Harry Stephen Keeler's The Skull in the Box series summarized

CONTENT WARNING: This thread contains a summary of a series of books published from 1939-1941 and thus the book itself contains antiquated terminology along with racist and sexist attitudes. I will attempt to keep actual quotes from racist or sexist portions out of the thread, but chapter titles will be included, some with said antiquated or racist terminology.

The first book has been summarized previously here and also here(from 52:00 to 1:18:30 or so) so I will begin with the sequel The Man With The Crimson Box

Chapter 1: Bad News for Big Gus!

In Northern State Penitentiary, located in Moundsville Illinois, convict Gus L. McGurk alias Big Gus alias Muscle-In, mops the floor the prison with more vigor than he normally would, for he is three days from being released from jail. He sees fellow convict "Educated" Brink(so called because of his high school diploma) carrying Convict No. 1, a cat belonging to the warden who serves as a mascot for the prison. Educated releases Convict No. 1 and pretends to begin to look for him, and whispers to Gus that he has bad news he needs to communicate to Gus in private, news that might mean the electric chair for Gus. They slip into a faucet room and Educated reveals that the State's Attorney in Chicago has got the skull of Wah Lee!

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  • edited 2020-01-04 20:17:15
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 2: Concerning a Negro Laborer, a Girl from New Zealand, and a Chinaman's Skull!

    Educated tells Big Gus the source of the information: Handsome Harry, a new member of the Tritt Mob, has been dating and getting information from Beryl Burlinghame, a young woman from New Zealand working as an office girl for the State's Attorney. Burlinghame is a kind of protegee for the State's Attorney, due to a favor her father did for said S. A.

    Harry learns from Burlinghame about a black laborer named Moses Klump, who, while digging for a gas main intersection in Goose Island on the ruins of what was once the Schlitzheim Brewery, discovers the skull of Wah Lee, a Chinese youth murdered by Big Gus and his associates. Klump initially takes the skull with the intention of sawing off chunks of it to use as good luck charms while gambling, but later learns from a fellow laborer about the history of the Schlitzheim Brewery and how the police dug up a headless corpse they were unable to identify as Wah Lee in said location.

    Upon examining the skull, Klump sees that part of the bone has been cleared away from one side of the nose from some kind of cutting. Klump also discovers a hole in the back of the skull, and realizes a bullet must have entered from the back of the skull and shattered the back wall of the left eye on its way out(this is distinct from the missing nasal wall, I mention this because it might be important.) Klump prints the initials M. K. on the back of the skull and goes to the S. A's office. 

    Educated finishes his story by telling Big Gus about how the S.A. is due back in Chicago tomorrow morning early and before the day's out, will likely have Gus indicted for murder and kidnapping.
  • edited 2020-01-05 01:15:49
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 3: "In a Safe-in the Klondike Building"

    Educated goes on to explain that he gathered the information Handsome Harry acquired via a mutual friend of Gus, Educated, and Harry's, a certain Jerry the Snake. In addition it turns out that the skull is not in city hall, but in an office across the street in the Klondike Building where the S. A(Louis Vann, known as Lock-The-Stable-Door Vann to crookdom for his belief that the criminal will always return to the scene of the crime) has maintained since his days as a lawyer. This is the office Beryl Burlinghame works in, and which he maintains partially out of nostalgia for his old days. Furthermore it turns out that Gus once tried to bribe Vann back in his days as a lawyer, but Vann refused to take the bait. 

    Educated goes on to explain that the skull is contained in a safe in the Klondike Building, while the deposition of Moses Klump is contained in a safety deposit box jointly owned by Handsome Harry and Burlinghame. During the conversation Educated mentions that his debt to Gus derives from Gus taking care of him after the death of Educated's father, who was a criminal associate of Gus's.

    Upon taking in all this information Gus begins to hatch a plan. Gus wants Educated, who is a chauffeur for the warden, to run an errand for him while he's in Chicago with the warden. The warden it seems, has no fear of Gus escaping, because Gus has only 60 days left in his sentence and will gladly serve it rather than run and risk getting more time. Gus wants Educated to call a number of an associate and tell him everything he just told Gus. Gus pauses as the chapter ends, reluctant to tell Educated the name of his associate.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 4: "Wanted-One "Kite""

    Gus wants Educated to contact a former associate of his who used to work as a mole in either the police department, city hall, or the detective bureau for him and provide info that made Gus "the local Snatch King back w'en Big Al had the alky racket all sewed up for hisself". In order to contact the as-yet-unnamed associate, Educated will phone him and say the words "This is Mr. Szüd of the Harlequinade". Educated must then correctly spell Szüd(pronounced Seed) to the other party on the phone. This party will then contact Big Gus via a kite passed through the front office of the prison, which will read either "Szüd Harlequinade" as a way of saying "I CAN crack the safe by tomorrow" or "Harlequinade Szüd" as a way of saying "I cannot, or won't attempt to". However, as the chapter closes, Gus begins to explain that the latter better NOT be the response because despite being in prison, Gus can still harm the as-yet-unnamed third party!
  • edited 2020-01-09 20:05:27
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 5: "Honest Lou
    and
    Chapter 6: A Name-Complete!

    It turns out that if the job is pulled properly, Louis Vann, known as "Lock-The-Stable-Door" Vann to cops and "Honest Lou" to grifters(due to his refusal to take bribes) will be out of a job. The party of which Vann is a member is favored to win the next election, but due to a lack of high-profile collars by Vann, they have told him they are going to run someone else unless in the last week before re-election he can bring a high profile criminal conviction. This is especially important to Vann because he has incurred a series of debts from investments he made with his late father that he has yet to pay off.

    Gus gives Educated the name of the contact, but it is not revealed to the reader. Gus's contact however, was in Gus's old crew together with an Australian ex-con named Venus Baldy(so-named because of his bald scalp on which was tattooed a nude Venus). The contact will get in touch with Venus, who will know someone who can crack the safe in which the skull of Wah Lee is held. Venus and the contact go way back, as they had met when the contact was attempting to buy in on a gold mine, and Venus assisted him in forging the signature of a dead miner.

    If the contact does not go through with this, Gus will give the police the location of a lockbox containing multiple incriminating letters as well as telling the police that the contact was involved in the Wah Lee murder. With this business concluded, Educated exits the room.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 7: A State's Attorney Receives Happy News!

    Louis Vann, the State's Attorney, steps off at Central Passenger Station at Chicago out of a train from St. Louis while contemplating the superiority of train travel to air or boat travel. He is met by his office girl, Beryl Burlinghame, the  23 year old New Zealander office girl who keeps his old office in the Klondike Building, the office where he started practicing law with nothing but "4 thick law books, a diploma, an ancient second-hand iron safe, and no clients". Beryl tells Vann that she has a train to catch attend her sister's wedding in Indianapolis but came early to tell him about the discover of the skull of Wah Lee, a case she is unfamiliar as she was just a girl in New Zealand 13 years ago, in the year 1927 when the murder occurred.

    As she fills in Vann on what Moses Klump told her, she reveals a detail unmentioned by Educated, that a 6 year old Russian-American boy named Vadisclov witnessed Klump uncover the skull. Furthermore, the skull was discovered six feet down, and the reason that the police never found it before was that the body was discovered 3 feet down, and they never dug deeper than 3 feet in the surrounding area so as not to hit the gas line and under the assumption that the criminals would not dig a deeper hole, then dump the body halfway up it. She tells Vann that she put the skull in a safe place and Vann assumes she means that she locked it in the city hall vault, rather than his old second-hand safe.

    Vann is excited about this because it means he can finally put an end to the Parson Gang and in particular "Muscle-In" Gus McGurk, the criminal who was put in jail for collecting the ransom money for Wah Lee's kidnapping. In an aside, Beryl asks Vann why the police darkly refer to him as "Lock-The-Stable-Door" Vann and Vann explains that he learned that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime from a "Nick Carter dime novel" and often posts a policeman at the scene of a crime. Beryl inquires as to why Vann knows so much about the case, having been only a struggling barrister at the time the events transpired.

    Vann explains that Foster Emmons, the former State's Attorney and a friend of Vann's back then had Vann draw up a bill of indictment and write an opening speech for him for the case, both of which, sadly, never got used. Beryl asks for more information in the kidnapping of Wah Lee and Vann is happy to oblige.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 8: The Kidnapping of Wah Lee

    The facts of the case are these

    Wah Lee was the only son of Wah Lung a wealthy Chinese restaurateur who ran a place called the Famous Golden Inn. Wah Lee on the 25th of September in 1927 went to the hospital to have a difficult sinus operation performed. His father being paranoid due to the fact that Wah Lee has been the target of a previous attempted kidnapping, Lee apparently did not divulge his intended movements to anyone but his father on the day of the kidnapping. Never the less witnesses said he was forced into a van by four white men. days later, Wah Lung was phoned by an anonymous caller who claimed that they had Wah Lee and demanded a 50,000 dollar ransom in five and ten dollar bills. This money was delivered and collected, but Wah Lee never returned.

