No parts of any parts can be reproduced without the author’s permission.
Please refer here for Part One of Part One– https://theauthordannykemp.com/2019/06/08/part-one-of-part-one/
Please refer here for Part Two of Part One– https://theauthordannykemp.com/2019/06/08/part-two-of-part-one-please-pay-attention/
The Tragic Story Of
The Deva Station And Kat Astrophe
With a Chance Goneabegging
The Strange Case Of Mr Isaac Johnson
By The Same Stupid Author
Any interpretation of this short story is done entirely at your own risk.
I have attempted to translate this compact chronicle of events into British English avoiding American English as much as possible. If this transcript remains in any sort of English then it’s a miracle.
The Mid-Morning Subway Train From Union Square To Pelham Bay Park, New York
It was an unseasonable cold morning even for the city that never sleeps. Perhaps someone had forgotten to leave the heating on overnight. Okay, I will stop trying to make jokes about a serious situation that happened two days before Christmas Day. The detective was stuck with a stiff on a subway train. Yes, you’re right. It was not a normal stiff, this dead body had no obvious sign of how he died. Silently the detective contemplated the paper and legwork involved in a murder case compared to one of natural death and the natural death won hands down. The only thing working against that simple conclusion was the stiff’s hands. They rested against the inside of his knee with their palms open and fingers spread, suggesting he had been holding something. But what and why had they remained like that as he fell from the seating?
The police officer had tried to offload the case to Union Square District of police, but they wouldn’t take it.
“Listen, bud, just cos the corpse has a ticket from here means zilch in our book. He stopped at your end. He’s yours, pal. Knock yourself out with him.”
A transit patrolman had found a witness who was now seated in the warmth of the Pelham Bay police station. Officer first-class, Frank Tuey, had taken a statement in which the woman, Miss Chance Goneabegging, had said that she and the John Doe were two of last three passengers in that carriage. The other man she described as well built, about six foot tall, wearing a dark blue hooded overcoat, which hid his face and hair colouring. She had, however, added an ominous caveat—‘He had the look of the devil about him.’ She didn’t explain what had made her assume that.
This Devil of a man had a dog. She wasn’t sure of the breed but guessed it was a Doberman, big, black with light brown patches, lean, and ferocious. It was the snarling of this dog that had emptied the carriage. The owner and she, along with the dead man, were the only ones the dog was unexcitable with. She went on to say that sometime between Buhre Avenue and Pelham Bay Park she thought the dead man was stroking this dog because its head was obscured by the dead man’s coat which was open and hanging loose as he bent forward. She had no idea what caused him to fall. As to whether her dog-owning fellow passenger had seen him collapse she was unable to confirm, as shortly after his dog returned from the dead man its owner moved along the carriage, presumably to be closer to the station entrance at Pelham when the train stopped.
The detective followed procedure and called for an investigative team of forensic experts to examine the scene. Whilst he waited he went to see patrolman Frank Tuey, mainly to get warm and get a coffee, but also to see the witness.
He was stunned, having to grab the top of the desk where she was seated to save himself from falling. Miss Chance was a looker. Tanned skin, blonde hair, blue eyes and a body that would take you to heaven and keep you there. I would certainly do that, he thought, referring to the ride to heaven.
Miss Goneabegging explained how she was on vacation in America for the Christmas and New Year holiday. She especially wanted to see the Ball drop in Times Square, she said, which made our detective wince in pain. In his youth, he had been in the Square one New Year’s Eve and saw a young lady trip and fall under the ball. Not nice, he recalled but praised himself for the rhyme. After ten minutes or so of resting his weary eyes on her beautiful face, he walked her as far as the street where he made to say goodbye. Something made him stop and reconsider any bland farewell.
“Miss Goneabegging, excuse me for being slightly forward but I see you’re wearing no ring of any description. I’m wondering if you would do me the honour of having a drink with me this evening. Maybe we could meet in the bar at your hotel?” She agreed to an eight o’clock rendezvous at the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village.
He returned to the subway car in a happier disposition, with a warmer heart, but his revived spirits did not last. The forensic pathologist was crouched above the body with another crime scene officer hovering over him. It was he who asked the detective if he had seen the powder on the victim’s face. He had not. He explained how he hadn’t wanted to get too close to the stiff before they had their way with him. It was the pathologist’s judgement that the powder was Scopolamine, also known as ‘Devil’s Breath’ and ordinarily used in small quantities as a preventative of travel sickness but in larger volumes, it was the most deadly poison on the planet.
“Do you think the train ride had made him a bit nauseous, doc, and as he went to take some Scopolamine a jolt splashed it all over his face?” he asked, hoping he could write it up as a death caused by a natural jerk of a subway train.
“I can’t be sure, officer. All I can say is that with that amount on his face he’d be dead within seconds, so where did he hide the means of administration? All we found was this empty cellular phone wallet lying under his knee. There’s no phone on the body to go with it.” He held out an evidence bag of contents from what now seemed a murder victim’s pockets. The detective groaned uncontrollably as he took it, then on hearing that the post-mortem could be performed in the morning when toxicology had reported, he sat alternating his brooding stare from the body to the spread-out possessions in front of him.
He picked up the wallet. Isaac Johnson, 2358 Bay Avenue, Pelham Bay. A cryptologist working at IBM in Union Square. There was money inside and the usual array of credit cards. Then came the loose stuff. Car keys, house keys, change, an expensive-looking pen, but no notebook. Unless that was the target he wasn’t the victim of a robbery. The only suspicious thing came down to the empty cellular phone wallet that he kept twiddling in his fingers. He checked his watch, a little before noon. He used his own cellular to call the transit police. When patrolman Frank Tuey came on the line he asked why Miss Chance was travelling to Pelham Bay. On receiving the answer that Tuey had never asked her that, he next called the Walker Hotel in Greenwich Village.
