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Mark M Lichterman

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The Midnight Skulker27
By Mark M Lichterman
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011
Last edited: Wednesday, November 02, 2011
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Watching the national news, along with the nation's current weather, knowing that they’ll be facing ‘Wind chill’ factors of twelve to fifteen below zero once they alight at O’Hara Airport in Chicago...



San Diego, California 

March 1, 1974

8:39 p.m.  Pacific Standard Time

From one couple to another couple to another and there was not one person that Mitchell spoke to that was actually from San Diego.

Sitting alongside his wife, “Know what, Marcy?”


“How’s it feel to be living in the place people come to for their vacation?”

“Like I said, we’re going to be living in ‘Zip-itedy-do-da land’.”

The Star of India in the foreground, the darkened bay of San Diego in the background, the salt scent of the ocean carried upon the balmy night breeze…

His arm across her shoulders, Marsha’s hand held his. Sitting quietly now, they watched the parade people strolling by.

Reluctant to leave this idyllic place but knowing eventually they would have to ….

Sitting awhile, until, “Guess we’d better head back.” Standing, Mitchell helped Marsha to her feet.

“Yeah,” sighing, she stood. “Guess we’d better.” 

Walking to the car, “One good thing, though,” Marsha said, “at least we know we’ll be back in a month.”

“Yeah,” opening the passenger door to the powder blue, 1978 Buick ‘Wildcat’ convertible, “but we won’t be driving…”

In the habit of, kind of, reading each other’s mind, once again finishing her husband’s thought, “… A car like this again.” Marsha sat upon the soft, glove leather seat.

Sighing, walking around the front of the car, “Yeah…” opening the driver side door, “or anytime in the near future.” Mitchell sat upon the soft, glove leather seat.


Approaching the ‘Shelter Inn’  ‘Concierge’ desk, “Hi,” Mitchell said to the night time Concierge. “I’d like to confirm that we have a seven o’clock call for tomorrow morning.” Hating parting with them, “and to return these to you.”

“Yes, Sir.” Taking the car keys from Mitchell. “Your name?”

“ ‘Lipensky: Marsha and Mitchell Lipensky’.”

Consulting the ‘guest’ list. “Oh, yes. Here you are…. And yes, we have you down for a seven o’clock wake-up call. Will you be having breakfast with us before the shuttle to ‘Lindberg’?”


“Yes,” Marsha said, “we will.”


“Do you care to check out now or in the morning?”


Looking at Mitchell, who shrugged his shoulders. “Guess we’ll do it now,” Marsha said, “May as well get it over with.”


At the ‘reception counter’, waiting as the night clerk totaled their bill…”


“We’re planning on breakfast here.” Marsha asked, “Will that be included now?”


Handing the bill over the counter, “Breakfasts and the shuttle service are free to our guests.”


Looking at the bill and then showing it to Mitchell. Rummaging a moment in her purse, finding their check book, “I want to tell you something,” Marsha said to the clerk. “We loved it here! And please tell your manager that ‘Jason’ was fantastic. We’re moving here… uh, to the Lake Murray area, but if …”


“If we ever want to get away from the kids for a night…” Mitchell said.


“We’ll come here.”  Marsha said.

San Diego, California 

March 2, 1974

6:20 a.m.  Pacific Standard Time

Leaving only what would be needed for the next day, they’d packed the evening before.

Wanting to take one last walk in San Diego before breakfast and the ride to Lindberg Field, awaking early…

“Good morning, operator. Could you please tell me the temperature now…. Thank you.”

In the bathroom, “So?” Marsha asked.

“It’s Sixty-eight out.”

Watching the national news, along with the nation’s current weather, knowing that they’ll be facing ‘Wind chill’ factors of twelve to fifteen below zero once they alight at O’Hara Airport in Chicago, getting dressed in shorts and T-shirts, they left their open bags in the room so they could change into heavier clothing, also in case they needed the bathroom after breakfast.

Leaving their room, by the time they stepped outside the temperature had risen to seventy.

Wanting to absorb every possible bit of heat and California sunshine, walking upon the sidewalk behind The Shelter Inn that rambled along the bay, they walked for twenty minutes in one direction, then twenty minutes back.


“Mister and Mrs. Lipensky.”

About through with breakfast, “Jason, good morning.”

“Good morning… I wanted to let you know that the shuttle will be ready whenever you.”

“Thank you.” Reaching into his pocket, removing a ten dollar bill, handing it to Jason, “My wife and I want to thank you for being so thoughtful and helpful.”

For Mitchell Lipensky, the ten dollar tip was a good sized tip. For Jason, the ten dollar tip was a moderately small tip, but being one of those rare individuals that truly enjoyed being of service to others, “Thank you!” Jason said sincerely. “Can I send a man to the room to help with your bags?”

“No, thanks, we can handle them on our own.”

“Then I’ll see you outside whenever you’re ready.”


Feeling a bit ridiculous holding their heavy, winter coats over their knees in, by this time, seventy-eight degree weather, the ride to Lindberg Field was in total silence as Marsha and Mitchell stared out the window at the passing San Diego Spring glory.



©October 31, 2011 / Mark M. Lichterman

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Reviewed by Laura Fall 11/1/2011
Truly Excellent my friend and an enjoyable read indeed Laura
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 11/1/2011
San Diego sounds like paradise......No wonder they feel it will be like living in a dream...sigh...

Cheers, my friend,

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Mark M Lichterman

For Better or Worse

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