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Friday, March 18, 2011

Fiction Friday - One More Time - Chapter 3D

Paul tried her cell one more time, and then the police again. This time a different officer took his call, a Sergeant Willis. In contrast to the nasal and gravelly voice of Lieutenant Jones, the Sergeant's voice was melodious and soothing. Paul repeated the story he’d given the other officer.
“Sergeant, I’m getting frantic about my wife. If she is hurt somewhere, the time is passing where she could be rescued.”
“Sir, we can send someone out right away, but most information can be taken over the phone, and it might be quicker. It says here on the report that an officer became available about four a.m., but we were waiting in case you might be asleep.”
“I couldn’t sleep. My wife has been missing since early yesterday morning, and I’ve called every acquaintance I can think of that she might have been in contact with, with no results. A telephone call or visit from the police would have been welcome.”
“Okay, I agree it’s definitely time to pursue every angle we can. Does she have a cell phone?”
“Yes, but I don’t think it’s turned on. I’ve tried calling her, by the way, several times, but it keeps going to voice mail. She left early yesterday, before I woke up at six am. Usually she doesn’t turn her phone on until she gets to work. She doesn’t like to answer it while she’s driving. She would have it with her, though. Can you locate her that way?”
“Only if she has it on, sir. What’s the number?”
Paul gave her the number.
“What was she wearing?”
“I don’t know what she was wearing; I was asleep when she left. I looked in her closet last night, and I can’t tell what is missing. It—the closet—looks full to me, hardly anything in the dirty clothes hamper. I’m looking again in the closet now. Wait—I don’t see her green shirt—I know she really likes that one and it looks good on her—it’s kind of a pale sea green with a darker green watery looking pattern. Probably blue jeans with it. Or tan jeans, maybe.”
“Do you know where she was going?”
“My guess is to work, since she didn’t say otherwise. She worked at Greymeyers Construction Company, Black Canyon Highway and Union Hills. I think she usually went south from our home in Wickenburg on 60, turned left on the Carefree Highway and took it over to 17, then south to Union Hills. That’s not to say she might not have been headed for work, but she didn’t wake me up to tell me any different, which I think she’d have done. And that’s not to say she might not have decided to go a different route for some reason, either.”
“I think we have enough information now to begin work, Mr. Johnson. How can we get in touch with you—will you be at home?”
“Yes, I’ll wait here for your call.”
“Do you have a cell?”
Paul gave Sergeant Willis every telephone number where he might be reached—his home, his work, his cell, and his mother’s home.
When he got off the phone with the police, Paul called his secretary, Evelyn McPhersen.
“Hi, Evie. This is Paul. I won’t be in today. Sarah is missing.”
“Sarah is missing? Oh, no, Paul, that’s terrible! Is there anything I can do?”
“No, just let the rest of the crew know I won’t be in. You don’t need to tell anyone but the boss why, okay? If the others get nosy, just say I’m not feeling so hot.”
“Yeah, got that. Gossip mills fly hard and fast here. I’ll put you on my prayer list, Paul.”
“Yeah, thanks. ‘Bye.”
Prayer list. Sure. Like that would help. Pray to the ceiling all you like, Evie, it’s a nice thought but it doesn’t work. Ah, well, if it makes her feel like she’s helping, more power to her.
Paul went to the computer. He had forgotten to turn it off the night before, and it was still on the internet. He checked over his e-mails, deleting most of them, spam or ads. There were some jokes from a couple of his of his friends, but he sure didn’t feel much like reading them.
It occurred to him he hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before. Going to the refrigerator, he opened the door and stared at the contents. Nothing looked even vaguely interesting, but he hadn’t eaten since the previous noon, and he had to eat something. Pulling out the bread, he stuck a couple of slices in the toaster, then ate them plain. A glass of juice and another cup of coffee was all he could force down.
He hurried outside and back in with the paper, not wanting to take any chances on missing a call. He read the entire paper. Or at least he guessed he read it. He hoped no one gave him a test on the contents.
The day dragged interminably on, but the only calls came from the people he called last night to see if Sarah had showed up. The police finally called back at 7:00 pm when Lieutenant Jones, the policeman he talked to the night before, came back on duty.
“Hello, Mr. Johnson, this is Lieutenant Jones. I’d like to come out to your house and talk to you. I have to tell you, we haven’t found your wife, nor has the car been sighted.”
“Yes, come ahead. I’m fast becoming a basket case. I don’t know what more you can do here than you can do there, but I’d still appreciate it if you’d come. Maybe you can find something that I haven’t.”
When Lieutenant Jones arrived, he introduced himself to Paul as Bart Jones and asked Paul to call him by his first name. The first thing he wanted to see was the computer, and he asked Paul if he had the password to her e-mail account.
“Well, no, but I think she has the password remembered on the computer. Her username is I never thought about checking her e-mail.”
Bart sat down at the computer and logged onto the internet using Sarah’s username. There were 56 e-mails.
“Wow—that’s more than I get in a month,” Paul commented, looking over the Lieutenant’s shoulder.
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