    However, unbeknownst to Wah Lung, 1000 dollars of the reward money was a collection of marked 5 dollar bills marked by a clerk who suspected from the look on Wah Lung's face that the money would be used for ransom. Three years later, in 1927, an ex-con named Job Breeden, who had been in jail during the whole Wah Lee incident, is caught by the very same clerk getting change for a five. Breeden claims he got the money from "Muscle-In" Gus McGurk, so called because he would "muscle-in" on schemes proposed by weaker criminals. Gus is found possessing a heading torn from the St Louis Record bearing two chinese characters written with brush reading Wah Lee, the 1000 dollars of ransom money, and a Parson's outfit. The last detail identifies him as a member and the possible leader of the Parson gang, a gang of criminals who would dress as parsons to avoid police suspicion.

    Gus was the nephew of Fean McGurk, a stockholder in the brewery on goose island who gave his nephew caretakership of said brewery. In the testing room of the brewery, the police discover a headless body. Unfortunately for the law, a parson by the name of Horace Mylrea appears and tells the police that he had communicated with Wah Lee after the kidnapping who had merely run away from home after a quarrel with his father. Furthermore, an old woman, Mary Grubbs, claims that the headless body is that of her son Dolf, who was murdered with an elephant gun by her other son Brunker.

    Given this information, Gus and his lawyer, Flemming Wiles claim that Gus was not involved in the kidnapping, but merely muscled in and claimed to be, and took the ransom money, and that the brush-made mark on the newspaper was not made by Wah Lee but deceased fellow criminal, a Japanese man named Suko Haburo. Gus plead guilty to extortion alone, and was given 15 years in jail, a sentence that was reduced to 10 years with good behavior.

    Vann ends the chapter by resolving to call the prison the moment he gets back to his office, in case Gus is going to get out of jail before he can be indicted for the murder and kidnapping of Wah Lee.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 9: And Five Years Later

    After the events of the case, it was discovered that Mylrea was a morphine addict who had been bribed into claiming he met Wah Lee with the promise of two years worth of heroin. Mary Grubbs, the other witness, died falling off a bridge under suspicious circumstances, but was found to have mysteriously paid off a 5000 dollar loan she didn't seem to have the money to pay off. 

    Vann tells Beryl about how he'd love to see the look on the vault custodian's face when he tells him tomorrow morning about all this, and Beryl explains that she locked the skull in the safe in his old office. Vann is terrified by this, as the safe could easily be opened by even an unskilled safe cracker by knocking off the handle and dial off with a sledgehammer and pulling out the bolt. He phones Moses Klump to make sure that the latter never told anyone else about the skull, only to find out that Klump died when a wall fell on him while he was doing construction work on a warehouse. Vann, however is satisfied that Klump died naturally and never told anyone about the skull, and goes off to his office.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 10: In Room 806

    Vann goes in the elevator in the Klondike building and has a short chat with Peters, the elevator attended, who reveals that Adolph Reibach, a German night watchmen, left duty early last night due to a drinking problem. Afterwards, Vann discovers his office has been broken into and that the skull is gone. Furthermore, the office contains the murdered corpse of Adolph Reibach!

    Chapter 11: Murder at 10:43 PM

    45 minutes after discovering his safe broken into, Vann has a conversation about the case with a detective, Rufus Scott, who has just finished examining the scene of the crime. Scott believes that the criminal hid inside the building before it was closed, then crept up to Vann's office and opened the safe with a sledge. Reibach however, heard the disturbance and rushed into the office, where he was killed by the crook with a sledgehammer. Scott is convinced the crime occurred at 10:43, because Reibach kept fastidious notes of his movements every 40 minutes and his last entry was at 10:10. Furthermore during the struggle Reibach's watch was smashed and stopped at 10:43, and while reeling in from the blow, Reibach smashed a clock on the wall which stopped at 10:43. Scott knows the final clock was accurate because a Scotchman named Angus McIntosh down the hall said it was the clock he'd use to check the time on his watch and as Scotchmen are notoriously frugal and are loath to walk further than they have to and wear down their shoes, or spend four cents using the phone to find the time, it MUST be an accurate clock.

    Scott also believes the killer must have been in some way distinctive, which is why he didn't leave Reibach alive as a witness, he(the killer) having some unusual trait such as red hair or a deformity.  Finally, Scott believes that the killer left the office at 10:45 carrying his sledgehammer in a violin case
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 12: At the Inn of the Golden Dragon

    Wah Lung, the owner and proprietor of the In of the Golden Dragon, a successful restaurant is getting ready for the day's work when a reporter from the Chicago Despatch walks in and introduces himself as Hugh Vann(the kid brother of Louis Vann). Vann tells Wah Lung what his brother told him, which is mainly information the reader already knows so forgive me for skimming over it, and asks for Lung's statement on the case. Wah Lung responds to this by giving him two possible quotes, either of which he can use for his piece on the affair: The first statement is that if he knew where his son's skull was at this moment, he would know the man who was the inside wire of the Parson gang. The second statement is that If he knew WHO the inside wire was, he would not only have his son's skull but evidence to convict the wire and McGurk.

    Vann asks him which of the two statements is his real comment. Wah Lung responds by saying that Confucius once said truth was like the sleeve of a coat, in that if it is turned inside out, it is still truth and tells Vann to take his choice.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 13: When the "Church" offered to help the "Law"

    Officer Daniel "Limp" Kilgallon is on patrol when he meets his old friend, Archbishop Stanley Pell, coming out of a post office. Pell is at the post office with a Professor Mustaire, the head of a school for the deaf and dumb who did important work simplifying sign language to be easier to use. Limp asks Pell for a favor: it turns out Limp has been monitoring a red-headed man standing on a corner with a shoebox with holes poked in it, doing a crossword puzzle on top of the box. Limp asked the man what was in the box, assuming it was a pet, but the man responded by saying he did not speak English. As Limp walked away, he remembered that the police are on the lookout for suspicious characters with a distinguishing characteristic like red hair, and also realizes that the crossword puzzles the man was doing were in English. He asks Pell, who speaks eight languages, to interrogate the man in his own language.

    Pell and Mustaire walk over to the man and Pell asks him what's in the box. The man, looking at Pell and mistaking Mustaire for a deaf mute due to the fact that Mustaire met a former-pupil on the street and greeted him in sign language, tells Pell that the box contains the skull of Wah Lee, stolen from Vann's "Pete"(or safe in the language of crookdom). Realizing Pell is not who he thought he was, he immediately escapes on a street car. This news excites Limp, who knows about the recent development in the Wah Lee case due to having a son who works in Vann's office, and he resolves to have a squad car look for the man.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 14: The Contents of a Crimson Box

    Senior Squad-Car Officer "Hoke" Morgan is driving along the loop when he and his driver "Heimie" Blivens see Limp waving them down. Limp asks Hoke to frisk the man with the red box by telling him that he suspects that the box contains a skull marked with the initials "MK" which stands for Moor Klippatry, which in Swedish means "Prince of Denmarkia", for the skull in the box is the skull of Hamlet himself, used for years by famed Shakespearian actor Richard Axton. Limp goes on to say that the skull was stolen from a man named Claude Doolittle, and that the night watchman who guarded it died in the process. Hoke goes to the man on the corner and demands to see what's in the box, and finds a skull with a hole in it and the initials MK marked on it.  Hoke threatens the man with the electric chair, but the man, mysteriously, is un-intimidated 
  • edited 2020-02-02 00:36:39
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 15: -Said the Supreme Court

    Fleming Wiles, a notorious criminal attorney is playing gold with his friend Stanley Klarkover when he is approached by his secretary, Fifi Fanchon, who tells him that the supreme court has let the infamous "Millionaire" Bothwell out of jail and ruled against the state.

    Bothwell it turns out, was a retired millionaire who shot his neighbor Amos Hawlwick in a bitter dispute over clothlines. The police at first were unable to convict Bothwell, as no murder weapon was found, but this changed when a child found the murder weapon on the roof of the next house over, wrote his initials on it, and gave it to the State's Attorney's wife at her house. She, along with the child knew, nothing about calibres or anything about guns, so they had the child letter his initials on the gun. However, that night, the child was struck by a car and died, and burglars robbed the house. A gun with the initials of the dead child was then found in a pawnshop in Peru,Illinois, along with some of the stolen jewels, clothes, and medals.

    Despite this, the supreme court of Illinois ruled that lettered initials are not legally handwriting, and thus there was no legal proof that the gun was the same gun used in the murder of Amos Hawlwick. The court added that the only way stolen evidence of this kind could be admitted is if it was found in the possession of the thief who stole it, and only then if said thief either confesses the theft or is convicted of the actual theft in which the evidence disappeared.

    Wiles ponders what effect all of this will have in cases in the state of Illinois as he resumes golfing with the judge.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 16: "The Criminal Always Returns to the Scene of his Crime!"- Nick Carter

    Louis Vann goes to the police office to meet with "Portfolio" Smith, a detective who shares his view that the criminal will always return to the scene of the crime. He sets Portfolio, a man with a knack for sniffing out criminals, to watch over the scene of the crime in an attempt to catch a possible accomplice of the man they have caught.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 17: The Discomfiture of Sebastien Squires

    Rutgers Allstyn, an attorney who specializes in contract law, who expects to leave soon, to attend to a client in a different city, anonymously so as not to alert reporters, receives a visitor. The visitor makes Squires, his law-clerk, uncomfortable because the visitor is a man who wears rouge and perfume. Allstyn tells Squires to let the visitor in, but not before telling Squires that when he leaves, he can be reached at the office of Elsa Colby, a 24 year old lawyer he knows.

