Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Archive for the category “San Francisco”

What Do You Mean, “Move?”

I LOVE OLD MOVIES. It doesn’t hamper my enjoyment if it is a film that is 20 years old, or 30, 50, or even older than me.

“Oh, it has sound. What fun!”

Last night, at an ungodly hour, I grabbed the remote and tuned into my 173rd viewing of “The Producers,” a gem of a movie from 1967 with Gene Wilder in his first major role and the completely insane Zero Mostel.

If you have never seen this movie, Shame on you! Go to your room!

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Take Me Out To The Shrine

HERE WE ARE ENJOYING THE MAY FLOWERS that have bloomed thanks to the April showers. The grass is green and, oh, yeah, the Baseball season is in full swing.

Now that The Boys of Summer have a few weeks under their belts and rosters are solidifying. It is time to erect “The Shrine” at Casa Nuestra.

Each season we are able to acquire some of the team “giveaways” that make the shrine just a giftshop away from being a real roadside attraction.

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How Was Your Morning?

HUMAN BEINGS ARE THE CRAZIEST PEOPLE – and I think I know the zaniest of the bunch. They follow me.

I lived in California for 25 years – the world’s largest open-air asylum, and to put the frosting on that, I resided in San Francisco – Ground Zero for weird.

After all those years in California I moved to Indiana. Terre Haute (That’s French for “We’re gentle people aside from the Meth.”) is the Peoria of the Midwest with good, solid, hard working people who don’t wallow around in being nutty. If this is so why am I sitting next to a guy who would make San Francisco move to another table?

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Joey Who?

joey1IT LOOKS LIKE SPRINGTIME IS FINALLY HERE. I see robins and cardinals and they don’t look worried about frostbite. There are giant Vs overhead going north and there are new baseball stars on the horizon.

Major League Baseball teams have been heavy into Spring Training for over a month and just like the new flowers that pop up in the spring so do new young players.

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It’s Stranger in the Night 

work1FOR REASONS KNOWN BUT TO GOD AND THAT BURGER AND FRIES I HAD FOR DINNER, I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I did wake up several times to go and contribute to the water table. Getting back to sleep I found a difficult problem.

I finally gave up at about 5:30 AM. I’ll make up for my tossing and turning today in front of the TV. All I need to do is drop my bones into the Rip van Winkle Memorial Chair, turn on TCM and BOOM! I’ll be sound asleep within seconds. Like a Polar Bear in winter.

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Fiction Saturday – Chapter 24 – And Pull The Hole – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Chapter 24

 

Chapter Twenty-Four

 

pull-drivingA starlit nightfall was racing across the Mojave Desert and California was disappearing into shades of gray and neon splashes.

“Davis, wake up.  I want you to take over.  I’m exhausted and I think we’ll be safer with night coming on.  We’ll switch again when we stop for gas.”

“You look drained.  Laura, we are going to make it, right?”

“We’ll make it, Davis.  Things will be fine.  Once we get to the border, we’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, beautiful, carefree, Mexico.”

They were both whistling past the graveyard and they knew it.

They had changed their path south to California Route One, the coast road.  Just north of Ventura, on the outskirts of LA, Laura pulled the car into a Shell station.

The orange floodlights washed over the concrete and the islands with the self-serve gas pumps.  Inside the station a young man with stringy hair and acne sat behind the counter reading a motorcycle magazine.

“I’ll fill it up,” said Davis.

Laura opened her door and got out.  She stretched her arms and yawned.  She looked around the brightly-lit station.

“I’m going to the bathroom.  I’ll be right back.”

She walked into the mini-mart and reemerged seconds later holding a large brass key attached to a miniature baseball bat.  She disappeared into the darkness around the side of the building.

Davis used his debit card to fill the tank of his three-year-old, white, four-door Ford Taurus.  He made a mental note that it was due for a scheduled maintenance checkup.  He topped off the tank and put the nozzle back into the pump.  It was then that he realized he was finally hungry.

He really hadn’t eaten anything since he had picked at his lunch back at the Target store in Santa Maria.  Now he wished that he had, at least, eaten his churro.  Laura had inhaled her food as if lunch was going out of style.

“Maybe she’s more used to this than me,” he thought to himself.

After replacing the gas cap and pocketing his receipt, Davis walked up to the cashier’s counter inside the station.

“Hey, good evening, Mister.  Can I help you?”  The young clerk put his magazine down on the counter.

“Hi.  I need to get something to snack on.”pull-gas-station

“We got a pretty good selection of munchies and the cold sodas and stuff are over there in the cooler.  We don’t sell beer or anything hard any more.”

“Thanks.  Soft drinks will do.”

Davis walked over to the rack.  He studied the collection of foil and paper-wrapped sweet and salty junk foods.  He picked up a small bag of chips and headed over toward the beverages.

“Hey, Mister,” the kid called out to him.

“Yes, what?”  Davis turned away from his search.

“I think you got some company outside,” said the young man, his head tilted toward the door and the gas pumps beyond.

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Fiction Saturday Chapter 23 – Pull The Hole… Continued

 Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Twenty-Three

 pull-clouds“Actually, Davis, using your car is a good idea.  We can avoid public transportation and no pesky rental agreements floating around.”

“See, I told you I’d come in handy.”  Davis looked out of the passenger side window at the passing California landscape.  “I wish you’d let me drive for a while, though.”

“Later tonight maybe.  I’m a better driver than you are and it helps me to relax.” Relax was something that Laura had not been able to do for a second, ever since she saw her own face staring out from page four of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Besides, I think better while driving.  Maybe I can figure a way out of this mess for us.”

“Well, I’m a very good driver—no accidents ever, and you could use a break.”  Davis knew there was no changing her mind once it was made up, even though Laura looked like she hadn’t slept in days and her jaw was clenched tight.

Appreciating his effort to care for her, Laura smiled and gazed at him as he huddled up against the car door.  He looked lost, she thought.

“Well, dearest,” she said, “at sixteen I was picking up extra pocket money as a wheel man.  Just for kicks really.  My father never knew.  It was stupid and dangerous, but I was good at it.”

“Don’t tell me any more right now.”  He was a stranger in a strange land if ever there was one.  “I haven’t digested everything you’ve laid on me so far.”

“Okay, I understand.”

