Thursday, January 5, 2012

Storylines

For 2012 I will be writing short stories.  I've decided to change the way I'm blogging, and am switching to a story format.  I plan to write stories that carry a message.  I will post follow up stories each month as long as a story has life.  And when a story has run its course, I'll start a new one.  I welcome your comments and reactions.

This first story was inspired by an idea I got from reading something that Stephen King wrote.  It's called:


Fun with Dick and Jane- Part 1

     Dick heaves a sigh of relief as he walks down the steps to his car.  He puts the keys in the door and pauses.  He looks up at the house and through the window sees his daughter playing with the other kids.  His eyes dart to the side yard on the left, and then the right side of the house.  Dick smiles and tells himself, “I’m just being paranoid, Nell’s fine.”  He climbs in the car, brushes his hair back with his hand, and drives towards the freeway.
     The steering wheel feels strange in his hand.  Dick glances down at his hands, and laughs at himself when he sees his white knuckles protruding.  He tries to relax them and pops in a classical CD.  Classical music relaxes Dick more than anything else.  Dick forces himself to take several deeps breaths, yet he keeps checking the rear-view mirror.
     The familiar freeway sign brings him out of his thoughts.  He drives off the freeway off-ramp and turns into the seldom used two lane road and heads up the mountain.  His hands loosen on the steering wheel, and then his thoughts return to Nell.  “I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to relax any.  Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea,” Dick says aloud.
     Dick pulls up to his father’s cabin and parks in the dirt.  He digs out his cell phone to check for messages, and frowns.  No cell service.  As he opens the door to Dad’s cabin he suddenly tenses.  Something doesn’t feel right.  “Come on, you’re just jumpy.  Don’t be a nut case,” he thinks. He tosses his bag on the couch and looks around.  Everything is just as he remembers it- well worn furniture, large stone fire place, open wood beam ceiling, 1960s d├ęcor, and musty smell.  Dick flicks on the T.V. and heads to the kitchen.  He opens the fridge and grabs one of the beers and says, “Maybe just one to relax me before I hit the sack.”
     He sits down to watch a re-run of Leave it to Beaver, and smiles as he recognizes the episode.  He grew up watching the show every day.  Dick finishes off the last of his beer, and then a news break interrupts.  A smiling blond with perfect hair comes on with matching pink blouse and lip stick.

“Breaking news developing at this hour- three women escaped Metropolitan Mental Hospital this afternoon after a fight broke out with two of the guards.  One male guard was killed, while a female guard has been admitted to the Twin City ER in fair condition.  The male guard was killed with a knife that appears to have come from the cafeteria.  The female guard sustained a head injury from some kind of blunt object, yet the details are unknown at this time.  Fortunately, two of the inmates have been rounded up by local police, but the third woman remains at large.  The identities of the women are not being released at this time.  This is Sonia Barton, Eye-Witness News.  Now back to you, Tom.”

Dick sits transfixed to the screen.  He crumples the beer can in his tightening grip, startling himself.  Then it comes to him.  Dick turns his head back to the door, where a pair of kelly green, Converse All-Stars sits next to the door.  He hears a muffled laugh.
     His mind screams to get the hell out of there, but his legs won’t respond.  The stairs creak with slow groans.  Dick grabs his legs, digging his nails into his skin, yet they refuse to move.  The stairs go silent.  A gentle hand makes its way through his hair, moving back and forth.
     “Dickie knows his Jane well.  That’s right, your Jane never goes anywhere without her lucky shoes.”
     Dick feels Jane’s strong fingers moves across his neck, stopping over his carotid artery.  Dick’s blood runs cold.  “Oh God, not this again,” he says.
     “Now I’m sure Jane doesn’t need to remind Dickie of what happens when he’s not a cooperative boy, cause Dickie’s going to be a good boy.  But, just in case Dickie decides to be a bad boy, Jane brought her lucky knife.”     
     “Where is it,” asks Dick. 
     Jane laughs, “Now that’s the Dickie I know, always wanting proof for everything.”  Jane pulls the knife from her pocket and waves it in front of his eyes.  “Now, Jane wants Dickie to get up and follow Jane upstairs.  Jane’s gotta surprise for Dickie.”
     Dread fires through his veins like lightening through a tree.  Dick picks up his cell phone as he stands and walks upstairs, noticing that Jane’s firm hands remain on his neck.  He glances down at his cell phone- still no service.  He turns his head to look, but Jane’s hand immediately covers his eyes.  “No fair looking yet.  It won’t be as much fun if it’s not a surprise,” said Jane.  Dick obeys.  When he reaches the top of the stairs he stops.
     “Come now Dickie, Dickie knows Jane wants him to go to the bathroom.”
     For the first time he notices the sound of running water.  He opens the cracked door of the bathroom to find the water running over the side of the tub.  “It’s time for little Dickie’s bath, so be a good boy and get into the bath.  Jane wants to take good care of Dickie and make Dickie all clean.”

