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Saturday, February 9, 2013

When You Die in Your Dreams (excerpt 20)

(excerpt 20. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)

* * *
“While your parents are in town I'm going to lie out by the lake and get some sun,” Janelle said.
“Okay, I'll be in the house.”
Despite the fact that I was convinced Chauncey would not seek revenge on me, I decided to put in a call to my friend Rick.
“Gasteroids, Rick speaking. Can I help you?”
“Rick, it's Parker.”
“Parker, you old dog. This place is buzzing. Bartholomew's dead. Were you behind it? Is that what you couldn't tell me?”
“Yeah, Rick. It was me.”
“Why'd you do it?”
“He was holding my parents prisoner and he put out a contract on my girl.”
“Well you've made a lot of people very happy.”
“Glad I could be of public service. Anyway, I called because I wanted to ask you to keep your eyes and ears open for me.”
“About what?”
“I've been seeing some strange things. I think Chauncey might come gunning for me.”
“That little weasel?”
“I know. I find it hard to fathom too. Just do me a favor; let me know if you hear anything about him making a trip to Earth.”
“You got it, man.”
“Thanks, Rick. Take care.”
“Talk to you later.”
When Janelle came in from sunning herself by the lake I was sitting at the kitchen table having coffee with one of my favorite personalities from history.
“Honey, say hello to George Washington,” I said.
“Hi, Mr. Washington,” she said blithely. She turned to me and said, “I just had a nice conversation with a man in a boat.”
“What man?” I asked. Couldn't be him, I thought to myself.
“He stopped at our dock and got out to welcome us to the lake. He said he lives in the red chalet across the way,” Janelle said.
“Well that was neighborly.” I continued to do my best to play it cool.
“He was an odd little man. He wore one of those hats like men used to wear in the old days.”
“You mean a fedora?” I asked. My heart beat rapidly and my muscles tensed up. “He didn't happen to mention his name, did he?”
“As a matter of fact he did. He said his name was Chauncey. Another unusual name. I don't seem to meet many people with plain names - except your friend George here. Parker, do you know this Chauncey fellow?”
“No. Never heard of him.”
I could no longer hide my anxiety. I excused myself and went into my study. I paced back and forth. When I killed Bartholomew I didn't consider the possibility that Chauncey might avenge his mentor's death. The Chauncey I knew was a timid little fellow with a yellow streak down his back. He would never go up against me. Or so I thought. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe he was there to offer an olive branch. Perhaps he feared I would come after him next in an effort to tie up any loose ends.
I dialed Rick's direct line at Gasteroids. No Answer. “That's odd,” I thought. “Rick pretty much lives in his office. I wonder what he's up to?” The whole time the phone was ringing I had a gnawing feeling in my gut – the feeling that something was wrong. It was undeniable, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Unbeknownst to me, while I was attempting to reach Rick to see if he'd heard anything about Chauncey's whereabouts, Janelle went back outside to sit in the sun a while longer. She told Jeeves and no one else.

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