“I do have one question though,” he said.  “Why did we stop at a travel agent before we left?  A ticket for one from Miami to Detroit?”

“A little deception.  Detroit is a border town, a ten-minute walk out of the country across the river.  I bought it in my own name, of course.  It won’t fool anybody for long, especially Dominic.  But the Feds will have to check it out.  It’ll tie up a couple of their guys for a few hours and give us a little extra edge.  It’ll help our odds, maybe.”  She shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.  “Maybe not.  I don’t know.”

“What are our odds?”  He was immediately sorry that he had asked.

“We’re two snowballs and we’re driving south.”

“Oh.”

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Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Twenty-One

 

pull-apartment-bldgHe stood by the door of his apartment building slowly going through his mail. Everything was addressed to him as either Mr. Davis Lovejoy or, all too often, as “Occupant.”  Mixed in with the junk mail and the bills was a plain white envelope with no return address.  It was postmarked the day before.  He opened it slowly.  It was almost as if he expected it to explode.  Inside was a single sheet of notepaper—the same notepaper he had seen taped to the mirror in Laura’s apartment.

“Meet me in the arboretum in Golden Gate Park, tomorrow at ten a.m. – at the Moon Viewing Platform.”  It was signed with a simple ” L.”

“My God.  What is going on here?  Crazy notes?  Secret meetings?”

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Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Nineteen

 

pull-newspaperWhen she ran from Dominic she was hoping that, in time, her life would become less complicated.

“Well that didn’t happen, did it?” she said out loud as she popped a bagel in the toaster.  She wanted a life that was simpler, not filled with so many dangerous possibilities. “Didn’t get that either, did you?” she said as she picked up the morning paper from outside her door.

 Your timing sucks, girl.  Why did this have to happen now?  Twelve years ago I would have jumped for joy.  Now I’m sick about it, just sick.

“This man…this fine, wonderful, funny, and tender man says that he loves me, and I believe him.  I think that I love him, too.  Oh, hell, I know that I do.  I know that I love the way he smells and the way he tastes.  I love his voice in my ear and his breath on my neck.  He makes me gasp.

“It’s like I’m reading a book for the first time.  One I should have read a dozen years ago.  One that everybody else has already read, and now I want to memorize every word.

“He says that he wants to be with me.  He doesn’t know what that really means.  If I tell him, I’m afraid he’ll run, and I’m afraid for him if he doesn’t run.

“I didn’t know that my skin could ever be so… so in love with someone else’s skin.  He kissed my little scars.  He kissed my moles.  I didn’t know that love could be fun.  I didn’t know that love could be my choice.  I didn’t know love, period.

“I would never hurt him and I’d kill anyone who tried to.  I hope he’d be able to do the same for me.  Hopefully it will never come to that.

“Maybe I can stay here.  Maybe I can be safe.  It’s been only a couple of months, at most.  Oh, why can’t…?  Why can’t…too many things?”

The pungent aroma of the coffee brought her back into her kitchen.  She poured herself a mug and picked up the newspaper.  Quickly scanning past the local news she got to page four.

“Oh, Christ.”
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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Seventeen

 

table1“How’s the chowder, Jim?”

“Good.  How about your salad, Dear?”

“It’s a salad,” said Blanche.  “It’s okay, but I’ve had better.  But you know, we really come here for the floor show.”

Two baby-boomers, married for almost twenty-five years, were out for a night on the town, visiting their favorite restaurant in The Marina.

“Yes, don’t you just love it?  A nice little neighborhood restaurant,” said the husband, gesturing with his fork, “that has such great entertainment.”

“The people, the customers, are the show,” agreed his wife, waving her hand in a sweeping arc.  “This is the best place to people watch.  You get a real cross section of humanity eating here.

Anybody look promising to you tonight, entertainment-wise?” Blanche asked.

Jim scanned the room, looking over the tables and booths filled with diners.

“Yes, those two over there, in the booth near the window.”  He pointed with a breadstick.  A small piece broke off and fell onto the candle glowing in the center of their table.

“The blonde with the short hair and the cute guy?” she asked.  “What’s your take on them?”

“Let’s see.”  He adjusted his glasses, trying for just right tilt of his head to see that far clearly.  “Judging from the body language, I’d say that it’s not a first date, but they’re not married.”

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

pull-roseChapter Sixteen

 

Davis wasn’t late the next morning.  He showed up on time and he was carrying one white rose.  Laura blushed.

After another leisurely breakfast they walked down by the shore of the Bay.  The fog had stayed out at sea and the Golden Gate Bridge dominated the view, it’s towers vaulting into the sky.  As they strolled beside the magnificent sailing yachts and watched skeins of pelicans skim the surface of the Bay, these two transplants from other lives held hands and knew that something was happening that they hadn’t planned on.  And they let it happen.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – continued

pull-dons-mansionChapter 15

The homes in the Hamptons are as close as one can find anyplace in this country to real palaces.  Size and ostentation were the bywords when most of the so-called “cottages” were built in the late nineteenth century.

The men sat in two soft, green leather wing chairs, facing each other.  Don Giani’s cottage was absurdly large and provided him with the aura of old money that he felt painted him with respectability.

The room was filled with too much of everything.  The Don had wealth, but not the taste to know when enough was enough.  Tables were crowded with small mementos and photos.  He kept an antique barber chair in one corner, ostensibly to remind him of his humble roots.  The reality was that he liked to sit in it during meetings.  It made him feel like a king on his throne.  There were at least a dozen pictures of his daughter at various ages.  She was his prized possession.

“Dominic, where is my daughter?  Have you found her yet?”

“Honest, Don Giani, I don’t know where she is—yet.  I traced her to Boston, but after that, nothing.  Do you think she might have gone up to Montreal, you know, to visit her people up there?”

“No.  Let me tell you something, Dominic.  I’m losing my patience with you.  I’ve got my own people out looking for her, too.  I already know about her car in Boston and the airline tickets.  She’s not in Montreal, or Miami.  I would have heard and she’d be back home by now.

“You have your people looking – I have mine,” continued the Don, his patience waning.  “I don’t care who finds her first, but if I find her first you are going to pay for my expenses on this.  I put the blame for all of this mess on your head.  So, you are going to pay for it.”

Dominic was starting to sweat.  Under his suit jacket, he could feel his shirt sticking to his back.

