Fifty Shades of Illegal....

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part 11 Chapter 12 "Double Dealing" Julianna Rowe Property of Diane Ogden

Chapter 12


After an exceptionally fretful night I arose in a somewhat confused state. I can still recall the first thought that came to me because it was as strong as a train wreck at a crossing gate.  Who was Pam with in that black and silver truck Tom and I followed the night before? I was going to get up, shower quickly and go see her at the restaurant to find out.  While showering I began I wonder if she would be expecting me?  Whether she even knew it was me following them and lest I forget, shooting at them?   I also wondered if it might not be time to “drop a dime” and talk to Granddaddy about this fine mess I had once again drove right into. 

I put on my best pink rhinestone studded western shirt, along with my white shorts, pink boots and headed for the restaurant.   I nervously arrived to find someone other than Pam seating people.  I asked where I could find her and the reply shocked me.  She had taken a leave of absence and the person replacing her was not aware when she would be returning.  I simply remained there with my mouth so totally open for so long a bug could have found itself a home for sure. The new manager shook my arm vigorously while asking me if I were alright.  I snapped out of it laughing as though I had not looked like I had seen a ghost or was having one of those silent seizures I had heard people can have.  And then I told her I needed to see Tom for a minute.   I shall never forget that moment in all my life as the woman informed me Tom just never showed up or gave a proper notice.  Once again I almost fainted on the spot. 

“Lady, are you okay??” she said as I sank into one of the red shiny leather booths with a blank stare on my face.  “Can I call someone to come and get you?” she added.

Duke was gone, Pam was gone, and now Tom.  Where was Tom?  I had to get to his house and find out what happened.   I had to get some help now and I knew it.  Things were getting seriously out of any realm of normalcy.  But then that had started the night before with gunfire. I recall the intense feeling of fear running through my entire being. 

When I arrived at Tom’s, Shamika came running out of the house to meet me.  She asked me if I had seen Tom.   I told her no I hadn’t and that was why I was there.  The motel said he just never showed up for his job this morning with no proper notice. 

Shamika broke out in tears telling me someone came to the house that morning and after some brief discussion, Tom told her he had to leave but not to worry he would be back.  I asked her what kind of vehicle he had left in.   She said it was a black and silver pick-up truck.   That is when I sank onto the cement curb with my head in my hands.  Shamika sat next to me demanding to know what was going on.  What had I gotten her father into?   I responded with an apology and that I wasn’t sure but I was going to the sheriff’s office as soon as I collected myself.  It was then I asked her if she could describe the man Tom left with.  To think real hard because it was so important as well as I figured the sheriff would also be questioning her as the day progressed, I was sure of it.  We hugged and I drove off toward the County Sheriff’s offices.   But before I did I stopped at the motel and hid the ‘baby browning.”  I wasn’t even sure it was safe anymore considering Pam probably had a master key to all the rooms.  Upon arrival at the sheriff’s office and not long after, I was informed this was a city matter not a county and I was to go to the Police Station downtown.   Now don’t you know I was excited about that considering the way my luck had been going Mr. Fuzz chrome dome Intimidation jailer would be on duty.  And then again maybe not as this would probably be a detective’s concern and not Mr. Jailer man’s duty. Nope this one went above his chrome dome all show and no go bald fat self.

I walked into that station proud considering my last entrance was through the back door in handcuffs.  Danged if I was going to be intimidated by these men even one more time.   I asked to speak to the person in charge.   The Johnny Law at the desk looked up at me and simply said, “What is the reason you need to see someone here young lady?”

I looked directly into his seedy little brown eyes and said, “This is regarding a missing dog and a missing person.” 

He laughed and asked me how long the person had been missing?  I told him my dog had been gone now for several days and Tom since this morning.  He snickered while telling me they didn’t handle dog catching services as well as a person isn’t considered missing for at least 24 hours.  He was sure my guy would be coming back with the dog when we were over our fussing. 

I put my fist on his desk which was taller than me while I told him this could be a matter of life and death and to get me someone to tell my story to.

Again, he asked me if I felt I was in any danger from the missing dog or my boyfriend. 

I was getting seriously hacked off.  I did my best to remain calm considering not doing so always got me in a world of trouble.   So I took a deep breath and said, “Sir, I drove into your town as a guest passing through.  I accidentally met an old man and his family down on their luck so my dog Duke and I stayed to help them out. I got a motel room, met the restaurant manager Pam whose friends stole from my car, and stole my dog, and then planted drugs in my car, I went to jail, got out, and now my friend is missing as well as my dog and the restaurant manager is also gone missing and I am scared of the black and silver truck and I am…..I am….

The fuzz man at the big desk stood up, came around the front of the desk and took me by the arm over to a chair where he gently sat me down and said,   “You the lady the governor called about?”  

I sat me up big and tall after he said that and I responded with, “Yes sir I am Julianna Rowe.”

He told me to stay right there, he would be right back.   As I sat there waiting for God only knew what, I remember all I wanted to do was to stop all the noises in my head.   Then I realized I hadn’t eaten since the day before.  I had gone to the restaurant to find Pam and Tom that morning but when I received the shocking news they were both gone I forgot to eat.  

Just then a man in a brown suit came walking out of the back room with the Johnny Law front desk man and invited me to his office.   I informed him I hadn’t eaten and was feeling quite dizzy and faint.   He instructed the front desk man to get me some juice and a Twinkie from the office fridge.  I apologized and thanked him as we walked down a dingy dark painted hallway to his small office where he pulled out a brown leather chair for me.  He then sat behind his grey metal desk and introduced himself.   Miles Reed  Miss Rowe, now what can I do for you today?  I told the detective everything that had happened since the day I drove into town.   He leaned forward placing his elbows on his desk and looked at me with sincere consideration as tears streamed down my rosy pink cheeks and onto my pretty pink Amarillo western studded shirt all the while I was trying to eat the Twinkie and not choke from sheer upset.  Detective Reed was a very gentle man who calmed me down rather quickly with his kind words.  He informed me the force had been watching the Rice Motel as it had come to their attention there was probable drug trafficking going on.   I sat up in my seat and with another mouth full of Twinkie and said that is what I had deduced was the culprit in all this mess.  And did he believe me when I said I didn’t have anything to do with any of it. That someone had planted those drugs in my car.  Detective Reed informed me the Amarillo Police force and Sheriff’s office were aware of that fact as well as they had been watching me since shortly after  I went to the Palo Duro Drive in with Pamela Hawkinson.   I recall sitting there eating that Twinkie feeling so young and stupid.  I didn’t even know the last name of the person that had gotten me into all this box of misfortune as well as I had brought Tom and Duke into it also.  Then suddenly I realized “the force” had put me in jail as bait.  I sat up even taller, looked at the detective and spewed out that fact and called him out on it.   Also raised my voice as to how awful that was to have done to me.  The detective reminded me how lucky I was to have been watched over even though I had to go through a difficult stint in the pokey.  They had to make it look real so the dealers wouldn’t kill me or anyone else involved. 