    Chapter 18: The "Clown" who would a "Hamlet" be!

    The visitor turns out to be one Piffington Wainwright, a foppish young man who wants to break a contract so that he can marry his lady love, a six foot tall coal-worker. Piffington lives in a trailer surrounded by a two billboards on either side, cheaply, and due to a contract, is not allowed to move. Piffington wants Allstyn to read his short contract and see if he has good grounds for breaking it.  It is noted that Piffington's actual legal name, and the name on the contract is actually P Wainwright, due to the wishes of a grandfather who hoped that eventually he would voluntarily take his first name. Piffington works as a writer for radio, and in particular one show called Uncle Griffy's Bed Time Animal Tales for Tiny Tots. He thinks this work is insipid and wishes to become a crime writer, but his contract forbids him from writing for any other firm than the firm that refuses to give him another job.

    Allstyn asks Piffington if he read the contract before he signed it and the latter insists he did and is confused as to why someone would not. Allstyn then begins to tell him the story of a practicing lawyer who signed a contract without reading it that contained a clause that could cost this lawyer 100,000 dollars.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 19: "No Talkee"

    Louis Vann has a call with his assistant, Leo Kilgallon, son of Limp Killgallon. Despite being picked up with what seems to be the skull of Wah Lee, the man who was arrested claims to not know who Wah Lee was, won't admit to the crime, and refuses to give his name. This is concerning to Vann however, because due to the precedent set by the Bothwell case, the skull cannot be shown to be proof of the crime of Big Gus until the criminal either admits it is, or it is proven in a court of law to be the same skull, a process which would take 3-6 months, at which point Big Gus would be out of prison and probably in hiding. Knowing this, Vann goes down to the State's Attorney's special lockup to interview the titular Man with the Crimson Box.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 20: The Case of the $100,000 Joker

    Back with Allstyn and Piffington, Allstyn begins to tell the story of his friend Elsa Colby(code-naming her Elsa Coe so as not to let Wainwright know who he is talking of) and how not reading a contract could have cost her 100,000 dollars.

    When Elsa's father died, her father left his only estate a block of vacant land on the northwest side of Chicago, worth around 130,000 dollars to Elsa and her uncle(here called Cyrus Muff) with 9/10 of the interest going to Elsa and 1/10 going to her uncle. Her father, not wanting the land to be sold before the real estate doldrums of the mid 30s ended, had a provision in his will that as long as Elsa was part owner in the estate, it could not be sold, mortgaged, or partitioned until her 30th birthday.

    Elsa, shortly after her 18th birthday, decided to become a lawyer, a process for which she needed at least 5000 dollars in cash to cover tuition and living expenses for the 6 years it would take. She thus, made a deal with her uncle that he would loan her 5000 dollars cash, and she would then sign a contract giving him $15,000 dollars of the receipts of her eventual share of the property when she did indeed sell it. However the contract her uncle drew up contained a "joker", in that it stated that if Elsa became a lawyer and either failed to gain an acquittal in her first criminal case, or was disbarred during her first three months of practice, then the contract would constitute a quitclaim, by which she would forfeit her right to the land and give her uncle full control of the property.

    Elsa did not realize all of this, as her dastardly uncle sprung it on her at the night of her prom, and set the clocks forward an hour to make her think she was late for it, so she did not read the contract when she signed it.

    Allstyn, however figured out a way around the "joker". He has a brother who is a judge on the Criminal Bench, who is currently in India on a trip. When he returns, Elsa will be given as her first case, a trial where the acquittal of the defendant is all but guaranteed. Until then she is practicing as a lawyer by advising, without getting into actual trials. Wainwright brings up the possibility of her getting appointed by some judge to defend some defendant, but Allstyn dismisses the possibility, as he could pull some strings to get her released.

    All this done with, Allstyn begins to read Wainwright's contract.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 21: An Offer and Acceptance

    State's attorney Louis Vann attempts to interview John Doe, the red-haired prisoner he believes killed Reibach and stole the skull. To his surprise, the Doe insists that he wants judge Hilford Penworth to try his case, because of Penworth's "extra-legal mind". Vann informs him that Penworth has not heard a case in six months and has been confined to his home with severe gout and arthritis. The Doe however, says he would be willing to have the trial in Penworth's own house(as a judge can determine any spot he wants to be his courtroom). Vann, hoping to get the trial done with before Gus is released from prison, asks him if he would sign a jury waiver, get the grand jury to immediately indict, and petition for immediate trial. The Doe agrees to do this, and even claims he doesn't need a lawyer, but Vann insists he get one for fear that the trial might be overturned by a higher authority if he doesn't have one.

    Vann calls the criminal records department and learns that the Doe, based on his fingerprints, has no record in either Chicago or Cicero. Vann then calls Silas Moffit(who the clever reader will realize is in fact the person code-named Cyrus Muff by Allstyn in the last chapter). Vann struck a deal with Moffit that Moffit renew his mortgage if he let Moffit know when he had a legal case that was a sure fire win for the State, in which the trial was practically a formality. Moffit, it turns out, also has a mortgage on Penworth's house, and in fact all his mortgages are on houses owned by members of the Chicago bar and bench. He specifically looks up lawyers and judges with the help of his son in law, Manny Levinstein an attorney specializing in personal injury cases.

    Vann asks Moffit if he himself is Jewish, like his stepson, because he has a biblical first name, and his own son is named Saul. However, Moffit is annoyed by this question, as he is not Jewish and there is no love lost between Saul and Cyrus Moffit, due to Saul's history of drunkenness. Saul, coincidentally, called up Vann's office this morning trying to get a job, as Saul himself was a former assistant-prosecutor who was disbarred over his alcoholism. Sensing that he accidentally stepped into talking about a family dispute with someone on his side, Vann changes the subject back to Penworth, who is known as "Lifer Penworth" for giving a defendant as little of a break as legally can be given.

    All parties happy(including the confident Doe) the chapter ends.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 22: "I'm Your Lawyer"

    Hugh Vann, doing the extremely illegal and unethical move of pretending to be someone's lawyer to get information out of him, questions John Doe on his defense. Doe's defense, as it turns out is hypno-mesmeric amnesia. Doe claims to have traveled through South America with a hypnotist named Konigsberg who would hypnotize him using a revolving lamp placed at the focus of some inclined mirrors. Konigsberg would put Doe in and out of hypnosis using the lamps, and during the period of hypnosis Doe could not remember his actions. 

    After coming to Chicago from Brazil, Doe walked in front of the Revolving Lamp Drug Store and was hypnotized(at least according to him). He then forgot all his actions  until he was called back to consciousness by a lamp in a drugstore in and on city hall, placed there due to medical emergencies as he was escorted in by the police.

    Doe's explanation for the skull was that he had stolen a skull out of a Chinese nose-surgeon's office in Shanghai China. Doe didn't consider it theft, because Yat Yut(the surgeon) had given Doe an operation and refused to give him change for a 5 upon receiving a 10 yi bill. No one can confirm this because the surgeon was later killed by a former patient who thought no longer having tonsils would remove his ability to join his ancestors in the afterlife.

    The bullet hole happened because of a drunken bet with Konigsberg.

    Hugh Vann leaves and tells Doe's story to his brother Louis, who is unworried, as the story is transparently preposterous.
  • edited 2020-03-04 19:43:46
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 23: 400 Words

    Allstyn reads the contract of Piffington Wainwright. He learns that in return for 1000 dollars cash handed to him at the moment of signing, Wainwright agreed to work for the Adlai, Collerman, and Grimshawster company. Allstyn asks why and Wainwright tells him that he had a friend who was in stocks and bonds that showed him how he could make $50,000 by investing $ in the right places. This however, turned out to be a pyramid scheme and Wainwright was stuck with the contract.

    As Allstyn finishes reading the contract Wainwright continues to complain about how Adlai, Collerman and etc refuses to give him a chance to write anything other than children's stories. He has tried to destroy Adlai, etc, and etc's faith in him by submitting increasingly worse scripts, such as the tale of Eppykittynu, an animal with five legs including an elephant's leg, a fish's fin, and an animated stovepipe, born from the union of an elephant and a dachshund. The company either accepted stories(Eppykittynu became incredibly popular all across the country) or rejected them which meant Wainwright didn't get paid.

    Wainwright, once he breaks the contract, has a script all ready to go about a fight between a prizefighter and a half-gorilla, half-chimpanzee but Allstyn bursts his bubble by telling him that the contract cannot be broken, a fact Wainwright will not accept and the latter demands Allstyn give him a solution.
  • edited 2020-03-04 20:45:31
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 24: Wherein a Judge is Willing to Help

    Vann meets with Judge Penworth, who agrees to help by holding the trial. Penworth suggests Humphrey Humphries as the defense attorney for the trial. That is all that happens in this chapter

    Chapter 25: The Desperate Clown!

    Allstyn continues to insist, much to Wainwright's displeasure, that the contract is unbreakable. He begins to discuss Piffington Wainwright's hoped-for career of crime writing, and during the ensuing discussion of whether or not Wainwright would make a good crime writer, Wainright's past as a burlap specialist(he invented a way to measure burlap's thickness by the distance that can be seen through a burlap sheet), the time Wainwright got into a run in with a man he called a "dirty goddamned bastard of a grandmother-raping son of a bitch" who Allstyn, based on the description, informs him was  Philander Moriarty, the police chief of Chicago, the woman with a lavender gripsack Wainwright saw once,  Allstyn's lack of belief in an afterlife, Wainwright's ability to do an imitation of Albert Einstein and Mae West both, and the time Zenith Pictures in Hollywood made a complete film called The Bloody Corpse In the Forest starring Bela Rogosi, which was then re-shot and edited to become The Big Red Doll in the Woods with Shirley Hemple. 

