Deceptive Accounts of Brilliance:
The Biography of a Cultured Eccentric
Cornelius Finch was born to nomadic parents who were major players in a traveling carnival that toured this majestic nation of ours. The convoy of heaps and wrecks they used to haul themselves and their gear, made stops in the North East, Mid-Atlantic states, before turning west at Virginia to tour the Midwest. Society would label him Carny Folk. Unlike most who grew up with a traditional family, Cornelius was part of a clan of outcasts, degenerates, freaks and thieves.
However, times grew lean and the acts and attractions failed to draw in big audiences. The carnival was not as prosperous like it was when it reached the heights of its glory days. No one longer cared to pay to see Captain Teddy the nine fingered man or Gunther, the midnight yodeler.
So, when Cornelius was of age he made a tearful goodbye to his parents and family of miscreants so he can leave and start a new chapter in his life. Cornelius was anxious and excited about his future. The mystery ahead made him unsure where this journey would lead Cornelius. One thing he was quite sure of, was that he was destined for bigger and better things.
He packed his possessions in a bindle and set out towards the coast to find the seaport. He spent weeks travelling on foot down desolate stretches of Northeast highways with only the moonlight to guide his way. In times of inclement weather, he would hitchhike with whomever was kind enough to give him a lift. He made his way in a Volkswagen bus full of hippies, on a Harley chopper driven by a high-spirited female biker and once by horseback from a man who wore a Stetson and called himself Duke. Finally, when he arrived at the seaport, he manipulated his way aboard a New England fishing trawler, the Voyager, and became part of the crew.
Cornelius quickly became a favorite among the crew due to his work ethic and ability to entertain the men with tall tales while they ate together in the mess area. One night, the Voyager encountered a life threatening tempest that endangered the trawler. The captain radioed a distress call to be saved fearful they would capsize. The U.S. Coast Guard answered the captain's prayer and set out to rescue them. The violent gale was merciless and sunk the Voyager before the Coast Guard could reach them. When the Coast Guard reached the site, the trawler and crew had already succumbed to Poseidon's wrath and was sent to a watery grave. The Coast Guard only found Cornelius in a bright orange marine life suit floating alone amongst perilous waves. The search and rescue chopper sent down a crewman in a lifesaving basket that pulled him aboard. They flew him back ashore to get hospitalized immediately.
His vital signs grew stronger and Cornelius began to recuperate slowly during his hospital stay. It was there he met Dr. Stanley Charles who was assigned the task of overseeing his recovery. It seemed each day he relaxed; it reinvigorated his health as well as his magnetism to the female nurses many would come to find out. Dr. Charles was not immune to his charisma either, who recommended he work for his brother that was a used car salesman.
When Cornelius was released from the hospital, he was given a clean bill of health. He wasted no time in meeting with Dr. Charles' brother, Ernie, at a lot somewhere in the shadow of New York. Cornelius learned Ernie owed a great deal of money to unsavory figures who loaned him the cash to open the car dealership. Ernie's car sales were plunging and he was not making enough money to make ends meet and pay off his debt. Cornelius convinced Ernie to meet the brutes who he was in debt to, and make an offer to settle it. He promised he would help Ernie sell enough cars in three months to pay them off in full. They agreed.
After ninety days, Cornelius sold 57 cars which was a valiant effort but still wasn't enough to get Ernie out of the red. So when the thugs returned to collect their money, they weren't pleased to learn Ernie was short. His idea was asking for an extension of time to come up with the remainder of the money Ernie owed. Their idea was binding them both with duct tape and throwing Ernie and Cornelius in the spacious trunk of a dark sedan. The entire ride Ernie was screaming in horror while bound in the darkness of the ghostly confinement that was transferring them to a cold grave. The extensive ride ended beneath an underpass of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Two brawny gorillas parked the sedan, popped the trunk and lifted them out standing them upright. They then forced them to their knees and pressed the barrel of a gun to both their heads. Ernie continued to shriek in terror through his duct tape while Cornelius endured unaffected. The hammers of the guns being cocked back echoed loudly against the concrete tunnel. Ernie's eyes grew wide with dread as he knew it was seconds before lights out time. But lights out unexpectedly became the opposite.
