Dial Tones

August 4th, 1948

It wasn’t long before Margret entered the room asking me for the newspaper. I handed it to her as she sat down next to me on the living room couch. I wondered why she looked so distraught frisking through the paper like a mad woman on the hunt for details. Soon she stopped her eyes popped open as if she saw a ghost.

What is dear? I asked puzzled and curious.

“Well darn, it is true.” Margret looked at the newspaper gazing at its printed words in amazement.

“And what is that my dear? What is true?”

“Old Jerry’s placed burned down last night.”

“What!” Snatching the newspaper from my informative wife I looked in desperation until I could land my eyes on the story.

There is was in large bold print. Jerry’s Caster’s Real Time Pub Burnt to the Ground After Vicious Fire Destroys Building.

Immediately, I jumped to my feet off the couch and began to pace around. I couldn’t help but vent out my devastation after learning my good old pal Jerry’s place had been burnt to smithereens last night.

“My gosh! Thankfully no one was hurt in that fire but poor Old Jerry he put his heart in soul into running that pub for decades. That pub has so much sentimental value to us. For heaven sakes, we met each other there. Well, if it wasn’t for Old Jerry’s Pub I don’t think we would, of crossed paths that fateful nite. Jerry’s pub was our turf for the boys and me, for you and the gals. We shared tons of memories there. Such a shame.”

“I know Clark. I know poor old Jerry. He must be devasted. That pub was the only thing he had left after his wife and kids died in that tragic car crash years ago.”

“Yes, and sadly now…it’s all burnt to the ground. Smh. I just wish there was something I could do.” 

“Hey! Clark. You still have old Jerry’s number? Maybe you could just give him a call see how he is panning out.”

“I suppose you’re right maybe a call from a good old friend might do him a little bit of good.”

“I believe so Clark.”

Walking over to a desk drawer I pulled our address book and searched for Old Jerry’s number.

“Here it is…” 

I quickly walked over to the phone that was erected stationary on our wooden letter writing desk. I slipped my finger into each circular open spot on the phone to dial Jerry’s number as it spun and clicked in order to connect our call. I paused briefly to wait for the ringing tones as I smiled slightly at my wife staring at me with concern on the couch.

Ring… Ring…Ring…

“Ahh…(coughs) Hello…”A seemly tired withered voice answered back to me.

Hello.Jerry? 

Yes, this is He.

Hey, there Jerry. This here is Clark Rabinport…I’m calling to see how you’re doing my wife and I just read in today’s paper about your pub. We are terribly sorry for you Jerry…

Aaa..Clark Rabinport so good to hear from you old pal. Yes, my baby is just gone…She’s been burnt to ashes now. Must have been that damn old stove must have started the blaze. I don’t know what I’ll do now. Time to call it quits I suppose retirement awaits for an old man like me.

An old man now are ya’? Jerry, it’s never too late to get that dear lady back up on her glory pillar again Jerry. Well, I’d say with…

Oh.. no.. no.. Clark, I’m done for sure, that I do know. I got no more gas for it old pal. This old man will enjoy his late night sleeps from now on, dear boy.

I understand Jerry. It is a lot to run. Hey! you had a good run with her lots of great memories there. Thanks for all the years of dedication in running the place.Why your Pub became our Traditionalspot to celebrate this and that. My wife and I were just recalling memorable moments we’ve shared there with each other and with friends.

O sure! Jerry begins laughing uncontrollably.

Yes..yes, I remember that beautiful wife of yours pouring a freshly brewed drink all over your head when you first met. 

Of course, you’d remember that Jerry. I couldn’t help but laugh at remembering my failed attempt to charm my wife upon meeting her.

Yet, she came around eventually. You told me to be persistent Jerry. 

That I did dear boy. That I did. Well, Thanks for the call, Clark. Really means a lot you calling to check up on me. I’m going to get some rest now its been a long night and a troublesome one at that. 

Your very welcome Jerry my wife and I send our regards. And if you need anything anything at all Jerry please give us call. Maybe my wife can cook you up her famous shepherds’ pie for you that you enjoy so much. 

That’ll be swell Clark, really Swell. Now you know I won’t turn down an offer for a meal of your wife’s famous Shepard’s pie. 

It’s done then…bye, for now, old pal. 

(Click) I hung up the phone unable to hold back wearing a bittersweet smile.

