~Fairmount, the series: Pt. 7 ‘That Damned River’~



the series:

Pt. 7

‘That Damned River’


Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.


The ides of December brought no new activity from the beast. The people went with their daily activities as they prepared for the upcoming Christmas and New Year Holiday events. The ranger and his team were mapping out strategies for their assault on the “Killer Kodiak.”

There weren’t any new signs or tracks to be followed along the banks of the Schuylkill River since the last attack. There were no signs of activity or attacks. Glenn and his team started their search at the last killing scene along the West River Drive in Fairmount Park. They contemplated setting up bait traps, steel claw traps, and prowler stations. The river was now in a state of sporadic ice packs scattered out on the water. Ice platforms gathered at the edge of the dam where the majestic view of the Art Museum peered out over the river. The mini glaciers piled up along the edge of the dam where the East and West River Drives meet in the park. A driveway bridge connected the two roads that allowed access into the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and I-95 corridor via route 676.

Snow began to fall at eleven a.m. on December Seventeen, a Saturday. It began to form heavy flakes at four p.m. The layer of snow on the ground measured at two and a half inches from the ground. At 6 p.m., the snow fell heavier and the layer on the ground exceeded the earlier measurement. The wind was mild. It blew about five to 10 miles an hour at a nor’ easterly direction that eventually blew nor’ westerly. The ranger wondered where this beast had gone. Did it just up and leave? Did it eat enough? Did it decide to hibernate? If so, where? “Where the fuck did it go?” He began to stare at the dam along the river and wondered about the pumping station wells underbellies.

The ranger shouted aloud…”Damn!” His staring at the river-dam evolved into an all-out eyeball examination of the location. He turned to one of site searching rangers with the communications backpack. It contained a field radio and satellite telephone. “Get the city archeological engineering department on the horn – I want to know what’s under this dam and pumping station shacks – pronto!”

The City of Philadelphia Records Department, city archives division, responded to the call almost immediately. They could not get the original plans out to him for fear of disintegration – exposure to air and light. The electronic facsimile was available but could not be made immediately available. It could take more than an hour to locate the electronic backup. The field unit also needed to get a notebook computer out to then as well. The portable computer delivery would not necessarily create a problem to dispatch… The date would. It was faster to go to the source – the records department at city hall. Glenn was just five miles away.

Sirens screamed down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Pavilion into the City Hall Courtyard. The police car drove directly up and onto the sidewalk surrounding the building – through the breezeway into the courtyard and entrance doors nearest the records department. Ranger Glenn exited the vehicle and dashed through the double doors into the first floor corridor. The records room was just off to the right. The records staff was ready and waiting. They were at the rangers beckon call. The data was being uploaded as Glenn and Police Sergeant Macauleany, the officer from the Smith Playground attack site, and a ranger lieutenant by the name of ‘Asa Wells’ stood by.

It was Lieutenant Wells who noted the fresh footprints in the old snow on the bike and jogger trail. The jogging trail continued into the other side of the river from under the overpass of the west river drive that lead down to the Southside of the Schuylkill River.

The prints in the snow were out of the team’s search area. They could not see them. The trail of prints was pounding a path in the direction of the Philadelphia Zoo.

At the records department, Glenn was able to pull up the archived data on the river’s dam. He was not surprised to discover an underpass right under the water at the dam’s edge. The underpass lay directly at the base of the dam. It is an existing access causeway for the construction crews to make repairs on the dam. No one ever realized such a space existed. It’s been there since the dam’s construction and has never been used. The records staff watched the ranger as he researched other unknown tunnels under the river and along its banks. They were surprised to see all sorts of underground passageways. These excavations were established about the time the dam was built by the “Free Masons of Pennsylvania.” The research brought to light, even more tunnels of ingress and egress points appeared throughout the city’s underground realm. The ranger instructed the department staff to make him copies of the maps immediately. They complied with an exuberant amount of excitement and pride in their ability to jump too in an emergency. The time was three forty five in the afternoon.

At five o’clock in the afternoon, staff of the Philadelphia Zoo, closed its gates for the day. At 10 p.m., one of the zoo guards was completing his 30-minute rounds. The guard who patrolled the area near the polar bear exhibit noticed their agitation. He thought it unusual. The bears are usually calm and settled at this hour. He made note of it on his report sheet attached to a clipboard. On his way to the brown bruins exhibit alarms rang throughout the establishment. They were quite loud. The surrounding neighborhood knew something was amiss when these alarms went off. It drove them out of their sleep…out of their beds.

The guard froze at the sounding of the alarm. The alarms screamed the scream of the wailing witches of Othello fame. The shipmates of Ulysses could bear witness to the screams. The ship in which they were traveling did crash because of it. The covering of their ears didn’t help either. Odysseus was warned of the screaming witches…the alarms of warning.

Realizing his ass was on the line should he shirk his duties, thought the guard. He recalled the fire. Members of an endangered species, a family group of six lowland gorillas, a family group of three orangutans, four white-handed gibbons, and ten lemurs (2 ruffed, 6 ringtail, and 2 mongoose), died in their sleep from smoke inhalation – carbon monoxide poisoning.

At about 10 pm., two security guards smelled smoke by the Philadelphia Zoo’s primate house as they made their rounds. This happened on Saturday December 24, 1995. They took no action. They dismissed the smell as coming from nearby trains on the railroad tracks as had happened frequently. Almost three hours later, at 12:40 a.m. Sunday, the guards returned and found flames on the roof. Fire and zoo officials pinned the blaze on an electrical malfunction caused by improperly installed wires that heated ceiling pipes. Snow on the roof of the 10-year-old World of Primates building muffled any noise that might have been produced by smoke alarms, and fire officials discovered upon investigation, no one who had heard them sound. This engagement happened within the walls of the world famous landmark.

The guard was not in the frame of mind to receive blame for any wrongdoing. He wanted to be recognized as a guard who was Johnny on the spot…proficient and steadfast. “Shit…they caught me once for sleeping on the overnight shift. Two years ago they caught me for drinking a fuckin beer on New Years Eve in the parking lot. It was my lunch break for Christ’s sake. Shit, I’ve got five fuckin years to lose…unemployment just ain’t gittin it!”

