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Coulee City dispatch. (Coulee City, Wash.) 19??-19??, December 17, 1942, Image 2

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89079026/1942-12-17/ed-1/seq-2/

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“fi\\\Q ;fi? GRANVILLE CHURC\!’-.lN.U:’fi:%_ /LA
THE STORY SO FAR: Jeff Curtis and
his wife, Lee, are already on their way
to Tierra Libre when he receives a note
from Zora Mitchell warning them not to
come. They arrive to find both Zora
and her husband dead. Although he in
vestigated the fruit company that hired
him before accepting a job as chief
engineer, Jeff is already suspicious of
the company and of his employer, Senor
Montaya. Conversations with Jerry Mc-
Innis, who works for a rival company,
and with Bill Henderson and Slats Mona
han reveal that there is something going
on and that Mitchell and Zora were
killed because they knew too- much. Bill
Henderson is killed, and Jeff is con
vinced his death is murder. Jeff and
Montaya are talking to the company’s
two flyers, Ryden and Lannestock.: -
This trend of talk was not to his
liking, and Montaya patted Karl Ry
den comfortingly on the shoulder
and steered the conversation into
other channels, mentioning at last
the fatal injury of Bill Henderson
the night before.
“They were good friends, the
three of them. Karl and Gosta
})ot? feel Henderson’s death keen
The proprieties satisfied, Montaya
put a period to the meeting, much
to the young men’s relief. @~
“You haven’t visited the airfield
yet, Mr. Curtis,” Montaya said in
parting. ‘“You can telephone any
time it is—ah, convenient, to learn if
Karl or Gosta is there to show you
about. If you play tennis, they will
be glad to have a new partner.”
The three men left. Curt settled
back in his chair, hoisted his feet,
reached for his pouch. He felt
vaguely unsatisfied and couldn’t
put his finger on the reason.
Curt was a good organizer. He
put his program on paper that Sun
day night, at home, and made pro
digious strides in the field during
the next two days. :
One big job was doubling man
hours on railroad work—ballgsting
the main line, the pushing of two
spur lines to feed farms already
planted or now being planted.
Another was in putting all earth
moving machines and crews on two
shifts a day, using floodlights hastily
improvised from ordinary tin dish
pans and washbasins.
There were minor matters under
the Chief Engineer farmhouses,
wells and windmills, furniture man
ufacture, production of concrete
items—culvert pipe, building bldcks,
reinforced girders and slabs to
bridge - farm ditches —all coming
‘along at a fine pace.
But the really important jobs, the
Rio Negro levee, the railroad
branch lines to haul from present
plantings to Tempujo three or four
months from now when fruit should
start to come in—these things had
dragged! The drainage ditches, too,
were far behind schedule.
Curt sometimes talked over his
problems with Lee. This usially
amounted to a monolog, but put
ting bothersome angles into words
seemed to help. And here was some
thing in which Lee had. a vital in
It was Tuesday evening. The chil
dren had been put to bed, and Curt
was lounging on the darkened ve
randa, propped up with cushions,
Lee in the curve of his arm. His
dangling left foot lazily pushed the
couch-hammock back and forth. It
was the half-hour after dinner that
he was snatching for himself.
They’d held a silence for some
time, lulled by the gentle rattling
of young palms in the evening
breeze, so like rain on a tin roof.
The lightning slither of a lizard dart
ing up the screen to the wide over
hanging eaves roused Curt. He sat
straight and reached into a hip pock
et for his tobacco pouch. When he
spoke it was in a sober voice.
‘“Lee, I’'m worried. No, not wor
ried—puzzled is the word. There’s
something rotten going on here, and
I don’t know what it is. I'm afraid
of stepping into something unaware,
Like Mitchell might have. If I knew
what it was, I could steer clear.”
‘“What—what do you mean, Jeff?”
“You remarked about the coinci
dence of those three deaths. I didn’t
intend to go over this with you, but
you're level-headed and whatever it
is I've got us into, you’re in it. You
should have the whole picture.”
“Jeff, what are you trying to
gay i s ;
‘“Lee, I'm convinced those three
deaths were no coincidence. That
they were all deliberate murders.
