked over at Zippy and he said, “Hell, Max, I’m driving.”

“The car’s stopped, Zip. You can get her.”

“Let’s settle this with Paper, Scissors, and rock,” Zippy replied.

“Dammit, both of you guys go. I think she grabbed some Ding Dongs on her way out the store. We are paying you your hasty response fee, so respond.”

The fact that we hadn’t had a case for quite awhile and we needed the money, we both jumped out of the Fly Mobile, Zippy took the keys before we headed up the hill in pursuit of Ms. Sanchez.

Since Zippy was a heavy smoker, he petered out about halfway up so when I crested the top of the ridge, I realized I was on my own and I was wheezing myself.

I looked down and I spotted the suspect sitting behind a rather large boulder eating her package of Ding Dongs and washing it down with a bottle of Thunderbird wine. I hoped that wasn’t the wine Mr. Frank Ferter was referring to when he said she was consuming some of their finest discount wine.

I pulled out my Smith and Wesson .357 as I approached.

“Excuse me, Miss,” I panted, “but I am going to have to ask you to come with me.”

She looked up at me and smiled, “Why don’t you sit down and join me for a little refreshment. I have another package of Ding Dongs and there is more than enough of this Thunderbird wine left for both of us,” she said, thrusting out the bottle in my direction.

I never was a big fan of Thunderbird. I preferred Ripple in my day, but I grabbed the bottle anyway and placed it down on the ground behind me.

“Why don’t you come back with me?” I responded, holding out my hand.

She grabbed it and I helped her up, surprised at how tiny she was.

When we got back to Walmart, Sheriff Wyatt Hertz and his deputy, Hiram Firam were there talking to a woman who I assumed was Ms. Derry Yare. The lights were rotating on the top of their Chevrolet Caprice squad car, casting a blue brilliance off the back wall of the building. Zippy and Frank Ferter were over to the side arguing about Coyotes and illegal immigrants.

I handed over Ms. Sanchez to Sheriff Hertz.

“Mr. Fly? I’m Ms. Derry Yare, the store manager. I wish to thank you for your help when there was none to be found anywhere,” she said, her eyes blazing at Sheriff Hertz.

Fly Mobile

“Please follow me and I’ll get you your money. I like your car. What kind is it?”

“It’s a 1958 Oldsmobile 98. We call it the Fly Mobile.”

“Nice. Here you go and I have included two Walmart gift cards as a bonus.”

“That’s mighty nice of you, Ms. Derry Yare, thank you.”

“That’s quite all right. By the way, are you married Mr. Fly?”

Max Fly And The Foul Smelling Caper

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control located in downtown Burnt Corn, Alabama,  where we have been protecting the innocent people of Burnt Corn from murder, narcotics distribution, robbery, extortion, loansharking and other nasty mafia behavior for over ten years. We are also licensed as pest control agents.

Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

It was a balmy January night. We had removed our shirts and were sitting at our desks in our undershirts with the window open and an oscillating fan turned on high, blowing Zippy Doo’s cigarette smoke around the room. Our rigging, holding our Smith and Wesson .357 revolvers, was hanging over the back of our chairs. For most of the evening, we were watching the comings and goings at the Burnt Corn All-night Diner and Laundromat but I was currently mesmerized by the dark sweat stains that continued to grow under Zippy’s impressively cut arms. Zippy was watching a young coed as she carried a basket of soiled unmentionables into the laundromat. He was glassing her with his new professional lightweight Ziest Conquest HD 10×42  detective binoculars with the advanced HD lens design with extra-low chromatic dispersion. He received it last year as a gift from a small group of his relatives and close friends from Matamoros, Mexico, that he had smuggled into the United States to pick rutabagas in southern North Dakota. Where they got ahold of high-quality German binoculars in Mexico is unknown. He was still glomming onto the young coed when the phone rang. Zippy Doo answered.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control. Who is this?”

Helen Feelich

“This is Helen Feelich and I need to speak with someone from your pest control division.”

” I can help you. My name is Chico Rodriguez, but you can call me Zippy Doo.”

