Friday, June 17, 2011

Chapter Eight

I chewed the eraser off the pencil. I had the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, SEC filings from my old company, internet press-clippings and fast food wrappers strewn around the trailer. I was looking for something. I did not know what it was.

I do not believe in coincidences. Susan’s death and the unknown whereabouts of her husband - huge sums in his escrow account, Walters and his bunch – these and more bother me. I do not like the tightness in my chest that signal rising anxiety. It let me know I need to pay attention to the unknown.

Tonka snored beneath my feet. The air reeked of Hormel chili and stale farts. Most are his.

It was almost time for Moira’s bus. I glanced at the microwave clock for the seventh time in two minutes. It wasn’t unusual for the bus to be late. In fact it was the norm. The single mom that drove the bus juggled the job along with two others and three kids. It was, however, unusual for her to be this late. Tonka got up and whined at the door.

“Come on dog” I muttered to the mastiff.

I stepped out to get a better view to the entry to the park. Just as I took another step I heard the phone ring back and turned and fell right over the dog.

“Stupid freaking dog!” Tonka looked indignant as I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I gasped. I thought I had missed the call and almost hung up the receiver when a muffled voice sobbed on the other end.

“Mr. MacGregor, its Alice…. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, I couldn’t.” sniffing and sobbing.

“What is it Alice, has there been an accident? Are you all okay?”

“They took her Mr. MacGregor, they took her and I couldn’t stop them!” she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Who took what Alice, what are you talking about?”

“I’m so sorry Mr. MacGregor I couldn’t” She sniffed “They had them papers and then the Sheriff pulled her from my arms I tried but they said they’d arrest me … I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry” she cried. “They had papers that said your wife could keep her because you couldn’t provide her for her no more” in her deep country accent.

“Alice, my ex-wife died three nights ago. That was no sheriff!” I shouted in disbelief as I dropped the phone and slumped to the floor.

My vision narrowed and I tasted bile in my throat. The fallen phone lay on the floor and I could dimly hear Alice’s voice crying and pleading with me to say something.

I sat there for an eternity.

Somewhere far away the phone kept repeating, “if you want to make a call please hang up and try again…”

Tonka laid his head in my lap. Dark fell through the still open door. Finally a car headlight beam played across Tonka’s face and parked by the table. A woman got out and slowly walked towards us.

“Jake, … Jake, you okay?”

I continued to stare straight ahead.

“They stole Moira Deb.”

I felt her hand on my arm “Oh my God Jake, I’m so sorry.” My head fell to my chest as I sobbed without a sound. Tonka nestled closer and let out the softest of moans.

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