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Jan 15 07 7:32 PM
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Jan 18 07 3:16 PM
Chapter 24"Read All About It!"
"OVER THE PAST WEEK, several reported sightings have been reported in Old River Run, of a woman bearing a startling resemblance to Ginger Szabo-Metcalf. Most residents of the historic town know Ginger Szabo as a River Run celebrity of the mid-20th century. In 1947, Ginger Szabo became Ginger Szabo-Metcalf when she married then-famous Cleveland Indians baseball star, Jeffrey Metcalf. However, Ginger Metcalf is probably best known for her public appearances as the LEMO Tomato Juice Girl, as well as host of her own daytime TV show on local Television Station WREQ. Ginger Szabo-Metcalf remained a prominent citizen of River Run throughout her life until her death in 2020. The recently sighted modern-day Ginger Szabo and her husband, both of whom have since been identified as Mr. & Mrs. Frank and Ginger Boelcke, of Porter Ranch, CA, were staying at the River Run Grand Hotel while on their honeymoon. During their stay, the Boelckes were observed at many popular venues around Old River Run, often in the company of an unidentified couple. When this reporter finally tracked down the illusive Mr. & Mrs. Boelcke for an interview, they strongly declined. It is hoped by many in Old River Run that Frank and Ginger Boelcke will favor us again with another visit. They are sure to receive a red-carpet welcome."
With a sigh, Frank slaps the newspaper down on top of the dresser, and leans back heavily in his chair. "This is all we need, Jim; even more publicity." Jim leans toward Frank and whispers a reply. "That's why I didn't want Ginger to see this-at least, not yet. I didn't see any point in getting her upset, considering what she went through in Old River Run. "Well," says Frank, "you and Brenda are the lucky ones; at least, they have you two down as unidentified." Jim chuckles. "For the time being. But I mainly wanted to warn you, Frank-in case Mr. Aikins actually shows up at your door." "What do you mean, Jim? He already has. That is, he arrived in Los Angeles and called us from his hotel suite; that was about two weeks ago. Ginger got the call, and verbally gave Aikins both barrels in a way that only she can do it."Jim is incredulous. "So, the guy actually had the nerve to fly all the way to LA to try calling you?" "Yeah," answers Frank. "And, if he knows what's good for him, he'll stay away. Besides, I'm afraid of how Ginger might react, if he gets the nerve to actually show up at our door." Jim replies with a little macabre humor. "Yeah--you wouldn't wanna end up shoveling his remains off your front porch; it would leave a terrible stain on your wood decking." Frank smirks at his friend. "You know, Jim-sometimes--I wonder about you.""By the way, Frank-while we're on the subject of Ginger-did you follow through on getting her covered in your will?" "Oh, yeah, Jim; all squared away. A couple of days after we got home, we went to see an old college buddy of mine who happens to be an attorney. He has a pretty successful practice in Encino and, by coincidence, he's one of the few experts in Cyber-Person Law. He drew up a will for us, that's air-tight against Altron." "That's great to hear, Frank. If your attorney is as expert as you say, Altron won't be able to come anywhere near Ginger.""Jim--there's something else I'd like to know about Altron." "Go ahead," answers Jim as he takes a seat on the bed. "Well," continues Frank, "does Altron or--would Altron spy on their customers-I mean--would they sit in front of someone's house in a white land car with blacked out windows, watching the occupants' every move--like a bug under a magnifying glass?" Frank's question elicits a chuckle from Jim. "Whatever gave you that idea, Frank? Altron might spy on it's competitors, but not on its customers. Besides, if they really wanted to spy on anyone, they wouldn't go about it in such a clumsy, amateurish fashion. Anyway, why do you ask?""Well," answers Frank, "for, at least the last three weeks now, this white land car with darkened windows has parked, off-and-on, in front of our property, for up to two hours at a time. And when I'd walk down to our fence line to ask who they are, they'd hit the gas and tare off down the road. At first, I thought it was just another real estate agent, scoping out our property; they come around here every couple of months, or so. Then we started wondering if Altron operatives are spying on us." Jim raises his eye brows. "That all sounds very cloke-and-dagger, Frank. But that isn't Altron's modus operundi. Like I said, Altron is way too clever for that. But you really oughtta be careful, Frank; they could be burglars, observing your daily routine, to see when it's a good time to break in. Did you call the police?""Yeah, Jim-I was thinking the same thing and, yes, I did call the police. But all they could do, was to take down a report. Anyway, this property has a security system that could rival that of Old Fort Knox. So I'm not too worried about burglars." "Well, Frank-I don't know what else to say, except that I know, for sure, it isn't Altron." "Well, Jim, since you're a former Altron insider, and a good friend, I'll take you at your word. So I guess, we can cross Altron off our list of suspects. I guess I've been a bit paranoid ever since you confided to me about Altron."MEANWHILE, Ginger and Brenda sit, chatting, down in the living room. "That's frightening," says Brenda. "I wouldn't sleep a wink, if I knew somebody in a land car with dark windows was prowling around our neighborhood. "Well," replies Ginger, "we haven't seen it for about three weeks now. So maybe-whoever it is--was finally arrested or got bored and moved on." "It's too bad," says Brenda, "that the police won't do anything." "I know," replies Ginger. "But I guess, their hands are tied by the law. They say they can't do anything unless the car, and the people inside, are involved in a crime or-get this-if they're parked in a no-parking zone. Frank says he's tempted to buy some poster-boards, paint No Parking on 'em, and set 'em out along the road, then call the cops when that land car shows up again.""Sounds like a good idea," says Brenda with a grin. "But seriously-either you or your neighbors have to be victimized by whoever it is before they'll do anything." Ginger sighs. "Yeah--that's about the size of it. I guess we're our own best defense around here. But maybe it's all over now." "Yes--hopefully," adds Brenda.Frank and Jim suddenly descend the stairs to meet their wives in the living room. "Well," announces Frank, "guess I'd better get the barbecue fired up for those pork ribs." "Is that what we're having for dinner?," asks a wide-eyed Brenda. "Yep," answers Frank with pride. "And grilled as only I can grill 'em." Jim's face lights up. "My mouth's watering already." "Hey, Brenda," says