“Well, Mr. Doo, can you come over here right away? There is a revolting essence in my bedroom and I need you to investigate this problem.”

“Essence, eh? Well, we are kinda busy right now,” Zippy replied, as he swatted two mating flies that had taken over the top of what was left of his Sonic burger that he had for lunch earlier in the day.

“If we drop everything we are doing to take care of your mephitic problem, there will be a hasty response charge of $10.00.”

” What mephitic problem? I got a stench in here and I don’t care about your hasty charges,” she screamed, “I just want to get rid of that ungodly vapor so I can sleep. I have to be to work at the Burnt Corn Bare and Intimate Essentials, Brassiere, Corset, and Apparel factory by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I am lead sewer on the line that sews the straps on the cups of the brassieres and tomorrow we are doing the double D cups. If I don’t get some sleep, I could sew my fingers into a double D brassiere and that just won’t do.”

Fly Mobile

“We’re on our way,” Zippy replied as he stood up and strapped on his .357 Smith and Wesson revolver.

“Don’t you think a .357 is a bit of an overkill for a skunk or some other malodorous critter?” I asked.

“Dead’s dead. Don’t matter how they get there,” he replied.

We jumped into the Fly Mobile with Zippy driving. He had just received his learners permit that he kept in the glove box along with his recently expired green card which was a forgery anyway, and rushed right over to 1221 Backwater Avenue where Mrs. Feelich resides.

She lived in a nicely appointed double wide and she let us in before we could even knock.

“Mrs. Feelich? I’m Zippy Doo and this is my partner, Max Fly. We are Private Eyes as well as pest control agents.

“That’s nice. now get in here and get to work and find what is causing this halitotic smell.”

As usual, it didn’t take us long before we solved the mystery – the smell turned out to be her husband, Amos, who was passed out under the bed. So for an extra $10.00 we took Amos to Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall in downtown Burnt Corn where everybody smells about the same and told him not to go home until after 7:00 a.m. We left him with a bar of Ivory soap the cost of which was added to Mrs. Feelich’s bill.

Amos Feelich

This is why we do what we do. It’s not for the big fees. It’s for the good feeling we get when we help remove the vermin and botheration that torment the poor citizens of this fine southern Alabama city.

You got a problem? Give us a call that’s all.

Christopher Columbus, An Alleged Mafia Boss Carlo Caputo, And The Doctor!

 

Dr. Craig “Doc” Campbell and Max Fly Private EYE

When Christopher Columbus disembarked from his boat on the shores of the Crawfish River, a mere fifteen miles east of the Wisconsin state capital of Madison. he declared that the land he set his foot upon “is as beautiful as am I so I proclaim this piece of land Christopher Columbus land. You may refer to it as merely Columbus if you wish.” And that is where the saga of surgeon Dr. Craig Campbell and the late Carlo Caputo, began. While some people doubt the validity of my claim that Chris Columbus did navigate the Crawfish River looking for a suitable place to give his name to back in the late 1400’s, I have been informed by a reliable source that he actually did just that; however, I will wait for the appropriate time to reveal my source. Before I do that, I will reveal some facts that can easily be verified by anyone with or without a computer.

While neither Carlo Caputo nor “Doc” Campbell, a retired surgeon whose wit is drier than an extra dry vodka martini, is nationally known, they both have acquired a modest reputation in southeastern Wisconsin, especially in the small town of Columbus where they both, at one time, owned the Capri Steakhouse which is actually a Wisconsin Supper Club. Caputo traded lakefront property in Madison for the club in 1954. After changing hands a few times, “Doc” Campbell purchased the club in 1992.
Caputo the purported mafia boss of Madison named the restaurant the Tropical

Carlo Caputo

Lounge. He was associated with the Balistrieri clan out of Milwaukee which was considered a branch of the Chicago Outfit. The family’s most influential boss was Frank “Mad Bomber”, “Mr. Slick”, “Mr. Big” (take your pick) Balistrieri, who was involved in the skimming of Las Vegas casinos and the restaurant business in the Milwaukee area. The Tropical Lounge which was, on occasion, a gathering place for “Mr. Big” Frank Balistrieri and his, uh, business associates, with its red and gold upholstered walls has an upstairs where they would meet so they could conduct their “business” in private where their conversations would not be overheard by those who didn’t have a need to know.

