Gunslinger

The cave was dark and dusty. McGumory held a handkerchief to his face with his left hand to keep the large particles of dust out of his lungs. He grunted with pain as his right hand held his left side with the feather end of an arrow sticking up between his fingers. He limped as his right leg still had a bullet in it from yesterday.

“That was dumb.” He mumbled to himself.

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Columbo

I guess about a month ago Ronny and I began watching Columbo on Netflix. I am throughly enjoying it. We have one more episode and will complete season three. Netflix has seven seasons of the show which ran from 1968 to 1978. There are three more seasons from 1989 to 2003.

I have been a long time fan of the murder mystery genre. One my favorites is the BBC Midsomer Murders. Columbo is a different kind of murder mystery. It is not a "who done it" but a "how to catch them." Most murder mysteries start with a dead body and then the detective must find the clues to the killer. In Columbo you see who is the murder and how he did it within the first five minutes. Even Columbo guesses who the murder is at the beginning. The rest of the show is watching Columbo figure out how to catch the person.

But Columbo is even more intriguing in that he often aggravates the killer with question after question and bumbling antics until he gets the killer to make a move in frustration that reveals he is guilty. It is funny how the murder get so frustrated in dealing with Columbo. You may think that is good acting until you read the history of the show. Peter Falk who play Columbo often broke from the script and ad libbed in ways to actually frustrate the guest stars playing the murderers. He did it so their frustration would be more real. That cracks me up.

Another interesting thing about Columbo is that the show started in 1968 so I get peek in the world of when I was just a baby. Of course like any TV show America life is not portrayed accurately but still it is interesting to see the styles of clothes, hair, cars, computers and everything of that time period. What is ironic is some things the older generation today disapproves of was actually the style when they were in their twenties and thirties.

So if you want a show that that feels you with suspense of how he is going to catch them and gives you a giggle at life in America forty years ago I recommended Columbo.

Mars, A Long Stay; Chapter 1 - April 1, 1788

Elsie Conner steps out of the carriage greeted warmly by a tall, slim, older, red headed gentleman. Van is Benjamin Franklin’s chief servant.

Elsie Conner is just twenty-two, five foot four inches tall, a hundred and twenty pounds, with long curly blonde hair and deep blue eyes. Her bulky dress does not hide her curves. It seemed no matter what she wore men found her attractive. She was always having to refuse their advances.

Elsie is not sure why she was brought from New York to Benjamin Franklin's house in Philadelphia. She knew her math and memory skills were impressive. Her professor considered her one of the most impressive minds of the century. She can't imagine what Benjamin wants with her, for he is a famous scientist and must be just as intelligent.

Van leads Elsie to the study. It is a large room off to the right of the entrance. It was a site to behold. Simply put, it was a large collection of organized and disorganized piles. The book cases were all filled to capacity but neat. Every table had piles of books on them. Some arranged thoughtfully and some look as they were stacked haphazardly. There were three chess tables with games in progress but no chairs at them. There were six chalk boards and all loaded with formulas. One was bugging her. On the third line of the second board was an error. She stared intently at while she waited for Mr. Franklin. When she could not resist any longer she walked over and erased the last digit of a long decimal number. The correct answer is 3.385462953 not 3.385462952.

In comes a gentile man. He is slender. Not just slender he is lean. A very healthy lean. He walks with a limp, supporting himself with a red stained wooden cane around to the chalk board. At closer inspection she can tell that he is older than he first looks. She can't finger his age but it is over sixty and certainly older than Van. He studies her correction. "Miss Elsie Conner, I presume," he says while looking at the board.

"Yes, and you are."

"I am Benjamin Franklin."

"No you are not. I have seen his portrait and you are to slim."

"I assure you that I am him. I have been very busy this last year and for my project it has become necessary for me to shed the extra weight.” Which is true but there is also an illness creeping through his organs that was making him loose his appetite. Ben is very much aware of it.

Elsie stared at him closely. The face would look like the portraits if he had more weight. He does have the limp. The hair is cut short but it is the right color. He is face looks that of an eighty-one year old. "I will give you the benefit of doubt, for now."

"You will see soon enough. I see you found an error in my calculation. Thank you."

"Surely that is not why you have brought me here."

"No but first I want to know if what I have heard about you is true."

"Ask," said Elsie.

"How long have you been in this room?"

Odd, she thought, I don't get a time questions very often. "Nine minutes and twenty-three seconds, now."

Ben checks is watch, "right," he smiled. "So, you always know the time?"

"Yes, it logs my every movement. I can tell you what I was doing at any time. It takes just a little math to figure the difference."

"What do you know about sun and star positioning?"

"I can tell you approximately where you are just by glancing at the sun. With the degrees, I can tell you exactly. I can do the same with a few stars.”

"We will have to test that tomorrow. For now, join me for dinner and I will tell you what I hope you can help with."

When they came into the dinning room a gentleman stood up. Five foot nine Elsie guessed. Handsome and rugged looking. Dark short hair but with some gray mixed in. Her first thought was a former navel officer, late forties.

"Elsie Conner let me introduce you to Captain Carl West."

Carl greeted her, "Mrs. Conner."

"Mr. West," She said as she nodded.

Ben helped her to her seat.

"Listen you two if this is going to work we need to be a lot less formal. It is Ben, Carl and Elsie,” said Ben.

"Ben, I still don't like this," said Carl.

"We are just having dinner, Carl. Besides, she did it. She caught the error on the board and figured her time in the room correctly."

The staff begin to serve dinner. It was delicious but modest thought Elsie.