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Dragnet Mystery Theater: "The Big Collector Pt. III" (Questions & Answers)

My partner Frank brought in the lab report on the vic from Bobby’s party. I wanted to go over it one more time before we proceeded with the Q&A. We had a positive ID on the crasher at last. His name was Ed McBain. Once we had a name, a routine background check revealed plenty. Seems McBain and Bobby went to school together since kindergarten. Confronted with the facts, Bobby broke down and told his story.

I lit a cigarette as Frank opened the folder and placed the autopsy photos in a line across my desk. They showed McBain’s blood and tissue to be a bright cherry red.

"Carbon monoxide does that to the blood," said Frank. "what it does--the carbon monoxide atoms--they hook up with the red blood cells and displace the oxygen atoms. That’s how an overdose suffocates the victim. It saturates the blood so not enough oxygen gets to the tissues."

"I know," I said.

"Did you also know that once a carbon monoxide atom hooks up with a red blood cell, it stays with it permanently until it kills that blood cell?"

"I know."

"Did you know tobacco smoke is four percent carbon monoxide?"

I wondered how many red blood cells I was diminishing each day and snubbed out my cigarette in the ashtray on my desk. "I think everyone is ready to hear Bobby’s statement.

Inside the interrogation room, I looked at the clock and announced the time as two-fifteen P.M. for the video and stenographer. I took a seat at the table across from Bobby and began my questioning:

Q: You knew the deceased, Ed McBain, since childhood?

A: Yes.

Q: Bobby, did you willfully murder Mr. McBain?

A: I did.

Q: A simple yeas or no, please.

A: Yes, I killed Ed.

Q: Can you tell us what really happened on the night of Jan. 15th, the night of your party?

A: Ed was supposed to be out of town, or I never would have displayed some of the pieces I did in my collection. See, Ed and I have been cheating, finagling, stealing die-cast cars since we were kids. Only what Ed didn’t know, is how badly I cheated him, my best friend, keeping a lot of the better pieces for myself.

Q: Is that why he broke down and started crying when he saw your collection?

A: Ed was an emotional guy. That’s why I knew it was him or me. He would’ve ruined me. So he had to die.

Q: You killed him for a toy collection?

A: No. I killed him for the principle of the thing. To preserve one’s reputation is important for a collector, especially when collecting is also one’s livelihood.

Q: How did you mange this with MissouriMike sleeping over? Was Mike in on this too?

A: Oh, no. Mike was going to be my alibi. I put knock out drops in the coffee I served both him and Ed. I knew once Mike was asleep he wouldn’t be waking up until morning. I told Ed to wait for me in the garage. He was out cold by the time I went to meet him. I took his keys and backed his car into the garage, leaving my own in the driveway. I didn’t know how long it would take to poison someone with carbon monoxide if they were locked in a garage with the engine left running. I read how a concentrated dose could kill in as little as an hour. But carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so I knew it would float to the ceiling first. So what I did, I wrapped Ed in a tarp, to prevent him picking up any tell-tale fragments of anything from the loft in the garage, and I dragged him up the steps. I hung his head over the edge, directly over the car’s exhaust pipe. I checked on him just before dawn, he was dead. I turned off the car’s engine and opened the garage door a crack to let it air out a bit. Since carbon monoxide is odorless, I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get rid of the fumes. So I waited about an hour before dragging Ed down the stairs and putting him into his car, which left me plenty of time to shower and dress before waking Mike.

Q: What did you do with the tarp?

A: Threw it in a dumpster behind a Walmart we stopped at while Mike was using the men’s room.

Q: When did you clean the car?

A: Monday, after I left Mike. I got to thinking, even though I wore gloves when I backed the car into the garage, the police are always finding clues, strands of hair, fiber from clothing. I was nervous. So I put on a shower cap I never used that came with some bathroom supplies I once purchased, also a pair of rubber gloves and an old rain coat and cleaned every inch of Ed’s car. My own car was still out front, so I went out, disposed of the coat, gloves and shower cap in another dumpster, did a little grocery shopping and pretended to find the body when I tried to pull my car into the garage that afternoon.

The next morning, I picked up Frank on the way to the precinct.

"I don’t like Bobby’s story," I said.

"It covers all the facts."

"The important ones anyway. But it’s a ridiculous story, Frank. I think he’s leaving a lot to our imagination."

"You think he’s covering for someone?"