“Kill me!  Kill me?” I said.

“Yes maam Miss Julianna.  We are not dealing with any small time local boys.  This is a large drug bust we are working on.  The Fed’s are also involved in this.”   Now that I have told you some of the confidential FBI and local information regarding this case I must also inform you that we may have to put you in custody again for your own protection. 

“Oh no!  Not going to the pokey for any reason whatsoever Mr. Reed!  No No No.  I will take my chances on the outside thank you.  I do have rights and you have already misused my freedom once sir.  I am officially leaving now.” He pushed a button on his phone and when I opened the door to leave there was another Johnny Law waiting for just little ole’ me.  I recalled backing up, turning around to face Detective Reed and saying, “Okay I give.  What do you need from me?” He smiled as he revealed the master FBI plan to use me to catch the big drug dealers.  Not the hokey boys at the drive in, but the dealers who had been pulling young kids into their trade.   He also mentioned, again while grinning that I might want to hand in my browning for safe keeping.  I went browning ballistic, talking a mile a second as to why that was not going to happen.  I had to have some sort of safety mechanism close to me, not a cop car hiding a mile back.   So after my ranting and raving for over a minute or so Detective Reed gave in to my keeping my gun in my car.  Then I showed him the knife in my bobbie sock.  We actually laughed together at that one.  

I wasn’t allowed to leave for most of the day.  The FBI had taken my hot rental car and hidden it away in an underground parking area specifically for this sort of situation.  I really hoped after all the interrogating I would be given a different car to exit the premises.  Danged if I would put up with that old chrome dome fat fuzz down in the jail area again. 

Detective Reed was typing faster than I had ever seen any man type.  As he re -questioned me, I answered and he typed.   He had also ordered us an amazing dinner from the Texas Steakhouse down the street.  That was the best part of the day so far because I can’t go without food very long or I get cranky and sad and every other emotion.  I read somewhere it has something to do with the glucose in your blood going up and down depending on what you eat and the time of day.   I always figured that is why the Mexican’s have siesta time at three p.m. every day.  Their glucose has to be sinking so they set a time to sink with it.  While I was daydreaming about the Mexican nationalities way of life and eating steak and fried potatoes, Detective Reed asked me to tell him everything I knew about Pam Hawkinson.  I was so tired I couldn’t think for a minute or so.   Reed could see the blank look on my face and he understood the reason why.  He stood up, stretched and invited me to take a walk with him.  I gave him the untrusting look as if to say, “I am not walking anywhere near that cell with you, no way hose!”  He laughed and assured me we were simply taking a walk to get our energy back in check because we had been sitting way too long.  I agreed.  We did not talk business for fifteen or twenty minutes.  We walked the building hallways, took the elevator to the top floor and walked out onto the roof where the sun was actually still shining brilliantly onto the black tar paper under our feet.  Detective Reed had removed his jacket and tie earlier during the investigative discussion.  As we stood atop the roof the sun fell on his auburn hair like glistening drops of heaven dancing all around him.  He wasn’t a tall man but everything else about him was darn near perfect.  He had been talking all day yet I never noticed his full lips and deep sincere bright green eyes.  He was looking at me the same way I was looking at him.  We were actually both drawn to one another in a moment in time having nothing to do with any investigation.  I ventured toward him slowly like something out of the movies where the two people run in slow motion on the beach to a magnificent end all wrapped around one another.  Is that what I thought would happen here?  Yes that is what I wanted to have happen here.  He was saving me from all the bad that had put me in the box.  But as I drew closer to him, the motion picture going on inside my head was a slow motion James Dean, Rock Hudson scene That was precisely when Mr. Miles Reed turned and motioned for me to follow him back to the interrogation room.  I knew he wanted the same thing I wanted but he was took the high road and I as usual took the low road that always brought me trouble. 

Back in the dingy handsome detectives office the questioning resumed.   Once again he asked me to tell him everything I could recall about Pam Hawkinson.  And so I did. 

I asked Miles if he thought I would ever find my dog Duke and my friend Tom and if he thought they were safe or maybe they knew too much and had been disposed of.   And then the tears came like a storm from within that had been building for too long. 

I was informed there would be an undercover FBI agent near me at all times.  I was given a vehicle, and a special phone I was to keep on me at all times for communication and safety.  It was some fancy Government Issue walkie talkie system.  It did help me feel safer, but not safe.  God this was a nightmare out of hell.  I should have married Harper Rutherford back in Wisconsin and just been satisfied.  Or I should have married Billy Connally, the Governor’s Grandson and lived with what was expected of me.  I should have kept driving out of Amarillo and left old Tom…….


Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 10 "Baby Browning" Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)

Chapter 10

“Baby Browning”

            Attorney Timothy Haines decided to represent me in court on November 22, 1966 in the matter of felony charges #0936420.  I wasn’t so sure the old boy believed I was innocent by the way he questioned every darn thing I said.  In my mind I wagered if I had let him know I had a million dollars he would have accepted every word I said, because that is the way the cards fall in business.  Money talks but I had decided I didn’t know this man well enough to share such a secret.  No need for the whole town of Amarillo to know and it clearly would if the wrong individual got ahold of that mystery tale of mine.   It certainly appeared as though I was on my own to discover who framed me for their criminal acts.  Me and Old Tom Baird that is.   The situation wasn’t looking good from where I was sitting that dim rainy day in a stranger’s office a long way from home.  Be that as it may  I didn't have a home any more so that was it for that time.