    During this long-digression heavy conversation, Allstyn lets slip that in fact there IS a way for Wainwright to break the contract. If he becomes "the fly in the ointment, the arsenic in the coffee" to his employers they will tear up the contract themselves.  Wainwright plans a way to do this as he leaves, thanking Allstyn.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 26: Ebon Curls!

    Louis Vann tells his family about how he has killed two birds with one stone by both ensuring his re-election and gotten Silas Moffit to extend his loan after the election. He gave Moffit a case that will be a sure-fire win for the justice department (that of the man with the crimson shoebox), so that Moffit could arrange this to be his niece's first trial. Vann believes that Moffit is doing this because he wants his niece to have a "trial by fire" a case where she will have to try her hardest in a doomed outcome and will be paid regardless, thus giving her money and making her a better lawyer. He assures his wife Miriam and his daughter Dolly that all their problems will soon be solved.

    Chapter 27: Disconcerting News

    Louis Vann receives a call from Dr. Grevor Miranovski, the hypnotic therapeutist who gives him bad news: during the hours the crime was committed the man calling himself John Doe was in fact  with him and his colleague Dr. Alberti, being put into a hypontic sleep to cure a migraine. Miranovski also confirmed that the man had been hypnotized in the past by Konigsberg, a hypnotist Miranovski was well-aware of. Hanging up the phone, Vann realizes he might be done for.

    Chapter 28: Canceled-One Contract!

    The newspaper the next day reveals the true identity of the murderer who stole the skull from Vann: Piffington Wainwright!

    Wainwright it turns out, had met the red-headed John Doe at his trailer, and shared stories with him, seeing in John Doe an adventurer and a drifter. There he learned of Doe's history of travel and hypnosis and the fact that he could be hypnotized with a revolving lamp, and in fact had already seen a revolving lamp and wished not to see another one so as not to lose his memories for the period in between.

    Later however, Wainwright realized that the man had written a letter after reading a news article about the State's Attorney offering money for information on possible "Pansies" to be sentenced in court. Fearful of being confused for just such a Pansie due to his habit of wearing rouge to cover up his pale complexion, Wainwright resolved to get the letter(which he believed went to the SA's office). Finding the old offices of the SA, he broke in, killed the night watchman after being seen, and left with the skull.

    Knowing that there was a revolving lamp in the drug store in city hall, Wainwright went back to meet with Red, who revealed himself to be, in fact, Jack Melbourne, an Australian man brought from America by an uncle now dead. Melbourne had come to America to blackmail a purveyor of inside police information to a band of criminals known as the Parson gang.

    Wainwright tricked "Red" Melbourne into standing on the street with a box containing the skull by telling that he, Wainwright was an undercover Fed and that he needed Melbourne to make a criminal meet in which he would respond to being questioned about the contents of the box by saying the words "Wah Lee's skull; I cracked Vann's pete"

    Wainwright might have gotten away with his plan, except for the fact, that like Nick Carter says, he returned to the scene of the crime, fearful he had left fingerprints behind, and was picked up by Portfolio Smith as a suspicious character.

    Chapter 29: The Discomfiture of Captain Congreve

    Allstyn goes to the police station, certain that Piffington Wainwright did all of this just to get out of his contract, as the previous day Wainwright told him that at the time of the crime, he was at the party of Buford van der Zook, an artist, doing impressions. The captain however reveals information that shocks Allstyn: Not only were Wainwright's watch and fingerprints found at the scene, but the papers did not print the fact that the informant "Red" Melbourne attempted to blackmail was none other than Philander Moriarty, police chief of Chicago!

    Captain Congreve sadly offers Allstyn a drink of brandy, as it turns out that the one in the chair will not be Big Gus or the red-haired man, but Piffington Wainwright!

    TO BE CONTINUED IN

    THE MAN WITH THE WOODEN SPECTACLES
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    THE MAN WITH THE WOODEN SPECTACLES

    Chapter 1:Mr. Silas Moffit Seeks a Bargain

    Silas Moffit, stepping out of a cab without tipping the driver, carrying a black cotton umbrella he always has with him rain or shine, stands in front of the Prairie avenue home of Judge Hilford Penworth.

    He is met at the door by Fred Mullins, the judge's court clerk, and is ushered in to meet the judge. Moffit has come to ask a favor of Judge Penworth in regards to the murder of the nightwatchman at the Klondike Building and the theft of a skull. Moffit knows about this case and Penworth's involvement with it due to a tip from Louis J. "Lock-the-stable-door" Vann, the State's Attorney. The chapter closes as Moffit begins to explain the favor.

    Chapter 2: A Judge Demolishes an "Alibi"

    Moffit tells Penworth about how the item stolen is necessary to indict Big Gus McGurk, the ringleader of the infamous Parson gang. Moffit also knows via a story written by Hugh Vann, about the defendant's claim of hypno-mesmeric amnesia. However, Moffit knows something no one else does:  that there was no revolving lamp PRESENT at the Revolving Lamp Drugstore, either at the main location or at city hall during the time frame given, demolishing the defendant's alibi.

    Chapter 3: "Wah Lee's Skull; I Cracked Vann's Pete!"

    Moffit continues to explain the case and mentions that the nightwatchman was named Adolph Reibach. Penworth interrupts him and asks if it is the same Reibach who used to do odd jobs for the judge, and who had several daughters living in the West Side of Chicago. Moffit claims it is not the same man, because the Reibach they are speaking of came over from Germany at the request of the owner of the Klondike Building, August Kieckhofer from Pomerania in Germany, the same part of Germany Kieckhofer was from. Also the Reibach who used to work for Penworth would be 60 years old now, and the Reibach who died was 40. 

    Moffit continues to sum up the case and Penworth mentions Moffit's estranged son Saul, throwing Moffit into a rage, as he despises his own son, who is an alcoholic disgraced former lawyer. After ranting about how his son is a disgusting rat for a page, Moffit gets on to finally asking the favor.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 4: Mr. Silas Moffit Drives a Bargain!

    Moffit requests that Penworth appoint Elsa Colby, his niece, who has never had a trial, be the lawyer for the case. He claims that he wants this doomed effort to be a baptismal fire for her that will make her into a better lawyer. He also requests that, should Elsa refuse to do the trial, Penworth threaten her with disbarment. Finally he requests that he be in the room when the trial takes place as a member of the public.

    Leaving the building, Moffit calls his son in law Manny Levinstein, and talks to him about how they are just now drawing up papers to disinherit his son Saul Moffit, and also papers to give both Levinstein and Levinstein's own father $10,000 dollars out of the the money Moffit will be making off of Colby's Nugget, the real estate property he will get full possession of if Elsa Colby is either disbarred or loses her first trial.
  • edited 2020-03-08 17:01:27
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 5: The Busy Young Man

    A young man stands on the corner of Washington and Clark Streets, drawing much attention for he has rouged cheeks, dainty rimless eyeglasses tied to his vest by a ribbon and a yellow flower in his button hole. The young man reads a story about the Doe the police have scooped up, and as he does, the man begins to hatch a plan.

    The man heads to the Klondike Building, and goes up to the floor where the robbery happened and examines the padlock and examines the lock, which turns out to be a Waddington Lock type C-4. Smiling at this, the young man heads to a lock and hardware store, and asks for a Copely Master Lock. As he does he impresses the clerk with his knowledge of lock and the young man mentions that his grandfather, Pepperduff Wainwright, was the foremost expert of padlocks and locking mechanisms in his time, and he invented the Copely Lock as well as many others. He surprises the clerk by taking only the key to the Copely Lock(knowing that a Waddington Lock may be opened by either a single special-made unique key OR a generic key used for a Copely Lock), and a sledgehammer. 

    He next goes to a second-hand watch store, points out a watch with the letters I. V. engraved in it, and asks to buy it, but before doing so engrave extra lines onto the watch to make the "I" be a "P" and the "V" be a "W". With this, Piffington Wainwright(for this is the man's name) moves on.

    While buying a telephone slug to use a payphone at a pharmacy, he happens to run into Mayor Sweeney, the mayor of Chicago, buying a headache cure. After he leaves, Wainwright uses the phone to first make sure Dr. Gregor Miranovski is out of town and resolves to do an impression of him, then goes to the bridge and throws his sledgehammer into the river, goes back to retrieve the newly engraved watch, and heads back to the Klondike Building, where he opens padlock and discovers a dead body(a detail not mentioned in the news). Wainwright, who has experience with corpses(he used to apply makeup to female corpses for his friend Gideon Arkwright, an undertaker) is only momentarily startled. He sets his watch to 10:43, breaks it, leaves it under the safe, and puts his fingerprints under a diploma on the wall.

    With all this, he walks towards who he believes to be an undercover policeman, a man carrying a portfolio, who the attentive reader will realize is "Portfolio" Smith, from the last book.
  • edited 2020-03-19 16:02:18
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter VI: "Consultation Only!"