“Sir, I hear where you’re coming from, but since I don’t actually know why she took off, it may have nothing to do with me.  She may have just gone off on a vacation.  So, I don’t think, necessarily, therefore, and ergo, that I should have to pay for something you are choosing to do on your own.  I love her with all my heart and I’m scared for her.  I don’t know where she is and I want her home, that’s all.  Can’t you see this from my point of view?”

“Your point of view?  In this, you don’t have a point of view until I tell you to have a point of view.

“My daughter fell in love with you for some reason and wanted to marry you.  I wasn’t happy with her choice.  I always thought you were never going to amount to anything beyond a two-bit grift.  I was right.”

“I done all right,” protested Dominic.

“Don’t interrupt me.  You ‘done all right’ you say?  The only reason you’ve got more than two pair of pants to your name is because of me.  I give you whatever you have.  I have to order other people to throw some crumbs your way.  I protect your sorry ass. Without me watching over you, Beverly would already be a widow.  Dominic, you are nothing but a slow-witted, violent fool.”

Dominic’s fear was turning into a barely concealed rage.  His earlier decision to kill Don Giani, after first taking care of his wife, was feeling more and more like a very good idea.  But for now, he had to sit and take the insults.

“Don Giani, I thank you for whatever help you have given me over the years, and I’m truly grateful.  I really am, but I came here to talk with you about Beverly.  I didn’t come here to be insulted and called names.”

With a quickness that belied his years, Don Giani Montini reached out and slapped his son-in-law hard across the face.  The sound cracked like a small caliber gun and Dominic’s cheek reddened immediately.  Dominic restrained his reflex to return the blow, to beat his father-in-law to death.

“You useless little piece of trash,” the Don said softly.  “Get out of my house and don’t come back without my daughter.”  He looked at Dominic like he was something he had stepped in.  “I ought to just kill you myself, right here, right now, but you are still, much to my disgust, family.”

Dominic stood up, adjusted his lapels, composing himself, and headed toward the door.  He was quiet.  He didn’t want to say anything more.  He would get his satisfaction from seeing Don Giani’s eyes staring up at him from the gutter, dead.

“Dominic, remember this.  If you have harmed my child you will beg me to let you die.”  He lowered his head and closed his eyes.  A major headache was starting to gather.

As he opened the door, Dominic turned and faced Don Giani.  It was time to twist the knife a little.  He couldn’t resist the urge.pull-beverly-as-child-copy

“Don Giani?”  When the older man looked up, Dominic reached out to the small table by the door and picked up a framed photograph of Beverly as a child.  With his ice cold eyes fixed on his father-in-law, Dominic kissed the image of Beverly’s face and then tossed the picture to the carpet.  He smiled as he walked out and closed the door quietly behind him.

Don Giani watched the door close and made a decision.

noir-man-at-big-windows

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday 

Chapter 14 – Continued

pull-coffeeThey sat there looking down at the waiter’s tip, tucked under the edge of a plate, knowing that if they got up from the table now it would be over.  The ease and promise of the evening would simply sputter out like a cheap candle.

They sipped at their cooling coffee as the waiter paced, wishing that they would leave so he could get a fresh couple in place.

After a silence, Davis mentally conceded defeat and set down his empty cup.  Laura smiled and opened the door to the future.

“You know, Davis,” she began hesitantly, “I’ve had a really nice time tonight.  I’ve needed something like this.  It’s been a long time.”  She smiled at him and meant it, really meant it.

“I’ve enjoyed it too.  I don’t want it to end, but I know it has to.  Can we do it again?” he asked.  “Can we do this again?”  He was feeling surprisingly shy.

The ball was in her court.  If she said no she would be back where she started, in her apartment and alone.  If she said “Yes”…who knows where it might take her.  But it would take her someplace.  That much was sure.

“Yes, I’d like to do it again, but next time it’s my treat.  I insist.  Fair is fair.”

Davis nodded in agreement.  “If that’s what you want, I’m okay with that.  What about lunch tomorrow?

Laura thought for a moment before speaking.  “What about breakfast?  There is a place down on Chestnut.  They make great omelets and…”

Davis interrupted her.  “I know the place.  They have some tables out on the patio? Yes, very good, super French toast too.  Breakfast tomorrow?  What time?”

Almost laughing at herself for her forwardness, she asked him, “Is seven-thirty too early?  I like the early morning on the street.”

“Seven-thirty it is.”  He was hoping for something a little bit later.  He was going to be up late tonight, working, but he smiled and agreed to meet her there.  She insisted on that condition, yet again.  “First one there chooses the table,” he added.

Outside the restaurant the sun had set and the fog was sending the temperature down.  Laura shivered as soon as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.

“Brrr.  It’s getting cold.  Laura, you’re going to freeze to death.  Here, take my jacket.”

He started to remove his sports coat in a very traditional gesture, but Laura stopped him.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she said, trying not to shiver.  “I live close by.  You just go on home now and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.  Okay?”

“Are you sure?  I can walk you home.  Remember, this is a big city with some very nasty people.”  He really was concerned. And, he wanted to spend more time with her as well.

“Thank you, but I’ll be fine, really.  That’s very sweet of you.”

She leaned into him and kissed him softly on the cheek,  gently squeezing his arm. “Good night, and thank you again for the best time I’ve had in quite a while.”

With that, Laura turned and walked around the corner into the shady darkness.  The fog swirled behind her and she was gone.

Davis stood there, not really knowing what to do or how to feel.  Should I follow her and see pull-fogwhere she lives?  No, that’s stupid and juvenile, and besides she’d kill me if she caught me.  I like her.  She’s smart, a good talker – once she relaxes, and I think she likes me.

He started walking home.  It was only seven blocks.  He’d be there before he got too chilled.  He didn’t need to catch a cold or anything.  He had too much work to get done.

“Seven-thirty a.m.  Why did I agree to that?”

Laura moved quickly through the shadowy side streets back to her apartment.  On her way home she stopped several times, just to check and make sure that he wasn’t following her.

Once she was inside, with the deadbolt locked, she took a deep breath as she kicked off her shoes and sat on the end of her bed.

I like him.  He’s smart, he doesn’t talk too much, and I think he likes me.  She saw her image in the mirror on the dresser.  She thought her reflection was giving her a stern glance.