            Tom worked full shifts the next few days making him unable to do any detective work for me.  I was still driving at least a hundred miles a day searching for Duke.  I had to stop and get my mind on something else or I recall feeling I would have lost it.    I was in the heart of the panhandle and all I could think about was Duke and prison life.   I flipped on the radio and wouldn’t you know, the song “Reach Out and I’ll Be There,” by the Four Tops was playing just for me.   I was wailing that tune out loud and clear knowing each and every word by heart. Funny how we all think we can sing like a rock star when we are alone in the car.

Now if you feel that you can't go on

 Because all of your hope is gone

 And your life is filled with much confusion

 Until happiness is just an illusion

 And your world around is crumbling down, darlin'

(Reach out) Come on girl reach on out for me

 Reach out for me

 Hah, I'll be there with a love that will shelter you

 I'll be there with a love that will see you through

When you feel lost and about to give up

 'Cause your best just ain't good enough  

And your feel the world has grown cold

And your drifting out all on your own  

And you need a hand to hold, darlin'

 (I'll be there to always see you through)

 (I'll be there to love and comfort you)

 I can tell the way you hang your head

 You're not in love now, now you're afraid

 And through your tears you look around

 But there's no peace of mind to be found

 I know what your thinking

 You're a loner, no love of your own, but darling…

            My smile had returned even though I didn’t have a lover.  I felt I had another promise.  I figured somewhere in the Gideon was a promise sent to me through the radio that very day.  I never cried again for Duke or for fear of prison.  I aimed to find some answers that would open that wooden box and set me free.  I could handle being in a cardboard box on occasion but that was a skuzz bucket coffin full of secrets.

            I decided to make a pit stop at the Real Estate Office Tom had followed Pam to the night of my arrest.   Why in the world would she go to a Real Estate Office after work? *  I planned to find out.  I opened the door to find a young woman receptionist.  I inquired as to whether the owner was in and she cheerfully responded no but she would be happy to take a message and let him know I stopped in.  Poor kid sounded like a chirping bird all giddy and just too sappy happy.  Perhaps it was me being excessively critical which was unusual for me but then so were my circumstances at present.   I graciously gave miss teeny bopper my name but no number.  I told her I would stop back in about an hour and to tell the agent I would be inquiring about any small churches for sale in the area.    She chirped some more sappy happy and was still grinning ear to ear when I stepped out the door giving one more look back glance *just to see if she had let down any, but she had not.   I continued walking back to my rental car but not without some serious “what did I just see” back there going on in my head.  A cutsie patoosie is what I had just experienced.  God Amarillo was full of Texas Ranger and Marilyn Monroe wannabee’s.  I wondered what I might run into next.

            I stopped at the drugstore fountain and had a chocolate malted shake topped with real whipping crème.  Then I frequented The Hub Clothiers Store near 6th and Polk where I purchased a few more things for Shamika and her little girl.  And of course I found the prettiest pink western shirt with silver studs and rhinestones above the front right and left pocket sections as well as a couple of the latest crop tops that exposed the midriff section of my almost prefect body that could use some serious tanning time.  For my new friend Tom, some new threads like a stunning beige three piece suit with a matching shirt and a dark brown on pink pokadot silk tie to die for with matching silk pocket kerchief.  Oh, and a gleaming new gold watch.  The store assured me they would tailor the suit for Mr. Baird as well as fix him up with a pair of rust colored patent leather shoes to match when he came in for his fitting.  Now all I had to do was get old Tom to accept my gifts.  I figured if I told him he would look like Dr. Martin Luther King that would get the job done.  That was the second time I had spent that much money in one day and it felt darn good. 

            I made it back to the Real Estate office just as the male agent was rising from his desk to leave.  Not wanting him to leave out the back door before I could have a chance to talk with him, I walked quickly past cutsie patoosie into his office and introduced myself to which he did not reciprocate.  I assured him his secretary had put forth her best Marilyn Monroe bit but that I felt I had a more serious businesslike reason for stopping in as well as I noticed he was about to leave.   I was trying to play the Mr. Intimidation card on the realtor man that the jailor fuzz used on me.  Not sure it worked so I skipped past it, shook his hand, sat down while telling him I had a serious interest in finding a small church for sale in the area.  He inquired as to why I wanted to purchase a church of all things.  I wondered if that were normal procedure for a relator to inquire about considering when I have gone to purchase a car no one ever asked me why.  I looked him square in the eye and said, “Mr? Uhm.”    You see, since he had not utilized due graciousness when I presented myself previously, I had not known his name.

He reluctantly answered with, “Tilton, Tilton Boyer.  Pleased to make your acquaintance Miss Rowe.

            Well that was better!  I wasn’t sure what had tilted his all show and no go attitude but possibly we were on the same or similar page now.  He let me know he was not mindful of any empty churches available in the area yet he did have one with a dwindling congregation that the townsfolk gossip said was headed towards a down and out end.  I informed Mr. Boyer I was interested.  He set up a time for us to look at the property the following day to which I agreed.   We shook hands and as I was leaving I turned to him and asked if he had any children.  He gave me a quick harsh glance resembling the psycho killer of the eight nurses, Richard Speck.  Ice cold chills ran up and down my back as well as the hair on my arms stood at direct attention.   I was petrified worse than driving across any bridge over water which had been my biggest fear in life before that day.   I was standing up close and personal next to a guy who I could see and sense was heavy duty trouble. I backed away a few steps, smiled like cutsie patoosie teeny bopper saying I was just trying to be friendly as I did an about face and exited the building.  God I didn’t want to go see that church alone with that man the following day but I had no one to go with me except my baby browning small blowback-operated single-automatic six round pistol.  And if I were caught with it while awaiting trial my attire would have changed back to red and white stripes. 