Ginger. "It's about time to make the side dishes-wanna help?" "Sure, Ginger-I'd love to. Besides, we'll have more time to gab without the boys hanging around." Frank turns to Jim. "Well, Jim, there's our cue again; follow me."FRANK and Jim converse while Frank scoops ashes out of the stone barbecue's fire pit. "You know, Jim-Ginger and I were really thinking about visiting Old River Run again, next year. But--in light of that article in the Courier, I don't see how we can go back there now. Ginger and I don't wanna be celebrities or side-show attractions. All we want, is to live normal, happy and anonymous lives with my children and-hopefully some day-grandchildren. We don't wanna be gawked at and mobbed by wide-eyed lookie-loos every minute." "Believe me, Frank, I can appreciate that. But, you know--you might be looking at this all wrong." A bewildered Frank stares at Jim. "How so??" "Well," answers Jim, "I mean-if you and Ginger played your cards right, you could turn this whole thing to your advantage." "Really?," queries Frank. "In what way?""Well, look, Frank-you just contact the city government of Riverton/Old River Run, and tell 'em you both plan on visiting and, when. If they really wanna give you a red-carpet reception, as that article says, they might even be willing to pay for your stay if you, say, grant a live interview on WREQ Radio or, make some personal appearances--stuff like that." Frank sighs at Jim's suggestions. "I--dunno, Jim; that sounds a bit mercenary. We wouldn't wanna take advantage of the fact that Ginger looks like Ginger Szabo. That could leave a bad taste in people's mouths. Besides, what'll happen when they find out Ginger's a cyber-woman. We're not gonna lie to people, Jim; they'd eventually find out, anyway. And, considering how most people feel about cyber-people, these days, it could even be damaging to my career. Anyway, Jim, I'm an aerospace technician, not a side-show impresario.""Listen, Frank. Don't worry about that. As they say, it's all in the presentation. If you show people that you're both friendly, approachable, salt-of-the-earth types, and when they see how human Ginger really is, you could have Old River Run eating right out of your hands. Look at it this way, Frank--you could be doing a real ground-breaking service for cyber-people, and living people everywhere who have a cyber-mate. Ginger will blow people's misconceptions about cyber-people right outta the water. After all, most prejudices are rooted in fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding, aren't they?"Frank looks at Jim with a hopeful expression. "You know, Jim--you could be on to something. Maybe Ginger and I can turn things around, and not just for us. It could be an opportunity to really educate people. But I'm still worried about what'll happen to my career when the truth about Ginger gets out. And, another thing-we wouldn't want our house and neighborhood becoming a mecca for crowds of sight-seers and souvenir hounds.""Well, Frank, you needn't worry about that. Ginger Szabo was a celebrity in a small Mid-Western town over a century-and-a-half ago. I seriously doubt anyone's heard of her, here in Los Angeles, California. But Frank, sit down with Ginger and talk it over. You owe it to yourselves to, at least consider it. Besides, you might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. But you'll never know unless you're willing to take the plunge." "Yeah," says Frank. "That would be a real leap or, plunge of faith, alright."As the fire in the barbecue begins to settle down, Frank has another question for his friend. "Jim, I was wondering--how do you think Brenda might react--if Ginger--disclosed to her that she's a cyber-woman." Jim shrugs and answers thoughtfully. "Well, Frank, that's a tough call. I've never heard Brenda speak disparagingly about cyber-people. Though I do know Brenda thinks the world of Ginger. Still--it's hard to say. Is--is Ginger actually thinking about going public with Brenda?" "Believe it, or not, Jim-she is. Just the other night, she was telling me how guilty she feels about hiding the truth about herself from Brenda. Can you imagine that? Ginger's a cyber-woman with a conscience yet. I had no idea she has a conscience, like a living person.""Yes, she does," answers Jim. "It goes hand-in-hand with her strong sense of right and wrong. And that's more than I can say for a lot of real people I've met in my time. But Frank--if Ginger does decide to reveal to Brenda that she's really a cyber-woman, she needs to do it gently, and carefully--with carefully chosen words. Of course, if you two do decide to go public in Old River Run, it'd be better if Ginger tells Brenda about herself now, instead of later." "I agree," replies Frank with deep concern. "I wouldn't want Brenda to hear it on the Six O'clock News. But such important decisions to make in so little time." Jim pauses briefly to consider Frank's concerns, then makes a suggestion. "Maybe a good time would be on the day after the Fourth, before we fly back home." At that moment, Ginger and Brenda amble out into the backyard. "Hey, Frank!," calls Ginger. "Will you carry those slabs of pig ribs out here, or do I have to do it?" Frank chuckles. "Alright, Honey, I'll be right there."AS everyone enjoys the barbecued ribs, Frank's grilling skills are lauded, as usual. And, as usual, Frank is loathe to reveal his jealously guarded secrets. The Boelckes and Havels spend the rest of the evening in enjoyable pastimes, which include a lively and light-hearted discussion as they reminisce about their time together in River Run. As he did while Ryan and Lisa stayed with them, Frank gives a 3V slide show of the digital photos he had taken. Jim reciprocates by showing the images that he, himself, had taken. Many of these are candid shots. Some are rather humorous. One comical shot features Frank while they were at the Purl Roadhouse one evening. Frank is seen, reaching under the table to pick up a coin he had just dropped. Everyone laughs at the expression on Frank's face as he realized that he had just popped a suspender button. Frank appears rather nonplussed by the laughter at his expense. "I'm sorry," chortles Jim. "But, Frank, that look on your face is priceless." The next picture shows Ginger, rifling her purse for a safety pin. "And," adds Jim, "here comes Ginger-to the rescue!" "Yeah," answers Frank. "A woman's handbag saves the day-again." "You're right about that," says Jim. "Whenever Brenda and I are out, and I need a stick of gum, a breath mint, a tissue, a pen, or a road flare, I can trust Brenda to have it in her handbag." Ginger chuckles. "How would you men get along without us?"Later in the evening, Frank and Ginger, and the Havels sit out on the front porch until very a late hour, enjoying cocktails, light conversation, and a cool summer evening breeze after a hot day.To Be Continued. . . .Watch for the next installment.