John J, Frank P “Big Frank” and Joseph P Balistrieri Photo credit Milwaukee

The history of this establishment was brought to my attention while visiting the “Unmentionables,” also referred to as in-laws, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Being sort of a self-avowed Brandy affectionado as well as being anxious to sample one or more of “Doc’s” highly acclaimed Brandy Sweet Old Fashions, I was delighted to hear that we would be taking a ride to Columbus to have dinner at the Capri Steakhouse.
So, on November 28th, Max Fly along with his little squeeze, Jacqui, her older sister and the big Norwegian she married, got to meet the Doc (Caputo is dead) and sample his “famous” Brandy  Sweet Old Fashions. He pulled up a bottle of dark liquid which contained “his special sauce” and added it to the Brandy and bitters in my glass. Having a brief career as a bartender, I have some experience in making this Wisconsin classic drink as well as having an opportunity on many occasions to sample a few and I think the “Doc” has actually found the secret formula that has been prudently sheltered all these years by the gods of the Brandy Old Fashions.
While we sat at the bar and sipped his sweet nectar “Doc” filled us in on a little of the history of the town of Columbus and his memorable supper club.
“There used to be 17 bars in the four-block area,” Doc said. “Now there’s four.” an occurrence usually found around “connected” enterprises I assumed.
We asked him what defines a supper club? According to “Doc” they have their bar in the front, and their dining room in the back, they serve Brandy Sweet Old Fashions or Whiskey Old Fashions and after a meal, they whip up ice cream drinks like Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders. That sounds about right to me.

If you are ever in the Madison Wisconsin area, you might want to take the 15-mile drive east to Columbus and pay a visit to the “Doc” you won’t regret it. The Capri Steakhouse is located at:
126 S. Ludington St.
Columbus, WI 53925
(920) 623-4818

Taking Down Bartolo Sepulveda and Juan Soto – From The Texas Bounty Hunters

Esben and Shoots Plenty spent the day riding along the Rio Grande River heading to Fabens, Texas, the town where Captain Smith of the Texas Rangers said Bartolo Sepulveda and Juan Soto were last seen. Fabens, located 25 miles southeast of El Paso on the Rio Grande River, was formerly known as Mezquital.
Esben was contemplating how they would take down Sepulveda and Soto when he realized Shoots Plenty was speaking again.
“Last night after you fell asleep Wanaghi Tachanku was visible in the sky. To the Lakota people, it is called the Trail of the Spirits. The white man calls it the Milky Way. I do not know why the white man calls it that.
The trail of the spirits is the road of the dead to the spirit world.
The Lakota people believe that after death, the deceased person’s soul will go to the happy hunting ground, a place that resembles the world of the living, but with better weather, and more plentiful animals that are easier to hunt than they are in the world of the living. I do not think any wasichus are found there. That is why the Lakota spirit goes there. ”
“So, your lady friend, Carmen, won’t be able to join you in your spirit world?”
“Carmen will join me if I wish her to. She is not a white eye.”
“You have that much influence, Shoots Plenty?”
“You must have forgotten, Wasichus, I am a member of the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan is highly regarded by all my people.”
Esben ignored him and said, “There’s San Felipe,”pointing to a small log building in the distance. Esben and Shoots Plenty rode up to the stagecoach station and Esben dismounted and walked inside. “Hiya, Rex, how have you been?”
Rex Simpson, a small man with a full white beard, wearing a beat-up hat and leather vest over a frayed flannel shirt replied, “I’ve been able to sit up and take nourishment. How ’bout you, Esben?”
“I’ve been fine. We are looking for a couple of Mexicans, Bartolo Sepulveda and Juan Soto,” Esben responded, placing the wanted posters on the counter.
“We were told we would be able to find these two in Fabens. Have you seen them?”
“For sure. They been coming and going here for the past year. I believe I saw those two in the presence of another Mexican by the name of Julio Cardenas go into the Darby Saloon down in Fabens. That Cardenas fella goes by the name of Two Ropes.”