            Later that night after Tom’s shift ended he and I followed Pam again.  She stopped at a club on the strip for about an hour and then left with a man driving a black and silver truck.  I almost jumped out of my shorts and crop top when I saw the truck that stole my dog.  We were going to follow that truck if it took all night.  Tom was extremely apprehensive about us going anywhere these drug dealers were without the baby browning.  I told him I brought it along jail time or no jail time.  He sort of laughed but was so darned nervous it came out a slight grunt which made up both laugh.  We followed the truck a few blocks when we realized it was stopping at the Psycho’s Real Estate Office.   When Pam got out the black and silver truck it did not leave, rather it waited for her until she came back out with a satchel and climbed up into the cab and they sped off.  We directly pulled out in pursuit of Duke and evidence to clear my name.   We went unnoticed until we hit the country roads where headlights are hard to hide at one in the morning.  The truck slowed to a crawl and so did we.  They had seen us and wanted us to pass so they could get a good look at us which of course we couldn’t do. There we were out in the middle of nowhere going so slow it was the next thing to parking. I could have made a Y turn and headed back home, but I didn’t want to lose them even though I realized I already had.  That is when we heard shots.  Danged if they weren’t shooting at us.   I told Tom to lie down but instead he popped the magazine into baby browning, pointed and striker-fired at the truck tires. 

“By God Tom you hit one! “

            “Yes ‘em, I am a perdy good shot, but now what ‘n tarnation we gonna do Miss Julie, they are speeding off with a flat tire?”

            I instructed old Tom to hit them again in the other back tire and so he did but this time his hand was shaking so bad he missed and when they fired back I knew it was time to stop before I got the old man killed.  Then I’d have no friend and no help not to mention he hadn’t even seen his new suit yet.  Heck if I wanted to be burying him in his sharp new threads he hadn’t even seen.  No I wanted him preachin’ in them instead, so I backed off tailing the black and silver truck with Pam in it.  They drove out of site a little off balance due to a shot out tire, but out of site regardless.

            We sat on the side of the road feeling helpless like we were alone and adrift at sea.    We wondered if Pam had seen who we were.  Surely she saw the car and she knows what the car I rented looks like.

She could have turned me in on the sly for having the gun which would have gotten me out of the way for sure.  Then all they would have had to deal with would be an old Negro man and that wouldn’t be hard to do in these parts I learned.  When we got back to the motel I threw Tom’s bike in the trunk and I took him home.  He wanted me to leave the baby browning with him for hiding but I was too frightened to be without some sort of protection. Can’t say I wasn’t scared to death to be alone from that day on.  Just me and an old Negro man had messed with a pack of panhandle drug dealers.  We had gotten in way over our heads.  




Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Cardboard Box Chapter 9 -Courtroom Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)

Chapter 8

Courtroom Follies

There I was, sitting in the pokey still feeling sorry for myself.  I had read a couple chapters in Psalms when I decided to stop and sit very quietly with all good expectations of being freed from the serious case of ”me-i-tis “ I had experienced.   I wasn’t sure whether to expect some sort of God shiver to hit my body, or whether I might fall to the floor in a fit of what some called being slain in the spirit.  Either way neither happened.  So, I read another chapter, nothing happened.   I closed the Gideon and went back to sleep on the hard steel flatbed attached to the grey cement block wall.  I hadn’t totally given up on God so after a few minutes of deep graveling of the mind I came up with plan B which was to use the Gideon as a pillow.   If God had an answer for me inside that book I figured I would get as close to it as I could to help God get his message through to me.   I recall sleeping the best I had in months that night. 

Breakfast came early along with a guard I hadn’t seen before.  I supposed there had been a shift change Gideon and I slept through.  His badge read, Phillip Conway, 1st Sargent, Amarillo Police Dept.   Yes indeed he had been that close to me for me to read the small print on his badgarooni.    He just stared at me for what seemed too long.  It wasn’t like I could ask him if there was anything I could do for him, so I stared back.   I never did like that dang staring game because I would usually lose by looking away as I did this time even though I knew he was trying to intimidate the young druggie girl. 

He stepped further toward my cell which meant any further and he would have snubbed his nose on the bars.  He told me to get dressed it was time to see the judge. 

I about had another one of those cows I have when I get shocked by someone or something.  I had no idea I would be seeing any judge for a very long time if ever.  I figured open and shut case on Julianna Rowe and wait a minute; I didn’t have any clothes to change into which I openly professed to the fuzz man with the overgrown attitude problem. 

Mr. Attitude did an about face, unlocked my cell and said, “Fine then, I guess this will be a come as you are party for you.   Judge Hawthorn won’t like it though.  He is one of the toughest judges in our circuit.”

 Mr. Intimidation had returned.  Like I wanted to hear that statement about the judge right before I stand before his majesty.  Mr. Intimidation must have lived a very unhappy life to be so mean and nasty to such a lovely young woman as myself.   I recall my thoughts at the time were to tell him, “Why don’t you go get some more donuts, it might make you sweeter, not to mention fatter.”  God he was fat.   Maybe that was the basis for his serious need for an attitude adjustment.   I remember wishing Duke were there to piss on donut man’s leg. 

I got to ride in the back of the fuzz cruiser again all the way to the courthouse without a jacket, in the cold.  One would think if I were under the custody of the State of Texas I would be issued a jacket.  But then I wasn’t issued a pillow either.   We arrived at the courthouse, reporters and television cameras surrounding me as I was escorted inside.  I was utterly amazed at the fuss over me until I noticed there was another prisoner who was bigger news than me who summoned all the media.  

The prisoners, me being one of those, were single filed into what appeared to be used church pews which I thought that to be rather humorous if anything could be humorous in that situation.   The bailiff would call a prisoners name and that prisoner would step up to the front of the courtroom facing the honorable Judgeman.    My respect for the law and such had lost its way somewhere back in Oklahoma more than once. 

I did pay heed when the sheriff by and by showed up on the premises and strolled specifically up to the Judges throne ceasing all due procedure, to hand the judge a note which was an alternate postponement creating time to not  move at all to support me. Then the Sheriff turned and walked out of the building. Names continued to be called and I continued to remain uncalled.   The recess had been called leaving me the only prisoner left in the old long church pew.  What the heck?  I figured he was going to lunch while leaving me sit there alone, cold, and hungry?  I wanted to pounce on someone real bad but I figured I was already in enough trouble so I sat quietly trying to recall anything I read in the Gideon. 

Not much time had passed before Judge Hawthorn returned to the throne bench and called my name.  He certainly had not been gone long a enough time for him to have taken lunch.  I wanted to shout out a yee haw but of course I did not.  He asked me if I knew what the charges against me were and I said I did not.   He proceeded to read a list of several felony charges of drug trafficking to possession….. and more.  I decided not to listen like when you were a kid and someone was telling you something awful so you covered your ears and with your mouth you loudly voiced LA LA LA LA LA LA.  I was making noise inside my head.   LA LA  LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.

