Follow the adventures of Lindy Lewis from the day her house burns....
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I made one quick stop in Minneapolis and now, days later I had finally reached my destination. My mouth had watered for a good meal when the signs along the way had said, "Visit Tony's Steakhouse for a Taste of Splendor!" Now finally I was here. And lordy, I got out of the car and leisurely stretched. And, just then gloved hands grabbed me, and shoved me stumbling away from the car. Within minutes a man was behind the wheel of my BMW and speeding away, and I lay in the dust in the parking lot of Tony's restaurant in Dallas, Texas.
A scream started in my throat and my lips formed the word, "help!" But then I stopped, I couldn't call the police. By now there more then likely was a nation-wide alert out for my arrest. Nausea swept up my throat as I slumped to the hardpacked dirt and gasped for air. Stunned, in the shade of a tree I put my head in my hands and huddled, hopeless and alone. All my planning had been for nothing. I finally had had what I wanted and now in seconds my fortune and my beautiful black BMW was gone!
I wiped my eyes and thought hopefully, maybe the thief would come back! Oh sure, and won't he be pleasantly surprised when he finds my money too! Anger shot through me at the thought that someone else had all my money, and my car!
It was 8:30 on a Saturday night in Dallas. The sky was velvety black and the stars were so bright they looked like I could reach up and touch them, and the warm humid autumn air was laced with the exhaust from the charcoal-broiled steaks. I got up and brushed myself off and on shaky legs walked over to the restaurant.
"The Biggest Bar in Texas," the sign on the door proclaimed. My stomach ached, both from hunger and fear as I stood uncertainly for a minute and wondered, should I call Reed for help? If I told him what had just happened would he come and get me? Oh Lord, what in the world was I thinking?
I straightened my sweater and denin skirt and wiped the dust of my high-heeled sandals, then felt to make sure my ruby and diamond earrings were still safely clipped on.
"They always bring me good luck," I remembered my mom saying. Now they were the only things I had left of any value. I squared my shouders and walked into the place and found a stool at the horseshoe shaped bar. Mirrors magnified the crowded room that opened into a dining area with white linen covered tables set with wine glasses. Linda Ronsteds's voice whispered about lost loves over the sound system.
"What'll you have?" the bartender asked me. The air in the large room was cool and heavenly as I sat at the bar without a cent in my pocket. I didn't even have a purse but I said, "I'll have a brandy manhatten please! and I'll need you to put it on a tab!" Then I needed both hands to lift the glass to my mouth.
By God I vowed, I will find the man who so silently and expertly stole everything I owned. I took another sip of the drink and felt the warmth give me strength!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Maybe it was too late and I was caught, but I still protested, "It was an accident!"
"Lindy," Reed said patiently then,"my company wants their million dollars back, and you've been charged with fraud!"
I sat stunned and stared in unbelief. For God's sake, not now after all I'd been through. Then I realized he was still talking. "Now, we know he is John Thomas and the same man who calls himself J.T.. Lindy, he killed Sierra Ames, Tanner's girlfriend, and I just found out, now he's killed Tanner!"
I sat frozen, but forced myself to think. I remembered being haunted by J.T. brown eyes. Reminding me somewhat of being the same as those of the man who delivered the check for the million dollars to me at the hotel. But I soon forgot about it.
I repeated, "J.T. killed Tanner?"
I saw pain deepen the lines on Reed's face. "Yes," he murmured, "I haven't had time yet--," and he looked away and was silent.
"My god, I've been involved with a murderer?" I managed to ask.
"Afraid so, but the asshole will get prison for life!"
I clutched the coffee cup in my shaking hands and started to cry. Reed stood up and put a hand on my shoulder, then pulled me into his arms. Then what started as a comforting embrace soon developed into a kiss, bringing to the surface all the same feelings we had shared years ago. I clung to him feeling the safety in his arms again.
The next morning Reed said to me, "Lindy, you know you've got to return the money!"
"I will," I promised solemnly as we sat in his living room on the burgundy leather couch drinking coffee and enjoying the warmth of the fireplace after the night of love-making. The skies were gray with the feel of an early frost in the air.