“How far is Fabens from here?”
“Bout three miles.”
“Thanks, Rex, we’ll see you later.”
He walked outside and took the reins of his one-eyed mule from Shoots Plenty and said, “According to ol’ Rex we can find them in town. Most likely at the Darby Saloon.”
“The Mexican spends too much of his time drinking that corn whiskey. It will be easy for us to kill these men,” Shoots Plenty replied as Esben mounted his mule and rode in the direction of Fabens and the Darby Saloon.
There was a soiled dove sitting at a piano against the far wall playing and softly singing the song, The Yellow Rose Of Texas. Two young cowboys were standing at the bar with a bottle of whiskey and a couple of glasses in front of them and at a table in the far corner sat Bartolo Sepulveda and Juan Soto, along with a very large Mexican. They were in the middle of a card game.
Shoots Plenty and Esben spread out as they walked to the back, one on each side of the table.
“You fellas are coming with us,” Esben announced.
Bartolo Sepulveda turned around first and looked at Esben and Shoots Plenty with disdain before he declared, “Who are you? You ain’t the law.”
“Oh, but we are,” Esben responded.
“Hell, they’s bounty hunters,” Juan Soto replied.
“I knew you wasn’t no law. No redskin can arrest a Mexican,” Sepulveda answered as he faced the two men. “This the best you could rustle up, bounty hunter,” he spat on the floor while staring at Shoots Plenty?
Shoots Plenty could smell his breath six feet off.
“I did the best I could with what I have,” Esben replied. “I’ve got six slugs and so does he and there are only three of you. Seems to me we have more than enough.” He glanced over at Soto and the other man, Julio Two Ropes Cardenas. Two Ropes had six inches on Soto and more gristle than the other two combined.
“Wasichus, this hombre’s breath smells worse than your one-eyed mule,” Shoots Plenty said.
“That bad?”
“Yes, that bad.”
“Two Ropes,” Sepulveda barked the name without taking his eyes off Shoots Plenty.
Two Ropes got up and stepped away from the table, his wide mouth turned up into a malicious grin.
Shoots Plenty’s eyes followed him and his hand tightened on the grip of his pistol.
“You might as well make your move, Bartolo because none of you are walking out of here.”
Esben could see a slight tremor in Sepulveda’s hand.
Shoots Plenty had enough and drew his .45 and cracked the hammer and fired point blank at Sepulveda. Sepulveda’s gun had barely broken leather when Shoots Plenty’s shot struck him just above his mouth, shattering his teeth. Blood splattered over his face as he crumbled to the ground.
“You bloodsucker,” Soto screamed as he drew his gun but Esben had a bead on him and pulled his trigger striking him in his right arm, rendering it useless.
Shoots Plenty turned and fired at Two Ropes Cardenas striking him in the throat. The big Mexican stood gurgling in his own blood before oxygen was cut off from his brain, killing him before he hit the ground.
Soto reached across his body with his left hand, attempting to get his .45 when Esben shot him again, this time in the chest, spinning him around. He fell face first onto the floor.
Esben looked over at Shoots Plenty whose .45 was still smoking in his hand and said, “Well, that was easy.”
“Yes, it was easy,” he responded while holstering his Colt. “Now we collect our money.”
As they rode out of Fabens Shoots Plenty felt he had something important to say.
“Did I tell you the story about how the catfish got a flat head?”
“I’m sure you did, you old squaw, but you are going to tell me again aren’t you?”
“My grandfather told me this story…”

 