That is until I heard the words, “You are free to go but you may not leave the city.  Your trial is set for November 22, 1966.  I suggest you get an attorney as soon as possible Miss Rowe.   And believe me if I hadn’t received a call from the esteemed Governor of Texas you would be marching right back to your cell until your trial date, do you hear me?”

“Yes sir, I can hear you.” 

Judge Throne almighty’s face turned a very deep shade of reddish purple meaning his blood pressure just hit the bell at the fare.   He said, “Don’t be smart with me young lady, because if the Governor hadn’t seen you on TV this morning you would be marching right back to your cell for the duration of your life if I had anything to say about it.  Get her outta here!”

            I walked out of that courtroom in a Texas prison striped jumpsuit to a squad car and back to the jail where I was issued my clothes and other personal affects.  Amid the ride back where I was at any rate not cuffed my brain was racing to beat the band.

  The Governor of Texas got me sprung out of jail.   Of course he did, he owed me!   But I can’t tell you I didn’t get a little puffed up over it.  Even a few chuckles came forth and then I remembered Gideon.  Danged if Gideon hadn’t known this all along and told me to hang in there the troops were coming or something like that.   And then suddenly the thought came, I wondered if the Gov. had told his Grandson, my x fiancé Billy.   And then I immediately knew he hadn’t.

I had to find Tom, a lawyer, and Duke.  There had been such terrible happenings to me the past twenty four hours I had off and on forgotten about finding my best friend Duke.  

 I tried to get my beautiful Pink Cadillac out of jail also, but was told it was evidence in an upcoming trial, therefore sorry lady.   I rented a brand new 1966 Red Shelby Mustang.  The only problem was Duke wouldn’t recognize it or me in it. I needed to attempt to think distinctively like Gideon so I could stay rational vs insanity. 

I drove to Tom’s house where we sat outside on the porch for several hours discussing the situation.  Old Tom let me know he figured Pam was the offender behind everything except he couldn't prove it yet.  We agreed we needed some help, some big help and if I had any ideas it was time to call them in.  When I told him I didn’t have any he hung his head while saying, “Miss Julie youse better think harder on dis one or youse could go to da big house fo most youse life.  Last night after dem policemen took youse away I done followed Pam to a real estate office down on 8th Street.  She went in Miss Julie but she never come out.  After a few hours I was fallin asleep in da alley which weren’t no good place for me to be.  I figured she musta left out the back door unless she sleeps in dat office.” 

Advising Tom not to help me in view of my concern toward his security would have done no good and I knew it so I didn’t.  I did tell reiterate how his children need him and to be extra cautious.   We both agreed that Duke was probably taken when the drugs were being hidden in the Cadi and that Pam most likely played a big part in all of the coverup.  Proving it was the hard part.  I asked Tom where my “Baby Browning” was.  

I think that might have been one of the few times I saw that old man laugh.   He told me to follow him which of course I did.  We strolled around to the back of the house where Tom instructed me to have a seat on an enormous old tree stump.   He told me he wouldn’t be able to show me this hiding place ifin it wasn’t almost dark time.  Old Tom showed me a small steel pin sticking out of the stump and when he gave a little tug on it a large square was gently pulled forward and out to expose my little “baby browning” all tucked in nice and safe. Tom told me he didn’t feel safe hiding it in the house where his Granddaughter might find it and of course I agreed.   He told me he took it with him when he followed Pam the previous evening but now that I was out on bail he believed I should keep baby browning with me.  And then he said.

“By’s da way, howd you git outta dat jail wit dose charges girl?  

I laughed and told him Gideon got me out!   And then I told him the true story of Billy Connally and his Granddaddy, the Governor of Texas.  Why I thought old Tom was going to have a seizure for sure right there sitting on the enormous dead tree stump with me.  Have you ever seen a Negro when his eyes get big as saucers?  Old Tom looked like he had stuck his finger in an electrical socket.  I laughed so hard tears were falling and when Tom realized the scene he was involved in he began laughing til tears fell like refreshing raindrops for both of us.  I think Gideon calls that the Holy Spirit laughter because it brings healing, and it did.  Shamika opened the front door, stood there with her hands on her hips watching us laugh until the bug got her too.  There we were, the three of us laughing till our bellies hurt, and refreshed so we could begin the fight for my life. 

Interesting the people God/the Universe, brings into our lives.  I also recalled reading in Gideon that we human beings should beware of Angels unaware meaning there are beings here  on earth who are Angels sent to help us.  They may not be what we would expect for instance a Negro family down on their luck meeting up with a millionaire who was engaged to the Governor’s Grandson.   No wonder old Tom had a near spiritual seizure.  

I said my prayers of thanks that night, for being jailed and finding the Gideon book and for meeting an old negro man at an Oklahoma rest stop, trusting him and giving him a ride to Amarillo, for knowing Billy Connally and his Granddaddy the Governor, and even for knowing Ratfink Roger and his Daddy J B Justice the rich cattle and oilman where I got Duke.   Now all I needed was a good lawyer and some proof who planted those drugs in my car, and most of all finding my Duke because as soon as I found Duke and got the charges dropped, I was long gone from the fine city of Amarillo, Texas bound to Route 66 for Sante Fe and no more troubles. 

The cardboard box that had turned to wood with me nailed inside now appeared to have an opening at one corner.  Not enough to pry open the top but it enough for some life giving oxygen to circulate.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 8 Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)

Chapter  8 

                Tom had stopped by my room after his shift ended that evening.  Ordinarily he stayed until close but that day was his short shift.  It was about eight o’clock when I heard the knock on my motel door.  I about jumped out of my skin at any sound after seeing Pam in the condition she had been in earlier.   Before opening the door I tip toed over to the window and pulled back the heavy motel drapes ever so carefully so as not to be noticed and peeked out hoping it was not another bloody body.   When I saw Tom I was so relieved I about relieved myself on the spot.  Of course only in a manner of speaking would that ever happen, I hope.  I opened the door, grabbed old Tom by the shirt and pulled him inside faster than he could say Jack Robinson. 

