Beyond The Western
The Clueless Detective, Morgan Stubbs
Tom Sheehan


Beyond the Western

Not until Morgan Stubbs, elusive detective, brought found clues home with him, those clues of a crime laying about, often right at his feet as though they were left there to be found, to dawdle over them, tussle and toss them about, measure them in relationship to the crime now under investigation, and bring up associated imagery, did they mount to a hill of beans, and then some!!

It was his way of work, the way to get things done, to pin a crime to where it belonged, at the very feet of the perpetrator, by what he called an abstaining observation from the other side of the coin, as the way he often put it to cronies, supervisors in the investigation field, odd acquaintances holding on to the interesting strings of crimes he would solve from an angle completely different angle from all the other detectives, on the scene or not, bar none.

Often his first look at a clue at least 24 hours old, was in his waking hours after a sleep where his mind tossed it and him from pillar to post, from the very hand of the criminal, name as yet unknown, but the first string had been rolled up from a scant observation, an accident where he might have tripped over the clue in his own clumsiness in the earliest hours of investigation, sometimes walking in through the front door and practically stepping on it, though not seeing it yet at that instance, but as if it had been roped in with extremely long snatch lines he called his “first illusions” already at work, in deadly earnest.

His brilliance at this game went generally ignored and unannounced by cohorts who were jealous of his ability, but would rather say around a crowd that he couldn’t see a bullet hole in the wall at first glance, thinking it merely a blind spot in his eye; all those nay-sayers not owning up to a bit of competence on his part, all of it but being an accident of nature, a victim’s lost shoe tripped over in a matter of first seconds at a crime scene, a stripped-off glove cast aside with fingerprints now on the outside of the glove torn inside-out from his hand and flung off into a dark corner, even if it might have called out for help in its identification.

Some of them even said, “He’s an anachronism, belonging or appropriate to a period other than the one in which he now exists, especially a conspicuously old-fashioned element of a ghostly era where a person can’t believe what one is seeing; like they can’t believe what he thinks he believes, like he belongs back in those who-do voodoo days, the Sherlock Holmes’ days or Dick Tracy’s widely and wildly colored pages in, of all places, the comics pages of the Sunday papers or the tons of comic books on store shelves, behind which many, many boys did the most of their schoolboy reading, crouched in place, and not a single dime spent.

For example, in the Helen Connor case, where she was raped and finally killed with her own underpants being stuffed in her mouth, gagging her to death, and were pulled out and tossed by technicians under her couch where Stubbs found them and a tiny bit of sperm residue, not much needed, and thus DNA data of the killer, known but not known at the moment of discovery. In fact, a glove imprint was found on her ceiling, as though it had been left there on purpose as a bold challenge, but the shoes he tripped over were sneakers, mere plain old sneakers from the old Converse Rubber Company in Malden, Massachusetts.

Morgan Stubbs, from that revelation, knew without a doubt that was looking for, and would find, a basketball player, or one who went at any game any place for joy or the contest itself. Stubbs, in his beliefs, knew he’d find the rapist and killer in a gymnasium of some sort, indoors or outdoors, but a place with a basket at each end for a dunker or a long-range three-point shooter. His simple check of basketball teams’ entry forms into local teams in a local league brought up the DNA’s twin match, the killer on the court, within next-day hours of the crime. The first team he checked was coached by a healthy doctor looking for his own enjoyment prime full with good health practices.

The nabbing was somewhat secondary to the solution of the case.

When his supervisor, Jed Caulder, called him into his office one morning, he said, “I got another on for you, Morg, another rape and eventual murder case,” He handed him a slip of paper with an address on it. “That’s where it happened. Nobody’s been sent there yet. I just got the call from the building supervisor who found a bloody trail from one door into the hallway, opened the door, and found a body, a young secretary, torn asunder, probably raped, stabbed at least 20 times by some kind of a mad man. Go get him! Kick his ass for me when you get him. I’d love it!” He shoved his subordinate out the door into the bright morning sunlight already a bit darker with death.

Stubbs was thus assigned to another rape and murder case, and it was at the other end of town. Something in him rang a bell. He drew a map with a line between the two crimes, his last case and this new one. It turned out to be a straight line on a long road without a single bend or twist in it. Along with other lines he drew, for no known or apparent reason, they revealed a mathematical or engineering mind, because when he drew those new straight lines on a small-town map, he found a figure, technical or mathematical in nature, and he treated it solely as “a boast to be found.”

He did not err or waste his time with this “discovered” information but started looking at gymnasium and basketball sights where a mathematical or engineering wizard played games to keep is peace of mind in track with hi on-goings in another likely world in is split-in-two mind. That killer was not hard to find, standing down-court and firing three pointers like he was Bill Russell or Larry Bird throwing them up “for goodness sakes, what a shot!”

Eventually, most challenges and cases brought to completion, jail or quick death at discovery from any corner of the state, he left the Bay State and went west to find new mysteries.

When Morgan Stubbs was only a few weeks into friendly but curious Idaho, they found him shot to death off his horse from the backside, a sniper from old, but in a pocket of Morgan Stubbs was found a note in his handwriting that plainly said, “A man on an Appaloosa, with bright and attractive black and white polka dot patches on his hide, has been following me for days. He’s wearing a brown shirt, blue dungaree pants with a wide black belt, and old-style black boots. Check him out, for he’ll most likely be at my burial services. And I bet I’ve nabbed this one for a local sheriff,” who did exactly what he said he would.