An Employer’s View of Riding a Stationary Bike & 010 The First 48 Hours: Part II

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Sometime back, the neighbor said that her son wanted to help me. We discussed it and she agreed that having a regular gig would be a good thing for her son to learn, especially one that did not involve his family. So, I contracted with LJ, who must be close to 10, to haul our trash container to the street every Monday and then bring it back on Tuesdays. Last week when I paid him he told me that he would not be home this week as he will be camping with his grandfather. Obviously, I told him to have a good time. Later that day he came over and said, his father would be substituting for him while he is camping. No problem. It turned out his father was as reliable as LJ, except I know his father used his pickup truck instead of pulling the container by hand. I wonder if his father is going to want mileage?

I did not sit glued to the television set over the past few days, but I did turn it on when I was on my way to nowhere. Then too, I watch the evening news, a habit I developed when CBS had a 15-minute program in the evenings in the 1950s. I remember the discussion about whether or not there would be enough news to fill 30 minutes or if people would watch for that long. In the ensuing years, I can safely say if there wasn’t enough news people went out and created more. Now the pestilence and his fellow travelers (whether they want to be fellow travelers or not), AKA Republicans, create news by making promises, then create more news by having difficulties keeping those promises, and then create more news by re-promising and so it goes. I can envision the political cartoon of the final Republican health care plan—a stylized elephant labeled Republican standing out in front of the Capital holding out a band aid on which is written “health care for America.” However, the tax cut they propose for the rich will be intact.

I needed to remove a comment from one of my earlier posts.  It is easy in Democratizemoney, but I can not seem to get to comments in this blog.  So I took down the entire post and put the episode of the story back up but out of sequence.  I took the wrong one down so did it again.  I do apologize for the mass confusion this caused (at least in my mind).

Warmest regards, Ed

010 The First 48 Hours: Part II

Fiction in 1347 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

“You will have to leave the door open to use the light in the hallway,” said Norma Rae. “I have another lamp someplace. I will find a light bulb for it tomorrow.”

“I am so tired, I doubt that will be a problem,” replied Mrs. Calkins. “Thank you for your kindness. Good Night.”

“I’ll get you up at five in the morning, the board opens at 6 sharp. They will forgive yesterday as I was at Old Nathan’s funeral, but tomorrow they won’t be so forgiving. Good Night.” Norma Rae left. She stuck her head back in, “When you want the hall light off just pull the string.”

Mrs. Calkins could hear Norma Rae go into the other room on the second floor, shut the door and rummage around a bit, judging by the floor boards squeaking, before the bed springs announced her retirement and from their eventual silence her sleeping. Mrs. Calkins undressed in the light the hall bulb afforded. She then took her clothes out into the all and hung her clothes on the rail of the stairs next to Norma Rae’s room so they would air out over night. ‘More air circulates in the stairwell than anyplace,’ she thought. Going back into the room Norma Rae told her to use she searched the room with her cell phone flashlight app for an electrical outlet. There was one on the inside wall behind the dresser. She got her charging cable out and plugged it in and then plugged in the cell phone. It registered that it was fast charging and would be fully charged in 35 minutes. ‘Thank God there has been no significant change in voltage over the past 100 or so years,’ she thought. Then she stopped and asked herself in a whisper, “If this is 1926, it would be the next 100 years. Strange.” The cord was long enough to put the cell phone on the bed. Mrs. Calkins went to the hall, turned off the light and returned to sit on the bed. She could feel a slight breeze from the two windows in her room, one facing north the other east. She smiled ‘There will be sunlight in the morning.’ But then she thought, ‘If Norma Rae gets me up at 5, I will be able to watch the sunrise.’ She then sat and thought about the events of the past two days and wondered ‘How long will it be before I find all the ingredients to make a caramel latte?’ Finally, her cell phone was fully charged. She unplugged the charger, turned off the phone and put them both securely in her fanny pack which she placed between her pillow and the wall. Then Mrs. Calkins’ bed springs announced her retirement and eventually her sleep.

“KABOOM!” the shotgun blast sounded as if the gun were fired next to her head. Mrs. Calkins lie perfectly still, almost not breathing. Someone turned the hall light on. From her position in the bed she could see two shadows move across the north wall of the room she was in. Two or more men were in the hall outside of Norma Rae’s bedroom She reached out and pushed against the wall next to the bed and the bed moved. ‘Thank God, maybe, I can get under the bed,’ she thought. ‘I can’t make noise or they will hear. No, you fool they were closer to the shotgun blast than you were. They won’t hear anything. Just move slow and push hard.’ She pushed. The bed moved far enough, and she rolled over the end and squirmed under the bed pulling her fanny pack with her and pulling the bed back against the wall. She lay for what seemed an hour but it was probably only a minute or two. Her breathing remained shallow. Slowly her hearing began to recover. He heard a man’s voice asked, “You sure you got the right woman?”