The frantic guard snapped too – and like greased lightning, he bolted towards the designated report station. Once there, another guard was dispatched to the power and alarm and shut-off terminal and grid shack. It’s still called the shack after the new building was erected since the fire. No longer was the guard focused on himself and his troubles. His mind was on his job performance and the saving of animals and zoo property. He thought of all the animals and his designated patrol area. The bear exhibit. The bears needed him.











~ ‘The E-Store for Books by Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.’ ~






“Fairmount” – The Series Part 3




The Series

Pt. 3: ‘A Sweet Briar License’


Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.

The news media took the ball and ran with it. The headlines blasted the story of the attack of Czepaky and her children on the front pages of their respective papers. Television news programs portrayed the mother and her children as their leading news story. Radio news did likewise. And still they did not mention Lindsey Irvin.

The zoo officials blasted Professor Rockford’s account of a creature the size and magnitude as described. “It is impossible for a bear to be roaming around in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park…even with its vast resources and acreage. A Kodiak Bear is highly unlikely to be roaming about in this part of the country. It’s the middle of November for Christ Sake…bears hibernate in the winter.” A reporter from one of Philly’s papers was hanging around after the mayor’s meeting. The reporter fired a question to the zoo official. “How do you explain the attack on the woman and her kids?” “And what about the little Black Kid that was killed a few weeks ago?” “You did say bears hibernate in the winter…what about Professor Rockford’s explanation of bears stirring and taking a walk while sleeping in the winter?” “What about the people who saw the thing…how do you explain all that?” The zoo officials walked out of the room and down the stairway to the parking area. The reporter headed towards the police commissioner who was standing just outside the Mayor’s Office, a few feet from the meeting room. He then asked the commissioner about the way the meeting was held. “Commissioner Talis, do you think the meeting was utilized for public safety or for personal gain?” Talis glared at the reporter who also attracted other reporters that were hanging about in the corridor. He thought carefully before answering, “I think the mayor knows what she is doing. However, I feel that it should have been handled a bit more privately – my concerns are public safety – public panic…especially with the upcoming walk-athons, regattas, and general park users. I’m afraid of public panic over this situation. Personal gain is not on my agenda…now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.” The reporter fired back while pursuing the commissioner to the official user’s elevator, “what did you think about the professors’ presentation…what about the Black Kid?” The commissioner answered, “the presentation was informative…I could have gotten that stuff from the zoo people”…the elevator doors closed. The reporter, himself Black, wondered about today’s events as he double-checked his digital voice recorder. He also wondered, while walking down the stairwell of City Hall, how the family of Lindsey Irvin was dealing with the latest attack.

A heavy police presence saturated both sides of the Schuylkill River, from the East Falls Bridge to the Art Museum and Eakins Oval. The Marine Unit of The Philadelphia Police Department could not find anything that would indicate the whereabouts of the bear or the body of he suspected dead teenager. The order was given to start a diving search and rescue effect. “We don’t expect to find the boy alive, “ said one team commander to another diving squad commander. “But we do expect to find his body.” Two divers were set to go into the water. Assistant team members double-checked their gear. They made sure that the underwater radios and flashlights were operating correctly. The divers entered the water under the Girard Avenue Bridge, just down river from the viewing stand and Goose Island, which sat smack in the middle of the river directly across from the viewing stand automobile parking lot. Another set of divers was preparing to enter the water from up-stream, the East Falls Bridge shoreline. The first set of divers reached Goose Island while police water craft motored above, from one end of the river to the other. The first set of divers dove deep into the river bottom and root of the island. The murky water disclosed various underwater caves around the perimeter or the island. “There’s a bunch of cave openings at the center and bottom of the island, Sergeant Miller,” said the first diver. “Besides a bund of fish and fowl carcasses, car parts, a car chassis, tree limbs, and other debris…I’d like to see what’s in one of these caves.” “Make sure your partner keeps watch behind you, diver…I don’t want any mishaps down there.” I’m dispatching a couple of boats to monitor above you while you’re in there.” “Go ahead and investigate the cave,” said the sergeant. The diver signaled to his partner to watch his back. The first diver entered the water, climbing over large tree roots and stumps, he was careful to stay afloat…the muddy river bottom was like quicksand. In an attempt to stand, the officer’s feet made contact with the rivers muddy bottom. The muck seemed to envelope his entire foot and leg as it virtually sucked him downward into the mire. The muck seemed to suck down anything that made contact with it. The diver shined his light up and down and side-to-side of the cave walls submerged under water while marine inhabitants scurried.

The Carp, Sunnys, Blues, and Eels scurried out of the path of the light and the diver. “Hey Jeff”, said the first diver to the second. “There’s a path and open air in here.” The diver traveled about twenty-five feet from the murky black bottom entranceway into the cave. The trail in the island’s belly began to turn into dry soil as the diver ascended. He turned off his oxygen while removing his scuba mask and spoke into his radio. “Jeff…come in here…you’ve gotta see this.”

Harold Risehold (the 1st diver) was astonished at the discovery his partner Jeff Scott, was about to disclose and he…about to witness. A skull, partially decomposed, lay between two rocks in a corner of the cave. When Harold reached to pick it up, a small catfish darted from the socket of an empty left eye socket. Harold jumped backwards and fell with a loud splash into a pile of gucky and smelly mud. The two officers were shocked at the find and spooked by the thought of being here if and when the creature decided to come back here to this cave. After composure set in on he pair, the men gathered the skull and a few scattered bones, which appeared to be the lower lumbar section of a human, for evidentiary examination. They also photographed the unusually large paw and claw prints as seen throughout the cave. Live and dead inhabitants with other specimen was documented and photographed as well. “Let’s gather this shit and get the hell out of here. I’ve got a bad feeling about this place!” exclaimed Harold while caressing the large Bowie knife strapped to his right leg. The two men hurried their work. Suddenly, a loud splash and gurgling sound caused the hair on their necks to stand at attention. “Jeff…let’s go – NOW!” “If we’ve missed something, let the big wigs handle it…let’s move…get out.” Quietly, excitedly, and panicky – almost silently was the high pitched cry of Risehold. The divers raced into the water away from the sound…donning their gear on the fly.

The divers reached the surface of the water and hurriedly entered the waiting police marine search and rescue boat. They were happy the backup boats were there because they did not want to swim back to the point of origin. They were visibly frightened and glad to be on the way back to shore. The West side of the river endured a traffic backup just as the four officers reached their destination on the East side of the Schuylkill. The other boat headed back up river towards the Falls Bridge.

