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Looks Like Wally Fay

Looks Like Wally Fay image 2

Looks Like Wally Fay ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp

“Did you get a good look at the man?” Officer Miggles asked.

“Oh, yes,” Miss Dragonette said.

“Can you describe him for me?”

“Well, he was kind of heavy-set without being what I would call fat, if you know what I mean.”

“So he was moderately overweight?”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“Did you notice anything else about him? The color of his hair?”

“He was wearing a hat so I couldn’t see his hair. I would imagine it would be dark, though. Underneath the hat.”

“How tall was he?”

“Rather on the tall side. About six feet and one inch, I’d say.”

“What was he wearing?”

“A long brown topcoat that came down to his ankles. Cashmere, I think.”

“Cashmere?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Can you tell me anything else about him?”

“He was wearing a brown tie with little yellow birds on it, like parrots.”

“All right. How old would you say he was?”

“If I had to guess, I’d guess late thirties. Thirty-eight or thirty-nine.”

“How would you describe his face?”

“Well, let me think, now. He needed a shave. I did notice that right off.”

“So he had stubble on his face.”

“Yes, dark stubble. The color of the stubble on his face was what made me think he would have dark hair, even though I couldn’t see his hair because of the hat he was wearing.”

“Can you tell me anything else about his face?”

“He looked like that actor in that movie about the woman with a spoiled daughter who shoots the woman’s husband.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, ma’am.”

“I know! It was Joan Crawford!”

“So, the man looked like Joan Crawford?”

“No! It was a Joan Crawford movie. The man looked like one of the actors in the movie.”

“Do you know the actor’s name?”

“No, I can’t think of it offhand. It wasn’t the playboy who was Joan Crawford’s second husband and it wasn’t the first husband, either. It was the other man. The one in business with Joan Crawford’s first husband.”

“Okay, ma’am. I don’t think we’re making much progress here.”

“I remember now! His name was Wally Fay.”

“Whose name?”

“The man in the movie with Joan Crawford. The name of the character he played was Wally Fay. I can’t think of his real name, though. It’ll come to me later, I’m sure.”

“I’m afraid that isn’t much help.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Can you tell me anything else about him at all?”

“He was in another movie where he played Paul Newman’s brother.”

“No! Can you tell me anything else about the man who fired the gun?”

“Paul Newman was married to Elizabeth Taylor and he had this brother they called Gooper. I suppose that was a nickname, though.”

“I don’t need to hear about a movie.”

“Gooper was married to a coarse fat woman named May. She and Gooper had a lot of little kids, and Paul Newman’s wife, the character played by Elizabeth Taylor, didn’t much care for them because they made so much noise.”

“That won’t help us to catch the man we’re looking for, ma’am.”

“Well, I’m trying to remember! I’m cooperating with you. It seems the least you can do is be patient and polite.”

“I’m sorry if I seem impatient but I don’t need to hear about any movie.”

“Where was I? Oh, yes. Paul Newman and his brother Gooper had a rich old father who didn’t like anybody in his family. Well, the entire family was gathered because the father had just found out he had a fatal disease and the two sons—especially Gooper—were worried about who was going to inherit the estate. It was in the South, somewhere. Mississippi, I think.”

“Okay, that’s enough about movies. Can you describe for me what you saw the man do?”

“Well, I was just walking along the sidewalk, minding my own business, on my way to buy a new pair of shoes. I heard a commotion in the street and I stopped to see what it was. I saw a bunch of police cars with flashing lights. It seemed to be something terribly important, but I didn’t know what it was.”

“Then what happened?”

“A bunch of people had gathered along the sidewalk to watch, but I stayed back. That’s when I noticed the man in the cashmere coat come out of an alleyway.”

“What made you notice him?”

“He just stood there, looking very dignified. He wasn’t trying to elbow in to get a closer look, the way the other people were. He just looked straight ahead as though in a trance or something.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well, after all the police cars had passed with their lights going, I saw the big black car of the governor. I could see him in the car smiling and waving—I recognized him from his pictures—and I knew then what all the commotion was about. All the people were trying to get in to get a closer look at him.”

“So you didn’t know until that moment that the governor was going to be visiting here that day?”

“No. Why should I?”

“Don’t you read the newspapers? Don’t you watch the news on television?”

“Never.”

“Go on.”

“When the car carrying the governor came about even with where I was standing on the sidewalk, the man in the cashmere coat took a few steps forward.”

“Toward the car?”

“That’s right.”

“Then what did he do?”

“I looked away for a moment and that’s when I heard the gunshots.”

“How many gunshots?”

“Three, I think. Some of the people screamed or ducked down as if they thought they were going to be shot, but I wasn’t afraid because I saw where the bullets came from and I knew they weren’t directed at me.”

“All right. Then what?”

“After the man fired the shots, he just simply disappeared.”

“People don’t disappear.”

“I know they don’t, but that’s the way it seemed to me. He was there and then he wasn’t.”

“Okay. Then what?”

“The governor’s car stopped and all the police cars stopped and everybody was running around trying to find out where the bullets came from. There were more people than ever now crowding around to get a better view. You know what people are like.”

“I suppose I do.”

“Well, the police spotted me standing on the sidewalk and, well, I guess it seemed to them that the bullets had come from about where I was standing, so they asked me if I had seen anything and I said I had and that’s when all these questions started. Can I go now? I’m feeling a little shaky after all the excitement.”

“It seems you were the only one who saw the man in the cashmere coat.”

“Yes, that’s because I was the only one standing back where he was standing. Everybody else was crowding toward the front.”

“As the only witness, you’ll need to make yourself available for further questioning.”

“Please, I’d rather you kept me out of this, if you don’t mind.”

After Office Miggles took her name and address, Miss Dragonette continued two blocks up the street and stepped off the curb between two parked cars. Looking around to make sure she wasn’t being observed, she took the gun out of her purse and threw it down a storm drain from which could be heard the sound of rushing water.

Satisfied that she wasn’t seen, she snapped her purse shut smartly and crossed the sidewalk to a store window where two high-fashion female mannequins in fur coats stood side by side. She looked into the face of the mannequin on the right and returned the artificial smile. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to make your acquaintance,” she said before continuing on her way.

Copyright © 2015 by Allen Kopp  

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