                What he did say was,  “What in da tarnation’s is wrong wit you girl.” 

                I told him about Pam showing up at my door all bloody and with little or no explanation to boot.  Tom just sat there with a very serious look on his face as he starred across the room.   I stopped my continual chatter and asked him, “What is that look on your face about?”

                “What look,” he said.  And then added, “You mean she told you no reason for her bloody appearance? “

                I told him her explanation was that she had fallen down.  I expressed my concern to old Tom regarding the amount of blood  I saw vs her explanation.  Something very odd was going on and to top it off she didn’t want to go to the hospital.  She surely must have needed stitches.  All she wanted to do was clean herself up and head home.

                “What! Tom said, again.

                I came back at him quickly saying, “Don’t give me that Mr. Tom. That look on your face says trouble is all over that girl.  What are you thinking, come on;  don’t leave me out in the cold.”

                “Miss Julianna, didin ya ava think somethin’ stinks around dis place? Haven’t cha noticed anythin’ strange at all girl?  That Pam lady is hidin’ things girl.   She ain’t what you see, I can tell deese things.    “We doesn’t even know where she lives or if she lives alone or wit family.  We do know Duke din’t like her cause he node she lies, she steals, and she is a disrespectful person, right?  And I would bet my new bike there is more you hasn’t told me, right?”

                I concurred with old Tom some of my misgivings about Pam but nothing concrete enough to take any action on. 

                “Well I’s tellin’ ya  right now I’s be followin’ her home tomorrow causin’ you sure caint considerin’ you be stickin’ out like a sore thumb in that pink Cadi a yourins’. No I’s goin’ to wait and watch after tomorrow’s shift.  When she leaves da building I will be watchin’ her ever move.   We be findin’ out where dat girl goes at night and wit who.  My gut tells me somethin’ real stinky goin’s on Miss Julie, real stinky indeed.”

                Well Tom scared the beejeebee’s outta me that night.  I never felt as alone in all my life as I did in that motel room without Duke.  I was still seeing blood every time I closed my eyes as well as constant worrying about where my Duke could be? 

                Morning came quickly and after breakfast at the motel restaurant I took off for the Doctors Park to set up a house call for Shamonta as well as to fill out the appropriate paper work for payment of services and any necessary medical equipment.   By the time I finished it was midafternoon.  I decided to stop once again at the local police station to inquire if anyone had called about finding Duke.   The officer lowered his head while shaking it at the same time, almost appearing funeralistic.  My own made up word fit appropriately.  I left the building feeling lost and very alone.  If it hadn’t been for old Tom I can’t imagine how I would have made it through all this.   I spent the next several hours once again driving all around Amarillo and the surrounding countryside searching for any sight or sounds of my beloved friend Duke. 

                When I arrived back at the motel there were two squad cars outside my section of the building.  My experiences from the past couple months left me very gun shy of Johnny Law in any way shape or form.  If it hadn’t been for Duke I wouldn’t have even stopped at the cop station to inquire about anything.   But there they were again in all their red white and blue glory.  And as usual they were interested in me.   There were four “Fuzz” walking in a row in unison toward me like Texas Ranger wannabe’s.    I told myself not to have a cow like I usually did.   Be cool.  I stood still and tall ready to kiss up just in case.  

                The fuzz in charge asked me to step away from the car.  I thought to myself, that isn’t just any old car you fink, but of course I stepped away from my Cadi as I asked the famous question, “What’s going on officers?” 

                The kingpin of the fuzz told me they had received a tip there were drugs in the area.  Their informant told them a woman in a pink Cadi sold them some LSD as well as marijuana.   Then they informed me they would be doing a thorough search of my vehicle and motel room.

                I agreed wholeheartedly while sharing I had absolutely nothing to hide.  That is when I saw one of the fuzz pull out a plastic bag someone had taped up under my wheel well.   Pretty sure my jaw was at my waist, as well as my heart was in my throat.  I knew this was real bad and could put me away for many years.  And then they found even more under the trunk mat and more when they pulled the back seat out.  They were killing my beautiful Cadi right before my eyes…    But then I guess I wouldn’t need it where I was going.   I was even sadder realizing I would never see my Duke again.   

Thank God I had given Tom my “Baby Browning” for protection considering he was going to be following crazy lady Pam. Otherwise the fuzz would have impounded that along with the Cadi.   I wondered how Tom would find out about this.  He would know the truth, and maybe be able to help me. Tom was my only hope.   I could have called Granddaddy but that would have just upset him.  I would wait a bit on that one.   Where was Pam anyway?   If she was working she would know what was happening and surely come see if I was alright.  But she nor Tom neither one came to my rescue.  What was going on? 

                The third fuzz was a short man whose pants were hiked so high he appeared to have a wedgie going on.   He instructed me to turn around and put my hands behind my back which of course I did and of course he cuffed me, put me in the back of his fuzz cruiser lights still flashing as they were on all four other cruisers.  Heck it looked like the county fair had hit Polk Street, Amarillo, Texas, USA.   I couldn’t even cry.   Somehow in the back of my mind I was wishing this was one of Daddy J B Justice’s tricks from the first part of my trip traveling from the Upper Boundary waters of Northern Wisconsin to Texas.  Least I would be safe and this wouldn’t be real.  But it was real alright.  I was headed for the pokey. They did let me retrieve my bank book and travelers checks before taking me away.   

                As the circus caravan of fuzz pulled out of the motel parking lot I saw old Tom peeking around a corner of the building like he didn’t want the fuzz to see him.  He raised his fore finger and middle finger showing me the peace sign then ducked back behind the wall after making sure I saw him.   At the least I had some hope after seeing him.   But Tom was an old black man, what he could do that anyone would pay attention to.   During the ride my mind traveled back to Owen Rutherford, the fiancé I left at the altar a year or so ago.  I bet he wasn’t sitting in any Texas State Patrol car headed for the pokey.  And Roger ratfink, the thumber I picked up in Illinois who caused me great duress, he was probably having a good ole time spending Daddy JBJ’s money.   And Billy Connally, the governor’s son who wanted to marry me on the spot, surely he was back in Houston dancing the night away at the Fools Gold dancehall just off Westheimer.   All my fancy dreams of driving Route 66 out West to see and live among the big city lights had caused me nothing but trouble.  Every time I tried to help someone I got stuck in a cardboard box of my own making.  Usually it was temporary and I could push it open and keep going, but this time it felt like a real box made of wood and the top was screwed down tight.  I wasn’t going anywhere for a very long time unless a miracle of a huge magnitude occurred. 