“What are you looking at?” Laura said from the bed.  “It’s just breakfast.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Nothing is going to happen.  He’s just a nice guy.  I’m not going to hide anymore, so I might as well have some company.”

 

***

The next morning came very quickly for Davis.  He had stayed up working on his client’s accounts until a little after two a.m.  Spending the evening with Laura just pushed everything back.  It was worth it, he thought.  With a few hours of sleep and a shower he’d be fine.  Why didn’t I suggest nine a.m.?

The morning was bright and sunny.  The fog held just offshore, obscuring all but the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge towers.  It left most of the bay clear with whitecaps glistening and the commuter ferry boats bouncing in the choppy water.  The large blue and gold ferries came into The City from Marin county and the East Bay communities. A steady stream of southbound cars and buses crossed the bridge, emerging from the fog and spilling onto Lombard Street on their way to downtown.  Just another work day in paradise.

Laura was up early.  Her hair took little more than a towel dry and a quick fluff.  The new look, being more casual, required less.

Anyway, this was just breakfast.

She slipped on the denim jacket, donned the floppy hat, her sunglasses and, with a sense of guilty caution, tucked the small revolver into her bag.  She felt that Davis was not a danger, but, as even he said last night, “It’s a big city with some very nasty people.”  She had already met one of them.

Taking her time and enjoying the walk, she spotted a flock of the wild parrots again, and heard the deep bellow of the foghorns from out by the Golden Gate Bridge.  She felt at ease and was looking forward to the day.  She half regretted bringing the gun.

Arriving first at the cafe gave Laura, by prior agreement, the right to pick the table. Contrary to her last visit, she chose one of the tables on the small patio.  The edge of the umbrella above the tabletop fluttered in the early morning offshore breeze.

Ordering some orange juice, she sat there, lifting her face into the sunlight rising higher over the East Bay hills.  The warmth felt comforting.  She closed her eyes and let it wash over her.  “Oh, God, this is good,” she said out loud.

“It’s fresh squeezed for every order.”

Her eyes snapped open to see the smiling young waiter standing next to the table holding a ceramic coffee pot, steam rising from the curved spout.  “Would you like some coffee?” he asked.  “We get all of our coffee from a roastery in Mill Valley.”

When her heartbeat slowed, Laura smiled back at him and lifted her china cup.  As he poured, the aroma of the strong Kenyan blend made her mouth water.

“I’ll be having a friend join me shortly.  He would love some of this.”

“Then I’ll just leave the pot for you both,” he said, and wandered away to greet some new arrivals.

pull-cafeSipping the coffee, with just a splash of cream, Laura saw a clock on the cafe wall.  It said the time was seven twenty-seven a.m.

By her second cup it was almost ten of eight and Laura was beginning to think that she had been stood up, when she saw a frantic looking man half running down the sidewalk.  He hurried up to the short wrought iron fence that bordered the patio.

“I’m sorry…I’m sorry. I overslept and then I couldn’t find a clean pair of socks.”   She looked down and saw two bony ankles peeking out from under his chinos.  “I’m sorry.  I hope you didn’t think I forgot.”  He was panting.

“Take it easy, Davis,” she said, laughing at his discomposure.  “Come on in and have some coffee.”

Over Eggs Benedict and hot coffee Davis gave Laura a short primer on things to see and do in “The City.”  Some of the touristy things were worth seeing, others were not. There were some great little shops, cafes and vistas that must be explored and neighborhoods to experience.  He went on and on about the cultural glories of the Mission District and it’s “best food in town.”

She listened, enjoying his enthusiasm for his new hometown, only rarely interrupting him.

“It all sounds like so much fun, so much to see and do,” she said, “but what I wish you could really tell me is where I can buy some decent clothes.  I’m getting tired of wearing the same few things all the time.”

“Union Street,” he said, “is just a couple of short blocks from here.  Lots of nice shops.”  He pointed south toward the steep hills that set the Marina apart from the rest of The City.  “When we finish here we can stroll up there and you can check it out.  Okay?”

“Oh, that sounds good.  I really do need some new things and maybe I’ll buy you some new socks, you poor soul.”  She smiled and patted his hand as it held his coffee cup.

The waiter brought over their check and Laura handed him a crisp $100 bill.  She left him a good tip, thanking him for his attentive service.

“Now,” she said, “which way is Union Street again?”  She took his arm as they crossed Chestnut and headed south.

The shops on Union Street, a neighborhood called “Cow Hollow” from its rural origins, let Laura find the clothing and accessories that she needed to refill her closet.  It also lifted her spirits.  She didn’t feel so temporary any more.  Maybe things could work out for her here.

As they moved up the street, Davis found himself carrying shopping bags from several different stores, and loving it.  He didn’t know why, but he just did.

They stopped for a light lunch and then worked their way down the other side of the busy street, this time browsing in the overpriced art galleries and bookstores.

In the window of a real estate office, they ogled the pictures of the narrow Victorian row houses known as “Painted Ladies,” being offered for $1.7 million and a “fixer-upper” for a mere million.

“They have got to be kidding!” Laura exclaimed.

“Nope, and at that price, there’ll be a bidding war,” said Davis.  “Real estate here is insane.”

They were sitting in an ice cream parlor, enjoying a scoop of mango gelato when Laura noticed the time.  It was a little after three p.m.  They had spent the day – just spending the day together.

“Oh, Davis, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to monopolize your whole day.”pull-union-street

“Don’t be sorry.  I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  Even if these bags are getting a bit heavy,” he teased.

“Oh, again, I’m sorry.  I’ve used you like a slave.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Davis answered.  “I got breakfast, and a very nice new pair of Irish woolen socks out of it.  I feel fully compensated.”

As they left the ice cream parlor Laura looked at Davis struggling with the bags and said, “This has been a wonderful day and I have you to thank for that, but let’s catch a cab from here.”  With that, she stepped to the curb and let loose with an ear-splitting whistle. Two taxis came close to colliding trying to get to the curb first.

They got into the red and white “Veteran’s Cab,” the bags piled on their laps.

“Where to, folks?” asked the cabbie.

Laura spoke first.  “Where to?  I’ll drop you.”

She was not ready to let him know where she was living.  Realizing her strategy he leaned forward and told the driver, “You can drop me on Fillmore, down by the middle school.”  He was going to stop for a drink.  The cab pulled away from the curb, into traffic.

