The Big Hush
(A Dragnet Fan Fiction Story)
By: Kristi N. Zanker
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Mark VII Limited and Universal. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of Dragnet. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: This story contains strong language, adult themes, sexual situations, and a disturbing subject matter.
Three weeks passed since the empty apartment had been found. In that time, one girl was found dead from a self-induced abortion—very similar to the other one in early May. It seemed as though the abortion ring was quiet or perhaps they were seeking a new place to set up business.
In the past few weeks, Joe and Bill worked on other cases. One dealt with a husband who was a psychiatrist and ended up chasing his wife around the house with a cleaver. The wife ended up locking herself inside the basement, only to crawl out of the window and run to a neighbor. At an interrogation, it turned out that the man himself was seeing his own psychiatrist. Joe suggested that the husband find another profession if the one he had was too stressful for him to handle. Attempted murder was not the way out.
Joe also saw Larry Watson again, shortly after the brief encounter with Shelly Forrester’s parents. He felt it would be proper if Larry was given his school ring back. He’ll never forget the day when the boy came to the office.
“I wish I wasn’t the one giving this back to you,” said Joe, handing him the gold chain that held his class ring. “The truth is that Shelly’s parents didn’t want her daughter to have it.”
“I know. I tried calling them, but they wouldn’t talk to me,” Larry said softly. “They think it was my fault.”
“You and I both know it wasn’t your fault,” replied Joe. “But one day, perhaps, you’ll feel the same way for another girl, as you did Shelly. I know I have. And when that day comes, you can give her your class ring.”
An image of young Sadie flashed into Joe’s mind. She had been his childhood sweetheart who suddenly died of polio the summer both of them were eight years old. Still, he knew that Larry’s situation was different. He also knew that one day Larry would be happy again, like Joe was with Gracie now.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it back. I wouldn’t have minded though because I knew Shelly would always have it with her.”
“It belongs to you, Larry. You’re still here and you should have it until the time is right.”
The boy clasped the ring in his hand, turned away from Joe and walked out of the room. He stood there and watched as Larry took a white handkerchief from his pants pocket to dab his watery eyes. He stood there until Larry rounded the corridor and his frame was out of sight.
It was on Thursday, May 29th when Joe came up with an idea. He thought of the many times throughout his years as sergeant at how often the policewomen assisted with a case by becoming decoys. He remembered one particular case that had landed on his desk not long after his first partner, Sergeant Ben Romero, unexpectedly died of a heart attack.
Back in 1952, it was a commonplace for housewives to leave their infants in the baby carriage while they went into the supermarket to do their shopping. Other times, babies were left alone in the car with a window rolled down. Even going through neighborhoods then, Joe remembered seeing baby carriages right outside the house on the front porch. There was a time when a mother didn’t think anything would be wrong with doing these things.
But soon, someone went around stealing babies from unattended carriages and cars…only to return them twenty-four hours later. A good Samartan would call the police station, saying they found an abandoned baby in a cardboard box at MacArthur or Echo Park. They were physically unharmed, although they endured exposure from the sun. After four babies were left alone in similar circumstances, Joe and his temporary partner at that time realized a pattern had developed.
The policewomen had been a great help in that case, acting as young mothers going about their daily business, only walking away from the carriage for a second. Lifelike baby dolls laid in place to lure the kidnapper to them. Joe and his temporary partner had soon discovered that a woman who couldn’t have children was stealing the babies wishing they were her own.
That case had been a lucky one—no one was seriously wounded or killed. There were plenty of cases that involved decoys that Joe could remember just then while sitting at his desk, catching up on endless paperwork. But the one about the abandoned babies flashed quickly through his mind. That seems like such a long time ago, he thought to himself. Today, in 1967 Los Angeles, a mother would not think of leaving her baby alone anywhere outside of the home. Times sure have changed in the past fifteen years.
Joe’s mind began thinking about how the policewomen could help in this current case. Since word spread around about such things like who was having the next party, where to get drugs, and even where one can obtain an abortion in the colleges across the country, perhaps policewoman Dorothy Miller and others could act as students for a time, and maybe find some leads.
He ran the idea by Bill who agreed with him, and then both traipsed into Captain Hugh Brown’s office to discuss it. The captain said the idea could be useful, but he couldn’t spare any of the policewomen for a long period of time. He gave them a week for their plan of action. This consisted of the policewomen attending the campus where Dorothy Richmond was found. He firmly repeated that a week was all he could give and mentioned that probably now was the best time to begin this objective since the spring semester ended very soon.