Officers arrived at the accident scene on the West River side just before the “Sweet Briar Cutoff.” A car and a pickup truck were engaged in a fender-bender just about at about 8 p.m. The female driver of the car stated that she’d seen something huge run across the roadway. The other drivers of stopped vehicles concurred – “It was huge”, screamed another of the other motorists! “It disappeared into the woods up the hill towards the expressway!” One of the cops appeared to be complacent, “yeah…ok, let’s see your cards”, referring to the vehicle owners’, insurance identification cards, and drivers license(s). Both drivers produced the required documentation. The other cop walked over to where the motorists pointed the animals running route. Four motorists, two men and two women with outstretched fingers, pointed to the direction. The owners of two of the six stopped cars stood frozen with uncertainty…their eyes wide open as they peered from the left and to the right. They were very afraid. The cop was out of sight for all of a few minutes. Suddenly, the cop appeared from the bushes…running from the thickness of the wooded area – straight to his waiting police cruiser – the man screamed into the radio microphone! “EMERGENCY – EMERGENCY, THIS IS CAR #1407…BADGE NUMBER 3722, GET BACKUP OUT HERE IMMEDIATELY – ALERT…ALERT THE CAPTAIN AND THE SWAT TEAM – IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE!”

The motorists who were fearful had every right to be alarmed. The larger than life beast, silhouetted by the full moonlight, burst from the thicket in hot pursuit of the inquisitive bush- searching officer. The unfrozen motorists ran for their cars. One of the female motorists became a pillar of screams. The cars attempted to flee…but could not due to the police cruisers blocking the westbound lanes of the West River Drive. The Giant Kodiak roared. The sound was deafening. It sounded like thunder and lightning as the monster crashed and cracked tree limbs with its massive frame. The beast roared again and showed its glistening seven-inch fangs that dripped with spittle and foam. It attacked the cruiser of the escaping cop while he was still in it. The cop sat in horror – screaming into the radio’s microphone. The officer never had an opportunity to draw his service weapon, glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun. The over-whelming attacker hit the driver side door with a swipe of its right tree-trunk sized arm. The thick paw housed eight-inch claws. The driver side door of the car crumpled as glass shattered from its window. The second blow from the beast ripped the door from the car completely. The door disappeared into the night. The third swipe brought the helpless cop into the jaws of the giant. The blood curdling screams of the man pierced the otherwise quiet nighttime air. Blood gushed from the mouth, ears, and eyes of the bears prey as the beast’s punch-press jaws cracked the rib cage and ripped his middle with the seven-inch fangs. The Kodiak’s jaws were massive…several thousand pounds of lightning fast jaw muscle crushed the officer’s torso like teeth cutting a potato chip. The innards were ripped out with the splashing of blood, flew everywhere as the beast began to dine. The bears mouth was so large that it enabled the envelopment of the large mans’ entire mid-section. The second cop, as were the witnessing motorists, was frozen in horror as he was forced to watch his partner being eaten alive. He fired his weapon at the beast to no avail. The officer emptied his service weapon into the back of the ravaging behemoth with no affect. The animal, annoyed at this nuisance, turned and looked at the thing that was interfering with its meal. The large red and white moonlit hate filled eyes sent ice water through the veins of the assaulting officer. The animal stood on its hind legs, looking down on the hapless being. Fifteen feet of bristled fur and muscle was too much for the eyes of the officer to drink…standing on its hind legs, the beast swung its massive paw and flipped over what was left of the dead cops cruiser. The flying car missed the surviving officer by mere inches. The police officer was frozen with fear as he starred at the glistening fangs…white as ivory, dripping blood and guts. The officer attempted to re-load his weapon while the approaching animal descended upon him. Before the cop could look up again, the mouth of the bear engulfed the human from head to waist. One bite of its vicious cavernous jaws left the lower half of the man standing…the limp remains, waist to feet, dropped to the pavement in a bloody heap. The lower half of the man was picked up by the beast with its jaws and carried off as the animal glared back at the remaining fright-filled, dumb-founded, and frozen motorists. The monster bear sauntered off towards the rivers edge; its jaws dripped human blood and human legs dangled as it disappeared into the river-brush.

The pickup truck driver managed to make a statement out loud while standing with several other horror-filled people, “Damn…the cop didn’t give me back my driver’s license!”

Next Week: Part 4: “A Pillar of Salt”










~Part 2 of FAIRMOUNT the series: “Smith Playground In North Philly”~





Part 2 of FAIRMOUNT the series:

“Smith Playground In North Philly”


Gregory V. Boulware, Esq. 


The funeral was held on Dauphin Street near Broad, it seemed all of Philadelphia showed up to pay respects to the Irvin-Xavier family. Cars, vans, trucks, and buses lined the narrow one-way street. The news media was out in force. Their inquiries, disrespectful at times, furrow for information of the attack on the boys. The Hospital Administrators were inundated with questions from reporters and investigative journalists alike. The police had their hands full. They had no answers or explanations. They were hopeful to get information from the surviving boys.

Malcolm and Jason were ushered into the small multi-roomed funeral parlor. The parlor was constructed from three gutted row houses into one funeral home full of people –friends, family, and news media. Parking visiting cars was at your own risk. The area of what is described, as a parking lot was the chain-linked fenced backyard(s) of the three building conversions from the street through to a back building exiting out into Dauphin Street. The company limo and van were housed in that area of the funeral home property.

The boys appeared to be very uneasy as everyone stared at them. They all seemed to want their reaction, or what they perceived, would be the boys’ mental condition(s) after the attack. Malcolm and Jason looked at each other with watered eyes while holding hands. The terrible event revolved repeatedly in their minds. Jason was wheelchair bound. The doctors at Temple Hospital diagnosed his condition as mentally traumatic with physical damage from the backward tumbling fall he suffered while rolling down the hill and into the roadway of Strawberry Mansion Drive. His body came to a stop on the point of large boulder that was partially covered by Rhododendrons that flourished throughout the park. The fall caused fractures to his lower shinbone and ankle on his right leg. The boy also suffered nightmares, sudden crying episodes, assorted bruises, contusions, and a large bump on his forehead.