"And after we get things straightened out with the police and my company, we've got to talk!" He continued as he ran a hand over my bare leg.
I shivered at his touch. I had thought of nothing else during the wakeful hours of the night, and I smiled at him.
He took me in his arms then and said, "Lindy, I've got to go to the memorial serivce for Tanner this morning, but I'll be back shortly. Be ready and we'll take off for Minneapolis then to take care of everything."
The next morning the sun cast a rosy glow over the still lake and a call from a loon echoed in the stillness as I walked with him to his corvette. I leaned in through the window and kissed him, then stepped back and waved.
"I'll see you in a couple of hours," he said. I smiled and waved again.
A few minutes later, the peace in the north was shattered as I roared off in my BMW.
Monday, December 13, 2010
"There's more to this story isn't there," I asked Reed as I rolled up the sleeves of the shirt I'd borrowed from his closet. We were sitting at the table in his kitchen later that day after everything had settled down and J.T. was on his way to jail. It had been four days since I'd left the hotel in Minneapolis. A breeze billowed the curtains out over the window sill and fresh coffee bubbled in the pot on the stove.
"Lindy, you didn't know what you were getting yourself into when you got tangled up with that man," Reed said shaking his head. "I recognized the man you knew as J.T. at the casino too. And, I've been following him for the last few days. That's why I'm late getting here now.
"You knew J.T.?" I asked gaping at him.
"Yes Lindy," he said. "I've been working on this case for some time now!" He got up and poured two cups of coffee for us and settled in again at the table.
"Let me start at the beginning," he went on, "You rememberTanner Burke, my best friend don't you? He put a man named John Thomas in prison for a bank robbery, then he represented Thomas's wife, Reka Holms when she divorced him. Sometime later Tanner's secretary, Sierra Ames was killed in a mysterious car accident. We got together many times to work on the case but all we had was that it involved a red car. It went unsolved, but Tanner would not let it go. You may as well know Lindy, I work for the same insurance company that insured you! And sometime after your claim had been paid out, new evidence was unexpectedly found and I was put on the case to investigate."
"You knew about my fire?" I exclaimed and waited for his reply.
"Yes," he said and shifted his glance away from my stare as I raised my voice and yelled, "Well, why the hell didn't you tell me when we were at the casino!"
"I'm sorry Lindy, but it just wasn't the right time. But now I have to ask: did you set that fire?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
"Are you still drinking those rum drinks," Reed asked as we sat in the lounge a few minutes later.
I clasped my shaking hands together under the table, willing myself to relax and tried to smile.
Older now, his reddish hair had turned to a sandy color and was mixed with gray. Lines were scattered around his blue eyes. Wearing a brown sport coat, a soft yellow shirt opened low to a broad chest.
"Lindy, where have you been?" He asked.
"I live in Minnespolis. You know Reed I got married a while back, but now its been almost a year since my husband died."
He reached for my hand and exclaimed, "I'm so sorry." My mind raced as I wondered, did he still care? Would he help me now?
"What about you Reed, are you still living on your ranch?'' I asked.
He sat back and put his arm over the top of the booth. "Nope, I pulled up stakes and sold out!"
"You did, I can't believe it, what about your law practice?"
"I gave most of that up," he laughed. "Midlife crisis I guess. Although I do still work part-time as an insurance investigator."
Oh Lordy, my breath caught, did he know about my house fire? No not likely, I consoled myself, it would be too much of a coincidence; there were hundreds of insurance companies. Then I got an idea and asked him innocently, "Reed do you still have your cabin at the lake?"
He smiled. "Yup, I sure do, that's where I live now."
Just then, I happened to glance up at a mirror that reflected the entrance into the lounge and I saw J.T. walk by. He was here, in the casino!
I willed my nerves to be still, I had to do something and get out of there! And then I got an idea and asked, "Reed, just for old times sake, would you consider letting me stay a day two at your place? I was on my way up to see my family and I had to stop here because I suddenly got this awful migraine." I ran a hand over my forehead and grimaced.
"Well sure Lindy," he said. "You know the way, the key is under the red flower pot on the deck."
