View Full Version : About Dead Doris 2 of 8. Detective 2,350 (Language)

October 9th, 2014, 03:38 PM
Synopsis: In mid 2003, Detective Sergeant Jablonski and partner are called to investigate an old woman found dead in a small hotel room. They find out it's a murder. The scene shifts to Doris Trumbell, sixteen and wild in the year 1942. Her and friends, Harry and Sammy, with the help of her boyfriend, Pete, rob a bank where Pete works. During the robbery, Doris accidentally shoots Pete. They're now getting away....

“Whooo, that was a blast,” Harry said, sweating hands on the steering wheel as they sped out of town. “Let’s head for Texas, uh? Blow this asshole town?”

“Not me,” Sammy replied, slumping down in the passenger seat, exhausted both physically and nervously. “I got a family here. Drop me off before you go.”

Doris herself had been thinking, too. She realized it would be trouble if she disappeared. Since she pretty much lived with Pete, the police would be certain to notice her gone. She didn’t want them searching for her as a victim -- or a suspect.

“I can’t go either, Harry,” she told him.

“I thought that was why you did it, to get money for a new life?” Harry protested, settling back to his driving. He'd halfway planned on taking her with him.

“Yeah, but not as a fugitive. Later, once things cool down.”

“Well, count out the money and give me my share. I’m getting the hell out of here after I drop you two off.” Harry turned down Smith road on his way to Sammy’s shack.

Since the moneybags were in back with Doris, she opened them and, separating cash from checks and other diverse papers, began sorting and counting currency. There was a little over $70,000 in the bags. Splitting it into three piles -- since it didn't look like Pete would be needing any -- she stuffed the money back into the three bank-bags.

Doris handed two of the bags up front to the others, keeping the one with her share and shoving the excess papers to the floor. Now why the hell did they bring out all that extra shit? she thought, but Pete had insisted, shoveling them in with the cash.

“About $23,000 apiece,” she told them. “Drop me off with Sammy. And you better give me Pete’s guns. I’ll take them back to his place and clean them in case the police get a list on the things.” The other two grabbed their loot and passed back the pistols and shotgun they had used in the robbery.

Although Sammy turned on the car radio, there was nothing on the local station about a bank robbery. They had stolen the car for the occasion and had their own parked at Sammy’s place.

Sammy was land poor. He owned a good deal of mountainside but the land had little value. Too sandy rocky and sloping to farm, it was mostly covered by scrub trees and brush. Good for hunting but for little else.

Harry and Sammy had left their cars at an ancient tumbledown shack a squatter had built deep in the woods behind Sammy’s house. The building was large enough to have space to hide the robbery car inside. With the heavy brush and isolation, nobody was likely to look there. Hidden among the trees, ramshackle and unpainted, it would be difficult to see from the air.


“Good luck, and have a good life,” Harry told them as he drove away in his own auto, never to be seen by them again. The robbery vehicle was already hidden inside the old structure.

“Come on, honey. I’ll take you home.” Sammy had started his own car and was waiting. Doris held back, looking around.

“On second thought, Sammy, I think I should leave my shit here.” She had been thinking. “If the police investigate Pete, they have ways of identifying his guns as being in the robbery. And I can’t have all that cash lying around in his, or my parent’s, house. I’ll leave my share here and pick it up later.”

She carried her bag back inside and threw it into the trunk of the getaway car, locking the vehicle and hiding the key behind a wooden post across the room. Sammy then drove her to Pete’s house. When they arrived, she had Sammy drive around the block a couple of times to make sure the police hadn’t been there yet.

Once inside, Doris hurried to the bedroom. Of course she had left the mask at the shack, but she now changed clothes, taking the ones she'd used in the robbery down the alley to a distant neighbor’s trash can and shoving them far in, piling other trash on top. Going back to Pete’s she changed again, that time into pajamas, and got into bed. She slept all afternoon without interruption.

While she was eating supper, Doris heard a pounding on the door. It was the police, taking that long to investigate Pete’s possible involvement in the robbery. Doris had tried the radio and been astounded to hear a report of a $400,000 robbery. Nothing else had been said about the investigation. She figured she was in the clear or they would have been to see her long before.

“No. I haven’t had the radio on. I figured Pete was working late,” she told the detective, a man named Simpson. “I wasn’t worried. He often does that on Fridays.”

“Well, I have to tell you something. You better sit down,” the detective told her. “He was shot in the robbery. Your father is being operated on right now, and is in a very bad way -- not expected to live.”

“He’s not my father. He’s my boyfriend. Who shot him? Did you get the guy?” Doris tried to act surprised and heartbroken but it was surprisingly hard.

“Did he ever talk about robbing his own bank, even as a joke?”

“No. Of course not. Pete would never do that. He’s an honest man. I ought to know.”

“I hear he has a gun collection. Does he have any machine-guns?” the detective asked, looking into her eyes.

“Ugh. I don’t know what all he has in that closet. A big bunch'a guns is all.” Doris looked aghast at the question. “A machine-gun? Isn’t that one of those big things that marines shoot in the movies, that make noise and booms really fast?” She shrugged. “I don’t think so. All he has is the short ones and the long ones, not no really big ones.”

The questioning went on for awhile. The detective never even asked her where she had been at the time. He finally said goodbye, commiserated with her again and left, telling her where Pete was -- in which hospital.

Doris took a taxi to the hospital but since he was in intensive care and wasn't expected to live, couldn’t get in to see him. She was told Pete’s family had been notified and would be coming. Mere friends, even live-in girlfriends, weren’t allowed.