The children’s parents and friends kept the cops at bay. The patronizing investigative detectives of the Central Philadelphia Juvenile Division, made every attempt to question the boys. They brought their cynical inquisition right at the parents, implying child neglect, child endangerment, and reckless behavior on the adults responsible for the dead and injured kids. Leon is 13 years old, Jason 12, Malcolm 13, and Lindsey would have been 15 on his birthday, November 5. The attack occurred October 26.

Uncle Rue kept Leon close by his side during the funeral ceremony, his mother on the other. The Xavier Family kept Malcolm from outside influences as well. Relatives and friends continually gawked at the boys while whispering in the ears of one another…commenting and nodding continually. The air in the parlor was stifling. It was permeated with floral scents, perfume, cologne, body odor, and sweat. The air-conditioner was sorely needed although the ambient temperature was 32 degrees on the outside of the building. The date of Lindsey’s funeral was November 4.

Lindsey enjoyed hanging out in the park with his cousin and friends. The boys hiked the hills, fields, mountain-like cliffs, and woods of Fairmount Park. The boys often made their trek near the Schuylkill River. They almost never left the park’s Strawberry Mansion Area of the river because of the wildlife, the fishing, joggers, and scull racing.

Saturdays and sometimes Sunday’s, throughout the spring, summer, and fall were spent in The Fairmount by the boys…unless family chores or events interfered. The Belmont Horse Stables experienced frequent visits by the troop. Boathouse Row was not exempt from the rustic behavior of the four intrepid and expeditionary weekend marauders. While the boys enjoyed fishing, they did not partake of the activity regularly, due to their inability to afford the desired state of the art tackle equipment. They carved their fishing poles from limbs of nearby tree branches. On occasion, they would chip-in .50 cents to a dollar each to purchase tackling line, usually 10 or 15 lb. test. Many anglers along the East and West Banks of the river were accustomed to the devil-may-care adventurers. They were laughed at by the fishermen for attempting to lure fish with a flimsy tackle or two baited corn kernel nuggets or some form of meat tied to their hooks at the end of their weighted-river-sunk lines. The boys were entrepreneurial in their adventures. They would sometimes catch a Karp or Catfish, play with it, and throw it back. Taking the fish home would find its way into the trash or garbage…Mom would not stand for the smelly river-lived animal(s) in the house, let alone the thought of eating it for dinner. Bored, they moved on. They began their mountain journey homeward as the day neared its end.

The last of the speakers ended his sermon. The funeral procession was now underway. The ushers lead the attendees past the coffin for one last view of the dead boy. The lead usher started with the first person of the last row in the funeral parlor. The viewing ended with the parents of the slain child. The casket was closed and carried out to the waiting hearse. The automobile procession was as long and as far as the eye could see. The line of cars, vans, and trucks were numerous. They appeared to be about five or six blocks long. The caravan continued its trek to the cemetery at 32nd and Lehigh Avenue (Forrest Hill). After the burial ceremony, food and other refreshments were served at the church location, 29th and Lehigh Avenue as a community service to the boys’ family and well-wishers.

Uncle Rue enjoyed a bit more taste than the other men who attended the funeral. Albeit, many of the men at the house did not go to the services, the Xavier house, 3635 N. Myrtlewood Street, was filled to the brim with family, friends, and well-wishers. Many folk delivered food and drink while many brought other things. Wine, beer, and spirits were also served at the feast that was overshadowed by sorrow.

Ladia Ben-Whey Irvin was in the kitchen being comforting by her sister, Geraldine Xavier. Ladia was crying uncontrollably. Ladia held her sister and comforted her. Several other ladies were on hand to deliver comfort and support as well. People continually paraded in and out of the kitchen and dining rooms of the house. Paper plates and plastic forks moved like currency at a teller’s window. Potatoes salad, collard greens, fried and baked chicken, macaroni, ham, beef, and Jell-O was served to the ravenous horde. As the evening progressed, several participants of the drink group started to get a bit drunk. A few of the guys began to sing some back-in-the-day ballads. They performed magnificently as the harmony and lyrics rolled of their tongues from beyond the tonsils. Two other young men began arguing over the length of time the other spent starring at the ass of his girlfriend. The older men intervened and prevented its escalation. Several female attendees gossiped and snickered. They were verbally abusive and assaulting. Their behavior began to attract attention from the older ladies who condemned the repulsive behavior. One of the elder ladies was highly annoyed, “we are here for a sorrowful occasion!” “Who cares what type of clothing people are wearing?” “A boy is dead…and you dare to come here with your barroom attitudes and whore-house behavior!” “A family is suffering…and you behave as if this is a party…it’s a celebration of life!” “If you can’t behave…leave!”

The disrespectful females, embarrassed, made their apologies and left…all but one. “Who the fuck does she think she is?” The woman was obviously inebriated. “I’ll kick that old bitch’s ass!” The outburst caught the attention of Lindsey’s father and the other men who attended the services. “You won’t kick anyone’s ass in here!” “My son is dead…and you bring this shit in here…get your disrespectful drunken ass out of here!”

Things quieted down after the explosive conversation. The ladies began cleaning up the house and putting things in order. Ladia finally went to sleep. As she slept on her sister’s bed, her husband, her surviving two children Rey and Malia, her sister, Malcolm, and the remaining family members gently kissed her.

The angry piercing eyes of the thing were now upon them…Malcolm screamed. He was dreaming. His sleep was continually interrupted with nightmares. His parents considered psychiatric consultation. The constant nightmares caused great concern to Benjamin and Geraldine Xavier. “Will this terrible event never end,” asked Benjamin? “Our son will have this embedded in his mind for as long as he lives…what can we do to help him?” “Deenie”, Ben says to Geraldine, “we are going to get him the help he needs…insurance or no insurance.” The Xavier’s have been struggling with making ends meet ever since Ben was laid off from his job as a computer programmer and data processor at the Data-Fax Company in Horsham. His unemployment benefits have reached tier three. He has been unemployed for nearly a year and a half with no opportunities for his caliber of technical skills. Geraldine is an unemployed teachers’ aid who was laid off from her school assignment due to a state cutback in educational funding.  The state welfare system disallows them medical insurance and other benefits that they were entitled, due to Ben’s amount of UC benefits and the fact that he took a temporary job for three days last week. He made $200.40 before taxes. That amount was also deducted from his UC benies. State law pending because Malcolm is a minor and is required to receive coverage as child health coverage mandates (the battle for welfare coverage) apply.