Jan 23 07 2:48 PM
Chapter 25 "An Up-Lifting Experience"ON THE FOLLOWING morning, while everyone sleeps, Ginger is busy, preparing an enormous breakfast. It is not unlike that which she had prepared for Frank on their first morning together. The Havels trot downstairs and enter the dining room. They are not prepared for the breakfast feast that awaits them. Jim and Brenda make exclamations of pleasant surprise. When Frank and the Havels seat themselves, Ginger, ever the perfect hostess, moves around the table, pouring coffee and orange juice for everyone. "Gee," says Brenda, "this is like breakfast in one of those old boarding houses, like you see in an old movie. You made a wonderful breakfast, Ginger." "Thanks, Brenda," replies a smiling Ginger, "I was happy to do it." "What great food!," exclaims Jim. "Frank, does Ginger feed you like this every morning?"Frank chortles at Jim's question. "Well, if she did, I'd weigh four-hundred pounds. Actually, Ginger has me on a pretty rigid diet. She lets me have normal food only on weekends and holidays-and when guests are staying over." Jim laughs at Frank's answer. "Good girl," says Brenda as she takes another pancake from the plate. Jim has a sudden brainwave. "You know, Frank, with this big house and, with the flare you and Ginger have for cooking, gardening, decorating, and so on, you could turn this place into a great restaurant or, even a lodge or bed-and-breakfast. I'm sure something like that would be a big hit around here." Frank grins and shakes his head. "Jim, I'm an aerospace engineer, not a maitre d' or an inn-keeper.""Well," continues Jim, "I'll bet that if you and Ginger opened a restaurant and turned this place into a B-and-B you'd clean up. I'm serious, Frank. It'd be a great career-change for you." "Frank's right," adds Ginger. "I-I couldn't see us doing anything like that." "Well," says Brenda, "suit yourself, Ginger. But I'm with Jim. You two have a real talent for cooking, gardening, decorating, and hosting. And I think you're throwing away a real opportunity here." "Thanks for the compliments, Brenda," says Frank. "But we're happy with the way things are. Besides, something like that takes a lotta start-up capital. And I can't even imagine all the City, County, and State licenses and permits we'd have to apply for. Then there's the cost of our homeowners insurance, alone, which would probably skyrocket. Anyway, I'm saving for a comfortable retirement; we don't need the headache of running a business." "Well, I don't know," replies Jim. "I think it would all be worth the effort. You and Ginger have a real gold mine sitting right here in your laps."LATER that day, Frank grills hamburgers for an early dinner. At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the Boelckes and Havels drive in Frank's antique Ford Model "A" sedan to Northridge Park, where an old-fashioned 4th of July celebration is being held for the community. All the usual carnival rides, game booths, and concession stands are to be found. After dark, everyone is treated to a dazzling fireworks display, which includes pyrotechnic displays in tune with the 1812 Overture. Synchronized cannonading is provided by "A" Battery, 1st U.S. Artillery, a local Civil War artillery re-enactment artillery unit, whose armament consists of two ten-pound Parrot ordnance guns, a smooth bore brass Napoleonic cannon, and a small mountain howitzer. In the words of the standard cliche, a good time was had by all.NEXT morning, Ginger serves up another big breakfast. Afterward, Ginger shows Brenda her on-going projects in the backyard. "What about that cute little guesthouse?," asks Brenda. "Well, Frank's using it as a storage locker. For awhile now, I've been on him to clean it out and fix it up." "You know, Ginger, if you and Frank ever did turn your house into a bed-and-breakfast, that guesthouse would make a nice little honeymoon cottage." Ginger looks toward the little house with a thoughtful expression. "Yeah--I guess, it would."Meanwhile, Frank and Jim are standing in the driveway, checking out the Ford Model "A." Frank lifts the cowling on both sides so that Jim can get a look at the engine. "Hah; what a simple engine," says Jim. "It must be easy to work on." "Oh, yeah," replies Frank. "That's what I like about it; no fancy computers. In fact-no electronics whatsoever; just your basic internal combustion engine, except that it's been modified to run on modern synthetic fuels." Jim bends down and peers into the engine compartment. He tilts his head this way and that, to get a better view of the engine's few components. "What about parts for this thing?" "Well," answers Frank, "I can order parts through the local antique automobile club. If they can't find what I need, I can go online and order from a custom antique automotive machine shop in Denver."
While Frank and Jim stand, chatting in the driveway, Ginger and Brenda sit down at one of the picnic tables to rest. Brenda eyes Ginger curiously. "Ginger-is everything okay?" "Oh-ah-yes--sure," answers Ginger. "Well," continues Brenda, "ever since yesterday--you've been looking, now-and-then, like something's been on your mind; is everything okay between you and Frank?." With a look of nervous hesitation, Ginger responds to Brenda's observation. "No, it's nothing like that. Could-could we go inside and talk?" Brenda looks at Ginger with concern. "Well, sure, Ginger-of course."The two women step into the living room and seat themselves on the sofa. "Brenda--there's something I've been keeping from you--about myself, that is." Brenda chuckles. "Don't tell me--it's your prison record, right?" A tear begins to roll down Ginger's cheek. "If it were only that." Brenda takes Ginger's hand. "What is it, Ginger? You can tell me. We're friends, remember?" "Brenda--I'm sorry I didn't tell you this a lot sooner. But I was afraid I'd lose you as a friend. I was also afraid to tell you 'cuz I know how a lotta people feel about--well, about people--like me.""Well-tell me, Ginger--what's this deep secret of yours?" "Oh, Brenda--I can't think of a better way to say this. But--Brenda---I'm not a living human being." Brenda looks at Ginger with a nervous, twitchy grin. "Well--if you're not human, Ginger-what are you then?" "Brenda--I don't know how you'll take this, but--I'm a cyber-woman." There is a moment of silence as a disbelieving Brenda stares at Ginger. "Oh, Ginger--c'mon. Cyber-people are like androids or robots or something like that." "No, we're not," answers Ginger. "That's a lot of corny old twentieth-century science fiction stuff."Brenda reaches out and lightly squeezes Ginger's hands and arms. "Don't be silly, Ginger. You have a warm body, and you eat and drink and laugh and cry like any other woman I know." "Yes," says Ginger. "That's so I can fit in with human society. But, as an added bonus, you might say, I'm a lot stronger than a human woman." "Oh, Ginger-now I draw the line. I don't believe that for a minute." Ginger sighs. "Well, then," replies Ginger, "I guess, I'll have to show you." Brenda sighs and gives Ginger a sarcastic smirk. "Oh, alright, Ginger; I'll bite. Go ahead-show me."Ginger looks around at the living room until an idea suddenly comes to her. She steps into the dining room, and returns with a chair from the huge dining table. Ginger sets it down in the middle of the living room floor. "Alright, Brenda; if you want proof of my strength, I'll give you proof. Now--sit down in this chair." "Alright, Ginger, I'll go along with the gag," says a skeptical Brenda as she sits down in the chair. "It's no gag," replies Ginger. "Now, sit still and hold on. I'm gonna grab the chair by the back legs, and lift you up over my head." Brenda chortles and rolls her eyes. "Sure, Ginger; I'm ready when you are."Ginger crouches down behind the chair and grips the rear legs just under the seat. With ease, Ginger slowly lifts Brenda toward the ceiling. The floorboards began to creek and groan under Ginger and Brenda's combined weight. Brenda gasps and shrieks when she realizes she's heading toward the living room ceiling. Ginger!! PLEASE!! Put me down!! I believe you-I BELIEVE YOU!!! Ginger lowers Brenda gently to the floor. As soon as Brenda's feet touch the floor, she springs, gazelle-like, out of the chair and glares at Ginger in wide-eyed shock."Now that you know about me, Brenda," asks Ginger, "are we still friends?" A rattled Brenda tries to catch her breath. "I--I don't know what to say. This is all such a shock. I need time to think." With