Tower of Drama

It was a delight to see her every time we meet. We often would gaze into each other eyes for hours on end wondering what each other was thinking but never speaking much at all. Some nights were filled with more passion as we simply made love under the moonlight. In those moments of togetherness, I often wondered if she held secrets her heart just couldn’t reveal but it was only a matter of time before they came to light.

It was winter a snowy day I’ll never forget. I was walking to see what I thought to be the love of my life, Ann. I wanted to surprise her so I decided to just pop by her apartment unannounced before I headed to work that day. On that fateful day I wore a dark blue trench coat, my favorite black colored shined shoes, with an impressionable blue suit to match.

Spontaneously I also decided that bring some roses along for this journey to my beloved Anns’ place. At times I can still smell the scent of those roses even though that day is a vivid memory now. After picking up the roses I hailed a cab to head to her place.

As the cab pulled up to her building I looked out the window with a smile as I gave the cab driver his payment. Stepping out of the cab roses in hand I remember gazing up at her six-story apartment building with so much gleeful admiration. My soul filled with joyous anticipation in seeing my sweet Ann’s face, for now, it glimmered in my wonderful imagination. Still smiling I proceed forward towards my lover not thinking of the cost to my reality.

At first entering the building I began to run up the stairway like a small child coming home. Trying to reach Ann’s apartment on the 5th floor I ran up the stairs but became startled suddenly after hearing what sounded like two loud consecutive shotgun blasts. The sound of the blast was deafening and sent frightening chills up my spine.  The thought of it still haunts my mind. Soon after my ears were filled with screams. Composition broke out in the building as tenants quickly opened their doors with faces filled with bewilderment. A woman walked down the stairs slowly with a blank stare holding a shotgun.

As the turmoil ensued she passed each level of the building. Tenants hurriedly with fright closed their doors. I froze on the stairwell holding onto the railing as she slowly approached. I thought of running but fear kept me grounded as I wasn’t sure I attempted to run for my life that it would inspire her enough to perhaps shoot me too. As the thumps of her steps became ever so close I saw her shattered pale face. She looked Emotionless.

For a moment I didn’t recognize her until she reached the stairwell I was confined to. Quickly a memory flashed in my mind. I’d seen her before! She was sitting at a small table alone at the Bar that Ann I traveled to one night. That night at the Bar, the woman seemed very disturbed. She sat there in the Bar at a small table alone just crying. Occasionally she would look over at us but then quickly returned to drown out her sorrow in a bottom of booze left almost empty on the table. In the midst of my infatuation with Ann that night, I couldn’t help but slightly think of what might have brought the other woman such sorrow that would make her so distraught. At the time though we decided not to give any further direct notice of the other woman’s presence or pain as we proceeded on with our evening in delight of our own conversation.

Now, frighteningly my mind jolted back to thinking of Ann. Ann! my mind screamed aloud for her as my lips still remained silent. My fear of Ann’s well-being quickly overshadowed my despair of the woman with the shotgun that seemed to be gradually descending towards me. The woman soon reached the top of the stairwell where I was standing still against the hand rail on the third floor of Ann’s building. Her still cold eyes met mine briefly before I gazed away in disgust. She continued down the stairs walking gently down each step then abruptly stopped in front of me as I froze in horror.

In that moment time stood still and all I can remember was the sting of her words to me as she passed me by.

“I remember you…You were at that Bar with that home wrecker, laughing, and talking without a care in the world,” she said faintly.

“What home wrecker?” I asked puzzled as grief gripped my heart over the imposing uncertainty now to Ann’s safety.

I will never forget that woman’s laugh after asking her my, question. It was one of sheer resounding malicious joy. Sternly, I looked with my eyes piercing into her presence almost forgetting she still held the shotgun in hand that could blow my inquisitive head off at any time.

Reaching for her shoulder I grabbed onto her faded black jacket and in frustration shouted, “What have you done!?  What have you done to her? Looking up the stairwell I shouted, Ann!”

Her eyebrows shuffled together on her forehead as her face filled with bewilderment over my response.

Without a care, I brushed passed her taking the risk of being shot thinking of nothing but of my dear sweet Ann. I ran up the stairs to Ann’s apartment. Her door seemed to have been broken into. Soon after entering her place a consuming feeling of heartache began to pierce my soul. My only hope was that the disgruntled woman on the stairwell did not do the unthinkable by shooting my sweet lover Ann to her death.