“Laura, thank you for today.  Dinner again tonight?”

She thought for a second and then countered with, “How about breakfast again tomorrow?  I’m exhausted.  Same place, same time tomorrow morning?”

Knowing that he couldn’t push her too hard, he agreed.

“Sure, only could we make a bit later, say, nine a.m.?”  He was going to be up most of the night making up for not getting anything done today.

“All right, 9 a.m., Sleepyhead.”  The taxi pulled over at the corner of Fillmore and Chestnut.

“Thanks again for a great day.”  He leaned toward her.  She met him halfway and they kissed.  This time her fingers rested on his cheek as she found his lips.

He got out of the cab and waved as it pulled away, executing an illegal u-turn and joined the flow of traffic on Chestnut Street.

He was not much of a drinker, never was, but he stopped at the little tavern a block up Fillmore.

Sitting on the stool, nursing a light beer, he went over the day, playing back the moments.  It was a good day with her, even though there were several things that struck him as–not odd, so much as mysterious.  When Laura paid for breakfast and for her purchases on Union Street, she paid in cash.  What woman doesn’t use credit cards?  And she paid for everything with hundred-dollar bills.  He saw the dress store clerks check them with their fraud pens, so he knew they weren’t counterfeit.  But who carries that many hundred-dollar bills with them to go out to breakfast, and why did she not want him to know where she lived?  She didn’t have a wedding ring on.  He had reflexively checked for that while they were both holding onto the ice cream in the Safeway.

If he was forced to list everything he knew about her, it would be a very short list, indeed.  He took out his pen and jotted on a bar napkin.

  1. She has a New York accent, although it sounds like she’s trying to hide it.
  2. She pays for everything in cash.
  3. She is afraid of someone named Dominic.

After that…nothing you could say for sure.

Oh, yes, he thought, and added another item to the list.

  1. He was falling for her.to be continued 1

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

pull-scotts-seafoodChapter Fourteen

 

The fog was in and the dusk was stealing the colors out of the day.  The neon signs in the Marina cast a fuzzy light.

By 7:45, most of the tourists had retreated back to the Fisherman’s Wharf area where the huge restaurants were shoveling frozen crab and other dubious bits of overpriced seafood into the folks from Iowa.  The Marina was now safely in the hands of the locals. Herbs and spices were mating to produce wondrous flavors that the tourists would never get to taste.

Dinner was scheduled for eight p.m. Davis had called Scott’s restaurant from the Safeway parking lot and made the reservation.  He didn’t want any snags.

He couldn’t explain it, but he felt like a teenager again.  He hadn’t been this excited about going out with a girl since his junior year in high school when one of the cheerleaders finally said “Yes.”  He hoped tonight would go better.  He double-checked the seams on his trousers, just to be sure.

It had been almost twenty years, but he could still feel his face redden at the memory.  It leaves deep and permanent scars when the seat of your pants splits open in the middle of a Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant on a busy Saturday night.

Why not just kill yourself and get it over with? he thought then.  You have embarrassed yourself by showing off your boxers in front of every kid in the school.

His date, the gorgeous cheerleader, was embarrassed because she was with the doofus who had just flashed his ass at the world.  Of course, everybody in the place had  laughed, partly out of all teens’ inborn sense of cruelty and partly out of the self-conscious knowledge that it, just as easily, could have been him or her with their polka-dotted butt hanging out for all to see.

Davis checked his seams one more time.

***

Sitting in front of her tiny makeup mirror Laura prepared for her new birthday dinner date.  Date?

“My God, am I going on a date?  No I’m not!  It’s just dinner.”  She shook her head, pushing the idea of a date out of the picture.  “It’s just dinner.”

She dressed in the nicest outfit she could put together from her shallow closet.  She wanted to look good for a dinner in a nice restaurant.  It was going to be a bit chilly out with the fog being in, but she refused to wear the denim jacket.

It was only a short stroll from her apartment to Scott’s restaurant, so she felt no need to rush.  She didn’t want to get there first.  She didn’t want to appear too anxious, although she was, terribly so.  It would be good to let him cool his heels for a few minutes.  He had made her break into a sweat in the supermarket, so a little turnabout would be fair play.  Let him think he’d been stood up.

No, she decided, he seems like a decent guy.pull-revolver

She flipped off the lights as she closed her door, checked the lock twice, made sure the safety was set on the revolver, and started toward the restaurant.

It’s just dinner.

***

 

He picked at his Dover Sole and she herded her scallops around the plate like they were little breaded sheep.

“Are the scallops okay?  We can send them back and get you something else,” said Davis, noticing her lack of interest in her dinner.

“No,” she replied.  “They’re fine.  I guess I’m just not as hungry as I thought.”  She looked at his plate.  “You’re not doing much with your sole there, I see.”

He looked at his fish and set down his fork.  “It’s really good, but I must not be all that hungry either.  Oh, well.”

Laura put down her fork and said, softly, “I want to thank you again for your help with that man on the street last week.  That took courage.  You didn’t know.  He could have been armed.  Thank you.”

Davis blushed a bit.  “I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines.  You’re welcome.”

“And…,” she continued, wanting to get all of this out, “I want to apologize for the way I treated you in the supermarket today.  I was rude to you and it was uncalled for.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”

She picked up her fork again and tasted a few grains of the golden saffron rice.  She avoided looking at Davis.  If she had looked up she would have seen him gazing at her with a thousand questions in his eyes.

“Laura, it’s me who should be begging for your forgiveness.  I should have just let you have that ice cream instead of making a federal case out of it.  I don’t know why I behaved like that.  I didn’t mean to upset you.  Please, accept my apology.”

Laura lifted her eyes to meet his.  “Apology accepted.  Now we’re even,” she said with a shy smile.  She shook her head and said, “You must have thought I was crazy.”

“Well, for a second there, I thought you were going to go postal on me,” he said.  She didn’t hear him.  Her mind was searching for the right words to explain to him what happened.

 “It’s just that – It’s just that I – I’ve had some bad experiences with men and I overreact sometimes.  I’m sorry.”  That was as good as she could allow herself to say.

“I won’t pry,” he said, “but if I can help in any way or if you ever just want to talk, I’m in the book.”

“I don’t have a phone.”  She had thrown her cell phone into a storm drain in Boston.