that, Brenda starts for the stairs. Tears begin to course down Ginger's cheeks. She calls after Brenda. "Brenda, please say we're still friends!" Brenda ignores Ginger as she hurriedly stumbles up the stairs and disappears. Ginger suddenly hears the distant sound of the door to the guest bedroom being closed. Ginger sinks down onto the sofa, buries her face into her hands, and weeps. Just then, Frank and Jim walk into the house, chattering lightly among themselves. When they step into the living room, they are surprised to find Ginger, sobbing on the sofa. Frank rushes to her side. "Honey, what happened? Why, the tears??" Ginger lifts her face from her hands and looks up at Frank with wet, mascara-streaked cheeks. "I--told--Brenda--I'm a--cyber-woman. She--wouldn't believe--me. So--I proved it--to her. I don't think--we're friends--anymore. She--ran--up-stairs."Frank embraces Ginger. He looks up at his friend. "Jim-what are we gonna do?" Jim pauses, for a moment, then answers Frank in earnest. "Stay down here with Ginger. I'll go upstairs and talk some sense into Brenda." With that, Jim turns and hastens up the stairs. For what seems an eternity, Jim and Brenda speak to one other in hushed, but emphatic tones behind their closed guestroom door. Frank spends the intervening time, calming Ginger down while trying to stave off her wild speculations.Finally, Jim and Brenda descend the stairs. Brenda remains at the foot of the stairs, while Jim steps into the living room. The atmosphere is heavy with tension. Frank knows that the survival of their friendship with the Havels depends on what will happen next. Frank turns to look at Brenda. She appears somewhat distant and stoic, something he isn't used to. Jim sits down next to Frank and speaks to him in low tones. "I finished reasoning with Brenda." Just at that moment, Brenda calls out. "Ginger, I'd like to talk to you alone. Would you please come up with me to our room?"Ginger looks at Jim and Frank, afraid of what Brenda might have to say to her. Frank notices Ginger's hesitation, and offers encouragement. "Go ahead, Sweetheart; Brenda just wants to talk." Ginger slowly rises from the sofa and starts toward Brenda with fearful expectation. The two women climb the stairs together, with Frank and Jim looking on intently. When Ginger and Brenda enter the guest bedroom, Brenda closes the door and sits down on the bed. "Ginger-please-sit here, next to me." Ginger takes Brenda's invitation as a hopeful sign. Brenda can see, by Ginger's streaked and smudged cheeks, that she has been crying. A sniffling Ginger takes a tissue from her pocket, and begins to wipe away her tears and smudged face. Brenda begins to speak softly to Ginger."Ginger-I'm sure you know that Jim and I had a serious talk, just now. As I'm sure you also know, Jim used to work for Altron Cybernetics. When you told me you're a cyber-woman, I just refused to believe it until you lifted me up in that chair. When I found out the truth about you, I didn't know how to handle it; you don't fit all the things I've heard and read about cyber-people. You're just too human, with human functions and human emotions. You see, Jim never talked about the projects he worked on for Altron because of company policy. So--when Jim said he knew about you all along, I have to admit--I was pretty angry. I felt like I was being deliberately kept in the dark, that I was being deceived.""Brenda, please believe me-I wasn't trying to deceive you. And neither were Frank and Jim; that's the honest truth, Brenda. I'd never intentionally do anything to hurt, insult, or deceive you. If I really wanted to deceive you, Brenda, I wouldn't have told you about me, in the first place. I was only waiting for the right time. You've got to believe me." Brenda takes Ginger's hand. "I do believe you, Ginger. Jim set me straight on a few things. You're not just a programmed automaton. You've been nothing less than a very dear friend. And I'm sorry, Ginger; I should've remembered that. I also want to tell you that your being a cyber-woman won't change a thing between us." Once again, tears begin to well up in Ginger's eyes. Brenda reaches out and puts her arms around Ginger. "You know, Ginger, I have a lot to thank you for. For one thing, you've given me a new look; Jim just loves it. It's really done wonders for our marriage." Ginger sniffles and reaches again, into her pocket for a tissue. "Your friendship means a lot to me, too, Brenda. I never thought I'd ever have a living woman for a friend until you came along."A short time later, Ginger and Brenda descend the stairs, talking congenially among themselves. Jim is greatly relieved to see that Brenda has come to terms with Ginger's non-human status. It is also of enormous relief to Frank, who watches Ginger and Brenda interacting with one another as though nothing had happened. Frank settles back into the sofa as a wave of euphoria washes over him. Once again, he is in his personal heaven. And, once again, all is right with the world--at least, for now.To Be Continued. . . .
Jan 29 07 3:16 PM
Chapter 26 "Of Faith And Foreboding"THAT AFTERNOON, FRANK and Jim sit and chat on the back porch. Ginger and Brenda sit in the Adirondack chairs under the trees, across from the back yard. "Ginger, I'm sorry I reacted the way I did when I found out you're a cyber-woman." "Oh," replies Ginger, "that's water over the dam now. I'm just happy we're still friends. Besides, if I were you, I might've gone into a blind panic if someone lifted me to the ceiling." "Well," replies Brenda, "that was pretty scary. By the way, Ginger, your ceiling's nicely white-washed. I oughtta know-I got a close-up view." Ginger chuckles. "Well, you can thank Frank for that. After all, that's how ceilings were done in the eighteen hundreds.""Tell me, Ginger-can you really do everything a human woman can do?" "Yes, well--almost," answers Ginger. Brenda's face begins to take on a look of embarrassment. One question on Brenda's mind is begging to be asked. She musters her courage and forges ahead, albeit in a timorous fashion. "Uh--Ginger?" "Yes, Brenda?" "Well, Ginger--I--don't know quite how to ask this but--do you and Frank--well--I mean--do you and Frank--you know--actually have--you know--" Ginger interrupts and answers Brenda with a knowing grin. "Yes, Frank and I do actually, well, you know. And, yes-it's very good, and that's all I'm gonna say."Brenda gazes at Ginger in awe. "So, Ginger--you really are a woman, like any living woman in every respect, aren't you." "Well," answers Ginger, "you right--except in one important respect: You can do the most feminine thing that I'll never be able to do--you can conceive and bear children--I'll never know what that's like; I'll never know the experience, the joy of being a mother. That's one thing my creators haven't been able to work out." "Well, Ginger, I can tell you it's not all joy. But look at it this way: you won't have to worry about post-partem depression, weight gain, calcium deficiency, stretch marks, menopause, age spots, wrinkles--hmm. You know something, Ginger-I think I'm jealous." Ginger chuckles at Brenda's remark, then becomes thoughtful. "You want a shock, Brenda? More than anything--I wish I were like you: a living-human-woman. I wish I could go to sleep one night--and wake up the next morning as a flesh-and-blood human woman."NEXT morning, as a send-off for the Havels, Ginger prepares another copious breakfast. The Havels' airport shuttle is due to pick them up at 10:30AM. Frank and Ginger are setting the table for the morning's repast when the Havels step into the dining room. "Wow!," exclaims Jim. "Another breakfast feast?" "Well," answers Ginger, "we figured you probably won't get a decent meal until you finally get home. So, I wanted to make sure you both have enough to tide you over till then." "Thanks a lot, Ginger," says Brenda. "You really do think of everything, don't you." Ginger smiles. "Well, I do try. Now, everybody-sit down and tuck in before everything gets cold."As everyone indulges their appetites, they continue in light conversation. "You know, Frank," says Jim, "I'm still serious about what I said, the other morning. You really should think about going into business here. B-and-B's with an attached restaurant turn a big profit, these days. And, with your place being in a mostly rural setting and, not far from Los Angeles, you'd make a killing." Frank only shakes his head. "Well, Jim-I'm still serious about my first answer-no. I have