Good Morning Ted and Jody:
We are at the southern edge, more properly, tip, of a big spot on the weather maps that predicted snow between midnight and 8:00 A.M. this morning. The cat, Chloe, saw that I had several opportunities during the night to observe the snow. It never happened. Rain, however, is another matter. Since the temperatures are between 35 and 40 degrees, I hung the hummingbird feeder back out, just in case. Then at 9:30 Nancy got a call from the visiting nurse telling her that she, the nurse, would be a bit late today given the icy roads. So apparently that southern tip of the cold air and snow blob on the weather map hit just west of us in Castle Rock.
Back in 2007, I arrived here in February after a treacherous trek through the Columbia River Gorge (not to mention all I-84 in Oregon east of the Gorge what with witnessing some three accidents and countless aftermaths. Come to think of it, in that two days east of the Gorge, I saw more accidents and aftermaths than I had seen in all my 29 years in Michigan winter driving). The day after I arrived, the sun came out and I could have sat on the front deck and sunned myself, but I didn’t yet have a chair out there and needed to unpack. I noticed very quickly that the weather here at home could be vastly different as close as a mile away. Indeed, I counted four micro-climates between the house and I-5 that first week in 2007. So, I am not terribly surprised at the lack of predicted snowfall this morning and the warm air temperatures. However, I am surprised by the hummingbirds Nancy and I saw two days ago. I hope they caught the last train to the coast.
I am thinking the grammar/spell checker algorithm (not to mention computer language coding) for Word needs a bit of tweaking. In the second to the last paragraph in the paragraph above, I end the sentence with the word “ago.” That triggered the software to alert me to the “fact” that I need to put a comma after the word “ago.” This despite the period after the word “ago.” Now you notice I have put quote marks around the word “ago.” If I don’t the software tells me I need commas. Granted I am probably the world’s second or third worst speller in English. So, I do appreciate all the red underling to tell me when I have misspelled a word (probably one out of three words; but, then I am also not to swift at hitting the right keys all the time on the keyboard either). However, the software also makes corrections without being told. Sometimes, it gets them wrong. So, on the positive side, I am forced to reread what I produce to catch the software’s mistakes (erroneous, automatic corrections). I am, however, unlikely to find all of them and almost none of mine.
I do have to wonder how many plot twists Word’s auto corrections have generated. Speaking of which number 13 in the Amanda Saga is attached.
Warmest regards, Ed
PS: I would have written about the shopping trip after my massage yesterday, but it is hard for me to sit still writing about the excitement of grocery shopping.
An Eight Story Fall 13th in the Amanda Saga
Fiction in 1147 words by T. Edward Westen, 2016
Professor Martian Sanders stroked the beard he no longer had. “You say she wanted you to talk to her attorney, Judge Belemany?”
“Actually, she said Franklin Belemany. I checked the local bar membership and the judge is the only Franklin Belemany on the list” replied Jeremy Eastman.
“What do you think made her decide to talk to you after that? Asked Professor Sanders.
“The security guard knew me from the day before. We chatted when I went in and left arraignment court. I told him about the assignment to sit in a session. He laughed and asked me if I had some toothpicks to keep my eyes open. I think he was a bailiff in there at some point. So, when I told him I wanted to see Edith Gunderson, he pointed her out and told her I was a student.”
“What did she think you were?” Asked Professor Sanders.
“Well,” sheepishly, “I held my student ID up, well, kinda like the cops hold badges and ids and said ‘Edith Gunderson, I have a few questions for you’.”
Professor Sanders was belly laughing. When he finally contained himself, he declared “I’ll be damned; you frightened her with all the non-authority of a University Student Identification Card. Marvelous. OK, did you get anything from her that might be construed as another side of the story.”
“No, sir.” Replied Jeremy. “But, she said she would look at the files and refresh her memory and get back to me. I did, however, spend some time in the library with the online morgue and verified all of what Mrs. White and Mrs. Hastings told me. And, I have a line on who Mrs. Amanda Clarkton is.”
Professor Sanders looked puzzled for a moment. “Clarkton, Clarkton, where have I heard that name?”