The second and third, I suspect, to
cover up the first.”
“I knew it! Zora Mitchell couldn’t
possibly have committed suicide!
Not the Zora I used to know. But
Bill Henderson? What you told me
about his accident . . .”
Curt was silent a moment. *I
know. It looked like an accident,
sure enough. But Lee, last' Wednes
day Bill told me he knew who killed
Mitch, and then refused to tell me
anything more for fear of involving
me. He pointed out my precarious
position, having you and the kids
here. Said he’d work it out him
self, for me to keep hands off. Well,
I was all set to get behind that on
Saturday night, and you know what
He felt Lee stiffen beside him,
but she didn’t speak.
He went on. ‘“You didn’t know,
I didn’t tell you, but Zora Mitchell
sent me an urgent note warning me
not to come to Tierra Libre, not to
bring my family. I got it in New
Orleans and like a fool didn’t look at
that batch of mail readdressed to
us until we’d dropped the pilot and
were out in the Gulf. Then it was
too late to do anything about it. I
kept quiet, not wanting to alarm
you. I intended to talk with her
first chance I got. But she—died.”
He read fear in Lee’s voice when
she finally said, “Jeff, what are you
leading up to?”
“I don’t know, Lee, I don’t know.
I’'ve been going over this business
until I'm dizzy! Look. Here are sev
eral possibilities. Listen and give
me your reactions.”
“Go on.” :
" “First, Bill Henderson knew who
killed Mitchell, and why. That ‘why’
is somehow important, from the way
Bill stressed it. He was done away
with before he could pass it on. Zora
knew something, and she died. Well,
these two deaths would seem to be
for the purpose of covering up
Mitchell’s murder. Then, the crux
of the whole business is why Mitch
was killed. Was it really a personal
grudge, or was it something deep
er?” He paused.
‘“‘Go on,”’ Lee said, in a small far
away- voice.
“Well, Mitch was no fool, yet at
the rate the work was going here,
the coming rainy season would have
flooded the whole valley again. The
railroad and all the planting done
this year would have been washed
“Jeff, what are you driving at?”’
‘““You think Montaya had him
killed?”’ 3
“Just this.. You've read my con
tract. Pretty stiff one. I'm abso
lute boss in'my department—practi
cally—so long as I follow the plans
laid down. Well, if Mitchell had a
contract like mine, and we can as
sume he did have, and if he was
deliberately slowing up the work,
then his death was very convenient
for Montaya.”? 4 :
“Sabotage! You’re advancing that
as the reason? You think Montaya
had him killed?’’. .
“I don’t say that, honey,” Curt an
swered doggedly. ‘lt simply seems
a possible answer.’” i :
‘“Well,”” Lee replied slowly, ‘I
know you don’t like Senor Montaya.
I don’t, either. .But that’s simply
personal taste on our part, We hayeno
reason to dislike him. Or have we??*
‘lNo.’) ‘ e I
“It’s an ironclad contract you
have, sure—for Montaya. There’s.
an escape clause which would let
him cancel the contract if you
should turn out incompetent or ufn
satisfactory. Surely he could have
got rid of Mitchell in a case -of
sabotage,” ;
““Sabotage is difficult to prove
sometimes!’”’ Curt exclaimed. ‘7 or
example, I've found Mitchell v.as
making the dragline men use cables
too slender for the job. They kept
breaking. Every break slowed up
the work a little more. There are
many ways he could, or I could,
slow up the work without enabling
Montaya to invoke that clause you
‘“That clause isn’t as elastic as
you think. A court, in an ensuing
breach of contract case against the
company had Mitchell been let out,
might have obliged Montaya to pay
heavy damages:. Not only for re
mainder of salary under contract,
but punitive damages for injury to
reputation.” G
. “I see what you mean,” Lée said
'slowly. “But no, Jeff, I ¢in’t see
Montaya having Mitchell killed for
any such simple reason. ‘And: two
other murders, too!’”’ .. .. ..