I leaned over in thanks and kissed him on his cheek.
"I'm working on something so I'll probably be hung up for a day or two, but wait for me, will you?"
Within thirty minutes I was there. I would wait until I dared go back to Minneapolis to get my money and then leave town for good
Several days passed and he did not come, and I had already stayed longer than I'd planned. As much as I hated to, I had to leave in the morning. California beckoned.
It was a lovely warm fall day as I sat out on the dock enjoying the scenery, when suddenly footsteps echoed on the boards. I looked up and then froze as I saw two men coming towards me. Horrified, I recognized J.T. accompanied by an African- American man.
I scrambled to my feet ready to run for my life, then realized I was trapped out on the dock, over the deep swirling water. And I couldn't swim!
"Bitch," J.T. raged and as he came towards me, he slid his belt off.
I stared at it in horror as it snaked through the air making a cutting sound. I looked at the other man and he held a gun, and it was pointed right at me.
As a scream began deep in my throat, a shot rang out freezing the moment into a frame of stillness. No one moved! The belt in J.T.'s hand stopped in mid-air and the gunman swung around franticly looking for the new target. Gravel flew through the air then as police cars screeched to a stop in the driveway and Reed Conners voice cut throught the silence as he shouted, "okay assholes, don't even breath!"
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I ran into the brightly lit casino. My insides trembled after more than two hours on the highway being chased by J.T., but thank God for those bikers who had apparently seen what was happening and jumped to my defense. I found a restroom, put my purse down on the sink and looked at my haggard face in the mirror.
Lordy, how the hell had I gotten into all this? Standing there, I washed the mascara from my tear-stained face and worried, had J.T. still been somewhere close behind me on the freeway and did he see me turn into the entrance to the casino? If he had followed me, would I see him in time to get away through a side door?
The Great Casino was jammed as I stepped out of the restroom and cautiously made my way through the aisles of slot machines and black-jack tables. Bells shrilled as bleary eyed patrons joyfully collected their winnings from the brilliantly lit machines.
As I moved through the crowded room of milling people, my heart jumped in my chest when I heard someone call out my name. I quickly counted the steps to the nearest exit, but then curiousity got the best of me, and I searched the faces of the people sitting at the nearby gaming tables. Thank God, I didn't see J.T., but then my frightened glance fell on a man I had known years ago. He had been in law school while I was studying for my degree in business. We had, had a torrid love affair.
Now, my heart began to spin as I looked into the steely blue eyes of Reed Conners!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
He stood outside the motel, one foot propped up on a rock lying by the sidewalk. Beads of sweat glistened on his forehead. Now in his middle forties, Tanner Burk had learned to trust his instincts as he warily scanned the quiet streets of his home town. He took one last drag of his cigarette and impatiently flipped the butt into the street and watched it hit the ground sending sparks flying.
Just then a shiny black BMW roared up to the stop sign and a woman sat at the wheel clutching it for dear life. As he stood just a few feet from her car as she hesitated at the sign, he recognized Lindy Lewis, his friend, Reed Conner's girl-friend from their college days. And he saw the raw fear shadowed on her face as if she was racing for her life as she flew on by. And, he wondered, had Sierra been chased by someone and forced off the road to her death?
A block away, J.T. slumped down in Jones's red car. He'd been outsmarted by Lindy and the bikers and he was pissed. The Lincolm slowed down then as they approached a stop sign in a small town. As they neared the street corner, his breath hissed and he bolted upright in the car seat and yelled, "Jesus, that man standing there is Tanner Burk, my ex-old lady's attorney. Spittle flew in the air as he went on, "That son of a bitch sent me to jail!" He reached for his gun then and aimed. "By God, now I'll make him dance!" And in that instant as their eyes met in recognition an ear-splitting shot rang out and Tanner hit the ground.
Christ, he'd been right all along and the wait was over, Tanner knew. Another shot blasted through the air, closer this time and the smell of gunpowder and dust hung in the air.
Then there it was-- in a split second disclosure! John Thomas was in that car. The man whom he had sent to prison and now it all fit. And for revenge, John Thomas had to have been Sierra's killer!
