What are Ozlandish Writings?

From July 2010 to December 2014 we ran OZLAND PICTURE STORIES as described below. Sadly though the number of writers reduced over the years and we decided to call it a day. We leave these as a record of the good times we had.

Are "You" ready to challenge your writing skills? Then participate in our OZLAND Picture Stories writing series at The Ozland Art Gallery.

Each month a new picture will be picked, from our OZLAND Artist of the Month collection, with different themes. Your goal is to write a 500-1000 word... poem... essay... or story about the picture picked. This is a chance for you to challenge your writing skills each month. Story can be written in ANY genre... sci fi... romance... ghost... fantasy... fiction... non-fiction... biography... mystery... historical... whatever your writing genre... feel free to experiment. Send your writing inworld to Sven Pertelson as a notecard to have it included on the web site. We meet at the The Ozland Art Gallery each Wednesday at Noon and 6pm SLT to read the latest submissions on voice. More Information

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Caesar - part 4 by Lillian Morpork

Synopsis – Pete Gates had run away from home and went to the spot he liked best for sleeping. It was dark, so it wasn’t until he was close that he saw someone was sleeping there. He tried to wake him by shaking his foot, but it was very stiff, so he used his cell phone for light. The man’s face was covered in blood. He was shocked, but recovered enough to call the police. He explained why he kept running away, and the officers said they would try to help. When the medical examiner arrived, he was told to get in the police car to be taken home.

In part two, just as Pete and Constable Higgins were going to the squad car, Pete noticed something odd and called Higgins back. They then waited for Sgt. Patterson to finish talking to the M.E. and CSI, and they drove Pete home. They sat down and talked to Pete’s parents, and he was given permission to join the nearest soccer team in the City league.

In part three, Pete goes with his Dad to the morgue and identifies the victim. He is glad he could help the police, and excited and happy to be allowed to join his friends in sports and other activities. Dan and Chuck start finding out what they about the dead man.

The story continues.

Dan and Chuck were sitting in the unmarked car, talking over the death of ‘Professor Bill’. “Are you ready for some slumming, Chuck? Dan asked with a smirk.

“As ready as you are, Dan,” Chuck replied, chuckling. “Actually, I kind of enjoyed talking to the hobos when we saw to them. They seemed like a nice bunch of guys, and they really cared about Pete. I wouldn’t want him being around with some of the other groups hanging out in other places. This group are decent men who are out of work and living as best they can. There’s never a trouble call to that area.”

“True enough,” Dan said as he started the car. “Pete was lucky he went there, even though it’s in one of the worst areas of the city.” He pulled out and merged with the traffic. “I hope we can get some helpful information today. I’d like to be able to close the case soon for Pete’s sake, he feels pretty bad about the Professor’s death.”

“Yeah,” Chuck agreed. “I think his friends would like to know, too. From the little they said yesterday, they thought highly of Professor Bill. I wonder why they called him Bill. His name was Wolfgang. I’m going to ask, just out of curiosity, it’s not likely to help in solving the case, but I really feel the itch to know.”

“Yes,” Dan said. “It is curious. Usually a nickname has something to do with a person’s name, or occupation. The Professor part makes sense, but Bill doesn’t. But there are other things we need to ask first. And here we are.” He pulled off the road at the end of the bridge over the underpass where the mural was. They got out and he locked the car, while Chuck started down the embankment.

“Hi, guys,” he called out as he walked quickly to the hobo camp, Dan close on his heels.

“Heads up, fellows, here come the cops.” Zeke said, and laughed. “Have you found out what happened to the Professor?”

“Not yet, and we need your help,” Dan replied. “We need you to tell us all about night before last.” He and Chuck settled down on a large piece of cardboard. “What was he like, what did he bring with him, what did he say, anything you can think of that might help, no matter how insignificant it might seem.”

They gathered around, ten out of luck men, and for a few moments, no one spoke. Then Alf turned to Dan. “I was here when he arrived, and I was shocked. I’d never seen him look so down, so lost. He was pushing a loaded bundle buggy, more than he had ever brought us before. When we unpacked it, there were four bottle of the best Scotch whiskey, and two bottles of Napoleon brandy, and enough food to last us six weeks or more. He said we would soon have a regular income, small but enough to make up for what he normally brought.

“I was worried; it sounded like he was planning suicide. I asked him what he meant, but he wouldn’t say, just gave me the saddest smile ever, and sat staring at the ground.”

“Yeah,” Barney said. “I felt so bad for him. I asked for a story, thinking it might cheer him up if he talked about history or something. Instead, he looked at me, and said that the only story he had to tell was too sad to hear until we’d all had something to drink. We drank several shots of Whiskey, and then he had a brandy, and started to talk. I ended up crying.”

