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Do not go where the path may lead

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posted by Chatwick Harpax alias Subsequent Wickedness on Saturday 21st of May 2016 11:29:31 PM

The revenge upon her would be sweet, even though it was purely theoretical. She was the very epitome of every stuck up girl who ever passed judgment on those she refused to view as an equal. And I? I possessed the subtle skill to knock her smirking ego down a few pegs. ********************************************************************** In late spring of the year 1952, a, bank rented safety deposit lockbox, dusty from many years gone by, was opened. The box had laid unclaimed, the banks records having been destroyed during the Nazi blitzes of World War Two. When its existence became known, an attempt was made to contact the owner, whose family surname was well known in the county. The name turned out to be an alias, no such person ever existed. Please read the account below to learn more about the person who was believed to have rented the strongbox, as well as what he had placed inside………. ********** Case Study 84 : Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual facts as originally recorded. Some names, times, places and some facts have been altered for obvious reasons. Exerted from the private letters of Mr. Harley Q. circa early 1900’s. Name: Harly Q. circa 19 … Subject: Seemingly a rather dexterous scoundrel Place: A large coastal metropolis Time: A period of time in late autumn ************** Harly’s story as related: The following affair occurred during my younger days when my youth and its’ raw passions were still a strong pull on my reactions! Now, how do I start? The Blonde dancing in front of me was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy, voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she swirled about the massive chamber! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my upmost command! But wait, I may be placing the carriage before the steed……. Allow me to restart: I had taken a long train into town with the intention of spending a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs. Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight. Since my social calendar was unusually light, with only the one high society event, a wedding that I was planning to attend the following Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs. I spent the first day perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers, and ended up circling one or two events of interest that would be taking place later that month. I than took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes, before allowing myself some time off from my endeavors. I than spent the first portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes. It felt great not worrying about work, although I will did admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses.. It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom to see what it was all about. I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about, looking into the massive main ballroom, meeting rooms and various party rooms. As I was leaving I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events. One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available. The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume. Purchasing a pair of tickets (less questions asked) I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my own costume. I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire. It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing. On my way out to pay for the costume I spied a half off bin. On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask. On impulse I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout. Although I really didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume ? But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture. I still decided to play it cautious by setting up my usual safe guards, just in case. A few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite I found a small chain style motel. Going to the desk I purchased rent for a room for the night, paying in advance. Going into the small room I laid down my purchases and headed back out to the street via a back stairwell, bypassing the registrars chambers. I headed back to my hotel suite to prepare for the evening. After showering, I changed into a suit, shirt and tie. I then headed out onto the street a couple of hours before the ball was set to begin. Regaining my small quarters in the chain motel I changed into my new persona for the evening’s festivities and left via the same back door I had used earlier. I walked back to the Ballroom, getting my share of looks until I reached my destination, where I blended right in with the other arriving costumed guests. I followed the stream to the ballroom proper. The main doors leading inside were large, made of a fancy scrolled oak, held open, and guarded by a pair of burly security types. Apparently which, I soon gathered, was appearing to be the only security present for the evening’s festivities. Capital, I thought, smirking to myself as I joined my fellow guests. I walk onto a landing, immediately in front of a long bannister guarding a set of wide stairs ascended downwards. I went off to one side, and paused at the railing, starting to survey with eager anticipation, the crowded room below. All was quite glittering, as large chandeliers set off a spectrum of colors with any crystal or glass it touched. It especially created shimmers as it played off the colorful jewelry the lavishly costumed ladies present were wearing. Several dozen couples were dancing in front of a 17 piece orchestra, a slow dance, and many were dancing almost too close. Many more people were mingling around tables of appetizers. A large, chattering crowd was also gathered at the long oak bar that took up one whole side of the huge room. It was to the bar that I headed, to observe the merry proceedings. But the Ball, as it turned out, was a bust, so to speak. Although several attempts were made to ask a number of charming (to me) ladies to add me to their dance cards, they all were, unfortunately, full. I should have suspected it would turn out this way, but I still harbored an all too familiar nagging feeling in the back of my head that something was still going to happen, call it intuition if you need to label it. So I nursed my drink, reminiscing about how I had reached this point in my then still young life….. Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite poets, once said” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Long before the the time I discovered this quote I found that my life’s path had already been heading that way. Without boring anyone with far too many details of my rather complicated youth, I discovered while quite young that I had a certain knack for adeptness at being able to nimbly pick pockets. When I was eighteen ( having graduated high school at seventeen) and out on my own in the world, I found this skill quite useful. But it was at a wedding reception in my early twenties where I became of age, so to speak. She was older than me, resplendent in a sleek black satin gown with bright white frills, long white satin gloves upon which graced a pair of diamond bracelets. She was very tipsy and would not take no for an answer when asking for a dance partner. She cornered me and before I could catch my wits, we were in a close embrace on the dance floor. I was totally mesmerized by the feel of her warm figure emitting through the sensuous satin gown. My eyes feasted upon the dazzling show put on by her flashy twin bracelets. When the exquisitely long dance ended and she moved on: I was left with a lot of pleasantly mixed feelings, I was also left with my first trophy, the Lady’s appealing necklace of pearl that I had ever so delicately sipped off her throat, using the sleekness of her satin gown to its fullest advantage. I found myself enthralled with my new “hobby”, and over the course of the next couple of years sought out fancy dress affairs to better learn how to master the art of attracting and dancing with any lady I chose. Along the way I managed to accumulate quite a few trophies for my efforts. I stayed under everyone’s radar by picking out only those females who had been enthusiastically imbibing and by allowing myself to acquire only one trophy per gathering, two if the function was large enough. During this period I made two discoveries: One was that most women would rather assume their jewel had been merely lost long before ever considering that they had been robbed of it. The second was that most of my collection of pretty trophies carried an equally pretty price, and could quite acceptably be turned into ready cash. So, by the tender age of twenty two, my life started to lead where there had ever been but few tracks. And thus we finally come to this particular branch of my rather unique, lengthily crooked trail…. So, there I was, on a bar stool, alone and growing more bored by the minute, wishing something interesting would happen. I can remember thinking, as I looked over my fellow partiers about a saying that I had always found to be amusingly true. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” I don’t know who first said it, but brother, the person was right on the money. As I had witnessed for myself time and time again. So I just settled in and watched the amusing antics of the wealthy among the crowd, especially those of …“the girl!’ The girl was a stunning young blonde who was probably just fresh out of high school, with the maturity level of a grade schooler! I kept catching my eye on her all evening, and once or twice, was sure she caught mine looking. But I was not watching her for the reasons she would think were mine. To her I was just some male face in the crowd, exhibiting his lust. But, the reason my eyes kept traveling upon her was for an entirely different one. I just found nothing to be more annoying than a sulky, immature young whelp who believes she is the apple of everyone’s eye, making an absolute nuisance of herself. She was running around, making silly remarks about people, sometimes to their face. Hanging out with her group of friends whom seemed to be of the same mold as my blonde, one girlfriend was even dressed appropriately enough, as a willowy witch. The Blonde was dressed up like a movie star on a red carpet. Only about nineteen, her slinky gown created the impression of having been poured along her curvy voluptuous figure, like shimmering liquid satin, fluidly swishing as she bounced about the massive chamber, slipping in and out amongst the guests! It all made her appear far older and mature than she obviously thought she was. For some, her looks and personality may have been seen as charming and fun. “But for me personally, the only thing charming about her was the way her abundant sparkling jewellery played with the lights from the large chandeliers which held my command! But I had decided, as far as I could tell, that she was wearing nothing but cheap rhinestones, which like her, appeared totally fake. But, as they say, appearances can sometimes be deceiving! This girl was the epitome of every condescending stuck up high society girl that probably everyone has had the misfortune to be the victim of. The girl, who mainly because of her looks, was popular with everyone like her, and had no use for those who, forever what reason they deemed, was ostracized by those of her type. In high school I knew girls like this one, and was a witness, sometime victim, to many a scene of arrogance displayed by girls like her. This one was young, too young to be acting the way she was. Her mannerisms were just a beacon, reaching out out to be taught a lesson. Wallowing in my boredom, a spark began to kindle into flame deep within my brain. Determined not to let the evening be a total loss, I decided act upon it. My plan being to theoretically get revenge on all those smirking girls who tormented me during high school, by knocking this cocky little scamp down a few pegs, using the best of my abilities.. Now, I’m not one normally to act as judge, jury, and executioner in most situations, in my selected line of work it would be hypocritical. But obviously old wounds’ had been opened, this long haired girl scampering about reminded me of ones whom had ridiculed me, another lifetime, one that I had left behind A long time ago. The opportunity for bittersweet revenge had presented itself for the taking, and the pull to obtain a little solace by using my unique talents was far too great to resist. Talk about mixing pleasure with business I though wickedly to myself, smiling with the inviting thought. Believe me, this girl would be no innocent victim, and nothing I was about to attempt would leave her with any type of lasting impression, or harm. But if I could cause her at least some considerable discomfort to ruin the rest of her evening out, it would be reward in and of itself! I again eyed her sparkling jewels with all the seriousness I would have given any I was really interested in acquiring. Although she didn’t fit my favorite pre-requisite, she certainly was not drunk on alcohol, she was merely just intoxicated in her own questionable self-esteem, which can work just as well. I waited until her friends had all apparently deserted her for the evening and leaving her, quite vulnerably, alone. I walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. She whirled facing me, her eyes going from happy expectations to a glare! “What do you want!? she snipped disdainfully”. Calmly I held her gaze, “I was hoping you would help me win a bet” I asked in what I hoped was my most wily voice. She was curious, but wary of me, “as you should be my pretty miss”, I remember thinking to myself. Her eyes sized me up and down, and I seized the moment to take in