“One planned murder,” Curt
pointed out. ‘‘The other two were
follow-ups.”’ ‘ :
Lee said nothing. " *:
‘“‘Well, another point. Montaya’s
put this Emilio Vargas on my tail
as a bodyguard. Lee, I never had
any trouble with native labor—or
any labor. Kid ’em’ along and you
can get anything done. I don’t need
a bodyguard. Montaya may or may
not be involved in these murders—
either way, I can understand his
wanting to hush them up with the
least trouble—but at least he does
know what’s behind them. Other
wise, why this Emilio Vargas?’’
There was another silence. Then,
‘““You say you had several possibili
ties,”” Lee reminded him.
‘“Yes. Well, let’s go back to Mitch
ell. The fact remains that Mitchell
was slowing up the work. That’s
conclusive. But why? Was he real
ly working for C. A. T. or for Asso
ciated, say, to prevent rising com
“Well-l, in that case Montaya
might.have reason to kill him. But
Jeff, I simply can’t see Mitchell as
that kind of snake-in-the-grass.
Whatever we might say about his
social graces, he was certainly hon
est about his work. That’s my idea.”
‘“‘Mine, too. All right, could Old
Man Moore have ordered it done?
You know big business has few scru
ples when the matter of money and
competition is concerned.’”’
Lee shook her head. Light from
the room beyond faintly outlined the
two on the couch. It was a posi
tive shake.
‘“No. I wouldn’t have put it past
him if this were twenty years ago.
He’s older now, more careful and
sly. And I don’t believe he’s that
much concerned today about what
competition he’d get from this out
fit.” h
“It may be pretty stiff competi
tion, Lee! Things look mighty good
here for bananas.”’
‘“Even so,”’” she answered. ‘No,
I can’t accept that.”
“Well,”” he went on, ‘‘suppose
Montaya—this is his project, lock,
stock, and barrel—suppose Montaya
has a personal enemy determined to
wipe him out, who goes to work on
his Chief Engineer as the most im
portant single factor for the pur
pose.”’ '
She thought this over.
“That theory’s full of holes. Why
wouldn’t such' an enemy go after
Montaya direct?”’
‘‘Make him suffer piecemeal?”’
Curt suggested. ¢‘Bit by bit?’’: =
“No. That wouldn’t explain Mitch
ell’s slowing up the work. That’s an
important angle, from all you’ve
said.” -
“I know.’’
‘“Darling,” said Lee, troubled,
‘‘we’re right back where we started.
I can see your point in wanting to
know more. But oh, Jeff, darling,
be careful. Don’t do anything that
would «put you in danger. I just
couldn’t bear it if anything should—
should happen to you. And we’ve
the children.’”’ ;
He pulled her to him.
‘“Don’t worry, sweetheart.”” he
said, his words muffled in the thick
ness of her hair. “I’'m no fool. I
shan’t stick my neck out. I can’t
forget - you and the kids. But I
can’t promise to 'drop the matter
completely. I've got to know what'’s
behind Mitch’s murder. I've got to,”
Curt insisted, ‘‘to protect myself
from a possible similar danger. I
can’t help feeling that Montaya’s
in back of all this, but I don’t see
myself in any danger because I'm
too valuable to him. He has too
much at stake. For proof of that,
there’s the bodyguard he’s assigned
mek sl
Yes, there was the bodyguard. To
irk Curt more and more. Though
Montaya may have had Curt’s safe
ty in view, Curt also felt himself
to be under rigid surveillance. Not
a chance could he find to get in a
word privately with Slats Monahan.
The following day Curt took to the
field again. He made a fast trip
to the levee camp, saw his plans for
speeding the work were coming right
along, tried again to get Monahan
aside. It was no go.
But Vargas did have his uses. Not
only did he relieve Curt of many
minor details, but he kept an eye
on his well-being, too. He saw to
it ‘there were lunches and vacuumed
drinks when they’d be too far from
camp or village. And on this trip,
when Curt scratched his arm bad
ly on a poisonous' puncture-weed,
Emilio was close at hand to drag
out a first-aid kit and swab it with
mercurochrome. He also insisted
on returning to San Alejo early, that
the wound might be better cared for.