Bright lights in numerous directions were gleaming on them with shouts from law enforcement officials who encircled them rapidly. The two underlings were arrested then and there in a joint sting operation of different departments who could be heard arguing who would be getting credit for the bust. As Ernie wrapped himself in a wool blanket given to him by the EMT, he overheard something shocking. He discovered Cornelius was wired the whole time. Ernie learned from a chatty State Trooper that Cornelius orchestrated the whole strategy in conjunction with both law enforcement services. As Ernie halfheartedly listened to other officials jabber about the success of the operation, he watched as Cornelius was surrounded by a crew that were being amused by yet another stimulating adventure of his. As the roaring laughter died down and the crowd dispersed, only one man in an ankle length, executive coat remained. He handed something to Cornelius and got into a sedan that was running but parked off to the side.
Cornelius demurely walked over to him with a wry smile on his face. Before Ernie could even ask how or why, Cornelius informed him the State District Attorney and possibly other departments would be contacting him to close this out in the future. Before he left, he passed Ernie a business card and said he was glad to help him out. Cornelius started to walk away and expressed to Ernie he should look for another salesman because he won't be back. He was starting something new and walked back to that same sedan the stranger got in that was parked. Ernie watched as the sedan pulled off slowly, hearing the gravel crunching under its tires, into the indigo night. Ernie finally looked down at the business card which read Lester Trent – Private Investigations and chuckled.
Lester Trent was in law enforcement for over 20 years. One hot summer night, he was running after a felon and a low slung clothesline in a darkened backyard ended his career. He retired on permanent disability. Lester began his own Private Investigations company having had the knowledge of Law Enforcement first hand. He kept in touch with his old friends he had at the police department who became instrumental as contacts providing leads and supplied information to him. So when one of Lester's friends, who was a lieutenant in the organized crime task force, told him some unknown was helping to take down the Armenian crime ring by himself, it aroused Lester's interest. Anyone that good, Lester thought, was worth trying to sway on his team. And so, that was why the strong desire to recruit Cornelius was so paramount for Lester. And because Lester's private investigation firm was an avenue he never walked down before; it was right up Cornelius' alley. It was a match made in heaven for those two individuals that entered a gentleman's contract with a firm but steady handshake.
"You know Cornelius for someone who has no law enforcement experience whatsoever, that was quite a trick you pulled off back there. I was thoroughly impressed. Its why I decided to seek you out. You see, that group you helped manage to get involved with and apprehend, well that was a huge blow to their enterprises", Lester spoke as he lit up a cigarette with a match and then waved it out in the air to extinguish the tip," But that won't stop them and they will be back. And incredibly angry to say the least. Its in my opinion those individuals are also responsible for various other activities over the years. Most of them illegal", Lester finished his thoughts and with emphasis inhaled deeply from the lit cigarette and then exhaled a small ribbon of gray smoke into the room.
Cornelius casually looked over to Lester to ask, "And you think I can assist you in further putting the hammer down on these notorious people?".
"Well that was my intentions, yes".
"Let me ask you Les, why not just let the police handle it? I mean don't you have to technically be hired to investigate this?".
"Well, in theory, yes but over the years, this group has been involved & crossed my past with their activity since I was a patrolman. They were also responsible for killing a dear friend of mine that I never got over or could prove enough to get them indicted on".
"Well any intel on them? Where do we start?".
"What I have is rather strange, but it seems to be credible. There are more than one source confirming they move narcotics using a traveling carnival show that operates throughout the North east and goes as far as the Midwest. What do you think?"
"Oh, I think I can help you exponentially" Cornelius said with a school boy smile.
Cornelius Finch will return