That night, the police came again and took the remainder of the gun collection with them.

Doris knew of money Pete kept around for emergencies. His parents weren’t aware of that fact. Before they came for his possessions, she found and kept it. She still had most of a month on the apartment and didn’t want to leave too soon, feeling it might be suspicious. And Doris certainly didn't want to go back to her parent's house.

A few weeks later, the girl heard on the radio about Sammy’s arrest. It was only a couple of days before the rent ran out. Doris figured she had to get out of town, and quickly. She trusted Sammy. He was much nicer than Harry, but the police had ways to make a person talk and Sammy wasn’t all that bright. Doris called a taxi and went to a friend’s house.

“I need you to do something for me," she told her girlfriend, Mary Smithson. “Buy me a car. I have a few-hundred dollars and need one real bad.”

“You’re underage and don’t have a driver’s license. I could get into plenty of trouble.”

“You’ll be all right. I’m going to leave town. It can’t get back at you. If I get in trouble I won’t tell anyone where I got it.”

“It’ll be in my name, though. If you have an accident, the cops will check.” Mary objected.

“Mary, please. This is important. Just say I stole it or something, anything, but I have to have one and you’re my only hope. You wouldn’t want me to hitch rides on the highway, would you? I’m leaving, with or without your help.” It took a little time, and a lot of convincing, but Mary finally bought her a used 1936 Buick. After packing her things, Doris drove to the shack to get her bag.

Doris was glad she had kept the useless papers, since what was left contained over $200,000 dollars in bearer bonds along with stock certificates and other financial papers she didn't know how to spend. What could she do with Canadian money? she wondered, and there was a large pack of it.

Not being very well educated, she hadn’t recognized them as being valuable at the time of the robbery. Pete would have, and had probably thrown the bonds in during the crime. To the robbers, including Doris, they had been only excess paper.

She found the trunk of the getaway car had been disturbed. There were papers thrown around in it as though someone had gone through them. She saw with relief that her money was all there, although many of the bonds were gone.

Doris figured either Sammy or Harry had come back for their share, taking half and leaving hers, about $160,000 dollars in negotiable papers. On second thought, she realized, it would have to have been Sammy. Harry would have taken it all.


Back to 2003. After Trixie left, the detectives started their regimen. The two were glad they had been careful earlier -- before knowing it as a murder. They first dusted for fingerprints. Going out to the car, Detective Edwards searched for and found a police-issue camera and began taking photographs of the scene, while Jablonski knocked on doors for witnesses.

Smith City didn’t have a fancy crime scenes staff. Anything promising would be sent in to the state laboratory for analysis. The scene would be sealed and preserved but a State Crime Scene staff would be called in only if the prosecutor decided it was worth the expense to the city.

Detective Edwards didn't think that would happen. Not for an old lady under those circumstances. It was probably done by some doper needing cash for a fix. Sooner or later a friend would turn him in. Those people weren't very loyal when it came to ratting each other out.

Most of the hotel residents were at work or on the street. Some were either sleeping or not answering knocks. The desk clerk hadn’t been at work the night before, naturally, but gave the name and address of the one who had. Again, predictably, that one wasn’t home either or didn’t answer her telephone.

It took several days to question all the residents of the hotel. None had seen anything of note. No strangers hanging around or anything of the sort. Nobody had asked where to find Mabel Trum.

Of course, getting in or out of the hotel without being seen would have been easy. The normal night clerk was in her eighties and slept through most of the shift, waking to take money from and give hookers a key. There were several entrances, some not even going through the lobby. More than half the rooms were unoccupied.

Among other things, Sergeant Jablonski kept the photograph. There were many fingerprints in the room but fingerprints were essentially useless unless matched to a suspect -- and there were no suspects. The weapon was never found, no icepick being in the room or vicinity. The victim hadn’t been known or suspected of hoarding money and had no enemies. No relatives could be found, nor any personal correspondence naming them. There was nothing but a dead old lady in a lonely room. Even the manager's wife knew little of Mabel's past.

The detectives found a few bank statements from a local savings account, giving totals in the lower hundreds, along with a scattering of paid doctor bills. Checking with the bank, they could find no next of kin or valid references. The references they found were either fictitious or couldn’t be located, the last not being suspicious considering the time element. The woman had had the account for many years. The detectives had literally nothing to go on, with new cases piling up.

“I don’t know what else we can do, John,” Detective Edwards admitted, a week later. “She doesn’t even have a social security number that we can find.”

“The woman must have been getting money from somewhere. It takes cash to live and she wasn't on government welfare,” John Jablonski mentioned. He was stumped. “We have to release that room sometime. The management is already complaining. Let’s go back and give it a last going over first.”

“We already did, John. Just file the damned thing away and forget about it. Ain’t nowhere else to look. It was probably a stranger looking for drug money or a casual burglar. Maybe she had her door open part-way? A crime of opportunity. The state will have to shoulder the burial expenses.”

“Na, let’s try again, just to make sure. Tell you what, take this picture to the newspaper and send copies to the FBI. Maybe someone will recognize one of them,” Jablonski instructed his partner. “You do that and I’ll get a strong flashlight and small tools. While you’re busy, I’m going over that room inch by fucking inch. If we don’t hear anything from the newspaper or Feds in a couple days, we’ll file it away.”

End of section Two of Eight. To be posted approx. every two days. Please tell me of any mistakes you noticed.