her jewels, not at all disappointed in them, but my curiosity was aroused about her necklace, I definitely needed to get a closer look to appraise them! “Why should I help you,” she practically spitted out he words like daggers. “It’s this way miss, a couple of boys over at the bar bet me 50 quid that I could not get a dance with the prettiest girl here.” “Me?” she asked primping, no I confessed, I picked you, they had wanted me to dance with someone far less pretty, in my opinion. I don’t think so; she said with a slight hint of hesitation, my card is full. Just for fifteen minutes I implored. That’s all I need (which was the truth), and Ill split my winnings with you on top of it. She finally bought it, hook line, sinker and pound signs in her adorable violet coloured eyes. Fifteen minutes she specified, before, be-grudgingly, allowing me to lead her to the dance floor. Now, as I took her stiff body in my arms, I was able to satisfy my curiosity about the girl’s necklace, and it caused a dilemma to rear its thought provoking head. While she was busy looking around to make sure none of her friends saw her dancing with me, I allowed myself a couple of precious minutes to think. Her long rhinestone earrings were clip held, and an easy pick. I wanted to try for them both,( I knew how I would do it), and losing a pair of earrings would send a message that they had not just fallen away. Also, I would be suspected by her, which suited me just fine. However, my dilemma was caused by the vixen’s pretty necklace. While the rest of her plentiful jewels were cheap rhinestones as I had suspected the row of diamonds that rippled blazingly around her throat were in fact, the real McCoy. So, which should I go for? The necklace would be profitable and easy but she may just suspect its clasp had broken. The earrings would be just for a sporty trophy, not worth anything but for the knowledge that she would know she had been a victim. Ah, life’s precious little quandaries! So, I continued with the dance, my partner still rigid, so very true to her character. Then, with five minutes left, I made up my mind on what she would not be leaving the ball still wearing. She was a charmer, this disdainful one. Her stiff figure was warm to the touch, underneath the scintillating slippery gown. The show her sparkling jewels produced was most pleasing to the eye. All in all quite a pretty portrait, a shame it was that I was not allowed to appreciate it. Which was fine by me! I was able to concentrate freely on the task at hand. I looked around, the coast was still clear. Then eyeing for one last time her mesmerizingly swaying long earrings and the flickering diamonds that graced her pretty little throat, I executed my move.. By the time the final five minutes were up I had the selected jewelry in my pocket without even the slightest notice from my unwilling dance partner. Then, fifteen minutes to the second (good thing I had been keeping track of the time) she broke it off. “Thank you”, I said, to which she mumbled, “my money, sir!” I told her I had to collect it, and would meet her by the ladies powder room. I left her waiting, smiling inwardly to myself at the empty space from which the missing jewelry was glaringly gone from her. She had no doubt that I would be back with her money, was I not merely like one of her household servants, who routinely, without question or error, existed to do her bidding. It would be a major jolt to her system when she realized I was not coming obediently back to her. I had no doubt she would spend some time searching me out for her money once she realized I was not coming back forthwith, with the intention of lecturing me on how I should act around my betters. So I knew that her immediate attention would be elsewhere upon realizing I was tardy, and that it would take quite a bit of time before she recieved a second shock of an altogether different sort. I left with my prize, walking past the two guards with such a carefree air that even they would never have suspected that I could possibly have been up to any mischief. I made good time getting back to the dingy motel room. Changed out of my costume and back into the shirt and tie I had worn. The highwayman costume, which had served me well, I rolled in a bundle under my arm, I again left by the back stairwell and retraced my earlier steps, whistling, back to the suite in the hotel. Along the way the costume was stuffed unceremoniously into a handy trash bin. My little operation had been a complete success. The evening was after all, not going to be a total loss. Back in my suite I stowed the newly acquired jewels the girl had worn into one of my many secret hiding spots. There they would be safe until I could convey it to my banks lockbox on Monday. As I finished I, spied the phantom of the opera mask lying discarded on top of a table. A shame it would not be used…. A thought washed over me that would not be denied! Risky, but it would make my evening complete. I quickly shaved off the thin beard, and restyled my hair. I changed from my suit into my tux and tails. Scooping up the phantom mask I headed back to the costume ball. Placing the mask on before entering, I presented my second ticket( not very often did the opportunity arise to use both of the pair of tickets I customarily purchased!) I walked past the two security types without a second glance from them, they absolutely did not recognize me, which meant I had passed that test. My objective now was to try and catch the second half of the show; namely the shimmering liquid satin gowned brats squawking reaction when she first discovered her jewels were gone. I regained a bar seat just in time. She did not disappoint! ************************************************************************ Epilogue When, in the presence of both bank and county officials, the strong box was opened, it was found to contain a fairly large collection of the Kings currency, equaling roughly £500 , and a selection unmatched jewelry, rings, single earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, worth a almost £3.000. Also inside was small a bundle of papers. The papers, old and yellowed, appeared to contain the partial handwritten journals of a certain Mr. Harly Q___ , esq. The papers were examined, but gave no clues to who Harley was, or to his current whereabouts. But the journals presented clues as to Harly’s nature, and as a consequence the money and jewels were considered stolen goods and handed over to the authorities. No one knows what became of them, as for the papers, they were handed over to a relative of one of the government officials, and also, for a period of time, lost. The journal was rediscovered amongst the personal files of the late Professor Sedwig Dermitt phd, llc.a dex, Recovered, restored, and now kept in the human behavioral archives of the criminology dept, Chatwick U. Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

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