I walked quietly into Ann’s apartment, all was silent. I realized Ann would have made herself seen and heard if she was safe. The pain of that realization ushered in more sadness as my heart began to throb racing at what I encounter next. The thought of seeing her perhaps critically wounded brought me to unspeakable distress. I steadily stepped towards her bedroom door which appeared slightly open. As I gently pushed the door open I closed my eyes as an agonizing discomfort gripped my soul. That’s when I saw her…

She was naked and exposed on the bed. Her, bare body lay hanging off the side of the bed still slightly wrapped in what now appeared as stained bloody sheets. Not too far from her still corpse was another man on his back naked and exposed. Blood was everywhere I gazed around into the fated sea of red in dismay. They both wore shock and horror on their faces as their bodies remained motionless with large bullet holes through their bloodied chests.

“Ann?” I whispered. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was I a witness to a brutal double murder but to unimaginable betrayal. My face remained stern yet, my heart sobbed in grief.

Suddenly, I heard someone rush into the apartment and into the bedroom that I remained motionless and shocked in.

“O my gosh! Bridget!” A woman that I didn’t recognize screamed peering over my shoulder.

“Bridget? Who is that?” I said puzzled.

“Her!” she pointed towards the dead still body in frustration.

“You mean Ann?”

“Who is Ann? That’s Ms. Bridget Holiday. I’m her dear family friend Madeline I was coming round to give her back her items she left at my place…But…Now she’s…She’s been shot. O’ Dear God, Bridget.” Tears filled her eyes placing her face into the palms of her hands she as she began sobbing.

In shock, I began to leave quickly with my roses still in hand ascending hurriedly down the stairwell and out the front door of my lover’s building. I continued walking up the street throwing my roses into a nearby trashcan.

Police sirens began to ring ever more loudly as they drew closer. With haste, Police cars swarmed in front of the building sirens blazing as a stream of police officers rushed into the building.

I looked back in shock and awe of what I just witnessed. All at once feelings of hurt, grief, and anger gripped my heart. I could barely speak as I proceeded to turn my head and walk with my head bent down in shame…

A few days passed before I learned the truth about what I thought to be my Dear sweet Ann. I was informed by the paper with a story entitled, “Lady Vixen Mistress Shot Dead by Wife.” My face froze as I briefly began to read the story about my mysterious deceitful lover. The blaring story read as follows…

…A woman by the name of, Ms. Bridget Holiday was shot dead in her apartment building along with her lover Mr. Kelly Pagg . Both were murdered by Mr. Kelly Pagg’s disgruntled wife, Helen Pagg. After three days of an active search by police the the murderous suspect Mrs. Helen Pragg turned herself into police confessing her crime that is supported by witnesses claims.  According to Mrs. Helen Pagg, her husband and three children were very happy until her husband began having a salacious affair with Ms. Bridget Holiday.

 Currently, Helen Pagg is being held without bail at the county jail until her arraignment in the murder of her husband Mr. Pagg and that of his mistress Ms. Bridget Holiday.In regards to Mr. Pagg and his Helen Pagg’s three children are said to be in custody of Helen Pagg’s mother at this time.

Much of the town still remain in shock over this horrfic scandlous tradgey of deciet, betrayl, and murder. Many that know of Mrs. Helen report her as being a queit, kind, sweet woman that seemed like a very loving wife and mother. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly I’m shocked.” said a nieghbor who lived next door to Mrs. Helen Pagg and her Husband for almost ten years. Her mother made a brief statement to the press that, “She…My daughter was very depressed because of her husbands affair. I couldn’t help her. She had become so cold and distant and now all their lives are destroyed.”

A close friend to Ms. Helen Holiday who did not want her full name on record stated, “Ms. Bridget Holiday was a very passionate woman who loved lots of attention. I loved her to bits but I didn’t agree with her seeing Mr. Pagg. She said she loved him and that she didn’t care he was married because she wanted what she wanted.” 

Mrs. Helen Pragg’s arraignment is scheduled …

I couldn’t read any more of the article. In reflection, I can still remember how heartache pierced my soul after reading that piece. There was no mention of me in the headline story and that I was now very thankful for. I couldn’t help but feel left out perhaps I always was. My sweet deceitful Bridget aka Ann had me believing I was the only one and now I guess I am, alive that is.

Often I ponder how much of fool I had been to love a mere illusion. Despite my anger over the deception I still believe she didn’t deserve to die in such a horrific fashion. To this day the whole terrifying event still reminds me a great deal of fire.

 

Source: Meddle