Gerald Glenn, Genailia Francis, and Willice Samuel walked through the patch of rhododendron and azalea bushes to examine the grassy spot near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Ranger Glenn removed the sample of plant leaf and soil from a plastic bag while pointing to the spot he had examined during the initial search around the cherry blossom tree. The paw-print, nearly gone after being exposed for more than ten days, gave Francis and Samuel a fright. Now the captain knew why the ranger had that strange look on his face the day the boys were attacked. “Damn, do they actually grow to be that big”, exclaimed Samuel? Glenn answered, “No”. He also added, “I’ve seen them big…but not this damn big!” “This one is huge…gigantic…a monster!” “From the size and length of the print, it’s got to be at least 9 to 10 foot in height and weighing more than 5,000 lbs.

The trio spotted something else during their search. Several azalea bushes were dug up just a few feet from the initial examination location. The roots of the shrubbery were chewed. A few from the spot, a mangled right hind leg of what appeared to be a squirrel, lay in a dark pool of dried blood. Ranger Glenn said to his two companions, “you know…the length of this beasts stride exceeds the stride of any of the beasts known in the Northeastern region of this country…and of other countries as well.” Genailia posed to argue the impossibilities of such a creature. Glenn pointed to another spot on the hard cold park soil. Another print appeared. This latest print appeared to be much fresher than the previous one. “This thing has been here again.” “That print is about four, maybe five days old.” Genailia cited the impossibilities of an animal of this size roaming free in this environment…in this part of the country…in this city. Captain Samuel wanted to know what they were talking about, “Look damn it, what in the hell is all this stuff?” “What kind of animal or monster are you two talking about?” The ranger looked at the professor. “He’s not going to believe what this thing is and what we’re up against…shit, I don’t even believe it…or do I want to believe it!” The professor glared at the ranger, “this is not possible!” It’s highly improbable that a creature like this can be here…it can’t survive here!” The police captain yelled, “Tell me!” The ranger reached for his sample and showed it to them. The chewed and undigested foliage and soil sample was dumped out of the plastic bag. The soil sample contained more than mere dirt. The sample revealed feces. The ranger began to explain the sample that he had kept to himself until he was sure of its actual contents. When he initially gathered the stuff, no one was paying attention to what he was doing. The CSI team had their theory and agenda. It was not in alignment with the Rangers predetermined conclusion “This is what the beast was eating,” Glenn pointed the two dark colored samples. “And this is the beasts’ shit.” “This stool sample contains partially eaten fish, berries, azalea root, and cherry blossom tree bark.” The print that we have come across is twice the size of any known animal in this region. This species of beast can be the most dangerous and destructive animal known on American soil…the planet. Professor Francis adamantly replied, “You’ve got to be joking…an animal that size just doesn’t exist anywhere!” “Lady…you don’t know what can come out of the Canadian wilderness…as I suspect, this beast has had to come from nowhere other than Canada or Alaska.” “Besides…I’ve had the shit and print analyzed and compared to samples of the same type of animal in this region, including the Philadelphia Zoo.” “Ranger Glenn,” said the professor, “you can’t mean”… “Yes I do”, replied Glenn. “My dear Captain, what we are investigating is the invasion of a rather large bear…a killer bear…a giant Kodiak Bear.” The captains’ jaw dropped, “you’ve got to be shittin me…a fuckin bear?” “No captain, a giant fuckin bear…the biggest fuckin beast that I’ve ever come across, according to the prints and the trail it left in this area of the park,” said Glenn. “My friends, this Kodiak is a monster…the average size for a big Kodiak usually grows to about 9 feet in length, 6 to 7 feet high on all fours, and weighs about 500 to 800 lbs.” “From the size of this new print and the print impression that I’ve seen throughout this area of Strawberry Mansion.” The ranger continued on, “Now how it got here is one big damn mystery.” “This animal is territorial and will kill, eat, or destroy anything it deems a threat to its food.”

Captain Samuel went back to the 39th District before returning to the 14th. When Willice Samuel told Captain Jarard Noodles of the last discovery, he replied, “Bullshit.” “There’s no way in hell that we’ve got a killer bear in Fairmount Park.” “Willice, if you go to Commissioner and Mayor with this horseshit, you can kiss your Gold Bars good-bye.” “There’s no way in hell you’re gonna convince these people that a giant bear is living in the park…hell, I don’t even believe you.” “What will the news media do with this shit?” “People won’t go to the park for fear of being mauled…a goddamn panda bear – the assholes with guns will come out of the fuckin woodwork …they’ll want to shot the fuckin place up – they’ll shot at the first thing that moves.” “Well, Jerry…I can’t sit here with my thumbs up my ass…I need to report what we’ve found out in those woods”, replied Samuel. “I’ve got two experts in disagreement over its size while the dead kid’s folks want to know what the hell we’re doing about his killer.” “And now I find myself sitting here arguing with you on what it is, and what ain’t.” ”Tell you what Jerry…I’m going”… The captain’s telephone rings…his expression froze…his complexion changed… it appeared as white as chalk as the color left his face. “There’s been a sighting of your monster bear!” It attacked a mother and her kids over at the Smith Playground…the motherfucker killed one of the kids.” ‘It took him and injured one of the other three!”

Sirens screamed throughout the North Philly air. Ambulances, Fire and Rescue, and Police, converged on the Smith Playground vicinity. The surrounding area of 33rd Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue was filled with emergency vehicle and the news media. Reporters scrambled throughout the attack scene and its predominantly Black neighborhood. Interviewers shoved microphones and cameras in the faces of people not wanting exposure while those that did pushed and shoved their way to any figure holding one or the other – hoping for a chance to appear on the evening television news shows.

“The beast, according to a passing jogger who witnessed the horrible attack, the older boy in its mouth while standing atop of another kid.” “The mother of the children was screaming and throwing things at it…blood was flying everywhere…the beast was the biggest damn bear I’d ever seen, I mean it was huge, monstrous…the poor kid was in its mouth…it held the boy in its jaws – the kid’s torso was engulfed by its teeth.” The jogger went on to describe the boy’s dilemma. “He wasn’t a little kid…he appeared to be about 16 or 17 years old…his brother, the one the thing was standing on, looked to be about 6 or 7 years old – the big kid was totally in the things mouth – the little kid was just about covered by the animals foot, I could hardly see him…if not for him screaming and the blood spouting all over!”