"I think we’re going to find out."

When we entered the station, there was more than the usual commotion. An ambulance was parked out back and they were wheeling a stretcher out of the building.

"What happened," I asked one of the paramedics.

"You guys got an unexplained phenomenon on your hands," he said. "This guy was electrocuted inside one of your holding cells."

He turned back the covering, exposing the face of the second corps I saw that week. It was Bobby.

Lieutenant Byrnes handed me a plastic evidence bag.

"We pried this from his hand," he said.

Inside the bag was a brass lightning bolt about three inches long. The name Professor Lightning was engraved on one side of it.

Coming soon: "Who Is Professor Lightning?" Starring Lpgeoteacher...who immediately noticed that Bobby creamed the crashers coffee without asking him how he took it. Obviously, if Bobby never met the guy, he would not have known this.
 

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I knew I was innocent! But Bobby, ... no, not Bobby. He couldn't do that. (For one thing, he's kinda scrawny!) I mean, he's too good a guy! This can't be the whole story

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MissouriMike said:
I knew I was innocent! But Bobby, ... no, not Bobby. He couldn't do that. (For one thing, he's kinda scrawny!) I mean, he's too good a guy! This can't be the whole story

Mike
I kind of suspect Bobby might've been protecting someone, or was being threatened somehow. But of course, I could be wrong. I've only planned this thing a chapter or two ahead. Anything could happen. :dude:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
darkwiz said:
I'm eagerly awaiting part 4 :).
Thanks, darkwiz. Y'know, I'm thinking, since this is a fictional endeavor, that everyone on the boards will live in the same city...a little fantasy place called Hobbytalk. It would be impossible for Joe Friday to go all over the country to involve future participants in stories.

Here's something to think on: a name the city contest. If anyone has an idea other than Hobbytalk for the city name, I'll use the one that catches me the most in the next chapter. :)
 

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Dragnet_Supporter said:
Here's something to think on: a name the city contest. If anyone has an idea other than Hobbytalk for the city name, I'll use the one that catches me the most in the next chapter. :)
Hanksterville, USA
 

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The place was a seedy little corner of the world know as Diecast City. The scalpers were plenty and the internet was as hot as a cup o' Joe on a cold wet night.
 

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Lpgeoteacher said:
The place was a seedy little corner of the world know as Diecast City. The scalpers were plenty and the internet was as hot as a cup o' Joe on a cold wet night.
Well said, Teach, spoken in the narrative style of the old cheesey flat-foot PI novels!

"To say that she was a dish was to say that the Mona Lisa was just another pretty face"
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So far I like both Hanksterville and Diecast City. But the way the professor...I mean teacher...expressed himself made me feel a certain chill. But we'll see if any other choices pop up by tomorrow, when the next chapter will arrive.

I was thinking about this story last night, and I think I've got it figured out. It'll take several more chapters, but it'll all come together in the end. Really.
 

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Dragnet_Supporter said:
So far I like both Hanksterville and Diecast City. But the way the professor...I mean teacher...expressed himself made me feel a certain chill. But we'll see if any other choices pop up by tomorrow, when the next chapter will arrive.

I was thinking about this story last night, and I think I've got it figured out. It'll take several more chapters, but it'll all come together in the end. Really.
It was another hot day in this very cool town we call Hanksterville. Not much ever happens, but when it does, it's BIG. I was working the day shift in this two bit, bleary-eyed burg when the call came in: Bad news at Bobby's. I ditched the last of my now cold Java, and off we went like a greyhound after a rabbit. This was gonna be an interesting day in this do-nothing town after all.....

*spanks teach*
 

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Gadzooks N' Egads

A most hideous and sinister laughter erupts from behind the scenes . . .
as HiggPrime slowly turns about to pay off the best hit man that he
could possibly afford . . . with some of his expensive and recently
acquired loose white lightnings. Higgprime gleefully declares, "Yes,
oh yes . . . I've fooled them all with my most evil machinations,
conniving and deviltry . . . and by the way Friday its Saturday!!!!
"
. . . . . . . . . . . . . ..:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just finished up tomorrow's chapter with Lpgeoteacher...probably the best, if not most difficult, problem for you guys to solve yet. So far, I'm going with Diecast City...sorry carnut. Of course, you're wecome to post any new names until tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions and comments. So tune in tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-website! The best is yet to come!
 
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