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Dog,Tampa, Detective

Episode 5 – Files

“I represent Con Life and I am investigating Charlotte’s death.”

“Such a nice dog.”

“Did you ever meet the dog?”

“No. But my husband, Dan, spoke very well of Charlotte and her owner, Mrs. Matthews.”

“Do you know why your husband disappeared?”

She started crying, “No. He loved his work. I can’t imagine why he disappeared.”

“Would you mind if I went to his office and looked at the dog’s file?”

“Why no. I’ll call Daisy, Dan’s assistant, and tell her you are coming.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Gosling.” He turned to leave.

“You know, detective. . . .”

Jack stopped and turned around, “Yes?”

“Two nights ago, around bedtime, Dan received a telephone call. He became very upset and angry. Yelling an obscenity, he slammed the phone down. I have never seen him so angry in all the years we have been married.”

“Do you have any idea who the caller was?”

“No. Dan never said.”

“Well. Thanks again, Mrs. Gosling.”

From the address Mrs. Gosling gave him, Jack drove to the vet’s office near the downtown located in an old bungalow converted into an office and painted pink. Jack wondered why Florida houses were painted pink. People said buildings were pink in Cuba, must be a Caribbean thing, he thought.

Daisy was a mouse-like woman beyond middle age. Her eyes wouldn’t focus on one thing but bounced around like she was watching a ping-pong match.

“You the detective?” she asked when Jack introduced himself.

“Yea.” Jack gave up trying to explain himself.

She handed him a file, “Here. This is Charlotte’s file. Poor dog!”

“Sure,” said Jack, “Sad day when a singer dies.”

Jack really didn’t understand the information in the file but the dog seemed to be in good health.

“What do you think happened to Charlotte?” asked Jack after looking over the file.

“I couldn’t say,” her eyes twitched.

“Well, thanks.”

Jack wasn’t sure what he had read. He wished Beans had been with him. Beans would understand the file.

Jack stopped at the Blue Heron Diner near Ybor City for a Cuban sandwich and coffee. Not a busy place, mostly locals nursing the same cup of coffee all day.

Jack stopped later at the main police station. Brogan wasn’t in, but the desk sergeant handed Jack a list of possible animal hating suspects. Reading the list, Jack didn’t recognize any names. At the station, Jack called Lucy and asked her to telephone Mrs. Matthews to set up another interview with the driver, Whitebread, and the butler, Magus.

He stopped by Con Life asking for Sam, but Sam was out. His secretary had a file for Jack. Jack read the file but there was no new information.

One day on the job and I’m frustrated, he thought. Calling Lucy, he learned Mrs. Matthews had left town for New York City. Maybe she’s going back on the stage. Lucy said the butler and the chauffer would be available this afternoon, but they were leaving for New York on the night train. Jack told Lucy he would go right over to the mansion.

The dust on the street and heat were choking Jack as he drove to the pink house. He parked under the same portico. Magus, the butler, answered the door immediately.
“Mr. Hamilton, please come in. Whitebread and I were just having a bite to eat. Join us.”

Jack followed Magus to the kitchen, a room larger than Jack’s apartment. Whitebread was seated at a large marble top table.

“Tea or coffee, Mr. Hamilton?”

“Coffee – black!”

The coffee was rich, dark, and pungent. Jack looked at the two employees. What’s wrong with this picture? These guys don’t look like the hired-help type.

“So. Whitebread. Who are you, really?”

Whitebread took a sip of coffee and smiled, “My real name is Robert Jackson. I’m from Mobile Alabama. My mother was a baker, the best in Mobile. Her breads were heavenly so everyone called her, “Whitebread”.

“I attended Tuskegee Institute and got a degree in Business. Being the depth of the Depression, 1933, I couldn’t find any work. Not that an educated blackman in the South could find work anyway. My cousin lives here in Tampa so I came here looking for work. I heard Mrs. Matthews was looking for a driver. I applied under the name of Whitebread and got the job.”

“So,” Jack smiled, “what happened to the dog?”

“That dog was nasty bitch,” replied Whitebread. “That dog shit everywhere and Magus and I had to clean up the mess.”

Magus nodded his head in agreement.

Whitebread continued, “I forgot to tell you that on the way to the photographer, I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up Mrs. Matthews’ heart pills. I don’t remember if the dog was alive then. I didn’t check. Funny thing, though. I didn’t hear the dog whining or barking. The dog was quiet.”
Published: 2010-02-12
Author: Fred Westmark

About the author or the publisher
Fred W. is a freelance writer of six film scripts, three novels, twenty-five short stories, and many blogs. He enjoys football and reading English authors. Traveling is a passion for him. He also writes articles on privacy for an Internet newsletter on

He is an avid and serious student of history. His favorite historical characters are Skooby Doo and Dr Who. Seriously, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the French and American Revolution interest him.

He teaches collegW

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