Captain Hugh Brown dialed the Dean and explained the situation. With the Dean’s approval, he was then able to call the Admissions Department, a couple of academic advisors to help create class schedules, and the college’s Housing Authority. All of those with the highest rank or most seniority in these areas knew that four women would only attend the university for a week and not even participate in Final Exam Week.
Captain Brown hung up the phone after making several calls; he recommended policewoman Dorothy Miller and three other policewomen to pose as students for the next week, starting tomorrow. He summoned all four into his office, and briefed them on the situation. Joe and Bill agreed to meet at the Student Union building to get a progress report. Since the Student Union building was a public place, it seemed to be the ideal place to meet, rather than the cafeteria at the girls’ dormitory.
That afternoon, the captain had the policewomen receive a new identity for the following week. They would obtain a social security card, along with a driver’s license with their alias noted. The four policewomen were to report to specific people at the Admissions Department, visit with certain academic advisors, and the Head of the Housing Authority on campus Friday morning--dressed as college students. They were to attend classes during the day, listen to what was said around them, and be on the lookout for parties or dorm floor gatherings in the evening.
Eventually, once they were seen around campus, they could soon mingle with others and drop hints indicating that they were in “trouble.” They all hoped that would be enough information to find what they were looking for. Everyday at all three of the mealtimes specified, till the Friday of the next week, they were to be in the Student Union to meet with Joe and Bill. Their schedules would be arranged so no one would have a class at eight in the morning, one in the afternoon, or six in the evening.
The four policewomen, along with Joe and Bill went to the university to get an idea of the layout and find the proper buildings they were supposed to be at the next morning. The women also glanced at how college girls dressed these days.
When five o’clock rolled around, Joe said that he would see them just inside the entrance of the Student Union building at eight o’clock tomorrow morning. He reminded them that the academic advisors would schedule their classes to coordinate with the meal meetings. The last thing he said before leaving for the day was that he wanted to meet four nice looking college girls soon. A grin was on his face while the four left the office giggling.
The next morning, Joe and Bill sat at an empty table in the Student Union building near the entrance. When they saw four women approach they knew it had to be policewoman Dorothy Miller and the others. Just before they arrived, both men joked about having four women at their table. They sat down at the same table and gave a report.
According to policewoman Dorothy Miller, they met the assigned people who knew their real identities and soon were supplied with a school I.D., class schedule and dorm rooms. Two rooms in the girls’ dorm where Donna Peary and Dorothy Richmond lived were occupied by the policewomen. One room was situated on the same floor as Donna and Dorothy. Policewoman Dorothy Miller had seen Donna in the hall, but did not make eye contact or speak with her. The girl had glanced at her too, but she wasn’t recognized. This meant that her appearance must’ve been well established. Dorothy Miller and her current “roommate” had spent hours that morning trying to get their hair to look just right for their first day of classes.
The other two policewomen were on the floor above. Each had packed a suitcase at home, filled with college-age clothing—a couple of blouses, skirts, dresses, and pajamas. They told Joe and Bill that the Head of the Housing Authority had supplied them with linens for their beds. The verbal report went on about a girl carrying a textbook and notebook under her arm, who lived on the same floor. She had stopped by policewoman Dorothy Miller and her “roommate’s” room, before heading to her eight o’clock class, asking if they had just transferred here from another school. Policewoman Dorothy Miller supplied the girl with the information that yes, they had transferred, but from a different dorm on campus. She hoped that answer would satisfy her, which it had with the girl nodding in response and leaving to go down the hall. And they all explained their class schedules that had been conducted by two of the academic advisors.
It seemed as though the first report of the new plan had gone smoothly. Joe and Bill hoped that the rest of week would be just as successful. Joe thanked all of them for their time with this case and then told them he’d see them again at one that afternoon.
When they met again in the same spot at lunchtime, an almost identical report from that morning had been given. Joe wondered if meeting three times a day was too much. He would remember to ask the captain about that. Perhaps twice a day would be better—in the mornings and evenings. However, the weekend was approaching fast and since Joe and Bill were off, they would not see the four policewomen until Monday morning. He wondered how their first and only weekend on campus would unfold. Joe hoped that they would have some valuable information the next time he saw them.
Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker
Continue to Chapter Eight
The Big Hush Homepage
Questions? Comments? Please send me an E-mail.
Copyright © 2013 by Kristi N. Zanker
The background for this site came from Absolute Backgrounds.