The accosting beast beat a wide breath through the woods near the rear of the playground and the golf-ball driving range’s high fence. The blood trail lead down the hill and across several embankments down toward the river. The body of the assaulted teen was not found. The bear tracks and blood trail disappeared at the connecting parkway drives and road surface save for a spatter of blood that was found at the entranceway of East River Drive at Green Valley Run Drive. A few feet away was the Schuylkill River. Park Rangers and Mounted Police were in hot pursuit of the animal when a passing roller-blader pointed to the middle of the near frozen river. A scully rower also pointed to the middle of the Schuylkill as well. “Yo…I saw something big hit the water and it made a terrible noise and then I saw the splash as it disappeared under the water.

Authorities from all four points of the city converged on the East River Drive at Green Valley Drive. Lemon Hill was cordoned off to traffic and pedestrians alike. Both ends of the river drives were closed…from the East Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval on both sides of the river. The two police captains rushed to the scene of alarm. Captain Samuel arrived before Captain Noodles. Samuel directed six officers from his 14th District to commandeer the traffic operations at the North end of East and West River Drives – The East Falls Bridge, while the other six, from the 39th District to take charge of the operations at the South end – Eakins Oval. Captain Noodles was caught up in traffic tie-ups throughout the Lemon Hill area, 33rd and Girard Avenue to 34th and Girard, on the West side of the Girard Avenue Bridge – The Philadelphia Zoo. He was stuck on the bridge waiting for officers to clear the way for him. When he finally got to the East River Drive, he wasn’t pleased to find Captain Samuel commanding his men.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Dexter Talis stood in the center parking lot of the Smith Playground screaming into a police hand-held radio. The commissioner ordered all area district commanders to coordinate their searches and to maintain order while controlling the on-lookers and media at large – “NO INTERVIEWS! DO NOT TALK TO THE MEDIA!” As the Mayor was weighing in on the precarious situation, three of her mobile-car telephones were lit up…blinking furiously while she rode in the back of her official city issued limousine. She demanded to know what exactly was taking place. As the mayor was weighing in on the precarious situation, three of the four mobile-car-telephones lit up and flashed furiously. She was already highly pissed at the failure and breakdown of protocol on her watch. The data surrounding the initial attack was never delivered to her office. The mayor punished herself for not going directly to the Irvin-Xavier family. The mayor demanded to know the status of the woman and her three children while screaming into the receiver of the fourth car phone. “I want to see all four District Commanders immediately!” Mayor Finkles was livid. The police commissioner ordered all officers to move everything and everyone in the path of the mayor’s route of travel towards the terrible scene. Finkle’s limo and lead escort car raced down the Roosevelt Boulevard from the Northeast section of Philly. The lights of the two vehicles flashed brightly…red and blue lights on the dashboard, rear window, and front header-panel grill illuminated the cloudy dull late Thursday afternoon. The mayor had just departed a meeting at a hotel on Old Lincoln Highway. The meeting was to generate new job opportunities for the unemployed citizens of Philadelphia. She slammed the telephone into its cradle – she wondered at the possibilities of civil unrest regarding the attacks…the chaotic activities that would arise in light of the fact that the first death was a black kid and the other white.

Gerald Glenn arrived at the 33rd Street entranceway to the driving range and Smith Playground. He attempted to cross the police line that was cordoned off with yellow “Do Not Cross” tape. A rookie officer refused to his advance. The ranger attempted to explain his official capacity and relevance for being at the scene. The rookie refused to hear him. “I’ve got my orders…no one is to cross”, he said with a truculent snarl and stare! The officer stood six foot six and weighed about two hundred and seventy-five pounds. He towered over the ranger who was every bit of five foot ten and weighing near one hundred and sixty pounds soaking wet. The ranger reached for his badge and identification. He held the credentials up for the cop to see…the rookie was staunch in his position. “NO ONE IS TO CROSS THIS LINE…SIR!” The ranger stepped away from the cop while retrieving a cell phone from his right hip pocket. He dialed a number…the number was that of Captain Samuel. He’d given Glenn the number in case he needed to get in touch with him right away. When the captain got the call, he barked into a hand-held police radio. Almost instantly, a police sergeant appeared and screamed at the rookie – “What in the hell is the matter with you?” – While waving at Glenn to come forward and cross under the yellow barrier tape – “Did you not see his badge and ID?” “Yes sir”, said the rookie. “I saw that he wasn’t a cop and this is a crime scene…I was just doing my job.” The sergeant stared at the officer as Glenn walked past him…”Ass-hole”, said Glenn to the rookie cop. The sergeant nodded his approval of the comment.

The ranger stepped away from the cop retrieving his cell phone, dialed the number that Captain Samuel had given him. Samuel received the call from Glen and immediately barked into his hand held police radio. Almost instantly, a police sergeant appeared and screamed at the rookie – “What the hell is the matter with you?” All the while waving at Glenn to come across the line. “Did you not his badge and ID?” The rookie responded, “Yes sir, I saw that he wasn’t a cop and this is a crime scene.” The sergeant glared at the young officer as Glenn walked past him…”ass-hole”, said Glenn to the rookie.

Ranger Glenn watched as the woman and her injured son were attended to by the EMR techs. CSI teams scurried about taking pictures and gathering samples for evidentiary research and evaluation. The ranger was not impressed as no one sought his input. The police sergeant nodded several times while listening to his hand-held police radio. “My orders sir, are to assist you in every way possible.” The ranger smiled. “Actually Sergeant, there’s not much for me to do here…I’ve seen just about all I need to at this point.” “I would appreciate it very much if Professor Francis could join up with Captain Samuel and me at the Fountain Green and East River Drive entranceway…I want to view the area where the creature disappeared.” “The captain has been called to another location sir”…”I don’t know Professor Francis”, said the sergeant. “Alright, can you radio the captain and have him contact the professor?” “Tell the captain that I need her here – NOW!”