More shots peppered the air and time stood still as Tanner lay there hugging the earth, the pavement, and the sudden stillness brought a crackling reality, he was going to die!
J.T.'s gun pointed directly at him and another bullet cut through the air with a scream. Then it was too late--too late to run. There wasn't any time, time had run out and the air vibrated as the weight of death hung suspended.
Then with a deafening burst of force, his world shattered into a blur of nothingness and his life flowed across the cement in rivers of red. Tanner Burk lay dead in a pile of twisted humanity as a train whistle, from miles away, sent out lonely calls of departure.
And adrendlin pumped through J.T.'s veins as he and Jones flew through the rest of the small town. He laughed and said, "Fuck man that felt great! Lets stop at the casino up ahead, my luck has just changed!"
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I put my powerful BMW in drive and raced down through the dark hotel ramp. Then my breath froze in my throat as I met a red car and glimpsed the familiar face of J.T. sitting in the passenger seat.
Dear God, help me, I whispered as I flew out to the freeway. With my eyes glued to the road and my hands in a viselike grip on the wheel, I prayed he hadn't seen me.
However, a short distance behind her J.T. yelled, "That was her! Okay pal, let's see what this pussy car can do!"
Traffic was heavy even though it was late at night, and likely everyone was going north too to get an early start on the long July holiday weekend. A steady stream of cars, bikers, vans, and pickups with campers were all traveling at break-neck speed as the urgency to get away snaked its way along the pavment and covered the faces of the drivers and passengers.
Jones gunned the motor in his red car and recklessly weaved in and out amongst the traffic, then caught up with me and rammed right into the back bumper of my car.
Oh God, I prayed again and fought for control coming dangerously close to a deep ravine.
"Hit her again, push her over," J.T. yelled, then curiously twisted around and checked the back window as the air suddenly reverbrated with an ear-deafening roar. He gaped at the scene unfolding behind them and his voice cracked as he said, "Fuck, you won't believe this man; the whole fucking town is behind us on their Harleys!"
He watched bug-eyed then as they were surrounded by black leather and exhaust fumes closing them in. As a sea of black helmets with goggles looking like an army of faceless monsters on thundering bikes slowed them down.
"Goddamn she's getting away," he growled as the tailights of Lindy's powerful black BMW sailed out of sight in the late night traffic. "Fuck, we lost her, pull off on the next exit," and J.T.slammed his fist on the dash.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Edges of danger crawled up and down Tanner's spine as he stood on the corner of Broadway and 8th in the early dawn.
What the hell is it? He mumbled under his breath. A whiff of fried bacon from his Aunt Juia's cafe mingled with the fumes of the dry cleaners up the block as the small businesses prepared for opening at sunrise.
In Minneapolis, J.T. stood clenching the phone to his ear. His piercing brown eyes ready to kill after finding the bag of groceries Lindy had promised to bring for their special night scattered there on the ground by his vehicle. And all the incriminationg papers and the disguises he had used there too, where he must have dropped them when he got out of the car.
"The bitch will have figured it out," he roared to his buddy and punched the wall. Then bellowed, "Pick me up!" And a few minutes later he jumped into Jones's red car and they sped off.
I sat on the bed in my hotel room stunned, after finding those papers and disguises J.T. had used to trick me. Painful tears ran down my face. Why hadn't I left town right away after getting my insurance money when I had those sudden niggling feelings of doubt about staying longer.
Why hadn't I paid attention and especially not gotten involved with this man. For God's sake, he didn't want me, he just wanted my money!
I jumped up and caught my breath. As soon as he discovers his papers, the wig and his glasses, and sees the champagne and strawberries I dropped, he'll know that I was there and realized just exactly what he was doing. My heart jammed wildly in my chest as I tossed clothes in a bag, thenran down the hotel stairway to the underground parking garage and jumped into my black BMW.
Across town, J.T. climbed into Jones's red car and said, "Go by that broads hotel and then take me straight out to the airport!"
"What the hell are you going by the hotel for, she's probably got the cops waiting for you," Jones's deep voice vibrated.