    Elsa Colby, a small 90-pound(due to lack of money) young lawyer struggles to put the finishing touches on a quilt she's sewing. As she does, she receives a call from Judge Penworth, who orders her to take the case he discussed with Moffit, and gets angry when she tries to avoid taking the case. The judge hangs up on her before she can explain WHY she doesn't want to take the case.

    Chapter VII A Trip to the Black Belt

    Elsa goes to the Black Belt, the area of Chicago where most of the city's African-American residents live, and as she gets out she sees a white horse with two black legs, a sight she takes as a sign that she will have an unexpected meeting in two hours. She goes up to a dilapidated cottage located underneath an undertaking parlor, and meets up with "Aunt" Linda Cooksay, a black woman who as a maid in Elsa's father's house, helped bring up Elsa and who now works as a washerwoman.

    What follows is a lot of exposition for people who didn't read the first book about Colby's Nugget, the contract Elsa signed, and how if she is either disbarred in her first three months as a lawyer or loses her first case, she will quitclaim on the property. They also talk about how Elsa hatched a scheme with contract lawyer Rutgers Allstyn to make sure this didn't happen in her first three months, but she can't reach Rutgers at the moment to get her out of the trial. It should be noted that all of Aunt Linda's dialogue is done in nearly incomprehensible stereotypical black dialect. 

    Aunt Linda asks how Silas Moffit knows about the plan and was able to disrupt it, and they figure out that Elsa's landlady, Mrs. Hirschberg, is in a social club with Lena Levinstein, the mother of Manny Levinstein, and Elsa knows that the tongues of women in the social club move like "strychnine-injected race horses" so the word must have reached Moffit via gossip.

    Linda tells Elsa that due to moonlighting as a washerwoman for Moffit, she knows that Moffit has a mortgage on the judge's house and must have manipulated the judge using it to get Elsa assigned to the case.

    Elsa despairs, as the trials seems hopeless.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 8: There Were 15 at the Table!

    Louis Vann sits in his office waiting for Special Investigator August Bardell, a man he has sent to infiltrate the party of the infamous Buford van der Zook Jr, due to Van Der Zook's(a futurist painter) ties to known anarchists. When Bardell gets there, he reveals that he and his colleague, a man named Koncil attended the meeting, and says that while the party was attended by Hugo Schletchmar, a man mixed up in bombings in 4 different cities and also by Andrew Brosnatch, a man who served time in Alcatraz for assassinating a San Francisco millionaire, the actual talk of the meeting was mainly complaining about editors(as the party goers were a Bohemian bunch).

    It is noted that the host's more respectable father, Buford van der Zook Sr, was not present at the meeting. Bardell and Koncil were able to do a complete inventory of the party's attendance, as at the end everyone signed everyone else's paper napkin in case they wanted to meet up again. The list includes names like Jerry Ames, Harman Ochs(a cubist sculptor), Lon Annyman(a political cartoonist), and Piffington Wainwright. Not yet knowing the significance of that last name, he puts the napkin containing the possible anarchists into evidence.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 9: The Man with Three Tables

    As Elsa and Aunt Linda continue to go over the events of the first book, Linda brings up that she knows all about the Wah Lee case, as she used to be a maid for Richard St. George, a man she describes as "Two Jekylls and one Hyde" because of his varied writing. Richard St. George not only wrote for three publications in three different genres(these genres and publications being poetry for Harpers, True Crime for Famous Crime Story Magazine, and sleazy "True Confessions" for True Confessions magazine) he also had three separate writing tables for each of his genres. When he wrote poetry he sat at a spindly-legged table writing with a quill pen, when he wrote the so-called "True Confessions" he wrote in a room with rich hangings containing a divan "suggesting all the divans in the world on which all the virgins in the world lost their virtue" with incense rolling out of a brass urn, and his true crime stories in a room covered with photographs, maps, and street guides, as well as a telephone to make sure everything was checked and verified.

    Linda knows about the kidnapping of Wah Lee because Richard St. George would read his stories out loud to her as a way of making sure they were clearly written.

    Chapter 10: The Kidnapping of Wah Lee

    Aunt Linda goes over the whole Wah Lee thing with Elsa and a bunch of information that the reader will already knew from the last book is restated. After explaining the whole business, Aunt Linda goes on to giving her advice to her adoptive niece, Elsa Colby.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 11: Black Woman's Advice

    Aunt Linda promises to do a "conjure" for Elsa with the help of the supreme god of Voodoo, Mumbo-Jumbo. Elsa scoffs at this, not believing in such things, but Linda tells her about how her uncle Silas and his son-in-law are both firm believers in the power of Voodoo. They gained this belief after they came home from a lecture on the power of Voodoo, and Aunt Linda threatened to put a curse on them for stiffing her on her pay, and at the moment she did so Silas Moffit received a phone call telling him a lucrative business transaction had fallen through.

    Aunt Linda advises Elsa to take the case, and gives her a pep talk about how she's still not absolutely sure the man didn't commit the crime, and even if she did, Elsa has a fighting chance to get the client off as she has a beginner's spirit and has struggled to get where she was in a way the high-up state's attorneys haven't, because she is where she is because of smarts and grit and they are where they are because of political connections to pull.

    Aunt Linda also tells Elsa she should go into the meeting dressed well, and tells her she's made a deal with a dress-maker she does work for to get a free dress that will look great on Elsa. 

    She goes on to tell Elsa she doesn't know the true nature of her uncle, who hides his true face from the world. Her uncle is not only a "giver-upper" a trait inherited from his own father who committed suicide after only thinking he was ruined in a misunderstanding that turned out not to be true, he is also forgetful, lascivious and insane.

    Elsa contests the characterization of him as insane, but Aunt Linda tells her that he is merely "insane on one point" and such people are never institutionalized. This "one point" is his passionate and irrational hatred of his son Saul Moffit, who is likewise crazy on "two points" these points being Saul's passionate and irrational hatred of his father and his love of collecting spectacles.

    Elsa segues into talking about how she saw a pair of rare spectacles Saul would love: wooden spectacles cared by the infamous serial killer Jacques Brusseau, who killed 21 women he married and who carved the spectacles himself, in prison, with wooden pins to hold the ear pieces to the frames.

    Elsa gets ready to leave and take the case, but first Aunt Linda casts a spell to assist her beloved adoptive niece, by burning the toenail of a hunchback murdered in a graveyard at the stroke of midnight in a furnace. Elsa leaves as she does this.
  • edited 2020-03-11 18:38:58
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 12: "My Name Is Now 'S. Moffit'-If You Please!"

    As Elsa moves on, the omen of the horse is proven true, as she unexpectedly meets her cousin Saul Moffit. Saul(now going by S. Moffit because of his hatred of the name his father gave him), who has fallen on hard times is in the Black Belt of Chicago because he wanted to buy a rare pair of spectacles that belonged to a former slave of Robert E. Lee that was passed down to his descendants, who sold it to S. for $10(which in 1941 was equivalent to $176 dollars today), Elsa looks at the cheaply dressed unemployed S. and worries about him as he clearly doesn't have that much money to blow on rare spectacles. After a discussion of S's collection(he has 327 in his collection a number that would be 331 but he lost four of them) the conversation turns to where S. is living now. It turns out he has an 8 room flat on Cleveland Avenue, a block down the street from his uncle, who he is "keeping watch on"

    Elsa asks him how on earth he affords an 8 room flat and so many spectacles, and he tells her that he, who was once an expert on lawyer working for the SA, now works as a bookkeeper for an underground brewery that gives him free beer in addition to pay. 

    In fact, S. was, though a mediocre lawyer, an expert at sniffing out rackets, having once uncovered the fact that all the taxi-drivers in Chicago were keeping a set of taxi officials rich by being forced to only take out their accident insurance from a company owned by the officials. Elsa wants S. to try to get his old job back now that there's an opening, but Saul, who has resigned himself to being a useless drunkard, declines. With this, they part.

  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 13: "John Doe" Defendant

    Elsa meets with the red-headed John Doe, and fails to get almost anything out of him, as he is convinced that she is not his real lawyer but a spy sent by the SA to trick information out of him about his defense. He does, however, admit when pressed that the whole revolving lamp hypnosis story was a trick he did to baffle the SA as to his real defense. After a lot of back and forth, he says that he will not believe Elsa is his real lawyer until he sees her alongside him in the courtroom, which Elsa is sure, will be far too late for her to come up with a good defense!!

    Chapter 14: Signed-On the Dotted Line!

    Lous Vann, his, personal assistant Leo Kilgallon, and Big Art Kelgrave, a member of the police force who is secretly undercover for Vann to report conditions in the police force interrogate Piffington Wainwright.

    Though they were previously fooled into thinking Wainwright had no alibi, as they assumed he was at a dinner party with the elder Buford van der Zook, who professed no knowledge of Piffington, they later discovered that he was at the party of van der Zook JR, who did cop to knowing a Piffington Wainwright. Vann, knowing that Wainright didn't crack the safe or kill Reibach, continues to interrogate him by threatening to put him and Kelgrave in a cell together where Kelgrave can work him over with a piece of rubber hose.

    At this, Wainwright admits that he did all of this to be released from his contract with Adlai, Collerman, and Grimshawster. They ask him why he made up that story about Red Melbourne, the Parson Gang, and Philander Moriarty, and Piffington responds that he has had a bad run in with Moriarty and wanted to get revenge on him. After admonishing Wainwright for jamming up the gears of justice, Vann leaves and receives an unpleasant phone call!