enough on my plate with my career, let alone, running a restaurant and B-and-B, while dealing with customers on a daily basis. Besides, a lot of people I know who own their own business, seldom get a chance to go on vacation." "Well," replies Jim, "it's your life, Frank. But, if I were you, I wouldn't pass up such a money-making opportunity." Frank grins at his friend. "Well, that's just it, isn't it, Jim: you're not me. AFTER breakfast, the Havels head upstairs to pack for their trip home. A few minutes later, Ginger suddenly appears in the doorway to the Havel's room. She knocks lightly to get their attention. "Oh, hi, Ginger," says Brenda. "I hope I'm not interrupting," says Ginger. "Not at all," answers Jim. "Well," continues Ginger, "if you need help with anything, just let us know." "Don't worry, Ginger," answers Brenda. "Everything's fine. Though, I wish you'd, at least, let us pull the sheets and bedding off and fold it for you." "That's okay, Brenda," answers Ginger. "It'll give me something to do--to keep my mind off missing you again."Brenda's eyes begin to fill with tears. She steps up to Ginger and hugs Ginger tightly. "Ginger, I'm so gonna miss you. Our time together always goes so fast. You're a really special friend. And it doesn't matter that you're a cyber-woman or whatever. You're the tops in my book." "You're pretty swell in my book, too, Brenda," says Ginger as she fights back tears.LATER on, Jim carries luggage down to the entryway. He checks his watch. "Our shuttle oughtta be here in half an hour." Frank gives a sigh. "The time sure flew, didn't it? Seems like you and Brenda just got here." "I know," replies Jim. "Well, maybe we can plan a longer stay, say, over the Labor Day weekend." "Sure," answers Frank. "I'll see how things go at the office. Maybe I'll be able to take the whole week off. . .FRANK and Ginger sit in the living room, chatting with the Havels. Two sudden horn-blasts from outside signal the arrival of the Havel's LAX shuttle. Frank looks toward the windows. "Sounds like your ride's here." Frank helps Jim to carry his luggage out to the waiting shuttle. Ginger and Brenda follow. "Well," says Ginger, "this is it; time to say goodbye again." The two women hug in a tearful farewell. "To say I'm gonna miss you, Ginger, is a real understatement." "Just make sure you keep in touch," says Ginger. "Call us when you're home and settled in, okay?" Jim grabs Frank's hand. "Well--I guess, we're off. We had a great time, staying with you and Ginger. And the fourth of July carnival was fantastic, too." "Well," replies Frank, "Ginger and I are glad you enjoyed yourselves."Jim can't help pushing his earlier idea to Frank, one last time. "Now, Frank-I really think you oughtta give thought to what I told you about opening a restaurant and B-and-B." Frank chuckles. "Still on that kick, Jim? Like I keep saying, we don't need the hassle. Ginger and I are happy with the way things are." "Alright, Frank; suit yourself." At that moment, the shuttle-driver catches Jim's attention and taps his watch, indicating that time is of the essence. "Well, Frank-we'd better get going."Frank and Jim give each other a masculine hug, along with the requisite testosterone pat on the back. The Havels then board their shuttle. "Don't forget," calls Frank, "call us when you get home!" "Will do!," answers Brenda. "Bye, Ginger!" "Have a good flight home!," calls Frank to the Havels. With that, the shuttle's passenger compartment begins to close. The Havels wave at Frank and Ginger. Ginger stands and watches with tear-laden eyes as she and Frank wave back to the Havels. They continue to watch and wave as the shuttle trundles down the gravel driveway and turns out onto the road. As Jim and Brenda's shuttle drives off and disappears behind the hill, Ginger turns to Frank and embraces him. She begins to cry. "Shhh, Ginger," says Frank as he strokes her hair. "Cheer up, Honey. We'll be hearing from Jim and Brenda real soon."AS the day wears on, Ginger goes about her chores in a melancholy fashion. This doesn't escape Frank's notice. Finally, Frank grabs her as she passes from the dining room, to the stairs. "Still, the long face?," asks Frank. Ginger answers in a somber tone. "I'm just depressed about how fast our time with the Havels went." "Well," repliess Frank, "why don't you take a break. Besides, Jim gave me something I want to show you." Frank motions for Ginger to sit next to him on the sofa, then hands her the newspaper that Jim had given him. Needless to say, Ginger is somewhat bewildered. "Hmm--this is an old issue of the Old River Run Courier-what about it?" "Yeah, it is," answers Frank. "Now-read this article-down here."Frank points to the item at the bottom of the page. Ginger is stunned by its heading. Her eyes grow increasingly larger as she reads through the article. When Ginger finishes, she slaps the paper down on her lap. "Well, how do you like that? I didn't know we caused that much of a fuss! I mean-I know people were staring and asking questions. But this?!" "Well," replies Frank, "it certainly caught my attention." "So," continues Ginger, "if we visit Old River Run again next year, does this mean we'll have droves of people following us around like so many hungry stray cats?" "It sure sounds that way," answers Frank."Well, if that happens, how can we ever go back there again?" "A good question," answers Frank. "But when I voiced that same concern to Jim, he insisted we could turn it to our advantage." "How, so?," asks Ginger. Ginger listens intently as Frank explains to her what Jim Havel had told him. "I don't know," says Ginger. "It'd be awful risk. If we told everyone in Old River Run I'm really a cyber-woman, it could really back-fire on us. And it might even hurt your career if they got wind of it at CalMorton." Frank exhales a drawn-out sigh. "Believe me, Ginger, I agree. But Jim insists it might turn out better for us than we think.""Well, Frank-the operative word here, is 'might.'" "I agree," replies Frank. "But you know Jim, with those enthusiastic suggestions of his." "I dunno, Frank; I have a lotta reservations about going public. But Honey-I'll leave it to you. If, after weighing all the possibilities, you still wanna go through with it, I'll stand by you." "Of course--if we did go through with it," says Frank, "it'd be a huge leap of faith. But Jim's right-if we did, we could educate society about cyber-people, and dispel all the myths, rumors, and misconceptions." "Still, Honey" adds Ginger, "we should really think this through, and I mean really think it through." Frank rubs his chin in contemplation and turns toward Ginger. "You know, if I had to choose between Jim's suggestions, I'd almost feel more comfortable, taking a crack at turning this place into a bed-and-breakfast." What neither Frank nor Ginger know, is that their world is about to be turned upside down. For, events are poised on the horizon that will not only make their decision for them, they will irrevocably shape their future.Three weeks go by. During that time, Frank and Ginger's lives settle down to a stable, comfortable routine. While Frank is at work, Ginger performs the duties of the average housewife. Added to these, are her activities in the garden and backyard, in general. Then there's the occasional phone-call from Kaitlin, Ryan's fiancee, regarding their wedding plans.Wednesday Morning dawns very warm. The clock on Frank's nightstand shows 6:30AM. Before the clock's alarm sounds, Frank is already awake after having had an unusually vivid nightmare involving Ginger. As usual, Ginger is down in the kitchen, preparing Frank's breakfast. While Frank prepares for what is to be another normal day at the office, an ominous feeling of fear and foreboding haunts him. Is it merely a spectral by-product of the disturbing nightmare that awakened him earlier or--is it the harbinger of some very real and terrifying event that has yet to unfold? Frank struggles to put it all out of his mind.When Frank enters the dining room, he sees that his place at the table is already set. He sits down and takes a sip of his coffee. At that moment, Ginger walks into the room from the kitchen. "Hi, Sweetie; good morning." "Good morning, Dear," replies a somber Frank. Ginger bends down and kisses Frank's cheek. As Frank commences on his breakfast, the weather forecast is announced over the radio. For the sixth day in a row, the daytime high is predicted to top 100 degrees-a typical late July heatwave in Southern California.
