Welcome to The Miller House
Don Lehman, 2018

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Cover Index
Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Chapter 06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08
Chapter 09
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21



Chapter Ten

The next morning after breakfast when Mr. Sutton when out to his panel truck, he came back in all red-faced and angry. The first thing he said when he burst through the door was, “I’ll find that sonofabitch and get my stuff back!” It turns out someone had jimmied open the lock on the side door then broken into the back part of the truck and they took all three of his valuable cameras and two tripods. Everything was a mess! Whoever it was had rummaged through everything looking for valuables. Cappy called the police for him and within a few minutes the police were there. They tried to get fingerprints but Mr. Sutton had already touch a bunch of stuff looking for things that were stolen. Francis just said to Carl, “Well I guess our pictures are gone.” Mr. Sutton was outside talking to the police for about an hour. When he came in, he went to his room without speaking to anyone. Francis and Carl just went about their business. Big Frank had already left for work though he would be staying two more nights. Carl thought, if the police didn’t find the thief, Big Frank probably could! Carl knew that his mother was feeling sad for Mr. Sutton and she was thinking about the pictures.

They didn’t see Mr. Sutton until just before dinner when he came down from his room. He was now wearing jeans, a red undershirt with black suspenders. Big Frank was back and two new guests had arrived. They were all sitting in the ballroom reading the paper and shooting the breeze. Mr. Sutton asked if anyone had heard from the police and Francis said, “No.” She was busy and went back to the kitchen. Carl was helping out. Mr. Sutton said he guessed he was ready to go out and try to straighten up what was left of his equipment. Carl was setting the table when Mr. Sutton came back in with a handful of film holders. He laid them on the floor and he said, “Well, we still have the pictures we took yesterday, The thief was too stupid to realize that film holders go with the cameras. He just took the stuff that looked like something he could sell. What a dumb ass!” Carl asked if the pictures he took of him and his mother were in the film holders and Mr. Sutton said yes! Carl rushed into the kitchen and told Francis that the thief did not steal the pictures. She smiled and Carl knew she was real happy. At dinner, Mr. Sutton explained the he still had the film, chemicals and the enlarger so he could make their pictures. He added that he would be staying on for several more days and he was going try to find out who took his cameras and tripods. “If it was someone local, it shouldn’t be too hard to find those cameras. You don’t see that equipment in a small town like this.” Cappy agreed and said, “Everybody was talking about it at the Woolworth lunch counter. If they aren’t here in Greenville, they had probably been fenced on down in Atlanta.” Mr. Sutton groaned and then he said, “I’ll get those cameras back, I just hope they ain’t messed up!” He asked Carl to take good care of those film holders and added, “We’ll make those pictures in a day or two.

The next morning sometime after breakfast there was a knock at the door. The man introduced himself. He stuck out his hand and said, “Howdy Son, I’m a private dick, name’s Brady, I hear you all had some unfortunate activity here. Maybe I can help you find the culprit.” Carl said, “I-I-I’ll g-g-get m-mister Sutton.” Carl was surprised to see Ozzie back, standing across the street. He closed the door and went upstairs to Mr. Sutton’s room. When he knocked, Mr. Sutton answered, he was dressed to go out in his leather jacket and bolo tie. He was wearing a black shirt that looked like silk. His long, silver hair and beard was brush out and for the first time Carl noticed his blue eyes. Maybe it the contrast with the shiny black shirt and the way they matched up with the turquoise stone in the bolo. His appearance was a bit of a shock to Carl but he said, Th-There’s a detective at the door. Downstairs, Carl heard Mr. Sutton tell the man he didn’t need his services. He said, I’m going out to kick over some rocks and I’ll find that snake myself.” Mr. Sutton closed the door then and he told Carl he would not be back for dinner but would probably be back late and would have breakfast in the morning. Francis came in from the kitchen and said, “I’m awful sorry for your misfortune but I don’t like all this bad publicity, the police coming here and people talking, detectives at the door. I don’t care for it at all. I’d appreciate it if you don’t make trouble here in Greenville. I’d rather help you replace the equipment you lost than have any more bad publicity.” Mr Sutton just said, “I’m a business man and I understand what you saying Miss Miller. I have enough money to replace the equipment but I intend to get everything that was taken. Carl walked out onto the porch when Mr. Sutton left and Ozzie was still standing across the street. Carl walked out and Ozzie came over and they met on the sidewalk.

