Dial Tone

To start, sorry for not posting this on schedule. I forgot to schedule the post. This is one of the first things I wrote this month for Nanowrimo, and is the story of a dropped phone call, and a missing person. its a little odd, and I find the ending a little unsatisfying, but this is where it is for the moment.


“I think he’s in the house.” Was all I heard before the call dropped. I called back three times, and when I didn’t get an answer I called the police.

Mariana was gone. The house was empty when the police showed, and as far as they could tell there was no signs of a struggle. At first they tried to blow me off, but when one detective found Mariana’s purse, phone, and keys left behind, even the doubter’s among the police had a hard time saying she had just left on her own.

A quick call to the bank, and it was confirmed that no cash had been withdrawn from her accounts, and with no car, and no cards it seemed pretty unlikely she had gone far.

They started with a canvas of the area, and when Mariana wasn’t found, my best friend officially became a missing person.

It was surreal at first. This is the kind of thing that happens in TV shows, happens on the news, but to other people. You say things like “she could be my sister, or my best friend” but you don’t really believe it.

You feel a little guilty about it, but you assume certain things about those people. You assume that hat they are into the kind of things that get you taken, or that there is a jealous ex, or they just ran off. It’s only when you are sitting there at 3am in a police station outlining every single interaction you have had with someone, that it occurs to you that a lot of those missing persons from the news probably had friends and family who sat in a station like this doing the same thing. They were scared, and confused, and had no idea who would wanted to abduct that person, they were nice to everyone.

At first the news cycle is kind, they run it as a good woman vanished without a trace. A victim you must help to stop yourself from being next. It runs like that for a week, and then it tapers off. and when it comes back, the muckraking starts.

Every bad decision Mariana has ever made is blown up out of proportion, until if I didn’t know her, I would assume she was a drug addicted prostitute. My shame at all those past missings grows as each mostly falsified story airs. Just enough actual truth that litigation isn’t possible, and the police tell me to look on the bright side. With every new revelation, every new sling of the mud, they are putting Mariana’s face back on the television, and people will see her. This is one of those horrible times, that all press is “good” press. Good, as an alternative to being forgotten entirely.

Each lead raises my hopes, and then dashes them again as they all fail to pan out. After six months the case is called cold, and Mariana, with no family to speak of, is no longer a priority. I held on another two years, but one day I look up at the support group of broken people, and I realize something; The only thing worse than Mariana being gone, maybe in the permanent sense, would be to lose me too.

So I put a google alert on her name, pay someone to monitor the boards and follow up with the police, and I try and get on with my life.

It was pretty much impossible at first. I had alienated my other friends and missed too much work to just pick up where I left off. A year later I moved across the country for a fresh start, where no one knew that I was the best friend of the woman who went missing a few years back. Eventually I was successful, and found a job. Then I got married, had two kids, and made a life for myself on the west coast.

That was 35 years ago, and to this day, every time a line cuts, or someone doesn’t answer the phone, I get that deep feeling of dread. Until I can get a hold of them, I can’t breathe, and I wonder if that will ever go away. I wonder if I will ever find out, what happened to Mariana Goldberg?

Lava

This was utter nonsense inspired by friend explaining how they got that burn on their face when they took off their mask at lunch. It was more amusing than anything else, and I would have edited something more substantial, but Sunday just kicked me in the pants.


It was cool in my hand, and I took a tentative bite confirming the temperature was reasonable. The spices hit my tongue and my mouth watered, god this was heaven in deep fried form.

My second bit was where it all went sideways, my teeth pressed in and all of a sudden cream cheese erupted from several points, the bit that hit my tongue was warm, but then the side of the morsel split and the glob that was spewed fourth from the depth of the treat was like lava as it landed on my chin.

It burned blistering my skin and a second later when I wiped it off, already cooled the damage was done. I looked at the results in the mirror, and for the first time in a year I was glad for the masks we had to wear every day, that would hide my shame at the blister formed by a jalapeño popper.

Retribution

This weeks six was based on girlontheedge’s prompt RESTORE, and it got weird. I just watched a video of a guy being all the Asian action movie character cliches, and the guy said restore family honor like 12 times in 2 minutes and that stuck, so I ended up with this, piece about revenge.


I would love to say that this was an epic quest to restore the honor of my family, and while that may be the result at its core this was a quest of revenge pure and simple.

I wasn’t angry that she stole our designs, it was a cutthroat business, and if we got our designs stolen we deserved to get them stolen for not having better security. Actually I was a little angry that she had stolen our designs, but she could have just used them, quietly put her design out a week early and let us spin out wheels.

What she did was worse, she edited them, made it look like we stole the design, and were trying to pass off shitty copies of her work as she own, making us look not only like thieves, but dumb ones at that.

There was no legal avenue that would repair our reputation, and every denial sounded like a confirmation that what they were saying was true and so here I was, personally breaking into her private server trying to dig up the worst dirt I could to ruin her.

When I found it, oh it was glorious, like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one and I spread it far and wide because she ruined my family, and people who kept shit like this on their work servers after discrediting the competition deserved everything they got!

Hide-And-Seek

Okay, so this one was weird even for me, and was based on a momentary panic attack that many of you will relate too. It is using the premise of unusual narrator, and a “game” of hide and seek where only one of the participants knows it is a game. Would love to hear feedback on this one.


I was jammed under the bed, behind a slipper, and under a towel, and I wanted to squeal with glee; she was never going to find me here. I could hear her walking around downstairs, searching every nook and cranny, all the places I should be, but I was in none of them.I was far better at hide and seek than she was.

It was comfy here too, more so that my regular spot, but I wouldn’t want to stay here forever. I was one who was built for service, to be used was my calling and I wouldn’t see much use hiding under the bed, as much fun as it was.

I stayed still as she walked into the bedroom, and heard her call out. “Where did I last see you?”

The answer was of course, was in this very room, sitting on the bed, waiting while she changed into something more comfortable. I think we were supposed to go out later, but that was quickly forgotten, and we ended up eating left over kraft dinner, even though we could have ordered something far more substantial.

Anyways, she wandered off, got distracted by a post on Facebook, and I languished, forgotten by all but the cat. She snuggled up against me and we chilled there for a while until she grew bored, and then we played a little game of tag. Thats how I found this hiding space actually, ended up here at the end of the game. I took a few minutes to relax when I heard her hunting for me and decided to play a little game with her too.

Was it a game if she didn’t know we were playing?

She sounded a little out of breath now as she checked the closet and then tore out of the room. I could hear her in the office, the bathroom, the kitchen, living room, basement, what, why would I be in the basement.

It took twenty minutes for her to work back around to the bedroom but I waited with baited breath the entire time. She tried swiping a foot under the bed, but it didn’t nearly reach me, and I waited as she left the room again.

I started to worry a little, what if she really never found me here. What if I languished here, until I was obscure, obsolete, replaced. Panic began to rise within me, and I missed her re-entering the bedroom. I only heard her when she was standing practically on top of the bed.

“Okay, stop, breathe. Now, if I were my wallet, where would I be?” She asked, and then she stopped, and I could hear her petting the cat, and then. “Oh, Oh, you didn’t did you?” She asked and before I could figure out who she was talking to, she was off the bed and on the floor, sweeping with her arm this time, and then gone again.

She came back a minute later with a broom and I knew I was found. A few quick sweeps later and I was out, in her hands, and she was chastising the cat.

“You have to stop stealing my wallet!” She exclaimed, as if the cat did this.

Oh well, what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her, and I was back, secure in my spot in the front of her bag, knowing tomorrow was shopping day.