  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 15: On the Spot-One S.A.!

    Louis Vann receives a call from Cockerill Danielson, editor of the Evening Despatch, who is furious that Vann gave his own brother, Hugh Vann confidential information that allowed him to be the first to interview Wah Lee's father, Wah Lung. This meant that the Despatch, the paper Hugh Vann works for, got the story way before all other papers. Danielson threatens Vann by saying that there is no way Boss Hennerty will have him re-nominated for his party to be re-elected if all the papers go after him in revenge. With this, he hangs up.

    Vann's assistant Leo Kilgallon suggests they appease the papers by holding back the fact that Wainwright was NOT the killer and give them the facts that lead them to believe he was, and give those facts to everyone but the Despatch to make things even. Vann agrees to do so, which leads to the papers naming Piffington Wainwright as the thief of the skull and the murdered of Reibach.

    Chapter 16: An Appeal-To J. Doe

    Elsa Colby continues to try to get Doe to work with her. She asks if he wants her to call any witnesses he knows, and he first refuses, but then suggests that one he knows might appear if they broadcast a "raddio" appeal for him(Doe pronounces it "raddio" either because he hates radio or is a devout Al Smith Democrat) on his favorite program, Uncle Griffys's Bedtime Story, and tell him that his redheaded friend with an anchor tattooed on his foot needs help

    Doe then says he does NOT have an anchor tattooed on his foot, and refuses to explain why the message says he does.

    Continuing to relent, he gives her an envelope he tells her to not open yet that contains the name of the only witness he wants called, but he asks that she not open it till he leaves. He asks her why she cares this much about winning her first case when 70% of lawyers probably lose theirs and are fine, and she explains the situation, but lies and says her sister will be affected and not her.

    Elsa asks if he wants anything for the trial, and Doe asks for one stick of gum so he doesn't have a dry mouth when he's called to testify. She asks him what flavor and he asks for "Oh God", a new flavor he recently discovered in a black drugstore which was synthesized by a Jewish chemist who originally invented it to disguise noxious drugs who would stop by the drugstore and gave the owner enough of the chemical for several ice-cream sodas. The flavor was named "Oh God" after the exclamation of the first person to try it. Elsa says she will ask Gummy Joe(a legless cockney who specializes in chewing gum at his stand) for it.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 17: Expert Testimony Re Demise Wah Lee!

    Vann interviews Dr. Purvis Graham, a retired expert nose surgeon. Graham begins to examine the skull and while doing so drops the fact that he as an appointment with Mayor Sweeney to talk about the mayor's headache. After a short digression about the mayor's hedonism, Dr. Graham confirms that the skull received nose surgery to widen an opening in the sphenoid sinus to drain pus. Graham notes that if done improperly, the surgery can cause blindness, but the accumulation of pus in said cavity can cause such intense headaches patients will often go through the surgery just to be rid of the pain. Graham deduces that the surgery was done successfully, and under general rather than local anesthesia, and also that the victim died within eight days of the operation being performed.

    This indicates to Vann that the Parson Gang must have never had any intention of releasing Wah Lee, which indicates that Lee confided his movements to a member of the Parson Gang who would have been found out AS a member if Lee lived. Vann realizes that if he can establish that the skull is that of Wah Lee, he will have not only Gus, but also the "finger-man" and "inside-wire" for the Parson Gang!
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 18: A Call to Chinatown

    Elsa Colby attempts to contact Dr. Sun Chew Moy, the character witness Doe indicated but has trouble. She gets in contact with Hip Fat, the man who owns the grocery store Dr. Sun practices over, but he informs her that the doctor is gone til 8:00 PM, at which point the trial will already have started. Hip has trouble with English and understanding Elsa's requests, so he puts his son on the phone. His son turns out to be Charles Ling(born Hip Fat Ling) a colleague of Elsa's from law school. Charlie Ling attempted to practice law in New York, but failed due to the racism associated with trying to practice law as a Chinese man in the 40s and is now working at his father's grocery store.

    Charlie informs Elsa that her information was mistaken and Dr. Sun isn't coming back to his office at all, but Charlie is going to meet up to deliver an order of candy to him. Elsa asks Charlie, as an old friend, to either drive Dr. Sun to meet Elsa or to make him giver her a phone call because of it may determine whether or not a man gets the electric chair. Charlie agrees and hangs up

    At this point Elsa's uncle Silas arrives with an umbrella to talk to her about her first court case. Elsa asks him how, exactly, he knows that tonight is her first court case, and before he can answer, Elsa receives a phone call.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 19: Concerning Animated Mummies!-Confessions!-Folding Screens!-And Whatnot!

    The man on the phone proves to be Art Kelgrave, calling as a detective of the narcotics squad. It turns out that Kelgrave is calling lawyers who might have cokehead clients who would know the location of Eustaqua Brusbriuante, known to the Narcotics Squad as "Madame End-of-the-Road". Elsa, hoping to get work from the detective bureau, lies and says she has just such a client who uses many different drugs. 

    Kelgrave explains that Brusbiuante is a woman from the Phillipines who married Sir Gordon Haynes-Arlegraves, but divorced him when she was found in bed with his chauffeur, she then was a secret agent in London who acted as a honey pot for Asian envoys, while running a gambling parlor in Mayfair under the nose of Scotland Yard, after that she was a prostitute in Buenos Aires, came to New York and opened up a sporting house in Harlem, dropped that, became a booker for nude dancing  at stag parties in Chicago, and now runs "a marijuana smoking flat where people can come and inhale the Mexican weed"

    Kelgrave wants to contact Brusbiuante to give her an ultimatum: if she clears out of Chicago in 24 hours the Chicago PD will quit pursing her, as part of a new initiative to get drug dealers out of the city. Elsa promises to pass Brusbiuante the word via her fictional client, and in return Kelgrave gives her two important pieces of information: One that Professor Clark S. W. Adgate the foremost criminologist in all of America is going to testify tonight for the State, and also that the upcoming story Elsa might see in the papers (about Piffington Wainwright being guilty of the crime John Doe is accused of) is not true.  Elsa thanks him, and hangs up to talk to her uncle.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 20: Colby Versus Moffit-Round 2

    Elsa asks Silas where he heard about her case, and he lies and says he got it from a lawyer named Smith but Elsa sees through this right away and knows Silas undoubtedly learned it from Vann. 

    To disarm Silas, she brings up where his son, S. Moffit is currently living, and Silas immediately begins ranting about his "rat" of a son. Elsa tells him that S. has referred to him in turn as a rat, a viper, "the cockroach of hell" and "The Grand Llama of Welpdom". Silas responds by saying that S. himself is the Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel of the whole rat tribe, crossed with all the bed bugs to boot! It turns out that S. once accused Silas of scaring his own father into suicide, and Silas wrote S. a letter back calling him a "quarter-wit louse that a 15-cent prostitute wouldn't spit on when she was drunk, and who smelled so bad that all the dead cats in cat-dom had voted him their king" and furthermore said that he'd already bought a grave for his son and a gravestone, that reads "Here Lies Nothing-God be Thanked"

    Chapter 21: Round 3. Colby Leading-Moffit Parrying-

    Elsa changes the subject to Silas's attempt to steal Colby's nugget from her, and he lies and says the clause in the contract he had her sign was only to teach her a lesson about reading contracts. Elsa gets so fed up with his lies that she calls upon God, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, the Virgin Mary, and Mumbo-Jumbo the King of Voodooism to swear that if she could only get her hands on a valuable real-estate paper of Silas's she'd burn it right then and there in front of him.

    Chapter 22: Round 4-Stiff Uppercut by E. Colby

    Silas smugly informs Elsa that he will have a front-row seat to her first trail, and Elsa asks him why on earth he has a new umbrella instead of the old one he has been carrying around for years. Silas tells her that he forgot it in a cigar store called The Whistling Jim and the owner refused to let him in to get it back. Elsa questions if he actually lost it there and they have a long meandering discussion of his whereabouts the previous day  with and without the umbrella that eventually leads to Elsa asking why he cares about the umbrella so much and Silas gives her two reasons: One, that he had the umbrella blessed by a foremost astrologist and numerologist to be a lucky umbrella, and two that he uses closed umbrellas to carry things he might need.

    He demonstrates this to her by grabbing his new umbrella, and pulling out a valuable real-estate document, a crab apple, and an "emergency medical case" containing two ounces of pure triple-distilled grain alcohol.

    In response to Silas's blather about numerology and astrology being on his side, Elsa says that SHE has voodoo on her side.

    Chapter 23: Silas Moffit's Second Prescribes "One Horseshoe" For Each Glove

    Silas is frightened when he realizes that Linda, who he believes to be a powerful practitioner of Voodoo has put a spell on him.

    Silas leaves and goes to a phone booth to talk to his son-in-law Manny Levenstein and vent about his fear of the conjure, and Manny, taking this seriously, has an idea to make sure the trial goes their way. He brings up that the previous night, Silas saw a man coming towards him and away from the entrance of the Klondike Building with a violin case in his hand and Manny says that this violin case probably contained a sledge hammer, and the man who carried it MUST HAVE BEEN the John Doe, and Silas can thus be a witness to ruin any alibi Doe might have. He also tells Silas to go and camp out in Elsa's office with her to get information from her phone calls and see if there's any valuable information about the defense they can slip the State's Attorney.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 24: Mr. Silas Moffit "Moves In-Bag and Baggage"

    Silas does indeed take residence in Elsa's office, giving the phony excuse that he needs to take a call about Manny's second cousin and whether or not he was hurt in an auto accident. Elsa is worried about this as she is expecting several important calls.