Frank glances Ginger's attire. "I see you're wearing your gardening togs again." Ginger chuckles at Frank's use of the word togs. "Well, I wanna get started on the south end of the garden and, hopefully, finish before the real heat kicks in." "Good thinking,"replies Frank, "I don't want you overheating yourself." "Don't worry, Honey," says Ginger. "I know how to take care of myself." Ginger notices something odd about Frank on this particular morning. "Is something on your mind, Dear?" "No," answers Frank. "It's just this silly dream I had overnight; don't worry about it-it's nothing.""Well, it must've been serious enough to make an impression, judging by that look on your face. Wanna tell me about it?" "No, Honey," answers Frank. "Really, it's nothing, at all; just a silly dream. Anyway, I've gotta get going." Frank rises from the table, walks into the entryway, and snatches up his suit coat and briefcase. He then embraces and kisses Ginger. "See ya later, Sweetheart. Oh, and-be real careful while you're alone during the day, alright?" "Of course, Honey," answers Ginger. "Like I keep saying, I'll be just Fine-don't worry. Now, you'd better scoot."Frank smiles and gives Ginger one last kiss. "I'm just concerned about you, that's all. Bye, Sweetheart." With that, Frank walks out to his air car, with Ginger following behind. After climbing into the cockpit, Frank blows Ginger a kiss, as usual. Ginger returns the favor and waves as he lifts off the landing pad, rises into the air, and disappears over the mountain ridge, just north of their property. During Frank's flight to work, that sense of dread and foreboding crawls out of its box again, to gnaw at him. Throughout the first half of his day at the office, Frank can't shake off the unnerving images of his predawn nightmare. When Frank returns to his office after his lunch break, he notices an urgent message alert on his PC screen. Thinking nothing of it, Frank opens the message. Upon reading it, Frank is shocked to see that it's from a Detective Lauren Fenton, LAPD, Devonshire Division. Frank's hand quivers as he dials the detective's number. He feels his stomach twist and tighten. Was Frank's nightmare indeed, trying to warn him that Ginger is in real danger? When the line answers, a calm, but authoritative feminine voice begins to speak. "Detective Lauren Fenton, LAPD. Am I speaking to Mister Frank Boelcke? "Yes, this is he," answers Frank. "Is something wrong??" "Mister Boelcke," continues Detective Fenton, "we need you to come home as quickly as possible. Earlier today, your wife was assaulted. . .To Be Continued. . . .Was Frank's dream a really a warning that Ginger was, indeed in real danger? Did Altron finally see its opportunity--and strike? Find out in the next installment.
Jan 31 07 4:49 PM
Quote:"You want a shock, Brenda? More than anything, I wish I was like you: a living human woman. I wish I could go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning as a flesh-and-blood human being."
Jan 31 07 7:34 PM
Feb 5 07 7:13 PM
If you show people that you both are friendly, approachable, salt-of-the-earth types and, they see how human Ginger really is, I have no doubt people in
River Run and elsewhere, will warm up to you and Ginger. And, you both just might be doing a real ground-breaking service to cyber-people and living people
everywhere, who have a cyber-mate.
"Say, Frank, with your cooking skills and this big house - have you and Ginger ever thought about opening a restaurant or, maybe, even a lodge or
bed-and-breakfast? I'm sure it would be a big hit around here."
Just at that moment, Brenda called out.
"Ginger - I want to talk to you alone. Would you please come up with me to our room?"
Ginger chuckled at Frank's use of the word, "togs."
Ah - Mister Boelcke - we need you to come home as quickly as possible. Earlier today, your wife was assaulted..........
Feb 5 07 7:28 PM
Feb 6 07 3:21 PM
ATTENTION READERS !! The following chapter is rated PG-13. Again, the language is not extremely graphic. But there may be a word or phrase that very sensitive people may find unsettling. So, if you are a parent who monitors his/her minor children's Internet activities (and, I hope you do!) or, if you are of a very sensitive nature, please skip to the next unrated chapter. Thank you. Chapter 27"In Broad Daylight"FRANK IS INSTANTLY GRIPPED by a sense of primal fear. He dashes off his questions to Detective Fenton in a terror-stricken staccato. "My God!! Is she alright?-How did it happen?-Where is she?" "Calm down, Mister Boelcke," answers Detective Fenton. "Relax; your wife is just fine. Although, the condition of her assailant is another story." "Assailant??," asks a distraught Frank. "Yes, Mister Boelcke. You need to come home as quickly as possible. I need to ask you some questions about the land car you observed prior to today's incident and, I'm sure you'll want to see your wife." "Yes, sure," replies Frank. "I'll leave right away."Frank grabs his suit coat from its hanger and throws it on. Bob Krasker happens by Frank's office and notices Frank in a heated frenzy, logging of his PC and hurriedly collecting some personal items. Bob also notes Frank's ashen face. "Is something wrong, Frank?" Frank replies in a shaken, out-of-breath fashion. "Yeah-listen-I just got a call from the police. Ginger was attacked, this morning in our backyard." Frank stuffs some papers into his briefcase and slaps it shut. Bob is rattled by Frank's announcement. "Dear God-I hope she's alright." "They say she is," answers Frank. "But I've gotta get home." "Of course, Frank," replies Bob. "You belong by Ginger's side; take all the time off you need. I'll take care of it with HR." "Thanks, Bob." With that, Frank brushes past his boss and rushes out the door. . .
Earlier this morning. . .
Ginger is on her hands and knees, cultivating the flower bed at the south edge of the garden. She is so preoccupied that she doesn't hear a land car, quietly creeping up the driveway. It stops near the carriage house garage. Just as Ginger sits up to view her handiwork, she becomes aware of the sound of footsteps, approaching from around the side of the house. Suddenly, a large, bulky man, dressed in the dark blue trousers and sky-blue shirt of an LADWP repair technician, strides into the back yard. He is flipping through some pages on a clipboard in business-like fashion. Ginger is startled to see a stranger on the property. She rises to her feet, shades her eyes, and calls out to him. "Can I help you, Mister?" The man abruptly stops and starts toward her. Ginger is struck by the appearance of the man's face, which bears a diagonal row of long, deep scratches that have scabbed over. The scratches, more like gouges, are obviously of recent origin. The strange man replies to Ginger in a gravelly voice. "Is your husband at home, Ma'am? He called in an electric line problem on Monday." "No," answers Ginger, "my husband's at work. But you must have the wrong house. Our electrical lines are just fine. Besides, if there was a problem, my husband would've told me to expect a DWP repair man today."The man suddenly steps closer to Ginger, looking suspiciously to-and-fro, as though making sure that no one else is about. When he gets to within a few feet of Ginger, he flings his clipboard away, runs up to her, and grabs her upper arm. Ginger gasps. The man speaks to her in menacing tones. "That's fine, Sweetheart, 'cuz I ain't no flunky from the DWP. So shut up and do what I tell ya and ya don't get hurt, got it?" With his loathsome, sausage-like fingers, the large man strokes Ginger's cheek, while glaring at her with depraved, lust-filled eyes. "You're a real baby doll. You know, when I saw ya standin' on the porch there, I knew I had ta have ya." Ginger is overcome with disgust at his repulsive touch.