"Fuck, I just need five minutes to settle a score with that bitch before I split this goddamn town." He inhaled hard on his cigearette. And just as they came off the parkway and turned into the hotel entrance, Lindy's car shot past them.
"There she is, in that black BMW," J.T. yelled. "Follow that bitch," and the red Lincoln flew into the Saturday night traffic as if it had wings!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
It feels so wonderful to be loved, Lindy murmured as she sprayed herself with perfume. Infatuated with J.T.'s intense love-making she had stayed in Minneapolis longer than she had planned, and still lived in the hotel. Her thoughts were on the special night she had planned; chanpagne and strawberries and a new CD.
She smiled at herself in the floor length mirror as the vibrant green dress swirled effectively just above her knees, and sheer black nylons and patent pumps accentuated her shapely legs. She excitedly ran down the stairway and hopped in her new car and raced out of ramp.
On the ten minute drive to J.T.'s apartment in the nearby suburb, her thoughts rambled over songs they had danced to in the weeks they had been dating. She sped along now in anticipation of the night and parked next to his car in the parking lot. When she reached to get her bag of groceries out of the back of her BMW, papers lying scattered on the ground next to his vehicle caught her eye. Curiously, she put the groceries down and gathered them up, then picked up a wig and a pair of glasses.
As she studied the papers, she gaped at a page containing detailed reports of her every move! Then, found check stubs from the First Federated Insurance Company made out to Jud Thurman, incidentally, which was her company. Identification and a social security card made out in his name.
She stood frozen as a chill swept up her back and the warmth of her silk dress turned to ice as she realized something ominous was going on.
Then she realized, it was those brown eyes! That's why there had been something so familiar about the two men. And as if burned, she dropped the wig, glasses and papers to the ground, left the champagne and strawberries on the curb and ran like hell to her car.
My God, J.T. was Jud Thurman, the insurance man!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Tanner Burk had spent months looking for Sierra's killer and had found only one sure detail. It had been a red car that had forced her off the road! He sat at his desk and slid the files over and went over them one more time. Somewhere in here is the answer, his instincts told him.
There were three cases he had been working on: John Lund, whom he'd sent to prison for book-making. Then a personal issue of his own investigating the chief of police. And also John Thomas, a thief and con-artist who was also residing in a prison.
Burned out and restless, he grabbed the files, locked his office door, got in his car and headed north to see his friend and former college buddy, Reed Conners. Finally, away from the busy turmoll of the big city and into the country of cattle and grain farms.
The traffic had thinned and his thoughts went back to the time when he had decided he needed a secretary to sort out his messy office. Sierra Ames had answered his ad and exclaimed, "I've just finished my business course, and this will be my first job using my secretarial skills, and I can see you need me!" Now she had been gone for nearly a year, but at times he swore he could still smell her perfume in his bed. As Reed's ranch came into view, Tanner stretched his cramped and tired body and looked forward to a cold beer with his friend.
The fading sun sent long shadows over the roof of the brick ranch-style house, and the closed blinds promised coolness inside. Reed had given up his office in downtown Willeston, several years ago, and only took special cases at his home office, but now it was surprisingly quiet. Too quiet!
How long had it been since they had talked? Months, Tanner guessed. The last time he had been here to the ranch, the place had been alive with cattle in the pastures, ranch hands working the fences and the cook in the kitchen creating wonderful aromas of Spanish dishes. Now the brown and white Herefords were gone and the grass had grown tall in the pastures.
As a criminal attorney, had Reed run into trouble?
Tanner walked back to his car, then stood for a minute and looked around at the quiet lonely place, then began to drive, his thoughts in shambles.They had talked about getting together and going fishing in Wisconsin that last time they had talked about Sierra's death, but he remembered now, that was a long time ago.
The small town Tanner had grown up in lay just ahead of him as he anxiously barreled down the highway hours later, and desparately needing to see family, he checked into the Dew Drop Inn, tossed his bags on the bed and went out again on the one and only street to the Rex Cafe.
Home Cooked Meals, a blackboard proclaimed, and he stood for a moment in the entry and gazed about. Slelves laden with crafts created by the locals, another sign said; knit afghans, quilts, flower arrangements and small trinkets tumbled from tables. He walked quietly up to a familiar figure and whirled the woman around in a dance step.