“No, I’m sorry, officer. We have no Miss Chance Goneabegging staying here. Are you sure of the surname? Only it seems a little concocted, wouldn’t you say?”
Detective Investigator first grade Peter Piper had wondered about that, yet in spite of his own curiosity, he had relied on Officer Tuey to ask the relevant questions and authenticate her name, nationality and where in New York she was staying. Although all of that would have only taken a few telephone calls, he had sadly been overcome by her femininity.
“Sorry, Joe, I got carried away. Anyway, it’s your case, not mine. I would have thought you would have done the questioning, but I’m seeing her tonight at her hotel for a drink. I’ll ask her then if you like.”
The Following Afternoon In Captain Jack Lemming’s Office
“The post-mortem report states clearly that this a murder inquiry, Piper. Poisoned by Devil’s Breath. And the prime suspect is where? God knows where that’s where. For all we know the Broad could be on a train, a boat or plane and do not sing any song about that if you value your life. There was no third man with a dog. That took half an hour to discover by simple detective work. Piper, you’re now a traffic cop and lucky I don’t ask for your badge. IBM does not have an office in Union Square and Isaac Johnson does not live in Pelham Bay. That took ten minutes to work out. It’s my guess that the victim knew this Miss Chance Goneabegging and it was his phone she was after. You certainly let a chance go a-begging.” He looked at Peter Piper and shook his head in disappointment.
“Your mother would be ashamed of you. What? You didn’t know about her and me? Well, you do now. Chew on that when you’re in traffic. The file on this case has been sent to the FBI. It includes your cock-ups. It’s their case now, son. I can’t help you from here on in. Pick a fast motorcycle in case they come after you. Yes, you heard right. I called you son. You’re a Leming’s son.”
That Evening In The Federal Office Building At 26 Federal Plaza on Foley Square, New York
“I have a photo and DNA match on that Isaac Johnson guy found on the subway this morning. According to the CIA, he’s a Russian army lieutenant, last seen leaving Kabul, September 1989. Here it says; aged twenty-seven which would make him fifty-four, which is precisely what it says on this autopsy report. It’s him alright. I’ll fax it through to Langley and give them the headache.”
One Hour After The File Arrived At The CIA Headquarters
“That subway death in New York involving the Russian spymaster and the disappeared woman is kicking up a storm in the Director’s office. It seems this Isaac Johnson guy, real name Kauli Kough, was caught up in a similar scam in Moscow two years ago and one in London, England seven months back. When we sent one of our agents to London he got confused between MI5 and a highway they have over there. He kept driving around and around the M25 waiting for someone to wave him down. He picked one guy up who he thought was his contact only to find out he wanted a ride to Birmingham. He thought he meant Birmingham, Alabama so he shot him for being stupid and dumped his body at a service station.
“Reports on both the Moscow and London incidents place Kough with a dame called Deva Station. She’s with Mossad and would you believe listed as a friend. The Director is on the phone to Tel Aviv now. Last I heard was— clear your mess off my doorstep, then he slammed the door closed and caught his little pinkie. Didn’t you hear his screams?
London went down the damage control route. The witness who saw Kough coughing into a handkerchief given to him by Deva Station is six feet below ground and the whole team of pathologists who worked the body are hiding in a snowdrift in Canada. The witness they popped off was a single guy but those lab people were all married. There’s to be a government inquiry.
“The stiff in Moscow had the same powder on his face as on ours and the one in London. Apparently, the patrolman in Moscow was left to freeze to death, but they found a note scratched in the frozen ground saying a dog had taken what he called a whatchamacallit. We’ll never know what he saw and what the dog took. There was a dog split wide open found by the roadside about a mile from what we now know as the murder scene. He was Moscow’s man posing as a fence painter but spying on Deva Station. He was due to meet his control, a police captain. Moscow Central thinks this Deva Station woman could be a Columbian man, but they drink a lot of vodkas over there and sometimes don’t know the difference. Don’t ask me how I know that.
“Some parts of the intelligence community in London had a theory that she or he was French and believed she or he was spraying Chanel perfume on everyone hoping to boost French exports. Another part of London just want to go to war with Russia, or if there’s no backing for that then they want to invade Seychelles and occupy the islands for a couple of years whilst this all sorts itself out.
“When the Director took the call from Moscow I was still in his office and from what I could gather they want to go to Columbia and dig up all Borrachero trees we can find so that they can’t make any more of the stuff. Said they want to plant them in Afghanistan and share the profits.
“The stolen phones are never likely to be recovered. All we can assume, according to our leader, is they held sensitive material and Deva Station killed Kauli Kough under Mossad’s instructions. However, it turns out Israel wants Kauli Kough’s body and to do away with the traffic cop who took some statements. I heard he was worried about Christmas. We could bottle some Scopolamine and send it to him as an aftershave, or better still find Deva Station and send her.”
There was a smudged tear on the fuel tank of traffic officer Peterson’s motorbike as he wrote out his first speeding ticket on Christmas Eve morning. In the rear of the chauffeur driven car he had stopped, shielded by the blacked-out windows, sat the glamorous figure of Miss Deva Station aka Chance Goneabegging, but the thought of his father being Jack Lemming was too much for Peter Piper to care as he pecked a pickled pepper.