Ginger clenches her fists and teeth and, in sharply enunciated words, issues a pointed warning. "Mister, unless you want to experience new horizons in pain, you'd better let go of me and leave the way you came--now." The man chortles in disbelief. "What--from you?? Don't make me laugh!" With his other hand, the man grabs Ginger by the throat and hisses fiercely into her face. "Now listen, Missy-and listen good, cuz I'm gonna say this only once! I put four other ladies in the hospital 'cuz they wouldn't cooperate. And I ain't gonna have no trouble makin' you number five! Now, get outta dem clothes now!!"Ginger, however, is not about to become another chalk mark on this rapist's scoreboard. She knows she must act quickly. In an instant, the situation changes. Before Ginger's would-be assailant knows it, Ginger breaks free of his grip and pushes him away. He flies backward about fifteen feet and falls to the ground. Both Ginger, as well as, her attacker, are momentarily stunned. Ginger's attacker suddenly gets up, pulls a military-style survival knife from his waistband, and charges at her. Ginger stands her ground and waits for him. When he lunges at her with his knife, she grabs his arm and spins him around once, flinging him a distance of, at least, fifty feet into the side of the house. He hits the house with such force that windows on the upper story are rattled. In the house, items on shelves on the opposite side of the wall, fly off a shelf and hit the floor with a loud clatter.Again, Ginger is stunned by this rapid turn of events. Her terrified assailant glowers at her in shock, his face streaked with rivulets of blood from a deep gash in his forehead. He struggles to his feet and runs as best one might do with a bad limp, and disappears around the corner of the house. Large drops of blood in the dirt mark his trail. Ginger's electronic brain suddenly snaps into action. She goes after her attacker in hot pursuit. As Ginger rounds the corner of the house and comes into view of the driveway, she is shocked to see the injured felon struggling into a white land car with darkened windows. "Oh, no, Mister," growls Ginger. "You're not getting away, this time."Ginger runs up to the land car, just as her would-be rapist starts its engine. She rips the hood off the land car's engine compartment, flinging it away as though it were a sheet of cardboard. Noticing the land car's computer module, Ginger tears it from the engine compartment, and throws it through the car's bubble windshield. Fortunately for this violent intruder, Ginger misses his head by inches. Now, the tables are definitely turned. Ginger's attacker is finally on the receiving end of the violence he had meted out to his many victims. Though Ginger thoroughly disables his land car, she is not through with him.The hapless molester gasps in horror as Ginger punches through the drivers-side window, and wrenches the door open. He tries desperately to escape through the opposite door. However, before he can get it open, Ginger reaches in, grabs him by his ankles, and drags him out. She dumps him on the ground like a freshly caught tuna. Ginger immediately thrusts her knees into his back, and holds his head down by the throat with one hand. The felon cries out in pain. "AHHHH!!--I think you hurt me real bad, Lady!"Ginger is not in a sympathetic mood. "Oh, you mean, the way you would've hurt me, if you got the chance?" "Please lady," he begs. "Please--let me go, and we'll forget the whole thing, okay?" "Not a chance, Buster--not on your sick and twisted excuse for a life! And, if you even think about trying to get away," warns Ginger, "all I'll have to do is, squeeze your throat, and it'll be all over--got it?" "Yeah-yeah, Lady--okay--OKAY!!"Ginger reaches into her pocket, takes out her phone, along with some pocket lint. With a quick puff, she blows the lint away and hits the button for the police emergency response line. In less than three minutes, four police air cars land in the driveway. By now, Ginger's assailant is thankful for their arrival. Two police officers burst from each vehicle and rush forward with weapons drawn. Just then, several police land cars file into the driveway, lights flashing, sirens blaring. Ginger keeps a firm hold on her attacker until the police lift him to his feet, and take him into custody. In only a few minutes, it's all over. . .FRANK is too distraught to concentrate on flying his air car home. He engages the air car's auto-pilot; all he needs to do is to sit back and let the air car's flight computer do the rest. As his house and property come into view, Frank can see several police land cruisers, parked randomly, all over his driveway. Two of the police vehicles are disturbingly parked on his manicured lawn. A large area, extending from the south end of the garden, to the northwest side of the house and part of the driveway, is cordoned off with yellow police tape. Several uniformed police officers swarm over the property, checking this, looking under that.Upon hearing Frank's air car approach for its vertical landing, several police personnel look skyward. After Frank touches down and climbs out, he is quickly approached by two uniformed officers, who demand identification. When they see that Frank is Ginger's husband, they escort him to the house. On the way, Frank is shocked to see the suspect's land car as it is being hoisted onto a police tow vehicle. He notices the severe damage to the front end, as well as, to the mangled drivers-side door, which is lying in the front seat. Then there is the enormous hole in the windshield. "Ginger's handiwork," says Frank to himself. He is no less shocked to see that the land car is white with dark-tinted windows.When Frank and his police escorts come to the front door, it is disconcertingly wide open; the screen door is propped open, as well. Flies buzz in, and out of the house with brazen impunity. One of the officers instructs Frank to wait while he-the officer-steps into the house. In a few seconds, the officer returns with a smartly dressed woman with blue eyes and long, sand-colored hair. She extends her hand to Frank in greeting. "Mister Boelcke, Hello. I'm Detective Lauren Fenton, Devonshire Area LAPD. How are you today?" "Well," answers Frank, "on the face of it, things could be better. But what about my wife-where is she?""Don't worry, Mister Boelcke. As I told you over the phone, she's just fine. At the moment, she's being interviewed by another detective. You can see her when they're finished. In the meantime, I'd like to ask you a few questions about what you and your family observed in the weeks prior to today's incident." Frank invites Detective Fenten to take a seat in one of the rockers on the front porch. He takes the chair next to her's. Reaching into her coat pocket, Detective Fenton takes out an electronic pad and pen. She then begins to question Frank in detail. When the interview finally ends, Detective Fenton stuffs her pad and pen back into her coat. "Thank you very much, Mister Boelcke, for your time and cooperation; I appreciate it." "Sure," replies Frank. "No trouble, at all.""Oh, another thing, Mister Boelcke, please be sure that no one crosses the yellow police cordon. We don't want to lose any possible evidence that hasn't been discovered yet. Our forensics people will return tomorrow morning, in order to continue their work." "Certainly, of course," answers Frank. "By the way, Mister Boelcke, you have a very nice house; very historic-looking." "Thank you," replies Frank. "So," continues Detective Fenton, "are there any other questions I can help with?" "Well, yes," answers Frank. "First, will my wife be in any trouble with