The Big Telephone
(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, and sexual situations.
At two-thirty that afternoon, Joe, Bill, and policewoman Dorothy Miller parked down the street and walked over to Mrs. Barton’s house. When she answered the door, they filled her in on what was going to happen in the next half hour or so. They reminded her not to let Gail or anyone else know they were next door.
Fifteen minutes later, the three of them waited on the patio in the back of Nadine’s house. Every few seconds, Joe would peek in the window to see if Bobby had arrived to let himself in.
Just as Mrs. Barton had described the other day, the house was dark. Luckily, the curtain to the sliding door had not been pulled, as Joe could see the cream and yellow paisley pattern pushed to one side. He noticed that the shades were drawn in the living room, but three rays of light streamed in from the small teardrop shaped windows on the front door. Each window appeared as a stair step, one “drop” following the other up or down. The three lit “drops” illuminated on the linoleum floor in the hallway that led to the kitchen.
The kitchen was very modern with its
avocado refrigerator and matching stove. A lonely white coffee pot with a blue
geometric design sat on a burner. For an instant, Joe wondered if any coffee
still remained in the pot, no longer warm, of course, but bitter. Dishes were
piled in the sink. Anymore tossed in there, he wasn’t sure if the steadily
growing heap would hold. Nadine certainly hadn’t kept up with the housework.
He turned away from the window for a minute.
They briefed Dorothy Miller about Nadine and Bobby and the plan again, making sure everyone understood what to do. When Joe turned around to peer through the window again, he saw Bobby coming toward him. He watched as the boy unlocked the door, removed the broom handle that prevented the door from sliding, and finally opened the it for them.
They all stepped inside. A heavy staleness hung in the air. The three of them quickly glanced around for hiding places. Dorothy Miller hid in the pantry that stood next to the dining room entryway, while Joe and Bill found the hall closet that sat diagonally from the front door, yet right next to the living room, that led directly into the dining room. Joe told Dorothy not to come out of the pantry until he and Bill confronted Nadine. When they opened the hall closet, a barrage of coats, empty hangers, small boxes and papers came tumbling out.
“Will you look at that!? We’re going to hide in Fibber McGee’s closet! And I thought I’d seen everything,” Bill remarked, as Joe gave him a stern look.
“Help me pick this up!” he hissed in tone that read this was no time for jokes.“All of this and us has to fit in here!”
“Do you want me to help you with that?” asked Bobby.
The voice of the teenager startled Joe for a second, who nearly forgot he was even there since he had been so quiet. The boy stood there looking confused and nervous. For a moment, Joe wanted to shake the kid. He hoped that everything would go as smooth as possible.
“No, Bobby,” he said, keeping his voice as calm as he could. “Just go outside and wait for Nadine. We’ll be okay here. You know what to do, right?”
“Yeah, I think so,” he said, and turned, locked the door behind him and stood outside.
Joe shook his head and he and Bill
began gathering up the debris as quickly as they could, shoving it as far back
into the closet as it could go. When the last item was tossed in, both of them
managed to squeeze into the tiny space and close the door, only leaving it open
a hairline crack, so that they could hear what was going on.
“There’s a wire hanger digging into my back!” said Bill. “And the mothballs are making me dizzy.”
“There are hangers everywhere, just try to sit still!” said Joe, trying to pry away a wire hanger that was jabbing into his ribs. When he succeeded, he smashed it against the wall. The noise was deafening. “Quiet! I think I hear something…” he hissed.
“I’m not the one who—“ Bill began to say, but the turn of the lock in the front door ceased his retort. They froze listening to everything that unraveled in front of them.
“What do you want moved?” asked Bobby, when the two kids entered the house.
“I want this coffee table moved over here,” said Nadine, her voice trailing away into the living room. “Help me lift it up…ready? On three. One…two….three!”
Joe and Bill listened as they picked up the table and heard the clunk as it hit the wooden floor.
“Careful! That’s a glass top!” Nadine said.