The mercurochrome had little ef
fect and the flesh about the scratch
swelled. Reaching San Alejo in the
middle of the afternoon, Curt un
loaded himself of musette bag, field
glasses, pistol and cartridge belt, as
he piled out of the motorcar at the
station. Wi { .
“I’ll ‘go on.to the hospital from
here,”” ‘he told Emilio. ‘““You can
drop these at the office for me. I’ll
see you in the morning.” :
‘ Leaving. the doctor’s office, Curt
took a turn in the corridor by .mis
take and found himself in the patio
used by convalescents. Since he
hadn’t yet had a full look around,
he decided to push on farther.
The patio was squared by hospital
and service buildings, open at the
rear corners. Wandering out one of
these openings Curt found himself
at the brink of a sharply descend
ing ravine. From here he had a
much wider view of the airfield than
obtainable from the railroad.’ There
were men on the field and both
planes were in front of their hangar.
He pulled a sour face at thought
of the two pilots, but mused, “We’re
here together for a long time. If I
can break them down, so much the
better. Cost nothing to try. Be
pieasanter all around.”
Santa Claus Born
In Famous Poem
By Clement Moore
Santa Claus was born in New
York on a snowy December night
120 years ago. He sprang full
grown, clad in red and white, with
eight reindeer and a sleigh, from
the mind of Dr. Clement Clarke
Moore when he wrote his famous
poem, ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas.”
The legend of St. Nicholas had
come to the New world.with the
Dutch settlers in the Seventeenth
century. Gradually the name of
that figure became San Niklaas and
later Santa Claus.
There are several explanations of
how Santa Claus happened to be
born. One story tells that on Christ
mas eve, 1822, Dr. Moore was being
driven to his New York home in a
sleigh, and the tinkling of the bells
on the horse’s harness gave him in
spiration for the verses.
Another story tells that Dr. and
Mrs. Moore were packing Christmas
baskets for the needy and found
they were one turkey short. Though
it was late, Dr. Moore went out to
buy another. On his way home with
the turkey under his arm he is said
to have composed the poem.
Dr. Moore read his poem to his
children on Christmas morning.
When a friend had the verses print
ed in a Troy, N. Y., newspaper, he
denied writing them, but later ad
mitted their authorship.
The poem gained rapidly in pop
ularity, and the picture it painted
of old Santa has endured to this
“‘His eyes, how they twinkled; his
dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his
nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn
up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as
white as the snow;
He had a broad face and a little
round belly
That shook, when he laughed, like
a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a
right jolly old elf,
And I laughed, when I saw him, in
spite of myself.”’
Short Course
Yulé-(}ard Etiquette
Each year at this timeé, when
Christmas cards are about to be ad
dressed, the question always pops
up in the mind: ‘How shall we sign
them?’’ Here are a few hints and
suggestions that wiil help you alorig
in making your decision:
® If you are a married couple all
you need to 'do is sign, ‘“Jack and
Jane.”” For those that would require
more formal address, sign the card:
“Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jackson.”
® If you have a small family you
can sign the card: ‘Mr. and Mrs.
Jack-Jackson, Sally and Jane.”’ For
the informal address of the cards
it-could be: ‘‘Jim, Mary, Sally and
Jane Jackson.” . It is always best
to put the names of the child or
children next to the mother’s.
@ If you are a married woman, liv
ing alone, you can sign your card,
““Mary Brown Jackson’’—the Brown
being the maiden name. The gen
eral practice in such cases is also
to put in parenthesis ‘“Mrs. Jack
Jackson.” .
® Young ladies, single, just sign
“‘Sally Jackson’’ or just ‘‘Sally.” If
the acquaintance is casual Sally can
precede her name with a ‘“Miss’’
such as “Miss Sally Jackson.”
But at Christmas time, informal
ity is the general and prevailing
note. Cards addressed to your
friends should be as informal as pos
sible without causing any affront to
those receiving them. If you wish
you can even add your own little
personal note as might a young lady
to her young man. Or as one pal
would to' another whom he hasn’t
seen, or heard from for a long time.