    Chapter 25: -And Elsa Develops a Little "Idea"!

    Elsa tells Silas to sit in her swivel chair while she runs out for just a moment, having hatched a plan to get her uncle to vacate the office.

    Chapter 26: "Completion" of the "Zoo"

    Before she can leave a special delivery boy stops Elsa and has a special delivery for her. The delivery is a card with "S. Moffit" printed on the front, and the back has a message asking that she not tell his "skunk" of a father that he, S. has lost 4 pairs of spectacles, because Silas might use S.'s forgetfulness as pretext to put him in an insane asylum.

    Chapter 27: The Perfect "Uncle-Oustering" Idea of One E. Colby!

    Elsa goes through the building to the office of one Keen Larborough, a man who was once a great trial lawyer, before an accident that paralyzed his legs, and then became a case-preparer for other attorneys, and now, after arthritis has crippled his hands, prints out a daily calendar of all courts appointments on a given day.

    Keene tells Elsa that the SA Lou Vann is going to shut down his business within a week, for fear that his info sheet will go to unauthorized people like crooks. Elsa confesses her own plan to Keene: She has gotten in contact with a Chinese doctor who has concocted an anesthetic with the side effect that causes whoever consumes the drug to instantly start telling all hidden truths they have been hiding. The doctor hides this in bamboo candy and gives it to his patients when they are children who wouldn't be able to stomach the taste of the anesthetic and it works well for tonsil operations and lancing boils.

    Elsa believes that her client is hiding his true alibi because he has taken up with a married woman, and does not want said woman to be found out and would rather go to the chair than reveal the identity of his lover, who would be able to provide an alibi, but Elsa believes that if she hides the drug in a stick of chewing gum with the flavor "Oh God" and gives it to him before he is on the witness stand, he will reveal his alibi.  Elsa has thus gotten in contact with a gum manufacturer, the maker of the "Oh God" flavor, and Dr. Sun Chew Moy, the doctor who invented the drug and is expecting phone calls from all three of them.

    To get her uncle out of the room, she asks him to phone her office and say "Department Z has Silas Moffit's umbrella and is seeking Mr. Moffit" in order to get Silas out of the office. She leaves, and Keene guiltily phones State's Attorney Louis Vann and tells her what Elsa is planning. It turns out that Dr. Sun's lover's brother was locked up in a county jail on suspicion of being involved with a tong killing, and Dr. Sun came to Vann himself to beg him to not press the case against his lover's brother.

    From this experience Vann learned that in addition to the drug Elsa spoke of, Dr. Sun has also made a drug that combines one half cocaine and one-half salt of zirconium(a concoction he calls zircaine) which will make whoever is exposed to it start immediately lying and saying whatever's in the opposite of their self-interest.

    Keene hangs up, and Vann smiles to himself, as he has a plan of his own: he get Dr. Sun to give Elsa  drug laced with zircaine to make absolutely sure that her client gets the electric chair!
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 28: -In Care Elsa Colby

    Elsa comes back to her office and finds a letterslipped halfway under her door that she assumes her uncle hasn't taken notice of.

    Chapter 29: "Bombshell of Hate"

    Elsa Colby sees that the envelope is addressed to Barlow James(a lawyer famous for clearing people of accusations of insanity) and is only "in the care of" Elsa Colby. Out of curiosity she opens up the letter and is shocked by the contents.

    The letter is addressed to Eustaqua Brusbiuante from S. Moffit, and is meant to serve as both a proof of sanity, a suicide note, and a confession, The writer of the letter admits to killing Adolph Reibach and stealing the skull of Wah Lee, and explains how he came to be in the position he is. This morning, the writer was the winner of a lottery and given a free life insurance policy worth 5000$ the second he is dead which he hopes to give to Eustaqua and not his former next-of-kin, who he only refers to as THE KING OF SKUNKS. He fears that THE KING OF SKUNKS will hire a lawyer to find him legally insane at the time he changed his next-of-kin to steal the life insurance money. To this end he has left a lucid account of his crimes to ward off charges of insanity.

    Yesterday afternoon, the writer went to Lou Vann's office to request a favor. The room was empty as the office girl had gone to the bathroom, and the writer was so tired he lay down on the couch and fell asleep. Hidden by the burlap screen in front of the couch, he awoke to find the office empty, as the office girl had come back, not noticed him, and locked up. Just as he awakens, he finds that the janitor has broken in. The janitor uses a phone and reveals that he is in fact a criminal called Rickbauer, who has been pretending to be a janitor named Adolph Reibach to get inside. He tells his contact on the other end(the Parson Gang's inside wire) that he has a brother named Gottfried Rickbauer who he wants to cut in on the action. Gottfried will hold a crimson shoebox with the skull in it on a certain corner, and give the skull to Quickchange Nat, another member of the Parson Gang dressed as a clergyman in return for money.

    Sensing an opportunity to pretend to BE Gottfried and get the money the writer kills Rickbauer and takes the skull for himself. He then goes home and meets with a business guest Richard St. George, a magazine writer who had come to interview the writer about a pair of wooden spectacles carved by the infamous "French Bluebeard" in his possession. 

    After taking a nap, the writer awakens to find Richard St. George by his bedside, staring at the skull. The writer lies and says he heard a pair of criminals admitting to take it from Vann's safe the writer took it for himself. St. George deduces that these two criminals must be tricking the writer into using a decoy skull and then getting caught. The skull will then be used in a court case to hang Big Gus McGurk, be found to be a decoy, and will then protect Gus from the chair by means of double jeopardy laws.

    St. George hatches a plan of his own: He will be the man on the corner with the skull, get arrested, and then have the writer reveal his identity to the world and free him, and thus St. George who is on hard times can write a hard hitting exposé about what it's like to be caught by the police and tried for a crime. He will then share the money with the writer. The writer allows him to be caught and presumably executed for the crime to save his own hide. But now the narrator has reason to believe that he left his precious wooden spectacles at the crime scene, and the police will now track him down. He asks Eustaqua, for his sake, to walk up to THE KING OF SKUNK'S face and spit in it when all this goes on trial and ends the letter.
    Elsa grabs a newspaper and finds that the mayor has admitted to being the inside wire of the Parson Gang who instructed Rickbauer to break open the safe. She then enters the office to find the window open, Silas gone, and a frightened crowd gathering around a small black shape on the ground ten stories down. She realizes that the writer of the letter was not S., but Silas, and the call she gave was interpreted by Silas as a coded message that the police are on to him, and he then killed himself. 

    As the novel ends she dials the State's Attorney to reveal the true identity of the killer of Reibach, and to save Richard St. George from the chair.

    TO BE CONTINUED IN
    THE CASE OF THE LAVENDER GRIPSACK
  • Darkness is ever the herald of dawn.
    Odradek said:

    Chapter 13: When the "Church" offered to help the "Law"

    Officer Daniel "Limp" Kilgallon is on patrol when he meets his old friend, Archbishop Stanley Pell, coming out of a post office. Pell is at the post office with a Professor Mustaire, the head of a school for the deaf and dumb who did important work simplifying sign language to be easier to use. Limp asks Pell for a favor: it turns out Limp has been monitoring a red-headed man standing on a corner with a shoebox with holes poked in it, doing a crossword puzzle on top of the box. Limp asked the man what was in the box, assuming it was a pet, but the man responded by saying he did not speak English. As Limp walked away, he remembered that the police are on the lookout for suspicious characters with a distinguishing characteristic like red hair, and also realizes that the crossword puzzles the man was doing were in English. He asks Pell, who speaks eight languages, to interrogate the man in his own language.

    Pell and Mustaire walk over to the man and Pell asks him what's in the box. The man, looking at Pell and mistaking Mustaire for a deaf mute due to the fact that Mustaire met a former-pupil on the street and greeted him in sign language, tells Pell that the box contains the skull of Wah Lee, stolen from Vann's "Pete"(or safe in the language of crookdom). Realizing Pell is not who he thought he was, he immediately escapes on a street car. This news excites Limp, who knows about the recent development in the Wah Lee case due to having a son who works in Vann's office, and he resolves to have a squad car look for the man.
    This summary has something of an Encyclopedia Brown feel to it.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Lol that is an encyclopedia brown moment
  • edited 2020-03-20 22:26:44
    My dreams exceed my real life
    THE CASE OF THE LAVENDER GRIPSACK

    Chapter 1: "Name Please?"

    Elsa Colby, climbing up the steps to a mansion to attend her first trial, sees a man carrying a heavy gnarled cane and wearing a white pith helmet. He knocks on the door and the man inside asks his name and the man reveals himself to be Arthur Gilbert Foshart, something Elsa is shocked by, as this is the name of her dead father's best friend, who she believed was currently in Africa.

    Chapter 2: After Twenty-Four Years

    Elsa is let in to the house and tolks to Foshart, who is surprised to see Elsa, who he has not seen since she was two years old, as he has been in West Africa for twenty-four years. Fohart says he was summoned to testify and flew here. He is here to testify that the old Schlitzheim Brewery he designed contained only one hexagonally shaped room, and Elsa starts to explain the Wah Lee situation and mentions that the whole business about the drugged chewing gum was a ruse to throw Louis "Lock-the-stable-door" Vann off the scent.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 3: Quitclaim!