     At first Dick had liked Jane’s maternal instincts.  He met her at the high school youth group at church.  Jane was a group leader, being five years older than Dick.  Dick didn’t mind that Jane stood two inches taller, especially since she kept herself rail thin.  However, after the wedding her figure began to change.  By the end of their second year of marriage she outweighed Dick by twenty-five pounds.
     She had taken an immediate interest in Dick, which he lapped up.  Dick had never felt special before.  Jane arranged to have Dick placed in her small group.  It all started with Jane staying after church to listen to Dick talk about his trouble at home.  He and his father fought most days.  The fights never came to blows, but the words thrown back and forth were the kind you don’t forget.
     Dick’s mother traveled three weeks out of every month.  She’d successfully worked her way up from promotion to promotion until becoming the VP of sales, which meant she traveled throughout her region to meet with staff.  As an only child, this meant Dick and Father essentially lived alone.
     Soon Jane had Dick sit on her lap while he told of his troubles.  She would run her hands through his hair and rub his back.  Dick never wondered much why none of the other kids were invited to stay after.  He just figured he was special.  He didn’t know how right he was.  Things soon progressed beyond youth group night.  After two weeks Jane invited Dick to move in with her.  He’d never experienced such an attentive girlfriend, and immediately agreed.  When he arrived with his one canvas, Army surplus bag, Dick couldn’t believe how Jane had fixed up the closet.  Jane had built wooden shelves into her closet.  Not only were the shelves well constructed and freshly painted, but they contained brand new underwear- white tee shirts, white briefs and white socks.  After getting over being stunned, Dick told Jane that he wore boxer shorts.  She smile and said “Not any more.  From now on you’ll only clad yourself with the purity of bleached briefs.”
     Dick opened his mouth to retort, but changed his mind when he saw the look on her face.  He shrugged his shoulders and unpacked.  When he went to use the bathroom, a white towel and matching hand towel awaited him on the rack.  The towels were monogrammed with his initials. 
          They only dated for a couple months before getting engaged.  One night they were sipping beer while they ate pizza at their apartment.  After they’d put away a slice or two, Jane’s face grew into a wide grin.  When Dick asked her why she smiled so, Jane told Dick to look underneath the white plastic ring that keeps the pizza from sticking to the top of the pizza box.  Puzzled, he gazed at her questioningly. Jane grabbed the plastic ring and promptly put it into his hand.  Dick turned the ring upside down and found an engagement ring taped to it.  It was a small solitaire.  Jane said, “I decided to save you the trouble of having to pick me out a ring, so I borrowed your VISA and bought myself a ring.  Wasn’t that thoughtful of me?”  Before Dick could find the words to respond Jane continued, “So hurry and ask me!”
     “Ask you what,” said Dick?
     “Now don’t be dull Dickie.  Ask me!”
     “You mean…to marry me?”
     “Of course, silly,” said Jane.  “I know you want to.”  Dick turned the ring over in his hand, trying to gather two coherent thoughts to put together.  He failed to do so and Jane interrupted his slow moving cogitations.
     “Come on silly, ask me!”
     “But I don’t…”  But Dick stopped when a look of terror mixed with rage distorted Jane’s features. 

     The early years of marriage seemed ideal.  Dick couldn’t have asked for a more attentive wife.  Jane insisted on him coming straight home after work and making dinner six nights per week.  On Sundays they ate with Jane’s parents.  Dick loved coming home to Jane’s meals, and didn’t mind the Sunday dinners, although they seemed a little strange.
     After two years of this ritual, Dick tired of the routine and suggested they go out to dinner.  By Jane’s reaction, Dick wondered if she thought he’d asked for a divorce.  Dick had ducked just in time to avoid the pan flying at his head.  He whipped his head around to see a dent in the wall.
     “Now Dickie doesn’t want to upset Jane, does he?  Mommy’s sorry Dickie made Mommy toss that little ball at Dickie.  I’m just so glad no one was hurt.  Jane’s got a wonderful dinner of tossed salad and blood-red lamb planned.  Would Dickie be a good boy and hand me that butter knife?” 
     “Did you say ‘Mommy’,” asked Dick?
     “Oh, did I say that, how silly of me,” said Jane.

