Carl had been Billy’s friend since the first day of first grade. He was happy when he discovered that another student in the class had the same last name. Carl had been adopted and it was comforting to him to meet a Bump that was his age.
Carl’s dad was a brick mason and a dark brown, from the sun, and swarthy man. He was a kind man who loved Carl and was happy that he had found a friend.
Velma, Carl’s mom, dotted on her son. She bought him a guitar and he was learning to play it from a Chet Atkins guitar tutorial. Carl was getting proficient in guitar!
Mrs. Bump enjoyed, what in that day, were called soap operas. She referred to them as, ‘her stories.’ Mrs. Bump never missed her stories!
The other Bumps, Carl and Carol and Velma, attended the Social Brethren Church in Paris addition. Yes, Paris existed as a sub-set of the Illinois town that contained it, El Dorado.
Now Carl was somewhat heavy-set, as the grown-ups used to refer to excess body weight…and Velma said that, ‘Carl has always been fleshy.’
On Saturday mornings the Paris Bumps went to town to do the ‘tradin’ according to Velma.
Carl was a sphinx like and loyal friend to Billy! Carl did not use ten words when five would do! Later in life, Carl and Billy attended the same church and Billy noticed that one of the fellow congregants was referring to Carl by the misnomer of Chet. When Billy asked Carl why he did not correct the person that was calling him by the wrong name, he replied that he did not want to offend him and that he was always nice to him!
The always nice to him was the key to his personality. Carl had been bullied in school and made light of because of his weight. Billy defended him when he could and the bullies backed off…but Billy did not hear all of the stupid remarks!
Carl and Billy met to discuss their discovery of Cowboy Jim’s murdered corpse! Neither could recall ever hearing of a murder in El Dorado…before! After the El Dorado police had come to retrieve Jim’s bloated body and after they answered the questions of the officer that first arrived…which was Billy’s uncle Bill, they heard little more information over the past week.
Billy said that he and Carl should look for the murderer/murderers and that he had a few ideas as to who might have it in for the Cowboy!
Carl stared at Billy…with a knowing gaze!
Billy recounted that John Dunn, the owner of the Orpheum had thrown Jim out of the theatre on more than one occasion for being drunk and subsequently disorderly! Jim, as a rule, took the expulsion good naturedly but had retorted with curse words the last time that John D. had excommunicated him from the entertainment mecca of the town.
Jim had cursed John D.’s wife who sat in the booth in the window of the movie palace and she sold the tickets. Mrs. Dunn was a somewhat dour woman who was no nonsense and totally business. She did not suffer fools gladly!
On the night in question…the Cowboy was in rare form and figure! He dismounted his horse, Avarice, and sauntered up to the ticket window. He then told Mrs. Dunn that if she would be so kind that he would like to purchase a ticket to the, Elvis movie, Blue Hawaii. Mrs. D looked at her husband John…and he shook his head from side to side…and the answer for the rider of Avarice…was no admittance!
Now the Cowboy could only tolerate so much…especially when he was in an enlightened state. He began to utter the most profane of expletives and connect them together in a literate format…much as the latter version of the comedian George Carlin, and John D. took him by the shoulders and physically threw him out of the Orpheum and the Cowboy landed on the sidewalk that was in front of the theatre! Jim’s cowboy hat fell off of his head and his pride was severely bruised! Shortly, the El Dorado police arrived and Billy’s uncle Bill was driving the squad car…and they took the Cowboy away.
Carl asked Billy if he waned to play some pool at the pool hall and see if anyone had heard anymore about Jim, as Jim loved to play billiards! Billy said, ‘let’s go,’ and off they went on their bicycles…one a twenty inch Harley Davidson replica and the other an smooth riding three speed!
When they arrived and entered the darkened establishment, they noticed that it was almost empty of pool players and they considered this a good time to practice their game!
As Carl racked the balls and Billy chalked his cue stick…they saw a lanky figure in the shadows, laconically sizing up a shot.
As they walked closer to the specter in the dark they saw a cowboy hat on the side of the table.
When Carl and Billy walked up to the mystery man…he turned and said…Jim’s Pool Hall…Jim speaking!