“It looks like someone wasn’t careful. There’s a piece broken off on the corner,” said Bobby.
“Yeah, so there is. Let’s move this sofa back against the wall,” said Nadine.
No one spoke for a few seconds as they lifted the couch.
“Say, wasn’t there a rug here before?” said Bobby.
Suddenly, Bill and Joe heard a loud thud as someone dropped their side of the couch.
“My hand slipped,” said Nadine, as they finished moving it to the wall.
“What else do you want moved?” asked Bobby.
“Okay…hey, look what I found!”
“Just move the chair. There’s nothing there.”
“Yes, there is. I found this.”
“What? A button? So what?”
“Sew buttons!” laughed Bobby.
“You’re such a moron!”
“Well, is it yours or your moth—“
“It’s just a goddamn button!”
“There’s no need to get all upset. I didn’t mean anything. Say, is your mother alright? Has she been sick?”
“No,” Nadine’s voice caught. “She’s out again on one of her dates. She hasn’t been back in several days.”
“Well, what have you been doing? Oh, never mind. I’ll go call my mother. Maybe you can come over for dinner tonight. I’ll ask her.”
Joe and Bill heard Bobby’s footsteps
as they passed the closet door. Suddenly, Nadine’s were right behind his.
“Gimme that phone!” she screamed. “It doesn’t work!”
“Hey! What’s gotten into you?”
“Let go of that phone!” Nadine screamed as tears streamed down her face.
“Of course it doesn’t work. It’s not plugged in. Here I’ll—“
“No! It’s dead…she’s dead. Give me that phone!”
Joe threw open the closet door. Not
only did he and Bill nearly fall out, but so did the excessive contents behind
“Alright, Fibber McGee!” said Joe showing his badge, as an alarmed look grew across Nadine’s face. “Didn’t you say you were going to clean out this closet one of these days?”
Suddenly, the mention of the once popular radio program in their teenage years came in handy.
“Huh?” said Bobby. Nadine just stared at them with a hard look.
“Police officers, get your hands where I can see them! Now!” said Joe.
“What are you doing here?” asked Nadine.
“I think you know,” said Joe. “You’re under arrest for the murder of your mother, Mrs. Virginia Wilcox.”
Nadine was stunned for a moment as Bill placed the handcuffs on her and then read the back of his notebook, which stated the Miranda Rights. Joe saw policewoman Dorothy Miller appear in the hallway behind Bobby.
“Do you understand your rights, Miss Wilcox?” asked Bill.
“Sure. A lawyer?” she snorted. “Are you kidding me? I don’t need any goddamned lawyer. I didn’t do anything.”
Next, she screamed and cursed at Bill and Joe, saying how the “fucking fuzz” could not search her. Nothing you say will sway us, we’ve heard it all, Joe thought. Joe watched as she peered at them. The girl was hoping and waiting for some kind of reaction. But she didn’t get one.
“No, but this one will,” Joe retorted, as policewoman Dorothy Miller walked toward her.
After she frisked Nadine, she reported that the girl was clean. Joe told Dorothy to take her out to the car and that they would be there in a minute.
As the three of them were leaving the house, Joe turned and thanked Bobby for his cooperation.
“What’s going to happen to her now?” he asked.
“It’s not up to us, it’s up to the court.”
The boy nodded in agreement and then left. Bill took the phone with them for evidence.
One last thing Joe wanted to check was Mrs. Wilcox's bedroom. He opened the door and saw that the bed was neatly made…only one pillow had a clean pastel yellow case on it.
An image of Mrs. Wilcox flashed through Joe’s mind. The last time anyone had seen her was with the soiled yellow pillowcase over her head. He closed the door behind him and then followed Bill outside. They looked over at the For Sale sign in the front yard.
“Someone will have to do something about that sign,” said Bill.
“Yeah, it’s going to be there for awhile,” said Joe, lighting up a cigarette.
Joe unlocked the door and turned over the sign so that it read “Interview in Progress.” He watched as policewoman Dorothy Miller led Nadine Wilcox down the hall with Bill behind them.