"Hello Aunt Julia," he whispered in her ear. The lady's aged face crinkled in a smile as she fell into step with one of her favorite nephews. Tanner smiled at this woman who had been like a mother to him after his parents had died suddenly when he was a young boy.
That night however, he slept fitfully on the hard mattress in his motel room, and finally at the first hint of dawn, gave up all thoughts of resting and went outside hoping to catch an early morning breeze.
But it was hot and still!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Lindy had slept a few hours, then began to toss and turn. The hotel walls were closing in on her after the long months of waiting for her insurance claim to come through. She'd bought a shiny new black BMW, and she needed just one good night of sleep before she got on the road, on the way to her new life in California. She punched the pillow in frustration and mumbled, maybe a drink would help her sleep. She tossed the covers aside, pulled on her designer jeans, a new red silk shirt and her high-heeled sandals, then hurriedly applied her make-up and fluffed her hair.
Downstairs, the crowded hotel bar overflowed out into the lobby while the band played the top forty songs. The air was filled with smoke and colognes, mixed with the charged up expectations as the beautiful people mingled. She found a stool at the bar and ordered a brandy manhatton. And as she sipped, her thoughts wondered back to her past. A hundred years ago it seemed.
Lindy Lewis was in her early forties. She'd worked hard to pay her way through college, and later, traveled around the country working for the Grand Hotels, then had gotten married. She leaned into the bar now as she held the cocktail glass to her lips. Lost in thought, her blue eyes saddened at the memory of her husbands death and the end of that wonderful secure era. The brandy burned her throat and warmed her stomach, but didn't take away the familiar ache as she looked longingly at the couples on the dance floor. And she didn't notice a man take the stool next to her or know that he had been waiting just for her.
She turned to him as he said, "Hi, My name is J.T." He was dressed in jeans, and a white v-necked sweater.
Dark hair curled over his temple. "So, whats your name beautiful?" he asked as brown eyes gazed into hers.
A frown crossed Lindy's face for a fleeting moment as something seemed familiar about him, but she pushed that thought out of her mind and thought she'd just been paranoid for far too long worrying about things.
Smiling she replied, "Lindy."
"Lindy," he said then, "Would you like to dance?"
"J.T. I would love to," she said. And the sensuous look he gave her as he stood up sent shivers of heat through her body. A feeling she had frogotten.
The band swung into a slow love song as he took her hand and led her onto the dance floor. The beat of the drums echoed in her ears as they swayed to the music. When the number ended, he kept his arm around her waist, and his hip against hers as they walked back to their seats. As she settled on her stool, he bent over and kissed her, then traced a finger over her face, circling her lips. Enthalled, she leaned closer and inhaled his cologne.
J.T. raised his glass and said, "Here's to us, Lindy, we were made for each other," and they danced away the night, each time their bodies straining closer.
"Why don't you come up to my room for a nightcap," he asked then, and having drunk more than she normally would, Lindy threw caution to the wind and agreed and they walked to his room holding hands.
Soft music played on the radio as they sat on a davenport in 310 and J.T.talked about being transferred to Minneapolis from New York and his job at IBM. Lindy was absolutely taken by his charm, but for a moment again, she wondered why his eyes seemed somewhat familiar. But she promptly forgot the uneasy thought as he took her into his arms.
Just this once, she thought as he began kissing her. It had been so long since anyone wanted her, and minutes later, opening her shirt, he did things with his tongue to her nipples that sent rapturous pangs of joy to her senses. Then covering her belly with more fluttering kisses soon time stood still as a new world opened for her. And J.T. began making love that was so intense, so erotic and so extremely personal she was beyond protesting and her body pulsated with rocking emotions as her world exploded into a million fragments sending an ecstasy of tremors through her body.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Not too long before, pissed and broke, a man had just gotton out of prison. His fine clothes, cash and easy life had gone down the drain, but, he dreamt of millions still out there that was just waiting for him. For a price a prison pal had promised and gotten him a new identity and now, hunched over on a barstool he was deep in thought.