“Then,” he answered, reaching into his inside coat pocket, “here is my business card with my address.  I’m either there or at the donut shop on Chestnut, most times.” He extended his hand across the table.  Laura hesitated, then took the card and propped it up against the edge of her bread plate.

“Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you.  I don’t want to be a bother,” she said, looking at his card, noting that his address wasn’t very far away.

“No bother.  I’m a good listener,” he replied.

In an effort to change the subject, Laura slipped the business card into her bag on the floor next to her chair.  It leaned neatly up against the pistol.  She then turned the focus away from herself.

“Well, Davis Lovejoy, accountant and late night hero to damsels in distress, tell me about yourself.”  She smiled and reached for the bread basket.

“Me?  There’s not a whole lot to tell, I guess,” he said, and for the next twenty minutes he gave her his life story.  She stayed silent except to offer the occasional, “I see,” or “Really?”

pull-steel-mill-1Davis began with how he had grown up as an only child in a lower middle class home in Cleveland, Ohio.  His father was one of the last of the lifelong steelworkers, a man who went to work in the mills looking for a decent wage and job security.  By the time he was 55, there was neither for him.  Thirty-five years inside the hellish world of the mill had taken his strength and his health.  The only job he could do anymore was as an inspector and his failing eyesight was letting through too much flawed product.  By his fifty-seventh birthday he was on full disability and lost in the oddities of idleness.  By age sixty he was dead, in a sense by his own hand.  Because he could no longer produce, he consumed.  Alcohol finished the job that the Hot Mill had started.

Davis’s mother had doted on “her boys” for decades.  She loved her husband and missed his presence in her life.  She confided to her sister that she felt that she never saw her husband because of the hours he was working.  Later, when he could no longer work, she saw his body at home on the couch, but it wasn’t the same man she had married at St. Columbkille’s church when she was young and three months pregnant.

The Lovejoys were decent, hard working people, reliable to a fault.  They loved their son more than they had words to express.  They were determined that his life would be better.  That was the bedrock of their existence.

“No son of mine is ever going to set foot inside a steel mill,” vowed his father.

“I’d like Davis to be a doctor or a lawyer,” hoped his mother.

Dreams are promises chipped in whipped cream.

There was a needlessly long steelworkers walkout when Davis was 17 and a senior in high school.  The lost income was just that: lost, never to be recovered, no matter how good the eventual contract raises were.  The strike crippled the family’s finances.  Plans had to be changed, dreams deferred.

Davis had to get a job and the only work for a young man that paid above minimum wage was in the mills.

There were a lot of young boys looking for work with the steel companies, but having a relative already on the inside was the only sure way onto the employment rolls.

Four days after his eighteenth birthday Davis and his father went out for lunch and made two stops on the way: the first at the post office where Davis registered with Selective Service, and the second at the union hall to get his card.  A week later Davis was operating a ten-ton crane loading steel pipe onto rail cars and big rig haulers.  He was making fourteen times the wage his father had made when he’d first walked through the mill gate decades earlier.

On Davis’ first day, his mother saw her two men off to work.  She had packed them identical meals in their matching lunch boxes.

When they pulled the Dodge out of the driveway, she proudly waved goodbye to them.  When they turned the corner and headed down into the valley toward the mill, she went into the bedroom and cried like a new widow.

It seemed that, no matter how tight things got, the one bill that his father made sure got paid was the monthly premium to Met Life.  The insurance was always there, “just in case,” he said.

Davis stayed on in the mills after his father died.   He died in his sleep on the couch, in front of the television.

For the first time in thirty years in the Lovejoy house there was money enough to live on without worrying about strikes or imported Japanese steel souring the market.

Davis decided it was time to go to college.  His standing in the union and with the steel company helped him get reassigned as a “swing man.”  He became a part-time worker who would be called on to cover different jobs and different shifts as needed.  This would give him some free time to go after an education.

The idea of doing both things at once didn’t bother Davis.  Hard work was a family tradition.  Plus, he didn’t want to continue the other family tradition of being crushed and shattered by a lifetime in the mill.

His mother was proud and happy that he was going back to school.  It was the only part of her dream left alive.

Davis enrolled at Cleveland State University as a twenty-three-year-old freshman.  His plan was to major in Accounting.

He’d always seen the company’s white-collar employees going into the red brick office building just outside the mill gate.  When he saw them leaving at the end of the day their shirts were still white.

He imagined them to be the accountants and the metallurgists that were at the heart of the company.  He knew nothing about metallurgy, he thought, although most veteran steelworkers are practical metallurgists, almost chefs.  Making steel is done by recipe, adding specific amounts of this or that element to obtain the properties needed in any particular “heat” of steel.

The life of the accountant seemed more attainable.

In time, the concepts of credits, debits and creative mathematics took hold and his grades marched upward towards the Dean’s List.

The other students were curious about the “old guy with the filthy fingernails” who often came to class exhausted, but who always had his assignments ready, and who never whined about the workload.

During Finals Week,  just before Christmas, in the middle of his junior year, there was an accident at the mill.

Davis and two other men were loading oilfield pipe onto skids for shipment to Oklahoma.  One of his coworkers was a new kid, a local football “phenom” who had managed to flunk all of his classes at Ohio State.  He was so lost in the classroom that even the head coach couldn’t save his athletic scholarship.  Now the “phenom” was working in the mills, just like all the other men in his family.

The new kid was adjusting the slings on the crane that would hoist the forty-foot lengths of black, oil-covered pipe up and into position.  When it was ready, he gave the signal to proceed.  The steel lifted slowly and moved toward Davis, who would finesse the pipe into place.  Within seconds, the load began to spin slowly to the left.  The kid had not centered the load properly and it was starting to slide out of the sling.  At this point, there was nothing anyone could do.  Six forty-foot long steel pipes were going to fall fifteen feet to the concrete floor of the mill.  All hell was about to break loose.pull-steel-mill-2

Davis yelled out a warning and ran toward the young football star hoping to rescue him before it was too late, but flying steel blocked his path.  The nineteen-year-old stood transfixed at the sight of the tonnage now headed straight for him.  He never moved until the steel blasted into him, sounding like a million church bells.  He disappeared underneath what looked like a giant’s game of pick-up-sticks.

Davis went to class that night.  He had an exam to take.