the law for messing this guy up?""Of course, not, Mister Boelcke. She was defending herself against an attacker; the law does allow for that. And I wouldn't worry about his land car either. If anything, your wife did an enormous public service by helping us to take down a vicious sex offender--the worst we've seen in twenty-four years. We've been pursuing this suspect for over a year now. He's responsible for, at least, eight broad-daylight rapes and molestings in the San Fernando Valley, alone. You know, Mister Boelcke, your wife may even receive a commendation from the Mayor and Chief of Police for taking this guy down." "Well," replies Frank, "that's all very well and good. But why didn't you people send out a cruiser to check out this creep while he was scaring the neighborhood half to death?""Well, first, Mister Boelcke, the LAPD just doesn't have the time or the resources to answer every single call we receive from citizens who see an unfamiliar vehicle in their neighborhood. Most of the time, it turns out to be nothing, at all." "Except this time," replies Frank. Detective Fenton gives a sigh. Frank still wants answers. "But, if you've been looking for this guy, didn't you know what kind of car he's been driving?" "Oh, yes, we did," asserts Det. Fenton. "But this one is completely different from what he's been driving. It's very possible that he got rid of his previous vehicle, thinking that he may eventually be recognized; criminals often switch vehicles several times before getting caught.""How about this guy's condition?," asks Frank. "You made it sound like my wife really messed him up." "Ahhhh-well," replies Det. Fenton, "according to the Northridge E.R. report I received: three broken ribs, four cracked ribs, three facial fractures, a broken right hip rotator cuff--oh, and a gash in his forehead requiring twenty-eight stitches to close. Yes, I'd say your wife cleaned up the driveway with him." "Well," says Frank, "I guess, he knows now that he tried to rape the wrong woman." "I'll say," replies Det. Fenton with a knowing grin. "Never mess with a cyber-woman."That last sentence sends a shock wave through Frank. "So--it's pretty obvious then, isn't it." "Well," answers Det. Fenton. "No human woman I know, can mangle a land car with her bare hands, then toss around a man who's almost twice her weight." "Look--Detective Fenton," says Frank, "is there any chance of keeping this out of the media, for now? I mean--I'm sure you're aware of the prejudice in society against cyber-people. If this gets out that My wife is a cyber-woman, it could be the end of my career." "Well, unfortunately, Mister Boelcke, it's out of my hands. The news media have scanners that pick up LAPD police communications. Sometimes, they get to a crime scene before we do. Besides, this is a high-profile case; I'm surprised they aren't here already."Frank expresses to Det. Fenton his deep concerns about the local media. "We don't want our privacy invaded, Detective Fenton. As you probably know, the media can be relentless, even ruthless." "Well," replies Det. Fenton, "I'll see what I can do. Maybe we can arrange for a couple of off-duty police officers to act as security here during the day. Of course, the Department charges for this service. But, in your case, it may be well worth the price." "I think we'll take you up on the offer," replies Frank. Just then, another detective leans out from the front doorway. "Lauren-I'm finished taking Mrs. Boelcke's statement.""Thanks, Vince," replies Det. Fenton. "Oh-Mister Boelcke-this is Detective Vincent Grimaldi; he and I have been assigned to this case. We'll be in contact with you and your wife over the course of our investigation, and eventual trial, should there be one." Detective Fenton hands Frank two calling cards. With that, the two detectives give their farewells and walk out across Frank's lawn, to their unmarked police land car. Frank anxiously steps into the house to find Ginger. He finds her, sitting on the living room sofa, staring at the opposite wall. Frank calls to her. Ginger springs to her feet, turns, and runs to Frank. She embraces him tightly. "Frank, finally you're here!"Frank takes Ginger's face into his hands and kisses her. "You don't know how relieved I am that you're okay. Tell me-what happened?" "It was scary, Frank. I always hear about vicious criminals on the news. But it's a whole different story when you come face-to-face with one. Frank, the look on that man's face was hideous. When he grabbed me by the throat, I knew I had to do something." "You did something, alright!," exclaims Frank. "You only put him in the hospital. He has an injury list as long as our driveway." "But, tell me," continues Frank, "how did it all happen, in the first place?"Ginger begins by summarizing the events of that fateful morning. "Frank--I know I can defend myself against an attacker, if I have to. But honestly, I hope I never have to do it again." "Ginger," says Frank, "this is all my fault." Ginger shakes her head. "How can that be, Honey? You couldn't possibly have known this would happen." "Maybe so," answers Frank. "But, if only I'd installed an underground perimeter alert system around the house, backyard, and garage, this wouldn't have happened. You could've evaded this guy and called the police." "Frank, don't beat yourself up over this. Besides, there's no guarantee a perimeter alert system would've prevented what happened. I really don't think we need to add to the security system. I don't want us living in constant fear and paranoia. That's just no way to live.""I know, Ginger. But, when you're alone here, a perimeter alert system would, at least, let you know someone's come close to the house by sounding a warning alarm in, and outside the house. And since you spend so much time in the backyard, I think it's a good idea." "Well, I suppose so," says Ginger. "But, what if a squirrel or a sparrow runs across the perimeter line. That alarm could go off all day long; I'd go crazy." "Well," says Frank, "you can set it by mass and weight, say, nothing less than a hundred pounds. That way, it won't go off if, say, the line is crossed by a mud-skipper or a lesser prairie chicken." "Har-har-har," replies Ginger. "But, listen, Frank-we've got a lot more to worry about--like the the news media.""Good Lord, you're right," says Frank in a tense near-whisper. "I forgot all about that. Looks like fate is forcing our hand here. The truth about your being a cyber-woman is bound to come out now-especially since it's in the official police report." "Frank--I don't want us becoming the next big headline in the LA Times, or some sleazy tabloid rag. We've got to do something. We can't let the media be the ones to say they discovered where I came from." "You're right," says Frank. "We should be the ones to do that." "But Frank, how can we do it without causing a media frenzy?" "Good question," answers Frank. "I'm surprised that news crews haven't descended on us already." Ginger stares fearfully at Frank. "Frank--what, on Earth, are we gonna do?"To Be Continued. . . .
Feb 8 07 12:50 AM
Looks like fate is forcing our hand here.
Feb 8 07 3:48 AM
Feb 8 07 1:08 PM
Feb 8 07 6:18 PM
Feb 13 07 7:58 PM
Feb 14 07 8:23 PM
Feb 19 07 1:14 AM
Quote:I guess, a man is his own harshest critic.
Oct 10 07 3:56 PM
Shares a party line with Mother Davis
Oct 10 07 5:03 PM
Where do you get those ideas from?
I love the 1940's!
I bet you a dollar to a doughnut that Tammy Lauren might consider the fun of seing herself in this role as Cyber-Ginger for television.
Have you shown this story to Lynn Marie Latham?
Keep up the good Work. It's swell!
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