Jeremy smiled “She was the one the warrant was for when they arrested Mrs. White instead.”
Professor Sanders again stoked where his beard had been. “Listen Jeremy. Keep me in the loop on this. Text me when you go someplace, when you get there and send me attachments of all your material as you get it. I’ll play editor and secretary on this. I do believe you are on to something. Heaven knows what it is, but it is something.”
“OK, Chief” Jeremy said with a broad smile.
Edith Gunderson found a note
on her desk when she got back to the office at 2:45 that afternoon. “Meet me on the roof at 6:15. F”
‘That gives me more than enough time to find the connection between Amanda White and Amanda Clarkton.’ She went to her door and stuck her head out, “Millie get me a file on Amanda White. It would have been 20 years ago this month.” She shut the door and then immediately opened it again “Start with Christmas Eve.” She shut the door again, returned to her desk and the pile of cases there.
She had barely got into the first case when Millie knocked and opened the door. She could always tell Millie’s knock as the woman made so little noise the first time she had to knock twice. ‘I told her she doesn’t have to knock unless someone is with me.”
Millie walked the short distance from the door holding out a Child Protective Series Case folder. Edith Gunderson recognized the old-style folder with the red band across the front indicating the case was closed because the child had grown up.
Millie said, “You have one heck of a memory. It was initiated Christmas Eve, by you twenty years ago.”
Edith Gunderson started to wave it off “I wanted the criminal file on Amanda White.” Then she had second thoughts, “Wait, give me that one and find the criminal file on an adult Amanda White, same approximate date.”
As she read the file on Amanda White whom she had placed in the orphanage in Hillsdale, this Christmas Eve and that Christmas Eve began to untangle in her mind. “No wonder, I thought Mrs. White was Mrs. Clarkton, they are mother and daughter.” Then she realized she was talking out loud ‘Thinking out loud, she corrected herself.’ She sat back in her chair and came to the conclusion that history had repeated itself, just as the desk sergeant had said on Christmas Eve. ‘However,” she thought, ‘I wonder which time we got it right?’
He secretary’s soft and louder knock interrupted her musings.
Millie stuck her head in and said, “Yes, Christmas Eve the woman was arrested, did twelve years for child neglect. Should I route the file to your printer?”
Edith Gunderson pushed back her chair. “Let me see the mug shot on your screen, then attach the file to an email and send it to me.”
Millie opened the door wider and held it for her supervisor.
Edith Gunderson sat down in Millie’s chair, moved the mouse, clicked it and Amanda White/Clarkton’s mug shot stared her in the face. She muttered “I’d swear the two women were the same, but there is 20 years between them.” She turned to her secretary and said, “Sometime in the past 6 years there should be a marriage between the younger Amanda White and some man with the last name of Clarkton. Find it would you please.” Edith pushed back her secretary’s chair and said, “I’m going to the roof for a smoke.”
As she climbed the seven flights of stairs to get to the roof door she mused ‘When I did smoke, I would have had to take the elevator. They are right, after 10 years you do get most of your breath back.
When Edith Gunderson pulled the door to the roof open she could smell stale cigarettes, but nothing fresh. She looked at her wrist watch ‘Still 10 minutes, Frank is never early.’ Edith walked over the parapet and looked over the edge and could see someone pacing and smoking down below ‘Must be a sheriff or state cop. Our guys know to smoke up here.’ She thought.
Edith Gunderson heard a noise behind her and turned.
Deputy Sherriff Holt Peterson
cursed the luck of being assigned prisoner transport to the city jail. ‘Hell, they don’t have a decent place for us to smoke.’ He heard a scream and looked around. It was coming from above. He looked up. He could see the outline of someone in free fall, arms and legs flaying to no effect. The lights on the third landing caught the face contorted in fear and the mouth wide open issuing a blood curdling scream. Deputy Sheriff Holt Peterson would never get the sound of the thud, squish, air escaping from the body, and then silence out of his mind. As he watched, blood seeped forming a tick pool around the body fanning out as branches as it filled the gaps between the bricks in the ally—black grout. He thought, ‘My God.’