He graduated with more than respectable grades, and was given a transfer by the steel company out of the mill, and into the red brick office building.  There he learned that there are other ways to die on the job.

He went to work every day in the Accounting Department doing billings on the steel pipe that he used to make.  He wore a white shirt and took care of his mother.  It was the hardest job he had ever had in his life.

After his father’s death, Davis saw his mother’s life unravel.  No matter how many people dropped by to visit her, she was by herself too often, and in the end, she died of loneliness.

For the first time in his life, Davis Lovejoy was on his own.  No one needed him.  There was no reason for him to hurry home after work.  There was no reason for him to go home at all.  There was no home.  There was only a house on a side street, in a neighborhood too close to the steel mills.

After one more bitter winter of being alone in his childhood home, shoveling snow and watching the old neighborhood rot, he decided to make another change in his life.

He wanted to be where the sun shined more, where there was air that didn’t carry warnings, and where there was no snow to shovel.  He used his vacation time to scout out likely cities.  When he got to San Francisco he felt comfortable at once.  The cool breeze off the ocean carried a salty tang and the warm sun let everything blossom.

So, at almost thirty years of age, Davis said goodbye to what was left and planted himself in the town that proudly referred to itself as “The City.”

“So, I’ve been here almost five years now.  I guess that’s pretty much it,” he said with a small shrug.  “I hope I haven’t bored you to death.”

“Not at all.”  Laura looked at him and felt safe.

“Now, let’s hear about you, ‘Laura Smith,Woman of Mystery’,” said Davis, a smile on his face and in his voice.

“Another time, perhaps,” she said.  “But, now, I’d like another cup of coffee.”

to be continued6

 

 

 

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Thirteen

 

pull-fogShe had run back to her apartment after the confrontation on the street with the drunken old man.  He knew her despite the changes in her appearance.  It sent her into a deep, dark fear that choked her.  Was there no way for her to survive?  She’d never heard of anyone outrunning the Family.  Whatever made her think that she could be the one to do it?

At first, she couldn’t sleep at all.  For three days she jumped at every sound and paced the floor for hours at a time.  Then, exhausted, she slept almost around the clock.  She hoped that it would be an escape from the fear.  It wasn’t.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole in After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Eleven

 

pull-safewayFeeling more secure and more self-confident, the woman newly reborn as Laura Smith planned another late-night foray out to the supermarket.  Her tiny refrigerator was empty and her cravings for some fresh foods were strong.

She avoided Chestnut after leaving her apartment, staying on the dark and quiet residential side streets as she made her way to the Marina Safeway.

The brightly-lit market was busy, like before, and she was getting used to the come-ons made by perfect strangers, both male and female.  It was no longer terrifying, just annoying.

Her new look worked well to help her blend into California’s cultural mindset.  She was now just one more blonde adrift in a state of thirty million blondes.  Her looks no longer screamed “New York Italian.”

She took her time, dawdling in the deli section and tasting the tiny samples of cheese and salami that were set out on the counter.

 

At a little before 3  a.m., she headed back to her apartment with two plastic shopping bags filled with some necessities and a few small luxuries.  Among these was a pint carton of Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” ice cream.  She decided to take Chestnut Street back.  It was a shorter, quicker route and the plastic bags were already cutting into her fingers.

The street was still busy with the remnants of the late night partiers reluctantly working their way back home.  The hum of activity never really stopped on Chestnut Street.

She walked slowly.  The bags were heavy and the lack of exercise in the last few weeks had stolen her muscle tone.

She missed going to the gym.  She was used to a three times a week regimen of Tae-Bo, Pilates and Zumba.  Being in your early thirties meant that regular workouts were needed to keep fit.  Of course, the near addiction to Cherry Garcia didn’t help.

As she crossed Fillmore Street, her mind on the melting ice cream, two men stepped through two different doorways on the other side of Chestnut.  She didn’t see either of them.

Carl “Tucky” Santi was seventy-one years old.  He had grown up in New York City and had earned his bones as a soldier for the Roncalli Family.  After his wife died, he retired to California to be near his daughter and the grandkids.  He spent too much time in restaurants and bars for a man his age.  So said both his daughter and his cardiologist.

Tonight was typical.  He was closing the bar at Pasquale’s, half drunk, sleepy and missing the pull-pasquales“Back in the day” of his youth.

Santi stood on the corner waiting for the light to change.  His car was parked illegally up on the sidewalk of a nearby side street.  He adjusted his belt to give his belly a little more breathing space and looked around at the other people still out at this hour.  Across the street, he noticed a good-looking blonde who seemed vaguely familiar.  Tucky Santi may have been retired, but he still kept up to date with the news from back home in New York.  He had to check out this blonde.

He hitched up his trousers and crossed the street against the light.  A taxi had to swerve to miss him.  Not even noticing the cab, he fell in behind the blonde and slowly closed the gap between the two of them.  He wanted to be sure.  It looked like her, but the hair was much shorter and the color was wrong.

The second man stepping onto Chestnut Street was Davis Lovejoy, an accountant.  He was unmarried, a transplant from Cleveland.  He lived in the Marina District and his life was as dull as dirt.

Lovejoy was leaving the donut shop just down the block from Pasquale’s.  He was working late at home and had taken a break to stretch his legs and to get a little something sweet.  His pale blue eyes, streaked with red from too many hours staring at a computer screen, needed the break as well.

pull-chestnut-streetHe was a self-employed accountant.  He did the books for several of the small businesses in the neighborhood, including the donut shop.

Holding his coffee in one hand and the small paper bag with an apple fritter in the other, he yawned and headed home.  Quarterly tax filings were due soon.  It was crunch time for all accountants.

Laura realized that she was still more than a half-pound paranoid.  She felt that everybody on the street was looking at her.  It may have been a lot of paranoia, but that was better than a lot of dead.

She stopped at the corner of Mallorca Street to let a minivan turn the corner in front of her.  She looked at the driver–always checking.

“Hello, Beverly.”

Tucky Santi was right behind her.

In one fluid motion she stepped to the side, dropped one of the plastic bags, and threw an elbow at the voice behind her.  Too old a cat to be fooled by the kittens, Santi had already stepped back out of range.

“Now, Beverly, stop that,” he said, gently scolding her.  His speech was slurred from too much wine.

She turned to look at whoever this was.

