The Villain - "Midnight" Mike Harrigan
Town Cop - "T. C." Young"
The Sleuth - Charles "Cisco" Kessinger
In the early 1940s the businesses of
the town of Alderson were being burglarize by a scoundrel named Mike
Harrigan. Mike's modus operandi was to strike in the middle of the night and
many people suspected that Mike was the culprit. In their whispers he was
referred to as, "Midnight" Mike. Even the town cop, "T. C." Young, had also
heard it was Mike but couldn't prove it or catch him in the act.
Cisco Kessinger, a house painter, was a fairly new comer to Alderson and lived
in an apartment over the drug store. Occasionally suffering from insomnia,
Cisco used to walk the streets on the both sides of the river and when he
wasn't walking, he sat and observed anyone else that did. One night as he
was looking out his window, he noticed a figure coming off the end of the
bridge and crossing the tracks. It wasn't too dark for Cisco to recognize it
was Mike Harrigan. Could it be that Mike was about to continue in his
chosen line of work ?
Mike walked toward the City Hall building and Cisco ran to the back of the
apartment, raised a window, and went out on top of the ajoining roof of Mick or
Mack's grocery store. From there he could see if Mike was in the alley where
he could get to the back of any store on Main street. Sure enough Mike
appears from behind the City Hall, walks by the Jail, and disappears behind
Russell's depart store.
The next day the main topic was about the burglary of Russell's store the
night before. T. C. Young was asking the people who live and worked on Main
Street if anyone had seen or heard anything. Cisco being a recent resident
was, in T. C's mind, a main suspect for he had been observed out late
several nights from time to time. Cisco told T. C. he hadn't seen anything;
for once in a long time he was asleep. Upon further investigation, it was
noticed the store room was very dusty and there were very large foot prints
all over the floor. This was the only clue T. C. had.
Weeks passed and still no further development in the case of the late night
robberies. Cisco later ran in to Mike at the beer joint one night and Mike
had too much to drink. Cisco told him that he saw him behind Russell's the
night it was robbed. Mike, not in his best condition, confessed to Cisco he
was the one that did it. Not seeming to care what other information he
divulged, he also confided the moment he got in the store room, he pulled a
size 15 pair of shoes from the box and put them on before he walked around.
A fact he seemingly was very proud of. (sheer genius)
To my knowledge the case of the "Mystery At Midnight" was never solved.
Cisco never told what he knew.
One thing that was certain, T. C. was very diligent in his observation of
the size of people's feet for a long time after that.