A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2018
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Hyderabad, India. 1940
The moon in it’s third-quarter provided just enough light, at
two-thirty in the morning, to transform Hyderabad India from the progressive
university community it was, to a deeply shadowed image of its Victorian
past. Here and there a homeless person can be seen roaming the streets
or asleep in a doorway; all looking like ghostly aberrations. The golden
dome of a mosque peeking between buildings was the brightest thing seen,
gleam through the darkness
He worked his way to the administration building of Hyderabad University
and let himself in a basement door after disabling the alarm, and went
directly to the control box of the primitive alarm system and disabled
the entire system. Then, to the tunnel that connects to the building housing
the University Museum of Antiquities. He quickly found what he was looking
for and removed it from the domed display stand and placed it snugly in
the Teak box.
The anger and disappointment that came over Professor Jodh Sing when informed of the theft of the Calabash, left him in a terrible state. Just last week he accepted the curatorship and directorship of the museum, and now this. He immediately called a meeting of the board of directors and put the problem before them. Sing stood before the board looking magnificent in the embroidered frock of silk, his jeweled white turban, with his near-white beard neatly arranged in a beard net. He brought them up to date on the theft, stating that local and national police were notified along with Interpol. He explained emphasized the importance of the pipe’s arkeological discovery and how priceless it was to all concerned; although insured for a hundred-fifty-million Rupees.
Sing stated, “I think it imperative we hire a private detective agency. The insurance company assured me their best investigators would be on the case. However, private investigators have a bit more freedom. Not being held back by company rules.” The board agreed to a man. Perhaps because they didn’t know what to do themselves, or the high regard in which they held Professor Jodh Sing.
Hancock, Massachusetts 1946
In a section locally known as South Hancock, just over the New York border from Lebanon Springs, lies a section known as Quill-Hammer by its residents. It is simply a very large neighborhood but bent on becoming a Hamlet or Sub-town, self-sufficient and leaning toward self-government. Over a couple of decades, Quill-Hammer has become a haven to writers, artists, sculptors and specialty tradesmen and tradeswomen. It is gaining recognition throughout the commonwealth and nationally as being home to some of the finest creators of art in the country. Among these is Harlan J. Abby, artist and author. He lives a somewhat secluded life in a medium sized cottage about three miles from the commercial section of Quill-Hammer, at the end of a Poplar tree studded road, reminiscent of those seen in popular French paintings. Considered an eccentric by some, and simply shy by others, Abby seldom ventures into town except to attend a concert, deliver a painting to a gallery, pick up an urgently needed item at the supermarket. He often attends one of the several pipe clubs to which he belongs. Along with his pipe club activity he is a compulsive collector, and has amassed a huge collection of extremely rare and expensive pipes; huge considering the rareness and age of some of them. The collection, hidden from all but himself, rests in a large safe he had put in the cellar of his home, where a secret sliding wall covers it from prying eyes.
It took several years, but Harlan J. Abby compiled a book cataloging his collection to date. Each pipe, expertly photographed by Abby, has a notation as to its age, origin, material and notations as to how it came into his collection. It is a very expensive book and seldom purchased by anyone but the most ardent collector. Abby published under an assumed name and phony publishing house name, and had it privately printed in Italy under his personal supervision. No effort is too great to protect his collection.
Augsburg, Austria 1946
An article in an Augsburg newspaper, buried near the classifieds, sported a fourteen-point headline:
HISTORIC SMOKING PIPE STOLEN
The article took up about five inches of one column and told, very briefly, the story of the pipe until it’s theft in 1940. The author speculated the theft from the University Museum of Antiquities at Hyderabad might be the work of a contractor, hired, by the then notorious, Gestapo Colonel Baron Alfred Kunz; the murdered man. Kunz returned to his estate in the outskirts of Augsburg after the war, and resumed his normal life. Although, he seldom stepped out in public and abandoned of local politics completely.