 

Ozzie said, “Hi Carl, I saw you with the camera man.” Carl said, “that’s Mr. Sutton, he’s the traveling photographer. He takes people’s picture and develops them right in the back of his panel truck. Except someone stole his cameras. They broke into his truck and stole his cameras and his tripods.” Ozzie said, “I know, I heard all about it.” Carl asked how he heard about it and Ozzie said, “Everyone knows about it - people talk! Your mom is famous in this part of town. Everyone knows what she did” Carl knew what he was talking about and he didn’t say anything for a while. He just looked toward the spot where Mr. Sutton’s truck had been parked. Then he said, “Mr. Sutton will find the person who did it and make them pay!” Ozzie said, I know that man who just knocked on your door.” Carl looked toward the house and asked, “You mean the private detective?” Ozzie said, “Yeah but he’s no private detective.” Carl asked, “How do you know these things. Ozzie looked down at his shoes and said quietly, I see things and I hear things. I could tell you plenty.”

Carl asked Ozzie if he had a bike and Ozzie said no. Carl said, “I’ve got an old bike you can have but it’s a piece of junk. The chain jumps off, maybe we can fix it. We might even be able to paint it. I’ll ask Cappy about it, he knows how to fix things.” Ozzie looked excited and said, “OK!” Carl said, I’ve got some chores but if you meet me back in the garage around two o’clock, I’ll show you the bike. Ozzie said goodbye and Carl watched him walk away and thought about some of the things Ozzie had said.

Carl now knew that Ozzie had been watching the Miller House and he knew the man who introduced himself as a “private dick” was no detective. He had just told Carl that he knew things. Carl wondered if he knew anything that would help Mr Sutton get his stolen equipment back.

Carl was a little uncomfortable telling Cappy and Francis about Ozzie. He wasn’t sure he could call Ozzie a friend. He said it this way. “Cappy, I met this kid who said he doesn’t have a bicycle. I was thinking about giving him my old bike if I can get the chain fixed so it doesn’t keep slipping off.” Cappy said, “well, the chain is an easy fix, just loosen the bolts on the back wheel and slide the axle back until the chain is tight, then re-tighted the wheel bolts. That should do it!” Carl said, “Thanks, Cappy!” “Then Cappy said, who is this kid?” Carl told him his name is Ozzie how he talked with him twice and he seemed like a good guy. Then he went to the kitchen and told Francis he would be out for a few hours in the afternoon when his chores were done. Francis didn’t ask what he was doing and he didn’t say. He just got busy emptying ash trays, picking up old newspapers and sweeping up the ballroom. Then he headed upstairs to clean and tidy the rooms. He was thinking about what Ozzie said and he wondered who the man was if he wasn’t a private investigator like he said. He also wondered what Ozzie knew about Francis. Maybe if he and Ozzie became friends he would get some important information. It was just Carl and Francis at lunch, Cappy had gone down to the Woolworth lunch counted. While they were eating sandwiches made from meatloaf leftover from the night before, Francis said, “Cappy tells me you have a friend.” Carl wasn’t sure how to respond. He said, “I don’t know if he is a friend. I just met him one day about a week ago when I was out on my bike and then today, he was out side. His name is Ozzie. He seems to know a lot and I don’t know if he is just making stuff up. He told me the man who came to our door this morning is not a private investigator.” Francis asked, “Well then who was that man?” Carl answered, “He didn’t say, maybe I’ll find out this afternoon. He’s coming over. I offered him my old bike if we can get it fixed up.” Francis cautioned, “Well, don’t trust everything he says until you get to know him better.” Carl just finished his sandwich and excused himself, taking his plate to the kitchen.

Carl went to the garage and picked up the old rusted bike. The tires were still inflated but the chain was off the sprockets and the handlebars were not aligned with the front wheel. Carl got to work on it. By two o’clock when Ozzie had agreed to come, he did not show up. Carl was disappointed but continued to work in the old bike. He adjusted the back wheel, tightening the chain the way Cappy had told him to do it and he aligned the handle bars. He took it up and down the street on a test run and everything worked fine. He found some sand paper and started working on the rusted parts. He was thinking about what color he would paint it but wanted to wait see what color Ozzie liked. Late in the afternoon when Ozzie still had not arrived, He went back to the house and started helping Francis set up of dinner. He told Cappy that he had fixed the bike but he might not give it away because Ozzie had not shown up like he said. About that time the phone rang and Cappy picked it up. It was Mr. Sutton, he said that he had good news, he had his cameras and tripods. He wanted to know if it was too late to reserve a seat for dinner. Francis said, “Tell him, Carl and I will be glad to have him back and dinner is, on the house!” Everyone was in a great mood and looking forward to Mr. Sutton’s story!

  Chapter 11

don@holdingbook.com