Make Tree Fireproof
This Way—lt's Easy
You can fireproof your Christ
mas tree by a simple method of
letting it absorb the proper amount
of ammonium sulphate. First cut the
trunk .of the tree at an angle or in a
‘“V”’ shape. Then weigh the tree and
divide the weight of amrmonium sul
phate needed. Dissolve thé indicated’
amount in water, using one and one
“half pints Tor each pound of sulphate.
‘Put thi§'solution in a jar or bucket,
set the tree in the solution in a cool
place and leave.it long enough for
the tree to absdrb the solution fully.
Then the danger of fire is at a min
imum. 3
‘First Footing’ in Britain
Survives as Superstition
In England the superstition about
the “‘first footing’’ still survives.
Someone must go into the house be
fore anyone comes out in the new
year; otherwise some member of
the family might pass away. Mem
bers of the family may be seen pac
ing up and down the walk about 10
minutes before midnight, waiting for
the whistle, so he can come in
out of the cold and bring good luck
into his home for another year.
BLA'NKETS are worth their
weight in uniforms, so let’s
protect them from unnecessary
wear and from extra cleanings by
covering the upper edges. A strip
of muslin would do but why not
use a pretty material?
Try to find a flower print with
pastel tones and then bind the pro
tector in bias tape that will repeat
one of the flower fones. For blan
kets 72 inches wide, two yards of
36-inch material will make two
protectors or one, plus trimming
bands for a pair of pillow casesand
a sheet. Five yards of bias tape
will be needed to bind the edges
of each protector. The sketch
2 AaPRON o EVERYWHERE. .. On the farm,
5 ‘L‘ffifii e in the suburbs and in the cities
t=\ w nufrition-conscious housewives
?fi; w = are placing new dependence on
g AR fi' o Clabber Girl, the baking powder
i , 2 o thgf h.as been a baking day fay
@Xv “GP_G_“_““ @uwg orite in millions of homes for
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Goo Homsehoong )== E&# HULMAN & CO. ~ TERRE HAUTE, IND.
o Q L Founded 1848
3 Good Buy for You! .
- Good By for Japs! :
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wcerrFooeoes-with WEEDS
@ 'With sons in the service‘, with experienced men from stores
" 'and banks and shops gone to work in war plants and shipyards,
we cannot afford to waste any “man-hours” through skidding
" accidents. : :
Save every precious hour. Save wasted time and expense.
Avoid accidents and delays in your winter driving of car or -
truck. Get your Weed Chains out now and have them re
conditioned if necessary.
Neéed new chains? Ask. Lo BTV ,
- ‘for Weed American Bar- . P (TSRS,
Reinforced—they give Mk i’, ,?”'& {\Q
double mileage. If they’re \‘3\‘% -/’Q\ éf )
not in stock ask for Weed =V /,,’f? \\,/f' .
- Regular. And look for the },' \‘ LT
»name Weed on every hook. (1 ~'\\ ffu"’"‘-’o“!
York, Pa. Boston -Chicago Denver /" /a 4'. P ) \
Detroit Los Angeles New York "I /.7 A(’ K
Philadelphia Pittsburgh San Francisco //,' * b
. BRIDGEPORT, cpuuscncur '/I'/ | é !9'5" LI;«'}'&LL:I
. In Business for Your Safety f’n’ | " s <
i 11. | ! I" ) 2
shows how material is basted in
place with slip-stitching through
the bindings. In this way they are
easily' removed for washing.
* 8
NOTE—Today's gift suggestion is from
Mrs. Spears’ BOOK 8 which also contains
directions for more than 30 other gifts and
things to make for the home. Readers
may get a copy of BOOK 8 by sending
their order to: )
Many users say ‘‘first use is coLDS
a revelation.”” Has a base of |gcOUGHING,
old fashioned mutton suet, | SNIFFLES,
Grandma/'sfavorite. Demand MUSCLE
stainless Penetro. Generous ACHES
jar 25¢, double supply 35¢.
Burning Stick Clock
One of the earliest ways of meas
uring time was by burning a stick.
Bedford Hills New York
Drawer 10
Enclose 10 cents for Book 8.
NAT e i T A s Sl e
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