The ambulance carried Mrs. Czerpaky and her injured child to Temple University Hospital for treatment. Two plain-clothes police officers in separate unmarked cars followed the ambulance with a marked patrol car carrying two officers brought up the rear, traveled in tandem. The sirens screamed through the city streets as on-lookers gawked and pointed. CSI, Police Task Force, and Swat Teams armed with assault weapons, fanned out through the area of the attack down to the river’s edge. Police Skin Diver crews were dispatched to the river’s edge at Fountain Green and East river Drive. Pedestrian and automobile traffic was grid locked. The local news media swarmed over the area with their air coverage in helicopters. The police choppers issued air space safety guidelines as two air vehicles barely missed each other in flight. The television and radio reports of the incident flooded the communication systems, pre-empting regularly scheduled television and radio shows. The media marquis in center city flashed messages about the attacks and fatality. Nothing was reported about Lindsey Irvin.

Mrs. Carolynn Czerpaky and her sons, Brian and Jason were from Clifton Heights, just outside the city of Philadelphia. They were in the park on a research, study, and play-day trip. Carolynn wanted to teach her sons about some to the wondrous sites throughout the city. The builder-founders of Smith Playground were a part of the criteria. Richard and Sarah Smith in Anno Domini MDCCCXCVII erected the structure. It housed the famous ‘Giant Sliding Board’ with its rooftop balcony and five gables facing the front parking lot on Reservoir Drive and Mount Pleasant Drive at 33rd Street in North Philly. The golf course driving range is located directly next door, separated by a small creek and gully. The playground also has an outdoor swimming pool for the children in the warm weather summer months. Three floors make up the buildings total structure. Arts and craft activities, a basketball court, and several other interests are housed inside the structure as well. The schedule of operation is Tuesday thru Sunday 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The surrounding area presents many mansions erected throughout the park. Many of them built in the 17th and 18 hundred centuries. Rockland Mansion is around the corner from the playground on Rockland Drive near the reservoir. The Edgley Drive thoroughfare hosts the Diamond Street baseball diamonds and basketball courts. Several tennis courts abound the area as well.

The skin divers were prepared to enter the cold dark murky water. Ranger Glenn ran across the street to where the team’s commanding officer stood. Glenn cautioned and suggested to the Lieutenant not to send the team into the water until they knew whether the beast is under there or not. “We need to recover that boy’s body, Ranger!” The ranger responded, “Lieutenant, if the animal has a den somewhere around here, it has probably stashed the body there…it will protect its prey…meaning, it will attack and kill anything and anybody…play it smart and wait awhile. If you do anything at all, I would suggest dragging the bottom of the river.” The lieutenant paused and thought for a moment…”O.K., I’ll get some boats out there and see if we can get a rise out of the thing by dragging the bottom of the river.” The Lieutenant ordered his men to get their boats out on the water. The divers and crews began the dragging process. The motor powered rowboats and cruisers scoured the riverbanks on sides, east and west simultaneously while working towards the center. Two boats headed up the river towards the viewing stand on the East side of the river. A small island, which stands immediately in the center of the river, was the immediate search area. The island entertained many species of wildlife that nature had to offer in this region. It housed mostly the Canadian Geese who most always lived in this area year-round. The officers in the two boats approached the island on either side. Tethering their craft, the two- man and two-woman team disembarked the vehicles and stepped onto the soil of the island.

The four officers were very careful as to not disturb hatchlings and other wildlife residing in and on the island. One of the officers noticed a large print with distinctive five point edged insertions. The large distinctive prints cut deeply into the soil…they appeared to be unusually large claw marks. Further into the search, about five to six feet away from the first impression, geese nests were dug out and destroyed. The remnants of eggshell crumbs were scattered about…shrubbery and several small trees were torn and uprooted…roots were chewed and limbs were broken, “He’s certainly been here”, stated one of the officers. “Alright…call it in and let’s get the hell out of here before it comes back”, another exclaimed.

The city’s Police Commissioners, District Commanders, National Guard Officers, several A.D.A.’s, representatives of the news media, Professor Francis, Ranger Glenn, 8 Local Park Rangers, and 4 zoo officials were present at the mayor’s emergency meeting in her City Hall Chambers. The mayor walked in with a distinguishing looking elderly gentleman, an advisor. He was the former mayor of Philadelphia, Roger Tanex. The mayor opened the meeting with greetings to all. She then focused her gaze upon the police commanders. “Gentlemen…where are we at present with this investigation?” Police Commissioner Dexter Talis reported Mrs. Czerpaky and her eight-year-old son are being cared for at the local hospital. Her son, Jason, is in stable condition as related to his injuries. The body of the other son remains unfound. “We are continuing to keep on with our search up and down the Schuylkill River and its banks. Park grounds and trails in the immediate area are patrolled…the patrols have been doubled and all available officers as well as the National Guard and Park Rangers are put on alert status. “The commissioner then turned his gaze towards Captain Samuel and nodded as the television cameras recorded the officers every movement. Captain Samuel motioned Ranger Glenn and Professor Francis to come forward. “I’d like to introduce The United States and National Parks and Forests Ranger Gerald Glenn and The National Game Warden and Carnivore Expert, Professor Genailia Francis.” “These two experts discovered signs of a rather unusual species of wild animal that we most probably have never before encountered.” “Your Honor and distinguished representatives…we have discovered a most dangerous and very large animal in our midst,” said Professor Francis. “Ranger Glenn and I have concurred and consulted with my mentor and teacher, Professor Vernon Rockford, whereas we have concluded this animal to be a very large

Kodiak bear!” “This animal stands approximately nine-feet tall while standing on all fours…from the ground to the shoulder. His length is probably twelve to fourteen feet in length, snout to tail, and weighs about five thousand pounds.” “The three of us have been in contact and with extensive examinations of these types of carnivores…albeit, not nearly as large as this one.” “Professor Rockford can best explain and elaborate on the type of animal that we think we are dealing with.” “Professor,” Genailia conceded the floor to the professor.

“Thank you, Professor Francis…allow me to present a brief history of the type of animal that we are dealing with. A power point slide show was projected on the bare white wall, the Southwesterly wall of the meeting room.

A photo array of different types of bears was projected from the viewpoint of the professor’s lap top computer and projector. The Kodiak bear, as we know it is an Alaskan Bear. One of the great Alaskan Brown bears; it’s also one of the world’s largest land dwelling flesh-eater. It grows to be about 9 feet in length and can weigh up to 1700 lbs in weight. Alaskan Brown Bears feed almost entirely on fish when salmon are running upstream to spawn. An expert fish catcher…other times the bears make a meal of whatever is available; they dig for roots, bulbs, grass, berries, fruit, eggs, insects, squirrels, and other small animals…bears eat many kinds of food…mostly vegetables.”