Rick took up the tale. “In the end, we were all drunk, and crying. We didn’t bother to eat, just drank to deaden the sadness. He got sadder, though he didn’t cry, and finally we talked him into getting some sleep. We all bedded down, and slept. That was the last we saw of him. We only found out he was gone when we woke. The bundle buggy was gone, too, so we assumed he had gone home.”

Dan looked around the circle. “Ok, that helps. Do you know where he lived? We’ve got his name, and where he lived five years ago when he retired, but he seems to have dropped off the map after that.”

Zeke frowned. “I’m not sure, but I think he was living in the Primrose Hotel. You know, that rundown derelict on Carson Street, should have been demolished long ago. The name on some of the bags of groceries he brought was a store near there. He would never tell us where he lived, or what he did when he wasn’t here.”

That isn’t far from here, Dan thought. Turning to Chuck, he said “Pop over there and ask. You have the picture, don’t you?” Chuck nodded and went off as fast as he could. The others set about making tea and finding something to eat while they waited for him to come back. He was back in an amazingly short time, trotting up, panting.

“Yes, he lived there. I told the manger to lock his room and let no one in until we had inspected it. I told him the old man was dead, and probably murdered, and he was shocked. He said he couldn’t think who would kill old Wolf; everyone there liked him, and enjoyed listening to his stories. He seemed to mean it.” He dropped to the ground, and accepted a cup of tea.

“Good work, Chuck, and fast!” Dan said. Turning to the hobos, he asked what the sad story Mr. Kunz had told them was.

Zeke looked around and saw that any of them would find it almost impossible to tell it. Sighing, he started talking. “There was a young man living in Germany. He was just starting his choice of a life-long career teaching University. He fell in love with one of his students, Anne Marie Von Winenden, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She loved him, too, so they married in secret. Her family had already selected a suitable husband for her, and she hated him. She said he was twenty years older than her and a humourless man, stiff and authoritarian.

“The University President found out about the marriage, and promptly fired him for fraternising with a female student. Her family found out, and disowned her. He had enough saved so they could immigrate to Canada, so he applied at several Universities there, and was hired by Centennial College in Toronto. After ten happy years of marriage and the work he loved, his wife, Anne Marie, died in childbirth. Their other two children had died in a school bus accident, and even though he had become a tenured professor at York University, he felt that his life was over.

“He kept teaching, although his heart was no longer in it, until he reached retirement age. Then he sold his house and all except a few small memorabilia. He moved to a small run down motel. But at last, he could stand the loneliness no longer. He made a will, and planned his death so that no one could be blamed, nor would it look like suicide. He wanted his heirs to benefit, the ones who had been such kind friends through the last few years. He died as he wished, and it all went as he wished.”

He looked at Dan and Chuck. His voice had become more and more choked as he went on, until by the end, he was barely able to speak. Tears were running down his cheeks, and he cleared his throat and swallowed. “I have only now realized that he was telling us his own story. Will his wishes be granted? Or will the law call his death suicide? Poor old Bill, he wanted peace, and I think he wanted to continue to help us as long as the money holds out. Which do you think will win out?”

Dan looked at Chuck for a moment. “I think we need to follow his trail, if we can, from here to where he was found. I’m thinking it was a form of suicide, but it could be called death by misadventure. Shall we see?’

All of them got up, and they searched for signs of the Professor’s last walk. They found where he had pushed the bundle buggy for some distance, and found it in an ally. From there, it took some time to find his trail again, but then they could see where he had fallen repeatedly on his way to Pete’s sleeping spot. They came to the blood stains, and on into the niche.

“Who or what is Caesar?” Alf asked.

“His cat. It’s still in the hotel.” Chuck said. I fed it and gave it water, and the manager is letting it stay there and will look after it until we figure out what to do with it. Now I want to know why you called him Bill. It’s been bugging me since we found out his name.”

Rick chuckled. “I dubbed him that,” he said. “When he arrived, he would always say ‘here’s the bill of fare’ when he handed over the bags of food. Until then, we just called him Professor. One night when he arrived, I said ‘here’s Professor Bill of Fare’. Soon it shrank to just Bill, and that stuck. He thought it was funny. Poor old guy, we’ll miss him.”

“Ok,” Dan said. “I’m going to report it as death by misadventure. No one else knows about the story he told you, and you can’t say positively that it was his own life he was telling. Poor old man, his wishes should be followed. No law has been broken, and there is no way suicide can be proved. I’ll tell Pete, and see if his parents will let him have Caesar. I think he’d like that, and from what I’ve heard of the Professor, I think he would, too.” The men cheered, and thanked Sgt. Dan. They were happy Professor Bill’s wishes would be carried out. Dan and Chuck left, and reported the results of their investigation. The captain accepted it without question, and he case was closed.

Pete was ecstatic when his Dad allowed him to have Caesar, though his Mom told him flatly that if he didn’t take very good care of the cat, it would go to the humane society. Pete promised.

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