Episode 8 â€“ The Stiff
They removed the debris and, sure enough, the soil had been disturbed. The pair started to dig with their bare hands in the soft sandy soil. About two feet down, they both smelled the human remains.
“Ugh!” exclaimed Jack. “Whoever it is, they sure are ripe.”
“Stop digging,” said Beans, “we need to call Brogan.”
Jack tied his white handkerchief to a nearby tree to mark the place. They walked down the row to Jack’s car. Beans ripped a piece of cloth from his shirt and tied it on the barbed wire fence to mark the row.
“There. We should be able to find the grave easily.”
Jack and Beans drove back to Zepherville. The gas station had a public telephone and Jack called Brogan. He told him to bring his people out to the orchard.
Jack and Beans walked to the diner for a quick meal. Jack had a sandwich and coffee and Beans had soup. An hour later, Brogan arrived with his people.
“Where’s the stiff?” asked Brogan as they drove to the orchard.
“Follow us,” said Jack. “We’ll show you.”
Brogan complained about the heat as they walked down the row to the grave.
“Here!” Jack pointed.
A couple of uniforms, armed with shovels, dug quickly into the sandy soil. The stink of the decaying corpse made Jack wretch. The body was deteriorating rapidly in the heat. The man had been shot twice in the chest. The bloody face was smashed with a shovel or blunt instrument.
“Who is he?” asked Brogan.
“Probably, Dr. Daniel ‘Goose’ Gosling,” replied Beans, “He never left town.”
“You’re right about that,” exclaimed Jack.
As Jack and Beans drove back to Tampa in the heat, Jack asked Beans how he knew.
“I had a hunch,” replied Beans. Rumor had it that Dr. Goose’s goose was cooked. His wife knew about the Doctor’s love life. She killed him for revenge.”
“What about her brother, Max?”
“Innocent. He knew nothing.”
“But how did you know where he was buried?”
“Easy. I got a tip Mrs. Gosling was driving towards Zepherville the night the doctor disappeared. I put two and two together and came up with murder.”
“The trouble, Beans, is you make Brogan’s job too easy,” laughed Jack. “Brogan gets the praise and you get?”
Jack dropped Beans off at Rollo’s and drove to his office. Lucy was typing some report on the typewriter, as Jack entered the office sweating from four flights of stairs.
“Anything new?” he asked.
Lucy smiled and took a sip of hot coffee. “Brogan called from Zepherville. The stiff is the vet, all right. The killer left the doctor’s ID’s on the body. That was dumb.”
“Well, the killer figured no one would ever find the body.”
“And Brogan said to tell Beans ‘thanks’,” said Lucy.
Mrs. Gosling was arrested for murder that night. Brogan called Rollo’s later to give Jack the news. Jack asked about the dog’s death. Brogan said she wouldn’t admit to killing the dog.
Jack looked at Beans. “So, who killed the dog?”
Beans smiled and took a sip of beer. “Well, Jack. The whole problem narrows down to who had the most to gain?”
“Probably, Mrs. Matthews. Why didn’t she stay in Tampa until the investigation was completed?” asked Jack.
“Maybe she figured she would never collect the money,” replied Beans.
“Somewhere, I need to find more information,” said Jack.
Beans scratched his arm, “I have been working on the problem but so far, nothing comes to mind. I need time.”
Jack laughed, “We have plenty of time, Beans.”
Beans reflected and took another sip of beer. “Jack, I have another question.”
“Have you ever heard of a man called Adolph Hitler?”
“No. Does he live here in Tampa?”
“He’s the Chancellor of Germany.”
“Never heard of him.”
“You fought in the Great War, didn’t you?”
“Yea. I fought with Pershing and survived a couple of gas attacks. Why?”
“Take the Kaiser and his generals and multiply their evil by one hundred. That’s Hitler.”
“Look, Beans. You know I don’t care about politics.”
“All I’m saying, Jack, is that another war is coming which will make the Great War seem like a picnic in the park.”
“If Hitler killed Charlotte, then I would be interested.”
“Hitler is capable of killing a great deal more than a singing dog.”
Jack ordered another drink from Eddie and Beans was lost in thought.
Finally, Beans said, “Let me see that list again.”
Jack pulled out the list and handed it to Beans, “Here”.
Beans read the list a couple of times. He pointed to a name, “Try this guy.”
Jack read the name, “Who’s Harry Tucker?”
Beans took a sip of beer, “He maybe the clue you are looking for.”
The name ‘Harry Tucker’ didn’t ring a bell with Jack.