Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hunter and Hunted: The Dark Rambler - Chapter 4



I thought, when I began this transcription, that I had tuned into a single frequency. I seem to have erred. My inner ear appears to have picked up a number of broadcasts, and this is what I have been able to discern in between the bursts of static.


                         Chapter Four: On the Prowl


Plainfield, Texas

"Excuse me - Detective Grosvenor?"


"The sergeant at the desk said that I should come back and see you."

"Please state your name and business."

"My name is Darla Madison, and I think I may have some information for you."

"Is that so? ... Please - come in and have a seat."




Albuquerque, New Mexico




"Mind if I sit here?"

"It’s a free country, ain’t it? ..... G’wan, take a load off."

"Y’know, ya look familiar. Ain’t I seen ya down ta th’ Adecco agency?"

"Mebbe. Who wants ta know?"

"Francis’s th’ name. Say, that glass looks pretty empty. C’n I buy ya one? Or d’ya like drinkin’ alone?"

"Ain’t often got a choice. Yer buyin’, ya say?"

"Sure, I got money burnin’ a hole in my pocket, and I’m always willin’ ta treat a pretty lady."

"Yer comin’ on a bit strong there, aintcha, sport? But if yer buyin’, sure, I’m drinkin’. Jus’ don’t go thinkin’ yer gonna run th’ bases, okay, Mr. Bigbucks?"

"Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m jus’ feelin’ good ‘cause I got paid, and I don’t like drinkin’ by my lonesome, is all. If ya’d rather I leave ya alone ..."

"S’long’s ya ‘member I ain’t easy, we’ll get along jus’ fine, sport. Since yer feelin’ generous, mine’s gin ‘n’ tonic."

"S’cuse me. Bartender? Could ya set th’ lady here an’ me up? I’ll take a Rusty Nail. Thanks. Obliged."

"Well, if I’m gonna spend yer money, I s’pose ya oughta know my name. Ya c’n call me Jeannie. I was named after th’ teevee show, y’know?"

"Y’mean ‘I Dream of Jeannie’? Yeah, I was ‘bout five when that show started. Yer parents musta really liked that show."

"Yeah, they thought it was a real hoot. Pa loved it, anyhow. I ain’t too sure ‘bout Ma. Yer ‘round forty-six, then, huh, Frank?"

"Don’t call me Frank. I prefer Francis ..... please."

"Touchy, aintcha? Sorry ..... ‘Francis’. I’ll mind my p’s ‘n’ q’s from now on. "

"Don’t mind me ... it’s jus’, my dad’s name was Frank, an’ I ... I like th’ sound a’ Francis better, is all. Classier, y’know?"

"Sure, whatever ya say. Since yer treatin’ me ... right, I guess I oughta treat you right. Francis it is. So yer workin’ outta Adecco too? I did think ya looked kinda familiar."

"Yeah, I jus’ blew inta town a coupla weeks ago, an’ they were hirin’, so ..."

"So where’d they send ya?"

"Tilt Arcade in th’ Coronado Center. Y’know it?"

"Whaddaya think, I’m an idiot? Jus’ north a’ Adecco, an’ ya figure I don’t know where it’s at? Not too smooth, sport. Yer gonna hafta do better’n that."

(Are you listening, my patient auditor? My talent never lies. In truth, I believe that this must be the one.)




June 24, 1960

Genesee Hospital Maternity Ward

Rochester, New York




"Hi, darling. I came as soon as I was allowed. How are you feeling? How’s our son?"

"Oh, honey, he’s so wonderfully handsome. He’s got your eyes, I can tell already. Beautiful gray eyes. Would you like to hold him?"

"If you think I won’t drop him, darling, I’d love to. Are you sure you trust me?"

"Oh, Frank, don’t be silly. You’ll make a wonderful father. The sooner you get used to holding him, the better. Here. Just make sure to gently prop his little head up."

"Gosh, he’s so small and light. Can I take a closer look at him?"

"Of course, he’s as much your son as mine. Oh ... take a look at his left ankle. He’s got a little freckle or birthmark."

"Really? Oh! I see. Unusual, isn’t it?"

"Yes, dear. I think it’s rather fetching. Distinctive."

"Well, Emily, my love, shall we still call him Francis Junior?"

"I wouldn’t think of calling him anything else, darling."






Plainfield, Texas


"And you say he knew Amelia Sirkin?"

"Yes, well, sort of. Just friends, really, you know? Amy and Slim went steady for a while, and Francis and Slim worked over at Allied Depositories together just before they both disappeared, and Francis and I were seeing each other, and of course I worked with Amy, so naturally we’d all get together for a beer now and again. Francis would always tell me Amy wasn’t his type, but he did like me to tell him gossip about her. But then he liked to hear gossip about everybody."

"Hmm. When was the last time that you saw Francis Collinwood?"

"About six weeks ago."

"Have you heard from him since? Phone calls, mail, instant messages, any communication whatsoever?"

"No, not a word. That’s not like him."

"I see. Do you have any other information concerning these missing friends that you think may be helpful?"

"No, that’s really all I know. I hope you can find them, Detective Grosvenor. It makes me uneasy to think that so many people I know can just up and disappear."

"Yes, Ms. Madison. I can well imagine. We are endeavoring to locate them, and every lead that we get is valuable. Thank you for your time and trouble, and if you happen to remember anything else that you think we might want to know, please contact us again. If your information leads to anything, I assure you that we will be in touch."

"Thank you so much, Detective."

"Goodbye, Ms. Madison."


Copyright 2006 Malcolm Mott



sunnyside46 said...

okay, it is bright daylight and this made the hair stand up on th eback of my neck. I love the origianl style of your writing.

mtrib2 said...

Interesting story by Malcolm Mott.    mark