Mansions of Madness

Mr Corbitt - Part 1

"I fought the law and the law won!"

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The scenario starts innocently enough; six members of the Eagle Bond detective agency in Providence, RI are enjoying Sunday evening drinks and cocaine (wtf!) at Herbert Crance’s suburban house. They witness Crance’s erstwhile and super-friendly neighbour, Bernard Corbitt, return home in his car and struggle with his front door while holding two canvas wrapped objects. Bernard drops one of the packages and the more alert members spot that it contains what appears to be a small child’s arm! Bernard enters his abode and the investigators see his basement light go on.

The group discuss the disturbing scene and quickly come up with a coordinated plan in which two members will sneak around the back of Corbitt’s property and peak through his windows while two will knock on his front door and distract him and two will remain on watch from within Crance’s house. Reasonable enough – so far so good…….

Spitz and Perkins duly sneak onto Corbitt’s property without being spotted and determine that one of the basement windows has a blind drawn across it while the other appears to be an ordinary utility room. Meanwhile Crance and Burns knock on the front door and invite Bernard to come and join them over at the party – which he politely refuses before closing the door. Crance then seems to lose all sense of proportionality and decides to pick the front-lock in broad daylight. Bernard is shocked when his neighbour suddenly forces open the front door and lets himself in. After Bernard vainly utters threats to call the police the maniac detective attacks him and his demented and drunk colleague, Senior Investigator Burns, throws cocaine into Corbitt’s face. Fortunately for the local businessman the police arrive just in time. Crance quickly admits his criminal behaviour to the policemen and after a brief pat down which reveals their possession of firearms, narcotics and consumption of alcohol, they are promptly arrested. Bernard informs the officers that Crance lives just across the street and they proceed to knock on the door. Dorothy Haslett answers the door while Fields quickly sneaks out the back and heads back to the office. Dorothy attempts to placate the officers and explain her colleagues’ bizarre behaviour but the shrewd policemen detect the alcohol on her breath which provides them with the probable cause to enter Crance’s house and discover the scene of the party and the illicit consumables. A paddy wagon is then called for Dorothy as there isn’t enough room in the cop’s car.

While half of the investigators are carted off by law enforcement, Perkins and Spitz emerge from their hiding place behind the greenhouse and head back to Crance’s house. The front door is locked but the back is fortunately open. They decide that they will wait until dark and then gain entry by breaking into Corbitt’s basement utility room. Darkness duly descends and armed with paper and jam the duo break the basement window and are about to enter when something scuttles across the room and out the interior door with much banging and crashing. Lights come on and the pair flee back to safety behind the greenhouse. The basement lights remain off but the rest of the house is lit. After many minutes pass the pair decide to venture back out and peak through the downstairs windows, discovering nothing out of place. They then move back to the utility room basement window where a nasty surprise is waiting for them. Perkins only has time to see Corbitt standing in the room before he is thrown 13 feet through the air, landing unconscious in the vegetable patch. Witnessing the strange and shocking sight, Spitz pulls his gun and fires into the basement window, narrowly missing Bernard, who ducks for cover. Realising that he has probably woken the entire neighbourhood Spitz decides to retrieve his comrade and drag him back over to Crance’s house. He deposits the still unconscious detective on a couch and peeks out the front window in time to witness a police cruiser pulling up; Bernard answers his door and points over to Crance’s house. Spitz attempts to exit the house but another cop car pulls up and a foot pursuit ensues before Spitz is caught and arrested. Perkins is carted off to hospital (under arrest, naturally).

Next day dawns with nearly all of Eagle Bond behind bars. Dorothy is smart enough to be contrite and her lawyer advices her to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge which she duly does, copping a $25 fine. Burns also realises the error of his ways and complies with his lawyer’s advice to plead guilty, receiving a $50 fine. Crance however continues to display increasingly bizarre behaviour, repeatedly stripping down, and mocking the duty sergeant with dumb insolence – causing the irritated officers to beat him with abandon, which results in injuries severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.

The situation for Perkins and Spitz is even more extreme. They have both been charged with attempted burglary and attempted murder. Following legal advice Perkins denies everything but fails to convince the judge – he makes bail with $100 but will have to stand trial. Spitz is firmly banged to rights and after making unsound allegations about Corbitt has to undergo a psychological evaluation; The judge refuses bail.

Eagle Bonds’ boss eventually learns that most of his employees have engaged in a drunken drug fueled party during which they suffered group delusions about Crance’s neighbor, which resulted in them repeatedly attempting to break into his property to kill him. He warns those fortunate enough to have been bailed that they are in danger of being fired if they slip up again. Perkins’ lack of contrition and the seriousness of his offence causes him to be suspended.

Gray (almost the sole hero of the piece), having been lucky enough not to have been arrested during the previous debacle, and managing to avoid a serious beating from his colleagues despite dobbing everyone in to the boss, strangely decides that it is wise to loiter outside Corbitt’s house as well as harassing him. Unsurprisingly the fine members of Providence’s police force quickly swoop down to arrest yet another member of the Eagle Bond detective agency (which is increasingly appearing to be a front for organised crime).

The questions remain – Will Eagle Bond’s crime wave continue? Will the investigators manage to stay out of prison or keep their jobs? Will any of them actually learn anything at all about what is going on?

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