                They booked me into the county jail after taking all my clothes including my Bobbie socks and the knife I kept tucked inside the left one.   My clothes were replaced with a red and white stripped jumpsuit.   I was in a cell by myself and once again I wished I were in the pokey back in Oklahoma City surrounded by the hookers and skags unknowing to me Daddy J B Justice hired to watch over me.  I supposed I could call him but after our Cassious Clay run in at the family ranch where I stood my ground between he and the governor of Texas…..well calling him really wasn’t in the cards for me at this stage.

                I had enough money for a good attorney but the evidence was what it was.  The fuzz found drugs in the Cadi.   It was an open and shut case. 

                I was so busy feeling sorry for myself I forgot to even try to figure out how those drugs got into my car or who might have put them there.  Instead I quickly fell asleep on the hard steel grey shelf attached to the wall with one small blanket and no pillow. I was escaping from reality and I didn’t seem to care about anything anymore.

                Morning came along with jailhouse breakfast of hard toast, black coffee, and some cheerios.  I was not able to eat or drink anything.  I was very depressed and I knew it but didn’t care.   Noon came along with a jailhouse bologna sandwich, chips, and a carton of warm white milk.  I ate a couple bites and went back to sleep.  

Around three p.m.  the jailer woke me saying I had a visitor.  I sat up in anticipation as to who it was.  I didn’t think Tom would put himself in the spotlight to be investigated by coming to see me.  And Pam, whew, who was bloody Pam anyway?  No it was Shamika, Tom’s daughter.   She had told the jail staff she had been sent by Pastor Baird to pray with the prisoner Julianna.  I almost broke out of the depression long enough to give out a hardy horse laugh but I kept my cool.   Shamika prayed with me for a long time.  So long the guard got tired of it and walked away.   Shamika told me Tom had an idea how those drugs got into my car. That he was working on it and for me to sit tight.  He would send Shamika to see me every day to keep me up to date on his progress.  Shamika told me to trust God.  I asked if there had been any word on Duke.  She hung her head which told me the answer was no.   I thanked her for her time and told her to give Tom a big hug for me and to tell him to be extra careful with the “Baby Browning!”   Shamika’s face gave me a questioning look.  I responded that Tom would know exactly what I meant.   The guard was walking back and as he got closer she got louder with prayer.   I noticed how much she enjoyed taunting the old chrome domed (bald) guard with her Jesus said this and that.  She actually got me to chuckle a few times. 

                The jailhouse dinner hour came around and this time I was hungry and I ate the soggy meatloaf with unsalted mashed potatoes and butterless corn.   And then I found a Gideon Bible on the metal desk in my cell.   Why not read some of it considering I was slept out.   I did the old superstitious trick of opening the book and believing whatever it opened to was meant for me.  Silly but I did it anyway.  And to my utter surprise I opened to a scripture from…..

Psalm 91:1-16  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part 11 Chapter 7 The Best and the Worst Day Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)

Chapter 7
The Best and the Worst Day Ever.....

“Where am I?” 

                All I could see when I opened my eyes were white sterile surroundings and in between the white walls and me was a human being in all white clothes.  Was I dead?  I was thinking I was dead but then there was no bright white light, just that tall woman in white.    I had read about people who said God was a woman.   Maybe she was God.  

                I was so groggy I couldn’t think straight and possibly couldn’t see straight either.  And that is when a tall blonde gentleman came into my view, leaned down and whispered to me, “How do you feel Julianna?” 

                And that is when I started to wail like a baby.   “Duke, where is Duke?  He is my best friend and he is gone.  Get me my Duke!” 

                Dr. Armstrong told me to relax or they would have to give me a sedative. 

                Then I screamed even louder as I leaped out of that sterile hospital bed and began searching for my clothes.   I told those people I didn’t know how I got there but I wasn’t staying.  I had to go find my dog Duke.  That someone had stolen him and then I broke down sobbing again.  I had to go and find Duke because he will be frightened doctor.  He has never been away from me.   Who would do this? Who?  And that is when I remembered the “stack” of thieves I kicked out of my motel room the night before.   Why I didn’t even know their names.  But Pam sure did.  I knew I had to regain my composure or the hospital staff would not allow me to leave.   So I did!  I spoke with such eloquence you would have thought I was Princess Grace herself who made a pit stop in Amarillo on her way to Los Angeles.  

                I paid my bill at the hospital office with a hand that shook like there was an earthquake happening at that precise moment just like the one going on inside of my head.   I had to calm down.   It was at that moment I realized I didn’t know how I got to that hospital which meant I also didn’t know how I was getting back to the motel. The emergency room nurse relayed to me that a man had carried me into that entrance, where he sat me in a wheelchair and left.  

                “Well gosh sakes, didn’t he leave his name?”   I said.

                “No ma’am, he was driving a nice truck though, a black and silver truck.  Oh and there was a big dog in the back.   That dog was barking like he was trying to tell us something big. “

                My face turned a light shade of green and then a deep shade of angry red.   Who had my dog and why?

                I called a cab to take me back to the motel.  I had then decided to contact the police until I realized they wouldn’t do anything about Duke.  Heck, Duke wasn’t a missing person, he was a dog.   I grabbed my jacket from my room and headed for the restaurant where I figured on pulling all of Pam’s hair out chunk by chunk.  I was not ordinarily a violent person, but so far she had shown me she was a thief and untrustworthy.   I wouldn’t be able to do that while she was working so I figured on keeping my cool until her shift ended.  Then I would pull all her hair out chunk by chunk until she told me where my Duke was. 