Germany, about the same time
Abraham Müller closed his watch and clock shop in Boston, notifying customers he is on vacation and will be returning in three weeks. He proudly entered Germany using his recently acquired U S passport and feeling very proud of his American citizenship. Driving a rented Opel, Abe drove to Bitburg to see what had happened since his escape in 1927. Some of the old town remained and much construction was underway to replace buildings destroyed by bombs and artillery.
The coffee shop, where Abe often had breakfast, and most of Hauptstrasse remained standing. He went in and had some coffee and a sweet roll, hoping to see a familiar face. He saw none and thought to himself, “You stupid old man. What did you expect after all these years?” Abe walked around a little, oddly surprised at the number of American military on the streets. One Sergeant stopped him and asked if he had a match.
So, Abe spent three hours that afternoon with the Sergeant, in a small German beer hall, telling the story of his escape, his run-in with the Nazis in America, his great pipe smoking friends and the German club. As they left the sergeant promised to look Abe up when he gets home.
Abe picked up a newspaper at the Hotel and retired to his room after ordering coffee sent up. He washed up, loosened his necktie and settled in with the newspaper and coffee; pipe and pouch close by. The news wire services must be working as Abe spotted a reprint about the gourd pipe from the Austrian paper as he thumbed through looking for something interesting to read. He read it with great interest, thinking that perhaps it will make the Boston papers. It did make the Boston papers and papers in all Massachusetts major cities.
Harlan J. Abby read it in a Springfield paper and wondered who might have the Calabash now. Oh, how he wished it could be his.Chapters: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Ch 13
<< Back to the Newsletter
|Archives:||Jan 15 | Feb 15 | Mar 15 | Apr-May 15 | June-July 15 | Aug 15| Sept15| Oct-Nov 15| Dec 15||Home|
|Jan 14 | Feb 14 | Mar 14 | Apr 14 | May 14 | June 14 | July-Aug 14| Sept14| Oct-Nov 14| Dec 14|
|Jan-Feb 13 | Mar 13 | Apr 13 | May 13 | June 13 | July-Aug 13| Sept13| Oct 13| Nov 13| Dec 13|
|Jan 12 | Feb 12 | Mar 12 | Apr 12 | May 12 | June 12 | July 12| Aug 12| Sept12| Oct 12| Nov 12| Dec 12|
|Jan 11 | Feb 11 | Mar 11 | Apr 11 | May-June 11 | July 11| Aug 11| Sept11| Oct 11| Nov 11| Dec 11|
|Jan 10 | Feb 10| Mar 10| Apr 10 | May 10 | June 10 | July 10 | Aug-Sept 10| Oct 10| Nov 10| Dec 10|
|Jan 09 | Feb 09 | Mar 09 | Apr 09 | May 09 | June 09 | July 09| Aug 09| Sept-Oct 09| Nov 09| Dec 09|
|Jan 08 | Feb 08 | Mar 08 | Apr 08 | May 08 | June 08 | Jul-Aug 08 | Sept 08 | Oct 08| Nov 08| Dec 08|
|Jan 07 | Feb 07 | Mar 07 | Apr 07 | May 07 | June 07 | Jul-Aug 07| Sept 07 | Oct 07| Nov 07| Dec 07|
|Jan 06 | Feb 06 | Mar 06 | Apr 06 | May 06 | June 06 | Aug 06| Sept 06 | Nov 06 | Dec 06|
|Jan 05 | Feb 05 | Mar 05 | Apr 05 | May 05 | June 05 | July 05 | Aug 05 | Sept-Oct 05 | Nov 05 | Dec 05|
|Jan 04 | Feb 04 | Mar 04 | Apr 04 | May 04 | June 04 | July 04 | Aug 04 | Sept 04 | Oct 04 | Nov 04 | Dec 04|
|** Contact SHPC Boston **|
Provided by: Spiderlinks.Org
|PREVIOUS : NEXT : RANDOM : SITE-LIST|