Joe observed as Nadine neared the interrogation room. Her light brown hair was pushed back with a white headband where a small bow peeked out off to the left side. After the aggressive ordeal at the house, several loose strands of hair had escaped and covered her face as she slouched with each step. Her once well-groomed flip had lost its zest and her paisley purple and white mini-dress hung limp on her. But the first thing he noticed was that she was shorter and stockier than Gail had been. The ride to Parker Center had been surprisingly silent and it continued as they all filed into the room.
“Sit down here,” he said
to Nadine, pointing to a chair as she walked passed him.
“Can’t you take these things off me now?” she protested, as she slumped into the chair.
Policewoman Dorothy Miller sat next to Nadine and the two men sat across from her. Bill placed the phone on another table in the room. The diaries sat in a bag, next to the phone.
“Come on, man, these things—“ she stated.
Joe flung the key to Dorothy across the table. She removed the handcuffs and Nadine instantly rubbed her wrists, while still slumped in the chair. Dorothy gave the key back to Joe, who never took an eye off of Nadine. She sat there and mumbled something under her breath.
“What was that?” Joe asked.
“Nothing,” replied Nadine.
“Sit up and look at me when I’m talking to you!”
The girl’s head rose slightly and her eyes grew wide and at the sternness of Joe’s voice.
“Now, what did you say?” Joe repeated.
“I said it’s about time you got those off.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“Then why did you—“
“I’ll ask the questions!” he snapped. “You may have gotten away with certain things with your mother, but it’s not going to happen with me. Let’s talk about your mother, shall we? When did you last see her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do. Tell me when you last saw her….dead. You last saw her dead, is that right?”
The girl nodded slowly.
“And where did you see her?” he continued.
“In a garbage can,” she said softly.
“Now, you start from the beginning and tell us the whole story; how you murdered your mother.”
“It wasn’t just me, it was—“
“Just tell it!”
Nadine began to speak and the tears began to spill. They all ignored her emotions and listened.
“Gail and I…we had a sleepover on Saturday night. My mother didn’t go out at all. My mother wasn’t seeing anyone. Well, she didn’t like me being with Gail all of the time. We’ve been best friends since first grade. We understood one another…shared everything, every secret with the other. The other kids at school were so—so childish and stupid. All they cared about was school assemblies, dances, or football games. We didn’t care about that stuff. I liked to write stories and no one would ever understand them. Other kids would say they were too frightening. Well, they’re just a bunch of cowards, that’s all. Gail always wrote in a diary. She’d tell me everything that she wrote.”
“And what about your mother?” asked Joe.
“My mother wanted me to go to
dances and parties, but I didn’t want to do any of that. I liked to pal
around with Nadine and Bobby too. Well, as usual my mother was giving me a hard
time about school. My grades were slipping, but she kept nagging me about how
important school was and how it was better to have many friends than just one
friend all the time. As a joke, Gail and I would talk about the people we didn’t
like and others that gave us a hard time. We’d say what we’d do
to them, hurt them and kill them if they really hated us. It was all in fun,
of course. I never planned to kill my mother, it just happened.
“It happened on Sunday morning. It was after breakfast. Gail and I were in the kitchen and my mother went in the living room to turn on the hi-fi. Gail then went upstairs to get dressed. My mother came back into the kitchen and reprimanded me about a test I had a failed and how my grade was slipping more in some class. She told me, she didn’t know what she was going to do with me. She wished my father were here.
“I told her to mind her own business and to leave me alone about school. Then, she started on about Gail again and told me that someone was coming to look at the house that afternoon. She said they were interested in buying it and that I should clean my room so that it looked nice when they came to see it. My mother walked toward the living room. I was so angry; I got up and followed her. I eyed the telephone on the table and picked it up. My mother couldn’t hear me; the hi-fi was on too loud. I took the base of the phone and got a few inches from her and bashed it against her head. I kept hitting and beating her. I heard Gail run back downstairs. She was screaming and so was I.”