Another voice answered. “You tell me. You told me to blow her head off and I did. You tell me if she is the right woman.”

The first voice whined, “Now a photo won’t prove we got the right woman and we have to take something back to prove the this is the right one.”

“Her clothes will prove it,” the second voice said. “Women here don’t wear pants-suits. Take them, the pants-suit will prove we got the right woman.”

Mrs. Calkins could hear the sounds of two men clumping down the stairs, the front screen door banging shut and the sound of two car doors closing. Finally, an automobile started up and she could hear the tires on the sand and gravel as it drove away—not a Model T, but the sounds were more like those made by the SUV that had brought her to June of 1926. ‘How can any of this be happening?’ she asked herself.

She still did not move. She counted to 1000 and then counted to 1000 again. Still not wanting to risk a third man being left behind she struggled to keep her eyed open. ‘Silly girl,’ she thought, ‘counting is like counting sheep to go to sleep. Recite verse to concentrate, The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want . . .’ She fell asleep anyway.

Loud banging below her on the screen door and a gruff-voiced woman yelling “Norma Rae, open the damned switchboard. I know you partied yesterday, but we pay good money for this contraption that only works when you do, so get your lazy ass out of bed and open the damned switchboard.” The banging continued. Finally, it stopped. Mrs. Calkins could see as it was fully daylight; and, she had not been murdered in her sleep. She crept out from under the bed and ran for the stairs. When she got to the stairs the banging stopped. Mrs. Calkins got to the bottom of the stairs and literally flew to the door. She hit the screen door just as a woman had her arm and whip back about to crack the whip over the horse hitched to her buckboard. Mrs. Calkins called out “HELP. FOR GOD’S SAKE HELP ME.”

{Present Day} Captain Batan shook his head.

“I do not believe I have ever been in a home that has been so bereft of personal things. No letters, no magazines, no filing of any kind. Only bills and receipts for rent, utilities, and two credit cards. Everything in Mrs. Frank Calkins’ name.”

“Are you taking classes again?” asked Detective Philipson.

“Why do you ask?’ asked the Captain.

“’Bereft’ is not an everyday word that cops use,” replied Detective Philipson. “When we were partners, you used to use those words that exist but no one uses when you were taking classes at the university. ‘Bereft’ is one of those, short but unused. That’s why I asked.”

“Not to overuse it,” said Captain Batan, “but the place was bereft of any evidence of the Frank Calkins on the bills, you know the Frank after the Mrs. on the bills. No clothes, no nothing of a Frank or any man. This woman lived an aesthetic but spartan lifestyle.”

“More non-cop words, two in one sentence.” said Detective Philipson.

“You know, it was rough going to school,” said Captain Batan. “The time it took away from the family and my sleep; but you know, I miss the challenge of off the wall words being thrown at me just to keep me sharp. That’s why they use those big words, to keep you sharp Eddie.”

“Well Captain who speaks with sharp words, what is our next move?” asked Detective Philipson.

“We get both her driver’s license and work id photos enlarged and out to the media. ‘Have you seen this woman sort of thing.’ then we punt.”

“So, we call in the FBI and ATI and ask them for help?” asked Detective Philipson.“Yup, that’s how we punt,” said Captain Batan.

“Yup, that’s how we punt,” said Captain Batan.


About democratizemoney

Retired University Professor
This entry was posted in children, fiction, health insurance, political and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to An Employer’s View of Riding a Stationary Bike & 010 The First 48 Hours: Part II

  1. OMG Norma Rae’s head is blown off! Poor Norma, who is going to man the telephone exchange now!!?? I have no idea whats going on in 1926 but Captain Bigwords and the ATI need to pull their finger out! The suspense is way too much!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. While Captain Batan and Detective Philipson can have a sense of urgency in the present day, in 1926 thins are much more dangerous for Mrs. Calkins and yes, poor Norma Rae–indeed who will man the telephone exchange now?
      Warmest regards, Ed

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    No Mr Calkins, nothing in the apartment, and two men trying to kill Mrs C, in 1926. I’m guessing she is far from what she appears to be…Well hooked on this one, Theo.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eddy Winko says:

    Desperately waiting for the unwrapping 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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