    Elsa goes over stuff the audience already knew from the last book.

    Chapter 4: Alibi None!

    Elsa goes over more stuff the audience already knows from the last book
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 5: Uncle Moffit-Who'd Foreclose on a Tuffet!

    Elsa goes to talk to her uncle, who yells at her for the dirty trick she tried to pull on him with the umbrella. She fires back at him about his trick with the fake suicide letter and ask him how he thought of writing it. It turns out that it was an attempted hoax by an out-of-work newspaper man who lived underneath Silas and Silas gave said man some names for his hoax. Also by pure luck, when Silas left the office a bunch of gangsters tossed "Spinetti the Slot Machine King" out a window thus leaving the corpse Elsa thought was Silas's.

    They break of their discussion and Fred Mullins, Judge Penworth's court-clerk announces that the trial will be beginning soon and that he, Mullins, will be serving as a combination clerk and bailiff for the trial.

    Chapter 6: Where the Judge Sits, is the Courtroom."-Blackstone

    As the trial of John Doe is about to begin, the third person narration gives a sweeping view of the courtroom and the persons therein, which include: Judge Penworth, the bailiff, Fred Mullins, the court reporters Miss Angeline Swarthmar and Miss Pauline Swarthmar, the District Attorney Louis Vann, and next to him Leo Kilgallon, his helper, the attorney for the defense Elsa Colby holding a lavender gripsack wearing a beautiful dress,the various members of the press, the witnesses which include Archbishop Stanley Pell, Professor Andre Mustaire, Inspector Rufus Scott, Professor Clark S. W. Adgate, a "rather pretty" young black woman in mourning garb, a likewise rather pretty blonde girl, a Chinese youth sitting next to Wah Lung, a white man with a beak-like nose, another man wearing a prison shirt, a penitentiary guard, a six year old boy, a Russian man with a beard, an "Amazonian" black woman of about 42, and Silas Moffit.

    After this panorama, the trial begins.

  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 7: The Embarassment of Harry Seeong!

    Louis Vann begins his opening statement talking about how this will determine whether "Muscle-in" Big Gus McGurk finally faces justice, and that this trial also determines the fate of the man who murdered an innocent kindly nightwatchman who left his home country out of disgust at the Nazi ideology.

    As Vann lays out the testimony he expects his witness to give, the Chinese youth sitting next to Wah Lung stands up and introduces himself as Harry Seeong. He apologizes and says he did not know how long the trial is going to be, because he needs to go now to catch a flight to San Francisco to celebrate his grandfather's birthday. The judge allows him to leave and Seeong says goodbye to his "Uncle Wah"

    Chapter 8: The Arch!

    Three hours later Vann goes over the witnesses the court has seen, which include Wah Lung, the Chicago coroner Able Krum(who examined the headless corpse of Wah Lee all those years ago), EC Hedgehill a civil engineer who hired Moses Klump to dig in the room where he found the skull, Gilbert Foshart, who testified that the brewery had only one hexagonal room, little Vadisclov Andverski who testified that he saw Klump dig up the skull, Geranium Klump, Moses Klump's sister who is still in morning who testified that Moses cleaned the skull, and taped the jaw to its head, and Beryl Burlinghame who testifies that Klump did give her the skull.

    In addition it is revealed that Beryl realized her sweetheart, Harry Hotchkiss was secretly "Handsome Harry" Hockmeister a member of the Tritt Mob who was connected to Charlie Brink, an inmate at the Moundsville Penitentiary, which was how Big Gus learned about the skull and sent someone to steal it.

    Vann also lays out several more witnesses who gave testimony that makes the case seem airtight, including Professor Clark S. W. Adgate, Inspector Rufus Scott, Doctor Blaine the current coroner, Archbishop Pell, and Dave Mustaire, all of whom seemed to confirm that Reibach died at 10:43, a time for which Doe has no alibi, and that Doe did say to Archbishop Pell that he "Cracked Vann's Pete"
  • edited 2020-04-10 23:20:28
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 9: "I Pity Him If He Takes the Chair!"

    Vann continues to go over the testimony thus far given. He mentions that Doe could not have known about the cracking of Vann's safe because the story did not break until 2:30. He goes over the testimony of the officers that arrested Doe and how they found the skull on the box, and the testimony of Silas Moffit who saw the defendant leaving the Klondike building with a violin case. And with all that, he comes to the skull.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 10: "The State Rests"

    Elsa tries to object to Vann's claim that the skull is that of Wah Lee as found by Moses Klump, but the judge shoots down her objections. The judge tells Wah Lung that the corpus delicti of Wah Lee has 100% been established tonight in his opinion.

    Vann moves on to bringing up the testimony of Clendenning Moore who showed that the skull could not be that of the man the headless body was claimed to be, the testimony of Purvis Graham who showed that Wah Lee was almost certainly killed shortly after his kidnapping.

    With all this done, Elsa Colby calls the only witness she has to the stand: John Doe.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 11: Calling "John Doe"

    Elsa reads a note Doe passed her during the entrance of the final witnesses. The note tells her not to forget that she agreed to put Doe on the stand, and that she had better not cross-examine the witness as Judge Penworth is the kind of judge who will respond poorly to her badgering a witness with a clear story. The note also says she looks great tonight.

    The Judge asks Doe if he really wants to take the stand, and Doe says he does. He also tells the judge that even Elsa does not know the testimony Doe is about to offer. Doe is then brought to the stand, where he asks the judge how long he has under the law to give his testimony, because he wants to give all the facts in a testimony in which he will recount full conversations of several individuals whose full names and addresses he will give. The judge says he is not "particularly limited" and so Doe begins to tell what turns out to be a very long story.
  • edited 2020-04-17 23:45:01
    My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 12: "-And That, Said the Defendant, "Is How It Was"

    The actual story is skipped over in the narrative for reasons the attentive reader of all four books will quickly figure out

    Judge Penworth says that Doe's testimony confirms that Doe is indeed, a thief. Penworth is mad because he has been listening to a story for two hours listening to a long rambling story involving a Chinese Laundryman suing a great bank, a race meet in Mexico, an eccentric recluse who collected emerals of all shapes and sizes, a prostitude with seven fingers on each hand, a six-foot tall traffic officer with a PHd, a vengeful newspaper reporter, a farmer, a woman who retired once a year to a convent, an expert safe-owner with magic eardums all woven together.

    The defendant began talking at 11:30 PM and finished talking at 1:30 AM. Penworth notes that the story contains 135 characters but the majority of those persons are unreachable, fictional, only alluded to in newspaper articles, or in the case of Blinky the one-eyed Swedish gigolo whose skull Doe claims is the one that was found on his person. There are only six people in the story that could be findable, identifiable, and capable of giving testimony, and only two of those people are able to provide an alibi. 

    Penworth asks why he didn't contact these people, and Doe says he doesn't trust them. Penworth asks why he didn't ask the district attorney to find them in order to avoid being fingered as the murderer, and Doe says that Vann would surely have kidnapped his witnesses to get a conviction. Penworth is furious at Doe impugning Vann's character but Elsa defends him by mentioning that the Parson Gang had connections high up and furthermore, one member of the gang "Venus Baldy" so-called because of the tattoo of a nude Venus on his bald scalp, is still at large.

    Exhausted, the Judge begins to summarize Doe's story.
  • My dreams exceed my real life
    Chapter 13: Exegesis

    Judge Penworth begins his summary noting that last night, Doe entered the house of Mortimer King, infamous Minnesota bookkeeper intending to rob King. To his surprise King entered the house himself and over the course of the night, Doe learned from a lawyer, Saul Steenburgh, that King was unknowingly in possession of the skull of "Blinky" a one-eyed Swedish gigolo, murdered on a ride in which Big Shoes, Steenburg's client, a former Chicago gangster, had been an innocent participant. The skull, much like the skull the trial was concerned with, had a nasal operation performed on it and had the initials MK stamped on it(here standing for "Mortimer King" rather than in the case of the other skull, Moses Klump"). Doe stole the skull, hoping to make the exchange to Big Shoes and get the money himself, and came to Chicago.

    Doe had learned from Steenburg the code used to make the delivery to Big Shoes. Doe needed to stand on a corner doing crossword puzzles with a crimson shoebox with the skull in it, and would be approached by Big Shoes in disguise.

    The disguised Big Shoes would then ask several crossword puzzles: First Doe would ask for a four letter word meaning "an enclosing structure made of hard material"(wall), then a four letter verb meaning "relieve"(ease), then a four letter word depicting a name by which the tough boys of the Bowery frequently address each other(cull), then a three letter word constituting one of the commonest of all Jewish names as commonly shortened(Ike, which if you didn't know, is a nickname for Isaac), then a six letter word meaning a process through which a batch of wine is put(racked) and finally the eight letter name of a famous Dutch painter of landscapes living in the seventh decade of the nineteenth century.(Van Spiet).

    Thus what Doe said at the scene of the crime(at least according to Doe) was NOT "Wah Lee's skull; I cracked Vann's pete" but in fact "Wall, Ease, Cull, Ike, Racked, VanSpiet!"
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