“Bears make up one family of the carnivores, or meat eating animals or mammals, if you will. Bears share a common ancestry with dogs…close relations are raccoons and pandas – all have bulky bodies and stubby tails with thick and powerful legs. Their heels touch the ground just like humans when they walk. The prints of their back/hind feet are remarkable. They are much like the prints of huge flat-footed humans. The Native-American Indians called the Grizzly Bears beasts that walk like people. Bears can run at nearly 30 miles an hour – they are skilled tree climbers and live for about 15 to 30 years in the wild. They can live longer in captivity. Most bears are found in Asia, Europe, and North America. The South American Spectacled Bear is the only species living south of the equator. The main types of bear inhabit the North Americas – Big Brown Bears, the Grizzly and the American Black Bear. Polar Bears inhabit the Arctic Region.”

“The Black Bear, ranging in species, is found in Alaska and Northern Canada to Central Mexico. The American Black Bear appears in a variety of colors – most of these bears grow shiny black fur in the Eastern Range; many have brown or cinnamon colored coats, in the Western Range. The Glacier or Blue Bear, with grayish blue fur are found in Southern Alaska. In the island off British Columbia, a species of Creamy White fur colored bears can be found. They are called Kermode’s Bear. The American Black Bear usually weighs about 500 pounds. They are the smallest of the North American Bears and it is a wide-ranging species. Like many bears everywhere, the American Black Bear fills up on many different kinds of food during the summer and fall. By the time cold weather comes, the bear is very fat and ready for a long winter’s nap. Eating nothing and living off its fat throughout the winter sleep. Occasionally it may wake up briefly and grumble. On mild days it may even leave its den for a short walk.”

“Cubs are born in late January or early February while the mother is in her den. She usually has two cubs, but sometimes three or four are born. Each one is usually less than 10 inches long and weighs about 1 pound. The cubs are covered with thick coats of wooly hair by the spring, March and/or April. The cubs and mother leave the den and start to wander through the woods or their immediate environment. The mother bear keeps a constant watch over her cubs. She begins to teach them how to hunt for food. If danger is near, she’ll more than likely send the cubs up a tree. The mother will protect the cubs to the death. If the cubs disobey the mother bear, she may grab them by the scruff of the neck, portray a scolding growl, or cuff them soundly. The family usually stays together for about one and a half to two years.”

“The Grizzly is a vanishing monarch. It is usually found to be much larger than its cousin, the Black Bear. The Grizzly usually weighs up to one thousand pounds. The only North American Black Bear is the Kodiak. There is a significant physical difference between the Black Bear and the Grizzly. The Grizzly’s face has a curved-in appearance whereas the Black Bear has a straight face. The Grizzly has a shoulder hump and very long straight claws. Its color can range from a yellowish shade to almost black. Some have light-tipped hair that gives a virtual grizzled look. Sometimes these bears can also be identified as Silvertips. The mighty Grizzly once ranged from Alaska to Mexico. Now they have almost disappeared from the Canadian border. They have been seen in the wilderness areas of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The National Park in the American West is the most likely place to see Grizzly’s, much like his animated kin, ‘Yogi Bear’ of Jelly-Stone Park. Grizzlies are closely related to the Alaskan Brown Bear. Some experts consider the two are the same species. “

“The Great White Bear – the Polar Bear roams the ice packs and costs of the Arctic Ocean. The weight of these great white bear may be as much as one thousand pounds. A powerful swimmer, it has been found for out at sea. Polar Bears have been known to travel from one iceberg to another. With keen eyesight and an extraordinary sense of smell, makes this great bear a proficient hunter. Polar Bears have been known to hunt walrus pups, seals, large fish, and other catchable prey. One technique of this huge animal is to hide its nose; which is often black, as well as its paws; in the snow. The mass of its body is as white as the surrounding terrain that masks its presence. The female is the only polar bear that stays in a den during the arctic winter. The female polar bear that is due to deliver cubs digs a den deep in the snow after traveling inland. The bear sleeps in the den throughout the month. Nights in the Arctic can last from about thirty to thirty-one days. The newborn cubs are usually about 10 inches long. The cubs have been known to stay with their mother up to about one and a half years of age. The hunting of polar bears is limited by International Agreements whether it be hunting or commercial purposes. Other bear, such as the Spectacled Bear lives in the Andes Mountains of South America. There are many variations of Brown Bears. Some of these bears are known to live in the European and Asian Mountains. The Himalayan Black Bear is an interesting animal. Its fur has the look of a mane. India, Malaysia, and Srilanka have white or yellowish crescents on their chests. The Indian Black Bear and the Srilanka Black Bear is an insect-eating sloth.  This information gentlemen and ladies should help you to better understand the nature and the different types of bear in the world and throughout this region. The hybrid bear that you are searching for is an anomaly. I don’t understand how this animal has come to claim the parkland of this region. It has to have come from the Alaskan Wilderness…what brought it here is a question that I will ponder and return to you my findings when completed. Thank you for your attention and patience in my presentation and explanation to the dilemma that we are now dealing with.” The professor did not wait for questions as he left the room. The ranger and Professor Francis studied the faces of the people in the room for reactions. They were not disappointed. The look of shock and bewilderment stretched all around the room, from face to face.

Mayor Finkles stood up and looked at the commanders…”I want results…like yesterday!”

Captain Samuel motioned to the ranger and the two professors to join him, “I’m going out on a limb here…I believe in what you’ve uncovered. However, as we speak, the zoo people are convincing the mayor and her gang to the contrary. We need to get this thing and get it quickly…because I know it’s going to kill someone else…my kids hang out in the park!” The four-member group headed out of the meeting room into a waiting elevator. Captain Jarard Noodles glared at them from across the room with envious eyes. He wanted to discredit Samuel and the professor. He was bucking for a promotion…he wanted to be the Police Commissioner.


This bestselling novel has 31 chapters to the conclusion. To the author’s discretion, the remaining chapters may or may not be shortened, while Parts 1 and 2 have been submitted in their entirety…Stay Tuned and Happy Reading!


Next Week, Part 3 of ‘Fairmount the Series’ – “Sweet Briar Cutoff.”