Legal Property

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Fiction Friday - "One More Time" - Chapter 3b

When Paul arrived home that evening, Sarah still wasn’t there, nor had she written him a note to say where she was. Distant though they may be, she usually had enough courtesy to leave word if she were going to be late. No message on the answering machine, either, just a couple of sales calls and one from their investment counselor mentioning a great deal he just heard about that they’d surely want to get in on. And one from Halena, his mother. He called her back, and she chatted about the weather, wasn’t that a lovely thunder storm last weekend, and how about coming to dinner next Sunday? She had moved to Arizona from Greece in the Sixties, and her Greek accent was scarcely noticeable, at least to him.
“Okay, Mom, dinner Sunday sounds good to me too. By the way, you didn’t hear from Sarah today, did you?”
“No, dear,” Halena said. “Why?”
“Well, she’s not here, and she left before I got up this morning. I don’t know where she is.”
“That’s odd. No note, no message on the machine?”
“Did you try her cell?”
“Not yet—that’s next.”
“If you don’t reach her, that way, you might try that girlfriend she has at her office—what’s her name, umm, Betty? The one who came to Tammy’s funeral.”
“Yeah—Betty—if I can find her number, I’ll call her. It’s eight o’clock, so I don’t think anyone would still be at their office, although I guess I should call there. They might be working on a bid or something.”
“Well, let me know what you find out. She’s been so depressed since Tammy died—I worry about her. I keep wondering if she’s thinking about doing something to herself.”
“Okay, Mom, I’ll do that. See you later.”
Paul hung up and pushed the speed dial for Sarah’s cell, but the phone went immediately to voice mail. He left a short message asking her to call him, and then he called her office. As he was pretty sure would happen, their answering machine picked up. He didn’t leave a message. Now, where would Sarah keep Betty’s home number? The address list on the computer, maybe.
He logged onto the computer, checking e-mails just in case Sarah sent him a message that way—nope. Searching through the document files, he finally found the address list, and in it was Betty’s number—great. He punched in Betty’s number.
“Hello?” Lawrence, Betty’s brother answered the phone. Since the deaths of his wife and her husband, the two of them shared a three bedroom apartment in Glendale. Betty was near retirement age, quite a bit older than Sarah’s thirty, but they’d been close, Betty maybe taking the place of Sarah’s mother who had passed away when Sarah was a teenager.
“Hello, Lawrence. This is Paul Johnson. Is Betty there?”
“Yeah, sure, Paul. Hang on a sec.”
“Hello, Paul. How are you?” Betty greeted him.
“I’m okay. I was just wondering—have you seen Sarah?”
“No, she wasn’t at the office, and she didn’t call in. Is something wrong?”
“She left early this morning, and she isn’t home now. I’m beginning to get a little concerned.”
“A little concerned, Paul? Maybe it’s time you got a lot concerned. Have you called the police?”
“Not yet. That’s the next call. I just wanted to find out if maybe the office worked late on a bid or something, and maybe she was just on her way home.”
“I feel awful. I should have called you at the University when she didn’t show up this morning. I did try to call her at home, but there was no answer, and I didn’t leave a message. I thought she just wanted a day off. She’s been so depressed. Maybe she went to the zoo or something.”
“Yeah, maybe. I hope so. See you, Betty.”
“Bye, Paul. Let me know what you find out.”
Sarah’s favorite place in Phoenix was the zoo where they’d spent a lot of happy hours with Tamara. While that would be a possibility, surely she’d be back by now.
Paul called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
“Lieutenant Jones speaking. How may I help you?”
“Hello, this is Paul Johnson in Wickenburg. I’m calling to report my wife Sarah missing. She left the house early this morning--how early I don’t really know because she was gone before I woke up at six.”
“Has your wife ever been late getting home before?”
“Yes, it’s a construction office, and sometimes they work late on bids. This time there is no one at her office. When I called one of her co-workers, she hadn’t seen her.”
“Sir, if you will give us a description of Mrs. Johnson, including a description of the clothing she wore today and description of her car and license number, if she was driving a car, we’ll put her into our system. A police officer will be out to interview you as soon as one is available. However, I have to tell you that right now they are tied up with a multiple car pileup on 60 north of town. It might be tomorrow morning before we can get one out your way. Meantime, we would appreciate it if you’d call us back if she shows up. If it’s any comfort, most missing spouses show up or notify family within 24 hours. Meanwhile, give us her description, including what clothes she was wearing and a description of her car.”
“She is 5’3”, about 120 pounds, dark blond hair shoulder length, brown eyes, 30 years old. I don’t know what she was wearing; I wasn’t awake when she left. She has a personalized plate on her car, “1 Sarah.” The car is a 2008 gold Ford Taurus.”
“Thank you, sir. We’ll start the ball rolling on this end and as soon as one can be freed up from urgent duties, we will send an officer to your house to interview you. Please give us a call if Mrs. Johnson returns,” he repeated.
“Okay, thanks.” He hung up and stared at the photograph on the piano of Sarah and himself on their wedding day.
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