     The next night Dick called home to say he’d be late for dinner, saying he had to get something out before he left work.  Dick took Jane’s silence on the phone for acquiescence.  On his way home from the bar with the guys, Dick called home and left a message on the answering machine that he was in route.  Jane always answered the phone on the second ring.  Since it was after nine o’clock, Dick figured Jane must be in bed. 
     Dick opened the front door, took off his coat and hung it on the hook.  He turned towards the stairs, and then everything went dark.  He woke the next morning in his bed.  His head throbbed and he felt a bump when he investigated, “How in the hell did I get that?”  Jane was not in bed.  Dick got up and stepped into the shower.  The warm water helped ease the pain in his head.
     Jane stood over the stove when Dick made his way downstairs.  The bacon and eggs smelled terrific.  His coffee already sat on the table in front of his perfect place setting. 
     “I must of fallen coming up the stairs last night.  Did you hear anything,” Dick asked? 
     “Oh, don’t be silly! Dickie didn’t fall.  Sometimes mothers have to discipline boys when they’re bad.” 
     “Discipline?  What are you talking about,” asked Dick? 
     “There’s no need to talk about all that nastiness, Jane knows Dickie’s sorry and won’t do it again.” 
     “Won’t do what again?  Wait a minute, are you saying you hit me,” Dick asked?    
     “Come now Dickie, don’t play dumb with Jane.  Dickie might of been a bad boy, but Dickie’s not a dumb boy.” 
     “What are you talking about?  You’re not my mother,” Dick said! 
     “Of course I’m your Mommy!  I may be young, but I’m not going to let anything happen to you again, cause bad things happen when boys don’t come right home.  And don’t call me ‘mother.’  It sounds like you hate me,” said Jane. 
     “What in the hell are you talking about?  Nothing happened to me, and you sure as hell ain’t my mommy, or my mother.  Are you going loony on me?”  Jane turned and pointed her knife at him.  “Don’t you ever call me loony!  You hear me?  I won’t have nobody call me that after what they said about Mother.” 
     “Your mother?  She seems totally sane to me.”  Jane looked back with a strange expression, and then turned away.  She put his breakfast on the table and left the room.

     Jane never seemed the same to Dick after that morning.  She flew into a rage whenever he tried to resist her favorite way to spend an evening together, which began with giving him a bath.  Some nights Dick did resist, and the fights became worse and worse.  After the police interrupted for the 7th time, Dick decided to file for divorce.  Each time he gave his statement to the police about the cuts and bruises on his body he grew more embarrassed.  Maybe he imagined it, but the officers seemed to roll their eyes.  Dick probably couldn’t have left Jane if the guys at the office hadn’t pushed so hard.

     Dick shuts off the bath water.  He didn’t mind letting Jane bath him so much, it’s what she likes to do after that he dreads.  He takes his clothes off, careful to put his phone inside his pants, and steps into the bath.  He looks up at Jane, whose beaming from ear to ear.  She wears the skin tight kelly green sailor suit with pig tails and matching bows in her hair.  Dick feels nauseous.  “Oh God, not that again,” said Dick.
     “Don’t you curse at me, Dickie!  I expect Dickie to treat Mommy with the respect she deserves.  After all, everything I do is for you, you know.”  Dick nods.  Jane pulls out a sponge and washes Dick from head to toe.
     “Okay Dickie, you’re all clean.  It’s time to come to Mommy.”  Jane holds out an open towel to him.  He allows her to dry him.  Dick glances back and forth between Jane and the open bedroom door across the hall.  He tries to appear casual, yet fears what might be waiting for him there.  “Okay Dickie, let’s go get you dressed.  When Jane turns her back, Dick grabs his pants.
     Dick thinks of making a break for the front door.  Before he decides, Jane turns around and puts her hands on her hips.  “Now Dickie isn’t thinking of not minding Mommy is he?”  Dick shakes his head and follows her into the bedroom.  On the made bed lies a matching kelly green dress.  Dick groans inaudibly.
     Jane turns and claps her hands together.  “Okay Dicey, put on your dress and we’ll play.  Dick drops his phone on the carpet, quickly kicking it just under the bed.  Excitement races through him as he sees the service bars.  He puts on the dress and kelly green shoes and sits at the vanity.  Jane picks up the red wig and sets it in place on Dick’s head.  She braids the hair into pig tales, and then ties on the matching bows.  Jane kneels and applies make-up to Dick’s face, just like hers.  “Okay perfect, now we can play.  Who shall we pretend to be today,” says Jane?
     “I’m not in the mood to play this game.”  Jane whacks Dick across the face with the back of her hand.  “I’m sorry Dicey, but you made me do that to you.  I don’t want to hurt you.  Don’t make me do that again.  Of course you want to play with me.  That’s what sisters do together.” 
     “Oh God,” says Dick. 
     Jane grabs her knife and slashes across Dick’s face.  “Stop it!  I said to not make me do that to you, Dicey.  Jane cries as she says, “I want us to play like nice sisters!  What if something ever happens to you?”
     “So what’s going to happen to me,” asks Dick? 
     “Nothing!  I won’t let nothing happen to you!” 
     “Okay, okay, I get it.  Can I have a Kleenex for my face,” asks Dick? 
     “Okay, so who do you want to be, today,” asks Jane? 
     Dick reaches for a tissue and wipes the blood on his face.  Seeing that he’s still bleeding, he holds the tissue to his face.  “Um, I don’t know, why don’t you pick someone,” says Dick. 
     “Okay, we’re going to be police detectives that catch bad people that take little girls away.  I’ve been tracking a case of a kidnapped girl for fourteen years now, and we’re about to close in on the bad men who took her.  We got ‘em pinned inside their bathroom, and we’re going to burst in and kill ‘em.” 
     “Can’t we just arrest ‘em,” asks Dick? 
     “No!  That’s too good for this kind!  We kill ‘em!”  Jane picks up her knife and crouches behind the bed.  She peers around the corner of the bed at the shut bathroom door.  “Okay Dicey, I’ll go in first and you cover me.”
Dick goes down on all fours and in one motion opens his cell phone.  “Alright, I’m ready,” Dick says.  Dick notes that Jane still focuses on the bathroom, and dials 911.      