By now, the girl was crying a lot and
policewoman Dorothy Miller had given her a handkerchief to dab her eyes. She
didn’t look like the tough girl back at the house anymore. At that same
time, Joe got up and showed Nadine the telephone. When she saw it, she confessed
that it was the murder weapon.
“What happened after that?” asked Joe, as he sat back down at the table.
“I—I told Gail to get something to cover her head with. Gail was crying too. She ran off and came back with one of my mother’s pillowcases. I covered her head with it. Then, we moved the furniture and wrapped her body in the Oriental rug. That night, before Gail went home, we put her in the garbage can outside. We hoped the garbage men would take her and the other trash away on Monday morning. Before we left for school the next day, I peeked out and the cans were empty. I thought everything was okay. She wasn’t there to nag me anymore and we were not going to move to Oregon. Gail and I could still be friends.”
”What about the people that came to see your house?” asked Bill. “Weren’t they suspicious of anything?”
“No, when I saw a car pull up in the driveway, I ran out and told them that my mother was ill and she would have to reschedule the showing. They told me they hoped she felt better, got back in their car and left.”
“You said that you and Gail shared everything?” Joe said.
“Yes, I told you that,” Nadine replied.
“Well, there’s one thing she didn’t share with you,” he said, revealing the other diary—the one that told the truth.
“That’s Gail’s diary. She always writes in that. I told you that, don’t you remember?”
“Maybe you better read a few pages,” said Joe, as he opened the diary to the entry that disclosed the murder of Mrs. Wilcox. “Start reading there.” Joe pushed the book toward her and the girl began to read. After a few moments, she stopped.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “I told her what to write in her diary. She must’ve wrote it after—boy, what a liar and a fink!“ Nadine stopped in mid-sentence and began to shuffle through pages.
“I’m afraid you’re the liar. First of all, it wasn’t a joke and all in good fun to write murdering your mother and you told her what to write. You had it all planned out.”
Nadine stopped sifting through the pages for a moment, her shoulders sank. Instead of saying anything, she continued to comb through the diary.
“You’re not going to find what you’re looking for,” Joe said. “You won’t find it because we have that diary right here as well.” He held up the other one.
Nadine snatched it out of his hands and breezed through the pages. “You mean, she had two diaries?”
“You’re looking right at
them,” said Joe.
“Why didn’t she tell me?” asked Nadine.
“Maybe because she had something you were lacking.”
“And what’s that?”
The girl opened her mouth, but Joe interrupted her, “You know young lady; parents try to raise their children into good law-abiding citizens. We try to instill decent values in them, make fine students and caring individuals out of them. You and nobody else ended your mother’s life in a cowardly act of violence. She did not deserve the final justice you bestowed upon her. I hope you think long and hard about that in the four by nine room that you will most likely be spending many years alone, and I hope you finally see that the terrible act you committed is unacceptable in our society.”
Around a quarter to five, Joe and Bill were back from the interrogation room, filling out the last bit of paperwork on the Mrs. Wilcox case. They both made small talk about how they believed that both girls, especially Nadine, needed serious psychiatric help.
For the last order of the day, Joe went to Captain Hugh Brown’s office and brought him up to date on the Mrs. Wilcox case. Before Joe left his office, he reminded him that he had been on vacation before this case. All Captain Brown could do was laugh and tell Joe to be back at the office on Monday. Well, at least he was getting most of the week off.
He smiled to himself as he signed out for the day and told Bill he would see him on Monday and to enjoy the rest of his week at work. While waiting for the elevator, Joe thought about Gracie. He was glad he was able to pick her up from work after all. He knew he was going to enjoy these next few days off.
Copyright © 2010 by Kristi N. Zanker
Go Back to The Big Telephone -- Chapter One!
Go Back to Kristi's Writing Desk!
Questions? Comments? Please send me an E-mail.
Copyright © 2013 by Kristi N. Zanker
The background for this site came from Absolute Backgrounds.