“Who are you?  Leave me alone.”  She didn’t recognize him.  It had been too many years.

“Beverly, it’s me, Carl Santi, Tucky.  I was at your wedding, remember?  My Rosa and me, we gave you the pasta machine.  Remember?”

This wasn’t paranoia anymore.  She slowly set the other bag on the sidewalk, not taking her eyes off of the fat old man.

“So, Beverly, how are you?  How’s your father?”

“Leave me alone,” she pleaded.  “You have me mixed up with somebody else.”

She ran through her short list of options: He was old.  He was obviously drunk.  She thought that, maybe, she could just “BS” her way out of this.

“Maybe he doesn’t know I left Dominic,” she prayed.

“Dominic wants you and his money back in New York,” Tucky slurred.

He knew.  She looked at him.  He was weaving slowly, but he had his eyes locked on hers.  The blood ran from her face.  She never thought that it would be a drunken old man who would catch her.

“C’mon, Beverly.  You can stay with me and my daughter tonight.”  He reached out and grabbed her tightly by the arm.

It was time for her to save herself, again.

“Help!  Rape!  Rape!  Help!”

Her cries caught the attention of everyone on the street.  They all looked toward the corner and saw a woman struggling with a larger, older man.  He was grabbing at her as she screamed and fought to get away.

On the opposite corner, the overworked accountant saw the scuffle.  His parents had raised him to be a responsible citizen and to help people in need, especially women.

He dropped his coffee and pastry and ran into the intersection, dodging traffic.  No second thoughts were necessary.

Santi moved in close and took her by both wrists and was trying to drag her down the street toward his car.  She managed to get one arm free and was about to deliver a punch to his solar plexus when Davis Lovejoy, accountant and would-be hero, arrived on the scene.

“Let her go, Mister,” he yelled.

“Stay out of this kid,” Santi bellowed.  Lovejoy could smell the wine on his breath.

Santi was losing his grip on the much younger and sober woman as she twisted and began to go on the offensive.  She glanced at the man who had come to her aid.  The situation was getting more complicated by the moment.

Lovejoy moved to flank the attacker.  He reached out.  He wanted to get the old man down on the ground.  The retired mob soldier lashed out and delivered a beefy backhand across the younger man’s face.  The accountant reeled and fell to the sidewalk, stunned by the power of the blow.

Tucky Santi’s alcohol-fueled adrenaline was kicking in.  He threw a wild punch.  It missed her by a foot.  They all stopped and stared at each other.  This was not working for anybody.

Santi realized, through his wine induced haze, that he wasn’t capable of dragging the younger woman away.  He had to get help.  He reached into his coat pocket for the cell phone that his daughter had insisted he carry “just for emergencies, Papa.”  If he could call someone to come help him he would score some big points with the people in New York.  He could be involved again, a Player.

Laura realized that if this old New York soldier called for reinforcements that she would have, maybe, ten minutes before the streets would be permanently unavailable to her.

Davis Lovejoy, still down on the sidewalk, could see that the old man was fumbling with his phone and walking away.  The woman seemed to be in no immediate danger.  But he wanted to hold the drunk for the police.

Trying to push the tiny buttons on his phone, Santi moved toward the street for better lighting.  He pointed a shaking finger at Laura and hissed, “You don’t belong here.”

Stumbling on the uneven curb, he lurched out into the street and into traffic, just in time to get up close and personal with a large orange San Francisco Municipal Railway trolley bus, its power poles sparking on the overhead wires as it crossed the intersection.

The bus driver never saw the man until he reeled out in front of the accelerating coach.  From the way that the old man hit the pavement, the twenty-three-year veteran driver knew that the poor guy was dead.  So did everyone else who witnessed the accident.  Carl Santi’s body had crumbled like a stale Saltine when it slammed onto the concrete pavement.

He looked much smaller dead.muni-fatal

People from both sides of the street ran over to get a closer look.  Traffic came to a complete halt.  It was just shy of 3:30 a.m.

Davis Lovejoy stared at the old man’s dead body.  He wondered out loud about what had just happened here.  Who was this guy…and the woman?  The woman…?

He turned back to the sidewalk.  She was gone.  In all the hubbub, she had just walked away into the late night fog.  Her groceries were scattered all over the sidewalk.

The Police and paramedics arrived on the scene in minutes.  Witnesses gave fifteen versions of what had gone down.  The majority said that the old man was drunk, violent, and that he had stumbled out in front of the bus on his own.  It was nobody’s fault but his.  The accountant was questioned and released to go back to his tax forms.  He wouldn’t need any coffee or sugary treats to stay awake now.

Laura hurried back to her apartment and cried for the first time since she had arrived in San Francisco.  It was partly from relief and partly from the fear of realizing her vulnerability.  She was safe for the moment, but until she felt up to another shopping trip, it was back to cheese crackers and Diet Pepsi.

to be continued8

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Chapter Nine

pull parrots Laura knew that she had to conquer her fears, both rational and irrational, or she wouldn’t make it.  She would end up taking her revolver to bed.  She knew that it was just too dangerous to start resuming any kind of a normal life.  But she also knew that she had to try.  It was a risk, but life is a risk.

Baby steps.  I need to take baby steps first, she repeated to herself.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

 

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Pull SafewayChapter Seven

After three days of eating from the snack machine outside of the rental office, Laura Smith made the calculated decision to risk a late-night trip to the Safeway supermarket a few blocks from her new home.  She had a small kitchenette, she knew how to cook and she couldn’t look at another peanut butter-cheese cracker without gagging.

She would have to walk. 

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I Used To Tie One On

tie2I WAS LOOKING IN MY CLOSET YESTERDAY. It was like gazing into a Time Machine. There are clothes in there that I haven’t worn in years. Some don’t fit anymore. Some never did fit, and some I used to wear to work.

And then there are The Neckties.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Chapter Six

 Pull Golden Rose

“It’s $1500 a month or $750 every two weeks, if you want.”

“I see.  Is it month-to-month or is it on a lease?”

“Month to month, week to week, day to day if you like, but I don’t care for leases,” said the young man behind the counter.  He really hated dealing with the renters.

“Is it quiet?  I mean, it’s not a lot of noisy neighbors?”

“What’s quiet?  Look, lady, you’ve seen the apartment.  Do you want it or not?”

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