Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Ann Marie called yesterday. She goes in for a 20-week sonogram today. Given the time difference she probably already had it. It was good to hear her voice.
Word finally gave up the ghost yesterday when I started the new novella in the ATI Chronicles. So, I switched to OpenOfficeWriter and haven’t had a problem with it. Probably best to start a new MS in a new word processor. I kind of miss PCWrite from the DOS era, back when Jim Stachura was teaching me the ins and out of software. I haven’t heard from him for decades. I wonder how he is doing.
The Hyundai goes into Fred this morning for oil and lube. Fred is looking to buy a business elsewhere. He has been her for 15 years and figures the place is drying up. Too many people doing the same job he is doing in Castle Rock. He is looking to get a place with multiple bays he can manage rather than doing all the work himself. His knees are a problem. He is definitely looking for an income in what you and I would consider retirement but he wants to avoid the not working part of retiring.
I talked to Art briefly today. He has started reading again. He bought a few books at the dollar store and is currently on one by a former head of Sony Recordings. He was chatty Kathy about the book. I hope to catch him on Tuesday morning.
I trust this finds you in good health, spirits, and holding a winning lottery ticket.
Warmest regards, Ed
001 Witness and Chase
Fiction in 1263 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Andy Kellog grumbled under his breath about the morning rush hour traffic. Every morning at 7:00 A.M. on the dot, Mrs. Calkins exited her apartment building on Jersey Street got into his cab and had him take her through the drive-up window of the Organic Coffee stand on Mulberry and order a Caramel Latte for her and a decaf with one cream and one sugar for him. This morning he was at least a minute late and she was standing at the curb waiting for him. He stopped the cab, got out and ran around to open the door for her.
“Traffic bad this morning, Andy?” Mrs. Calkins asked.
“Yes, Mam,” Andy replied. “A fender bender over on 18th and Madison.
Andy ran back around the cab, got in the driver’s seat and started the cab.
“We still have lots of time to pick up a coffee,” Mrs. Calkins commented. “Pull by the Organic Coffee stand, would you please?”
Andy nodded and said, “Yes, Mam.” He thought to himself, ‘Most of my regulars are in a hurry and want me to talk to make it seem to go faster. I don’t know why, but this lady has class and seems to have all the time in the world. But, I know she runs the Credit Union where she works. And they can not open without her.’
Pulling up to the window, Cathy handed him the caramel latte and decaf with one cream and a sugar and said, “You are late, Andy Kellog. Another few minutes and I would have had to throw these out and make you wait for your order.”
Andy, bald as a billiard ball said, “I’m having a bad hair day.”
“Yeah, which one?” asked Cathy winking at him.
Mrs. Calkins handed a ten spot over the seat and said, “Tell her the one in the back set” and laughed.
Cathy said, “I heard that,” and laughed all the harder.
Andy passed Cathy the ten dollar bill and said, “See you in the morning. You will recognize me by my new toupee,” and he drove off.
Taking a sip of her latte Mrs. Calkins said, “It is still hot as if she made it just as we got there at the regular time.”
“I can’t think we were more than 30 seconds behind schedule, Mam,” said Andy.
“you really getting a toupee, Andy?” asked Mrs. Calkins.
“No, Mam. I got one. My wife thought I would catch a cold with nothing up here,” he said as he patted his head. But, I figure a Red Sox cap will keep it warm in the winter and the sunburn off the rest of the year.”
“Why Red Sox, Andy?” Mrs. Calkins asked.
“S’where I grew up, Boston,” replied Andy
“You don’t have a Boston accent?” said Mrs. Calkins.
“I ran away when I was 16,” said Andy Kellog. “I learned to talk like others around me so they never would figure out where I was from and send me back.” Pulling into the drive up window behind the Credit Union so Mrs. Calkins could go in the back door, Andy said, “Here we are.”
Mrs. Calkins handed Andy some bills. As usual, he didn’t look at them and simply said, “Thank you for the coffee and for waiting for me. I’ll try to be on time tomorrow.”
Mrs. Calkins opened the door, stood up and leaned back down. “See that you are or I’ll call ahead and have Cathy make you a regular caffeinated coffee tomorrow just to speed you up. Now, go out there and have a good day.”
Andy doffed his hat and said, “You too, Mam. Go out there and make us members some money.” He waited until Mrs. Calkins was inside before driving to the parking lot in front of the credit union where he usually finished his cup of decaf before picking up his next fare, Dorothea Jacobson, a five-year-old piano prodigy for her three block morning ride to kindergarten.
As he tilted his head to take the last of the coffee he saw Mrs. Calkins exit the credit union with her arm linked to a man caring a heavy bag in the other. While not exactly struggling, it seemed to Andy that Mrs. Calkins was not a willing participant. He pulled out his cell phone and quickly zoomed in on the back of the black SUV the man and Mrs. Calkins got into, then he hit the speed dial for his dispatcher and said, “Mavis. Get someone to take Dorothea Jacobson to kindergarten, then call the cops and have them come to the Credit Union. I think someone is kidnapping Mrs. Calkins and I am going to follow. As soon as I have the license plate number I’ll call it in.” Andy hung up before he could hear Mavis respond.
The black SUV put its turn signal on and when there was an opening in traffic, it merged and headed South on 15th Street. Andy managed to pull in six vehicles behind it. Andy thought, ‘Please God, keep the lights green for me.’
Andy’s cell phone rang. He pushed the accept icon on his dash’s computer display transferring the call to his cab’s Bluetooth. “This is Andy.”
“Andy, Detective Philipson here. Mavis called and said you are following a kidnapper.”
“Yes, Eddie,” replied Andy. “A minute or two after I dropped Mrs, Calking off at work she exited the building with a man, arm in arm. I got the impression she was not there of her own free will. The man was carrying a heavy bag. I think a robbery and a hostage to get away. I am following them we are at 15th and Fir St. headed south toward the state line. I’ll keep following. Pray the lights hold, I am five or six cars behind the black SUV they are in. I can send you a photo of the back of the SUV when I am not driving.”
“Stay on the line,” replied Detective Eddie Philipson. “We should have a car in an intercept position before the state line. We also have units going to the Credit Union.”
“They are turning right onto Douglass, Street,” said Andy. There was a brief pause. “Damn, caught by the light. OK, here is a break in traffic, I am back on their tail.” There was another brief pause. “I can’t see them.” Andy looking right and left had stopped in the middle of the street. Finally making a decision he turned into a parking structure. “have your people check out the Douglas Street and all side streets, I am checking out the packaging garage at the hospital.
After what seemed to Andy an eternity, he reached the roof of the parking garage. “Only one car up here and it is not the Black SUV,” he said. I am going to send you the picture of the back of the SUV now. I hope to hell I got the plate as I never got close enough to even see it.”
Detective Philipson said, “They robbed the Credit Union as the staff was getting ready for the day. They told them if they called the police they would kill Mrs. Calkins. If you hadn’t called, we might still be in the dark.” There was a pause. “Something funny about that plate on the SUV. It isn’t in the system and the year and month stickers say it won’t be issued for two years.”