To help authors market their books and and to help create greater awareness, we occasionally feature winning stories submitted to our 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading Awards Contest on this blog. The journey to success is often a long one. We hope the stories of successful authors will provide some encouragement and help others overcome the challenges they face. This story was submitted by RG Bud Phelps.
Mill Park Mystery is a historical fiction story starting in the small southwestern town of Curtis, Nebraska; featuring two boys who found a package hidden in a cave that would change their lives completely. These two young men, Reg Philso and George Cornelli, friends as teenagers, ended up spending a good share of their lives working together in related businesses and involved in solving a mystery that would take them all the way to Nuremberg, Germany.
The story is centered around a town character you would see on the streets of Curtis, walking around the town with his buddy; or as the locals would say, “holding up the bank” when they were just leaning on the building passing the time of day. These two town characters were known as “Blacky the Bum” and “Goose Neck Charlie” because their names had a particular significance. “Blacky the Bum” suddenly appeared in Curtis, sometime in the early 40’s. He was a short man with a dark complexion who always wore a pointed black felt hat that reminded you of what an organ grinder would wear (but he didn’t have an organ or a monkey). The other town character that was Blacky’s friend was called “Goose Neck Charlie” because of his long neck. He tried to hide his long neck with the collars of his cotton work shirts pressed together higher than normal. Anyway, Blacky and Charlie were friends and seemed to always be together.
The story begins at 5:30 AM on a beautiful summer day when Reg Philso and George Cornelli met in the Curtis City Park. They were all decked out in camo gear carrying a surplus army pack stuffed with a canteen, a hearty lunch, and other things they might need. Their plan was to arrive at Mill Park ahead of the Nebraska National Guard who was on their way in their armored vehicle convoy from McCook for maneuvers in the park.
They chose a spot high on the ridge covered with a dense undergrowth of plum bushes making it ideal for concealment, and giving them a “catbird seat” to watch the maneuvers. The boys had watched the Nebraska National Guard maneuvers here in the park the previous year and were rewarded for their patience with some left over flash bombs. It was just under an hour when the troops drove through the front gate of the park and circled their vehicles in the center of Mill Park. The boys watched the maneuvers all day, enjoying the army games as well as their lunch, hidden behind the plum bushes. Finally, the show was over. The boys watched as the troops went into a cave where they had stored their ammo and flash bombs and carried them out to the trucks that brought them from McCook. The boys would check out the cave after the troops had left, driving their armored vehicles out of the park and back to McCook. Naturally, the boys wanted to find some left over flash bombs like they did last year.
Reg and George went through the cave quickly but unfortunately found the troops had removed all the fused flash bombs. When they got to the deepest part of the cave it took a slight turn, and after about ten feet, came to an abrupt stop. The interesting thing however was that there were no footprints going around that corner so they decided to check it out.
This area narrowed down the closer they got to the end of the cave and they were just ready to leave when they noticed a small cloth drape, dyed the color of the clay walls of the cave, at eye level, concealing a small opening. When they lifted the drape they could see that it was a small clay shelf that went back into the wall about two feet. Reg shinned his flashlight into the opening and they spotted a package that was wrapped, taped, and treated with some kind of material apparently to protect whatever was inside, from moisture and contamination. George reached in and brought out the mysterious package. They quickly left the cave, running back to their car they had hidden in a grove of trees outside the park. Reg and George took their mysterious package out to one of their favorite fishing spots on Fox Creek, and hid it in a small cove high up on the bank of the creek.
Now the mystery really shifts into high gear. After the boys had left Mill Park the park superintendent was murdered right in front of the cave where the boys had found the package. A black sedan with Colorado plates had been spotted in the area and the FBI lost the trail of the individuals who had rented the car, because they had paid cash for the rental. The FBI discovered the drivers licenses used in the rental of the car were counterfeit, also the men who rented the car had German accents. The investigation of the men that who rented the car went nowhere, also the cash transaction and the counterfeit drivers’ licenses were a dead-end.
Blacky “mysteriously” left Curtis the very next day but the FBI couldn’t tie him to the murders. By then Reg and George had opened the package and found a trove of interesting things. The first thing they saw was a pouch stamped with a swastika! Inside they found a document with the heading “WARNING–GYPSYS” and a “Federal Republic of Germany– PASSPORT’ in the name of Kistur Grey. The picture was a real shocker (it was a young Blacky). Also, included in the package was a list of Gypsy names and a map labeled “Old Towne Nuremberg”
Years later, Reg and George traveled to Nuremberg on business and took the mysterious package with them. They had researched the information in the package, learning enough information to find the family of Kistur Grey. They joined in fighting Neo-Nazis and assisted in finding their treasure hidden from the Nazis in World War II.
Find out more about Bud’s books by visiting his website, http://www.budsbooks.com.