How The Black Wind Horse Saved The Lakota

BLACK WIND HORSE

Esben grabbed the horse bladder holding what was left of their water and took a drink before passing it over to Shoots Plenty.
They had been riding since before sunrise and the sun was now dropping fast. They were looking for a suitable place to stop and make camp for the evening.
“What is this place you call, Fabens, like?” Shoots Plenty asked. “Carmen said there are many bad men that come there from Ciudad Juarez.”
“It is a bad place, but not any worse than many of the others we have been to. Captain Smith said that a cattle rustler by the name of Bartolo Sepulveda and his partner, Juan Soto, have been spotted there many times. They cross over into Texas to steal cattle and sell them to ranchers in the New Mexico Territory and then flee back to Ciudad Juarez where they are safe from the Texas Rangers. We will put an end to that pretty soon.”
“And get more of the paper money.”
“Yes, more of the paper money,” Esben replied.
They rode in silence again for a few minutes when Shoots Plenty felt he had something important to say.
“Wasichus, did I tell you the story told to me by my grandfather, the one about Unhcegila, the serpent monster?”
“If I told you that you had, you old squaw, you would still tell it to me again, wouldn’t you?”
Shoots Plenty ignored him and did exactly what Esben said he would do; he told him the story again.
“My people originally came from the center of the earth and found themselves in Wakpa Wakan, the Spirit River, what the white man calls Rum River. It flows through Ogechie Lake which is downriver from Mille Lacs Lake, the source of this river. Soon there was the big flood, and my people went into Mille Lacs Lake and lived as underwater people. Before long a whirlpool pulled them up to the surface and threw them out onto the shore, where they now live as people who walk on land. My people are known as great explorers and it is at this time they explored the area and began living at the headwaters of the Spirit River. Here they met Unhcegila, the sea serpent.
Those of my people who know say the Unhcegila was a great snake, as large

UNHCEGILA

around as a tree trunk, with horns on its head, and a bright blazing crest like a diamond on its forehead, and scales glowing like sparks of fire. It had rings or spots of color along its whole length, and could not be wounded except by shooting or stabbing it in the seventh spot from the head where the red crystal was found because under this spot was its heart and its life. He who could kill it would become the greatest warrior of the tribe. Many of our brave warriors sought to kill Unhceglia to obtain the red crystal that was located in the seventh spot on her head which functioned as her heart. This red crystal granted its bearer great power. But was it worth a man’s life to attempt it, for whoever was seen by the Unhcegila was so dazed by the bright light that he would run toward the snake instead of trying to escape? As if this was not enough to keep the bravest of warriors away, the breath of the Unhcegila was so pestilential, it smelled much worse than your one-eyed mule, Wasichus, that no living creature could survive if they inhaled the tiniest bit of the foul air, expelled by the serpent monster. Even to see the Unhcegila asleep meant death, not to the hunter himself, but to his family.
One day Unhcegila ate the family of a warrior from the Bear Clan. The warrior was told by a Weasel spirit that if he were to be devoured by this serpent, he could use his knife to cut his way out and free the other victims.
So this warrior from the Bear Clan rode out on Black Wind Horse who, everyone knows, can fly.
This warrior rode for many days in search of this terrible serpent monster until he finally found it. Because of the great speed that Black Wind Horse possessed, the warrior was able to swoop down and catch the Unhcegila and a great battle ensued the outcome of which was not good because the serpent monster swallowed the warrior from Bear Clan as well as Black Wind horse. As the warrior from the Bear Clan was being swallowed he remembered the words of Weasel spirit who told him that if he were to be devoured by Unhcegila, he should use his knife to cut his way out, which he did, freeing all the other victims who had been devoured by the serpent monster.”

UNHCEGILA

“Aren’t you a member of the Bear Clan?”
“Yes, Wasichus, I am and my horse comes from Black Wind Horse”
“But he is an Appaloosa. He isn’t black.”
“He has black spots.”
“I should have known,” Esben replied, “I appreciate your sharing that story with me once again.”
“You are welcome, le mita cola.”
“Let’s make camp over there,” Esben said, pointing to a stand of cottonwood trees east of the Sante Fe Trail.
“That is fine,” Shoots Plenty responded. “Then I will tell you another of my grandfather’s stories.”
“I can hardly wait,” Esben replied, before squeezing his one-eyed mule into a trot toward the trees.