Friday, August 29, 2008

Ruth's Never Ending Story - Chapter 5 - Post 67

I spent a lot of my working years writing, but 99% of it was factual stuff, personnel policies, to be precise. I've not ventured into fiction writing, but this sounded like a lot of fun so I thought I would throw in my two cents worth. Ruth, of Ruth's Visions and Revisions, started this Meme a few days ago with the idea which you can read here: Chapter 1 Several different folks wrote a second chapter; I have chosen to follow the theme continued and developed upon by Sherry's (afeatheradrift) Chapter 2 , Jeannelle's (midlifebyfarmlight) Chapter 3 , and Bob's (rhymeswithplague) Chapter 4 Links to all their blogs can be found on my sidebar.

So... without further ado, I continue the story:


“It’s a good thing you’ve got a police escort,” the officer said. “Your card-dealing friend back there has just been arrested for running an airborne con game. We hauled him off the Concorde flight from Paris a few minutes ago. Rest assured, Miss. He’s no danger to you, or we wouldn’t have allowed you to sit back there.”

“Aha!” I thought to myself, “So that’s why he looks so familiar. I saw them in the concourse as I was headed to meet Elliott’s plane.” I sneaked what I hoped was a surreptitious glance at my companion. OK, it turned into a lot more than a glance; I openly stared at him. He could have been someone’s rich uncle or, I supposed, somebody’s Sugar Daddy. It was apparent that his suit had not been purchased “off the rack.” Even sitting, when most jackets would bunch up a bit, the dark, pinstriped fabric lay smoothly across his shoulders as though he had been dipped in it. I may not be able to afford really good clothes, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize them when I see them. And the hands he had used to deal the cards had never seen a hard day’s work -- I’d bet a half-month’s pay on it. There was neither a callus nor a hangnail to be seen and some sweet young thing, no doubt, had buffed her heart out on his nails, most likely while he was getting his gorgeous silver hair trimmed by a Master Barber. I couldn’t help but be a bit envious of his hair; Miss Clairol and I had a monthly appointment in my bathroom, and my hair, when it became uncontrollable, was whacked at the local beauty school.

“Are you going to hold those cards all day?”

I must have reacted in some physical way to his question because he hastened to say “Don’t worry. I’m not going to bite you!” Then he chuckled, the sound soft and low in his throat. My skin began to crawl and my mind was in turmoil. My father laughed just like that!

I think I fainted, something I’ve never done before in my entire life, because the next thing I remember was a fit of coughing as I inhaled a breath of pungent ammonia. “Are you all right, Miss?” It was one of the police officers. The cruiser was drawn up to the curb and the door next to me was open. He was leaning across me, waving that damned inhaler under my nose.

“Yes. Yes! I’m fine! Please, get that thing away from here.” I had another fit of coughing and began to sneeze! I dug a tissue from my purse to wipe my streaming eyes and, quite unladylike, blew my nose with a honk that would make a goose envious.

Again I said, “I’m fine. I’m fine! I’m so embarrassed! I’m really tired, that’s all. Just get me to the bus station, please. I promise I’ll rest on the way back to Chicago.” With some trepidation, and a lot of motherly warnings (who would have thought that policemen could be ‘motherly?) they dropped me at the Greyhound Station. As they drove away, I allowed myself one backward and very uneasy glance at the man in the back seat; a man who had not uttered a single word during or after my little ‘episode.’

The timing of my arrival at the bus station couldn’t have been better. The next bus to Chicago was due to pull out in just twenty minutes. Buying the ticket left me just enough cash in my wallet for a small package of chips and a Coke, which I chug-a-lugged like it was the Elixir of Life itself! I’d had quite a shock to my system, hearing my father’s laugh from a complete stranger! The dream I’d had a few years ago came rushing back, as vivid as if I’d just awakened from it.

The station’s loudspeaker blared the impending departure of the bus to Chicago and immediately drove the dream to the back of my brain. The next few minutes were spent in surrendering part of my ticket, assuring the driver that I had no luggage, and finding a seat where I could, hopefully, be alone. I was fortunate that there were only a few people going to Chicago from Milwaukee at that time of day, and I took a window seat a few rows behind the driver, and no other passenger sat beside me. One small blessing! I think I would have screamed if I’d had to say a word to another human being, at least for a while.

As the bus pulled out, I allowed myself a not-so-small fit of pique at having to be on the bus in the first place. That crazy Elliott! Crazy me for allowing him to commandeer my car to transport those, those, those… stinking reptiles! These thoughts led me to questions I should have had from the beginning: How in the world did Elliott get his hands on two young Komodo Dragons? How did they get from Indonesia, where they are a highly protected and closely controlled species, to India? Did Elliott make a side trip he didn’t tell me about? How, and from whom, did he get permission to bring them to the U.S.? Altogether too many unanswered questions! Elliott would have a lot of explaining to do!

Photo of Young Komodo Dragon by Raul 654

from Wikipedia

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Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Brava. I loved how you brought the dream up again and connected it to the reason the stranger was arrested. Your description of the reaction to smelling salts was very vivid. Have they been used on you?

I'm glad you added in information about Komodo dragons. The India / Indonesia thing was puzzling me, and now it's all part of the mystery about what Elliot has been up to.

Wonderful chapter. Thanks for playing.

Who's up next? LOL

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Thanks, Ruth. It was fun.

Smelling salts have not been used on ME, but I've had to break an ammonia ampule under someone else's nose; from the 'fall out' I can see how it would jolt you out of a swoon. :) I thought I was going to have to rush to fresh air. That stuff is potent!

"JEANNELLE" said...

Hi, Pat!

Oh, very, very good! I loved your description of the guy's suit.....that it appeared he'd been "dipped" in it. How clever is that! Good for you!

I tried to resolve the Komodo Dragon thing, too, by questioning how Elliott got ahold of them when supposedly he was in India, not Indonesia.

Very intriguing.......the stranger's laugh that is so similar to Ruth's father's......Hmm.....isn't it fun leaving those loose ends for others to pick up on!

Good job, Pat!!

rhymeswithplague said...

Pat, great chapter! And it's not only on your site but on Ruth's as well (as a link in the story).

I had to ignore my wife, my dog, my chores, and my personal hygiene for a while to write my chapter. I want to write more, but I don't know whether I'm up to it!

Sherry Peyton said...

Great chapter Ruth! I liked it very much. In truth, nobody can ride with a prisoner in police car and no prisoner can ride unhandcuffed, but you did a great job getting her out of there! I liked very much your attention to details which really made it interesting to me.

JC said...

Pat, You are a great storyteller. I loved reading this. I must go back and read from the beginning (chapter 1). Thanks for coming to visit this week. Today is the first day I've had to exhale, first day in the office.