Books by Miller H Caldwell
A Setback for Jack
Is an Agent Interested?
I returned to the hotel contemplating my next move. I was tired. Not thinking well. It was that time of day when energy was no longer available. I lay down on my bed with my shoes kicked off. I dozed, and dozed productively. I got up and had a shower. Found another new shirt, one with broad grey stripes, to go down for the evening meal. But first I texted Dave. He was pleased to hear what progress I could report and I suggested my next move which he met with enthusiasm.
‘Hope it goes well Jack.’
The final detail was fixed in my mind as I struggled with a T bone steak. It filled my plate. A side dish held the vegetables of the day. Over a coffee I began to rehearse what I might be saying. First I had to make the arrangements in the hotel.
I approached the reception desk. Her name was printed on a hotel insignia badge, provocatively. Her low cut white blouse tantalised as I read the label. Her hair was luscious, tied back at each side. Her lipstick was deep salmon matching her fashion spectacles poised on a somewhat, if not too imprudently observed, bulbous nose.
‘Good evening Silvia. May I book a room for a meeting, please?’
‘Certainly. We have rooms to accommodate twenty people, eighty and two hundred guests.’
‘I think the small room will be fine.’
‘You have a date in mind?’
‘Yes next Friday night.’
‘And at what time?
‘I think 8pm would be in order.’
‘And the name of the event/’
‘Ummm...let’s call it ‘Survivors of Abuse.’
‘And what level of advertising do you wish?
‘Level?’ I queried, surprised by the offer.
‘Yes we can have flyers and a bill board on the premises but I can have an advert in the local paper or arrange a local radio interview. Any advertising of the event you wish sir.’
‘My, that’s got me thinking. Perhaps the paper, yes and a radio interview? Hmmm sound good.’
‘Which paper?’ she asked.
‘You’ve got me there. I don’t know what the local paper is.’
‘Then leave it in my hands. I’ll put it out in the main Maine paper which circulates around the State and the Globe and the Lewiston Journal and the Advertiser Democrat with its weekly on-line versions too. That’s a Wednesday paper.’
‘Goodness gracious, you are arranging all of it. Thank you very much.’
‘Yes but I’ve nothing to advertise until you provide the script.’
‘Of course I’ll get on to that right away.’
With the hotel’s unexpected advertising, I was taking the intervening week easy. I was satisfied with the tone of my announcement. It was designed as an open house of sharing experiences and getting reactions to past errors. I had walked around the town and if a rain cloudburst was on the cards, entered the malls and window shopped. With twenty four hours before the event, I was confidently preparing what I would say by way of introduction when the telephone rang in my bedroom.
The line was silent at first.
‘Listen. You are Jack Watson aren't you?’
‘Yes, who are you?’
‘That’s not important. Don’t have this meeting.’
‘I’m afraid it’s too late. There’s been a lot of advertisement. But who are you?’
‘Go ahead and your life is in danger. Understand?’ A moment later the phone went dead.
I felt threatened as never before. I gave Dave a call. His sound advice was to hold the meeting but have the police in attendance in plain clothes. This was definitely a police matter.
I consulted the map. It was around a 800 metre walk to the Police station. But I could cut out quite a bit if I turned left and right again further down off the main road. That would bring me out by the side of the station. I reckoned I could walk it in a quarter of an hour.
I set off about 7.45 that evening. There were few pedestrians around and a couple of dog walkers stopping regularly to observe sniffing duties. The broad streets made any conversation inappropriate. Cars became fewer when I turned right along some waste ground. I noticed one lace had worked its way lose and was in danger of tripping me. I stopped at a metal box. Possibly electrical maybe gas but safe enough for me to raise my foot and start to tie a more secure knot. As I did so I heard a car approach, going at a sedate speed. I paid it no attention.
Then I heard the crack of a gun. Instantly I lost my balance and hit the ground. I had been hit on the thigh. The pain seared through to my heart which began to race. The car had sped off at pace but I was able to see it was a black or dark navy vehicle. The make, I had no idea.
One of the dog walkers ran towards me. The dog inspected my body.
‘You okay? I've called for an ambulance. It should be here soon. Get back Toby. Sit! Where are you hit?’
‘It’s my thigh. I don’t think anywhere else.’
‘You’ve got blood coming from your hear. Sure you got no other shot?
‘My head hurts a bit but I guess it was when I fell.’
‘You’re not local then?’
‘No, from Scotland.’
‘What a poor view of Maine you’re getting right now.’
‘Poor? No, a friendly face with a dog who has called for an ambulance. What more could I want in this situation?’
I heard the ambulance siren long before it arrived. It was a relief when it did stop by the kerb for I was uncomfortable and saw blood seep through my trousers. Two green uniformed triage nurses arrived and made a quick assessment. I was on a stretcher before I could snap my fingers twice. A drip was attached. We set off. The Maine General Health Center came into view. I saw it first from my back. The ceiling was white and bright with lighting making my eyes smart.
I was wheeled silently along a corridor to the Emergency department. Green uniformed doctors and blue tunic Emergency nurses attended straight away. My trousers were cut off with a pair of pinking shears. But I also noted a hat less police officer taking notes.
The initial assessment over, I was wheeled through to the X ray department. Fortunately no bone was fragmented. It was a clean flesh wound which would require stitches. I was given a mild sedative, stitched up and sent upstairs to a recovery ward. The trauma of the past hour was played through my mind over and over. Only one connection was made and then my eyes closed and I fell into a deep sleep.
Site: Crime Lingers
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"Chapter 9 as far as I have written"
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|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|I can't remember the previous chapters. The bleeding your is ominous.
I caught a couple of typos here…
"Hmmm sound[s] good." "… If a cloudburst was in the cards,…" "Stop by the curb…"