                Pam and I visited all friendly while in public.   She asked me if I could reach my friend, the one I mentioned that needed a job.  I had totally forgotten about Tom Baird until Pam reminded me.   I couldn’t seem to think on anything else but Duke.  I did ask Pam if she still had the names of those boys we met at the drive in the night before.   She said she did.   I asked her if I could see the paper with their names on it.  She stopped what she was doing, looked me dead in the eye.  The look on her face reminded me of one of those mug shot posters at the Post Office.   What was her deal anyway I thought.  She told me she didn’t have it with her but would stop over to my room with it later after her shift ended.   That I should get in touch with Tom and get him over there for an interview today.   I inquired as to what job title I should tell him he was applying for.    Pam told me she needed a dishwasher as well as bussing duties.  And that he would get a portion of the tips from the girls at the end of each evening.   I thanked her and left quietly without pulling all her hair out.

                I walked back to my room and then to my car.  I scanned all around for the silver truck and or Duke.   I was fighting back tears yet I knew sobbing would do no good and it might even cause me to faint again.  No way was I going back to that sterile white place.   Who in the world carried me into that hospital?   He had to be someone that cared.  If he cared why would he steal my dog.   Maybe he is taking care of Duke somewhere until he sees I am back at the motel.   I wanted to curl up in a fetal position in my room and stay there forever but that wouldn’t get Duke back or Tom a job.  Heck Tom might not even want the job.  I was definitely not minding my own business.  In fact my own business seemed to need some help of its own.

                I drove across town toward Tom’s daughter’s place all the while looking everywhere for the black and silver truck and or Duke.    I made a stop at the Montgomery Ward Store where I picked out a brand new shiny Raleigh bike for Tom.   He was getting on in years and I only hoped he could still ride a bicycle.   It sure was a pretty red and white one with all chrome handlebars and spokes.  Behind the seat was an area for a back pack to be fastened on.  I prayed Tom would accept my gift because I sure didn’t have any one else to give it to.  Besides, he needed some way of getting around town.   Even though I was feeling happy about Tom, my heart was bleeding for Duke.  I told God if he let me find old Duke I would never let him out of my sight again.  Probably a promise that couldn’t be kept but I meant it all the same.

                While daydreaming about all the good times Duke and I had I don’t recall driving the rest of the way to Tom’s place, yet suddenly there it was.  And me, I had some serious butterflies going on.   I parked out front, untied the ropes that was holding the bike half inside my trunk, pulled, yanked, and lifted it up and out and onto the sidewalk.   At that precise moment the front door opened and out strolled Tom Baird.   I felt like a kid who got her fingers caught in the cookie jar.   Let me tell you that man’s pride was as big as Texas.   I figured the next thing to happen was me being asked to leave the scene, but instead the old man walked over to me and greeted me with a fatherly hug.   Then he stepped back and said, “So what brings you back here Miss Julianna?” 

                To say I stuttered would be an understatement.  I finally got my mouth in gear enough to tell him I had decided to stay an extra few days to see the sights which of course was an untruth.   I continued with how I was staying at the Rice Motel downtown and that I had gotten to know the manager of the restaurant, Pam, and that she would like to interview you for the job of dishwasher, and bussing person in the dining salon.  It would be a full time job with waitress tips shared with you each evening.   The job is pretty much yours Tom if you want it.   And, I sort of, um, well, I, um, stopped at the Montgomery Wards and um got you some transportation.   It’s okay if you don’t want it. I know you told me no and I didn’t listen.  I am sorry Tom but I just couldn’t leave town knowing your family was in need.

                “Miss Julianna, you are somethin’ else again!”  You are right and I was being pigheaded as usual.  My children and I need help and I am glad to accept the wheels and so I thank you.  After being here a couple days I see things a bit more clearly as to the family needs.”

                “Why don’t you let me give you a ride to the interview and on the way back we can stop at downtown and get you some work clothes and don’t say no because they require you to wear a white shirt and black pants Tom.”

                Old Tom agreed.  He walked back to the house to let his family know the good news and then climbed in my beautiful Pink Cadillac.  Tom turned toward the back seat to say hey to Duke, then looked at me and said, “Where is old Duke?”   That is when the elephant tears came rushing like a swollen creek after a bad storm. 

                “Someone stole my dog Tom!”

                Tom was about as beside himself as I was.  But then he gathered himself and told me not to worry one more minute. That he would help me find that dog no matter how long it took us.   And then he carried on with a few somewhat unchristian words considering he was a preacher man, and considering that be a fact he immediately apologized and got his wits back about him.   We drove in silence the rest of the way to the Rice Motel’s Dining Salon.

                While Tom was interviewing with Pam I drove around searching for the black and silver truck and Duke.  I knew if I got close enough old Duke would sense it and bark like a crazy dog.   But I heard no barking and saw no truck. 

                Tom was near running to the Cadi he was so excited to have gotten the job and wanting to share the news with me.   I was equally happy for him because I knew what this meant for him and his family.  We stopped at a clothing store downtown and filled the car with new things for everyone in the family.  Tom insisted on repaying me which of course I refused but finally gave in just to shut him up.  I had more fun buying dolls and toys for Tom’s granddaughter as well as pajamas and new sheets for Shamonta’s bed.  Next stop was the grocery store.  We still have some room in the trunk so we bought as much as the little house would hold.  Looking back we could have easily bought a Christmas tree because that is exactly what it was like.  His daughter and granddaughter were so happy tears flowed.  And it was like we had given Shamonta a new type of medicine that was working.   I promised Tom I would get to a medical supply house and provide Shamonta with appropriate supplies, as well as a house call from a local physician to make sure everything was in order for his care.  

When it was time for me to leave Tom insisted on coming with me to search for Duke.   I think we drove up two hundred miles that day, up and down residential streets shouting Duke’s name out the car windows.  But we heard no barking and saw no Duke.

                Tom started work the following day.  Everyone loved old Tom at the motel, and he loved everyone back.  The younger ones would go to him for counsel being he was a preacher and all.  Me, I spent every day driving around searching for Duke, checking Veterinarian offices, stopping at the local human society.  I knew I could never drive out of Amarillo without Duke.   I had to find him somehow.

                That night in my motel room I fell to the floor, face down, and sobbed to God asking for him to please bring back my dog.  I couldn’t bear not knowing where or what had happened to him.  Even if he was dead, I had to know. 

                This had turned out to be the best and worst day of my life.  I couldn’t imagine what worse could happen.  And then there was a knock on my motel door.  When I opened the door I saw Pam standing there, in shock, blood everywhere.