Insurance companies, he mumbled and slapped a hand down hard on the stained wood remembering a conversation with another cell-mate, who, by the way was considered one of the slickest swindlers in the pen.
Yeah, he mumbled, I need to get myself a job in one of those goddamn insurance companies and have a front. And now months later, he ran up the stairs to his apartment and slammed the door.
She's got the money! She's loaded and tonights the night, he whispered to the walls.
It had been the hardest work forty-six year old John Thomas, alias Jud Thurman or J.T. had ever done. But again visions of new cars, cash and Las Vegas danced through his thougths.
Okay Lindy Lewis, he whispered to the walls, get ready for me!
It was Friday night and J.T.'s plan was ready for action!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The phone rang with a aggravating shrill this late summer morning breaking into my dream. I reached out from under the covers and fumbled among the books and junk I had scattered on the bedside table and answered.
"Good morning Miss Lewis," the hotel operator said, "there's a gentleman here to see you. He says his name is Jud thurman. Shall I send him up?"
I sat up, instantly awake. My God, Jud Thurman, the insurance man! The months of waiting were finally over. This was the day I had dreamed of, yet dreaded, if things didn't go as I had planned. I swept my hair out of my eyes, alert but cautious.
"Would you ask him to wait ten minutes?" I asked. Then clunking the telephone down I jumped out of bed, ran into the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweater. My red hair hung in flattened strands. I looked at myself in the mirror and Lordy, I really did look pathetic. But that was good!
Well girl, this is it I whispered to my pale reflection. And I forced myself to take three slow breaths to calm my shaking nerves and opened the door to a man with short brown hair, gold framed glasses over piercing brown eyes, and dressed in a blue pin-striped suit.
"Come in Mr Thurman," I said and patted my hair, and straightened the shabby clothes I had purposely saved for this. "Excuse my appearance," I went on, "you see everything I had was lost in the fire." My voice trembled and his eyes swept over me quickly. And to cover my nervousness I added, "I'm still trying to forget the horrendous sight of my house and all my things burning."
He cleared his throat after saying,"Miss Lewis, I'm sure it's a trumatic time." He then unbottoned his jacket and sat down in one of the two easy chairs in my room. Then soberly began taking papers out of his briefcase and aranged them in neat piles on the table between us.
Early morning traffic hummed just outside and faint wisps of exhaust crept in through the open window. My bed was unmade and magazines, a take-out carton and an empty soda can lay scattered haphazardly around my cramped, faded Southwestern decorated room.
My heart thundered in my chest and I was sure he could hear the thudding crashes banging against my ribs, as I sat perched on the edge of my chair, then I held my breath as he began.
"Miss Lewis," he said, "after a thorough examination and verification, my company concludes the fire was caused by a short in the wiring which ignited your painting supplies."
I exhaled slowly trying to control my nerves.
Jud Thurman then placed the papers in front of me and said, "I'll need you to sign these papers please, and then I'll have the check ready for you!"
I grasped the pen he handed me and signed my name on the specified lines, sure I was going to faint from fright and anxiety. Without hesitation, he handed me the check then and left wishing me good luck.
I closed the door after him and stared at the check. My God, it was over and I had one million dollars! And like a kid, I hopped up on my bed and began to bounce, up and down until my hair stood up wildly on my head and my breath ran out.
I'm rich, I'm rich, I'm rich I sang and then clamped my hand over my mouth when I remembered I was in a hotel and the walls were thin.
Now, finally I could start my new life. My dream!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This is Lindy Lewis
I stood in my old red robe, oddly frozen, watching the flames consume all my possessions and memories.
The heat was intense. THe flames were as high as the treetops. Sparks flew and exploded in the air, cascading into spiraling tails of color. "Stand back, everyone, please," a burly fireman said in a gruff voice. The early morning march winds carried the smell of hot rubber for blocks and the fireman nervously waved me back as the paint began to bubble and sizzle on my car parked next to my house. A seed of doubt crept into my mind now as I watched it all happening. Maybe, just maybe, I'd made a mistake.
Posted by Lyn Miller Lacoursiere