     “Okay, here I go,” whispers Jane.  Jane lunges at the bathroom and yells, “It’s alright, I’ve got ‘em, I’ve got ‘em.”  “Now wait, the worst of ‘em’s still loose,” says Jane.  Jane grabs Dick and rips the wig and dress off him and shouts, “you were trying to hide your identity, you bad man.  I got you now, you evil child kidnapper!”
     Jane pins Dick down, brandishing her knife above his chest.  Dick’s stunned.  “Who the hell am I now,” he yells. 
     “Don’t try and trick me, you bastard!  You took her fourteen years ago, and now I’m getting her back!  Where do you have her hidden- in the basement?”
     “Jane, it’s me- I’m Dick!  Don’t do it, I’m Dick!” 
     Jane’s eyes narrow and dart back and forth.  “No you’re not.  You can’t fool Jane.  I know an evil kidnapper when I see one.  You tell me where she is, and if she’s alright, I just might let you live, but either way you’re gonna get hurt.”  Dick wrenches one hand free and grabs the hand holding the knife.  Jane pulls her hand out of his grasp, and slashes him across the arm.  Searing pain rushes through his left arm.
     “I’m giving you one last chance to tell me where she is before I send you to the devil.”      Dick shuts his eyes as panic washes over him.  “I don’t know where she is! I’m not the kidnapper! I’m Dick!”
     Jane grits her teeth as she reels back her knife, and plunges it into Dick.  Dick twists in her grip as the knife descends.  The door bursts open and strong arms overpower Jane, pulling her off Dick.

     Dick sits on the log in front of the cabin, while the paramedic attends to his arm.  Jane’s parents stand nearby.  All three look up as police and paramedics in concert load Jane into the back of the police cruiser.  Both hands are covered in bandages, with handcuffs binding them together.  “Damn, if I hadn’t turned like that, I’d be going home in a bag,” says Dick. 
     “Thank God for that,” says Jane’s father. 
     “What happened upstairs,” asks Dick?
     Jane’s parents exchange looks.  Her father nods and her mother asks, “You know who Dickie was, don’t you?” 
     “No.  I’ve asked her a thousand times why she calls me ‘Dickie’ sometimes, but she always said, ‘you know’.” 
     The mother nods, “Jane had a relationship towards the end of high school.  They never married, but Jane ended up with a son.  His name was ‘Dickie’.”  The mother pulls a cigarette out of her purse, lights up and takes a long drag.  She continues, “One day when Dickie was five, Jane dropped him off at his friends to swim in their pool.  Well, after she finished her shopping she went back to pick him up, and found an ambulance at the house.  The paramedics were giving him CPR when she ran into the backyard; but it was too late.”
     “Oh God…So who’s Dicey,” says Dick?
     Tears flow down the mother’s face, and she turns away.  The father says, “Jane had a sister.  Dicey was a year younger.  That green dress and shoes, those were Dicey’s favorites.  It was during sixth grade, and they stopped at a friend’s on the way home from school.  After a while Jane wanted to come home, but Dicey wasn’t ready.  So, Jane left her there and came home by herself…  Dicey never came home.” 
     “Oh my God.”
     Then a middle-aged man wearing a blazer and carrying a brief case walked up and shook hands with Jane’s father.  “Nice to see you, Dr. Hanson,” said Jane’s father. 
     Dr. Hanson nods and says, “I thought we had her stabilized on medications, but you never know in these cases.”
     “What cases,” asked Dick?
     “You must be her husband,” says Dr. Hanson, offering his hand.  “People that suffer trauma continue to relive the trauma as though it were happening today…unless they are willing to do the hard work of processing the trauma.  Much to my disappointment, Jane would only accept medications from me…maybe she’ll be ready to address her trauma now.”