Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For ABC Wednesday and Magpie 89

(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and Sunday Scribblings)
"P" is for Phone Conversation

I had sat at the typewriter for over an hour, trying to figure out what to write. (This happened back in the days before I got around to email.)
I had received an extraordinary letter. It was from a man up in Rhode Island, a man I had known in the old days.
It was a delicate matter; I had known him and also known his wife, back before they were married. I had known her, actually, rather well.
In his letter he said she had left him and he thought I might be able to help him find her. The problem of what to write was suddenly solved because the phone rang. Since he hadn’t received an answer to his letter he decided to call me directly. He got right to the point.
"Reason I wrote you, you went with her for a year or so back then, before we got married."
“A year or so? It was actually a few months. And ‘went with her’ isn’t really accurate; we were friends.”
“That ain’t what I heard.”
“So, well, anyway, how is Marilyn? Okay I hope.”
“Marilyn? You don’t even remember her name. It’s Maureen.”
“Oh, right. You know, it was a long time ago; I was just out of college. I don’t remember everyone I knew in those days.”
“Well, as I wrote you, she left. Just got up and left.”
“Yes, I was sorry to read that.”
“It got me upset; my whole family is upset. It even got her family upset. A married woman. My wife. Just up and leaves. Anyway, I thought you might help.”
“Sure, if I can.”
“Here’s the thing. If she should ever contact you – you know, call on the phone to talk over old times or whatever – could you tell her that what she really ought to do is go back to her husband. And then let me know where she’s staying. It’s important that I find out where she’s staying.”
“Why do you think she left?”
“Who knows? Maybe she just don’t like Rhode Island.”
“She told me, way back when she was first talking about getting married, that she felt vulnerable, that you weren’t – well – all that nice to her.”
“That’s baloney. If she said anything like that, it was a figment of her imagination. As her husband, I worked hard, fifty hours a week sometimes, to get her whatever she needed. You can’t be much nicer than that.”
“But, you never – I’m just trying to figure out why she left -- you never abused her, never hit her or anything like that?”
“What’re you -- a shrink or somethin’!? I didn’t call you to get a lecture! I’m a husband from the old school. My whole family, we know how to treat women.”
“Well, I’m sorry I can’t be of much help. But I'll go along with you in this operation; if I should ever hear from her, I’ll tell her to go back to her husband. Goodbye.”
I hung up the phone.
“Was that him?” she asked.
“Yes. I just hope he stays up there and doesn’t come down here to New York. As I remember, he was a pretty big guy. I’d be inclined to avoid a confrontation.”
“Yes, we’ve got to be careful. When I mentioned divorce, he said he’d kill me first.”
“And that would mean me second. I guess this is what they call living dangerously. But it’s worth it, Maureen – to have you with me again.”

58 comments:

Sheilagh Lee said...

He lies well. good for him for protecting her.

rallentanda said...

I don't like Maureen. She has bad karma.
Ditch her:)

Laurie Kolp said...

Sounds like the husband is the one who needs to be ditched.

Berowne said...

Ah, rallentanda, what has happened to your spirit of romance? :-)

Morning said...

skillful story.

Berowne said...

Morning. I've read your skillful story, so coming from you your comment is quite a compliment. Thanks.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Sounds dangerous to have her around. I hope her husband is the type to get bored and move on quickly.

MaryA said...

In some circles this story could be considered too close to reality to be considered fiction. Very effictive use of the three words.

Andy Sewina said...

Just a New York conversation, rattling in my head...

Phew, some people do live dangerously!

Ramesh Sood said...

What a beautiful story!!! I loved the thrill and the way it concludes.. well done..loved it.. and thanks!! I reciprocate by being a follower here..

Nanka said...

Living on the edge is surely scary and rightly put as dangerous living!! The three words very well melted into the conversation!!

Berowne said...

Mary A: "Very effictive use of the three words."
Was that a typo or was it deliberate? Since my post is fiction, I think "effictive" is a fine word to use in response. You may have invented an entirely new term in the field of literary criticism. :-)

Berowne said...

Ramesh S: "What a beautiful story!!!"
A great comment -- thanks.

Ren said...

Oh, I like that!
Thank you for the smile and the visit :)

oldegg said...

Great conversation, I can just see her with her hand in front of her mouth trying not to laugh.

indiwriter said...

Guess there are folks around such as these characters :)

Understanding Alice said...

i liked that - a good story that has you rooting for the wife!

Berowne said...

You show great understanding, Alice. :-)

zongrik said...

it's amazing how you can get into a relationship, and then it's dangerous to get out.

Martin said...

That Maureen, what a girl!

Kathy Bischoping said...

Something about "A married woman. My wife. Just up and leaves." grabbed me. I think the naturalness of how the character is speaking from a societal point of view briefly, then veering back to the personal.

Belva Rae Staples said...

I like your story, but all three characters need a thrashing!

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, if you ask me (which you didn't) I think they'll both wind up dead if they don't move several states away, and right away. That husband sounds like trouble.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Lena said...

She's kind of cool, that Maureen is! She'll get by!

Tumblewords: said...

I'm thinking they can meet the challenge of the whiny hub. Maybe even have a ton of fun.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Interesting how only Maureen is named! The men are nameless! Perhaps the hidden agenda = their friendship is questionable? An intriguing narrative!

Stafford Ray said...

berownie, New York seems a bit close to Rhode Island. Perhaps you had both better come sailing with me!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Berowne: "To have you back with me again" "Maureen" sounds like a sqiggy-name, one that wouldnt really draw attention to the altered state of these adulterers. Excellently written, clean, clear and succinct! Perfecto mundo! jj Chiccoreal

Doctor FTSE said...

I visited as usual, expecting a learned treatise on the history of the typewriter. And find a well-told tale with a splendid "reveal" at the end. Here's hoping you and Maureen will be very happy and the Big Man never figures it all out. Excellent.

Irish Gumbo said...

An excellent read, with my morning tea. Well written and great punch at the end!

Ann Grenier said...

Hah! Very good at deception you prove to be, me thinks. Stafford is right, a bit too close for comfort. There are too many real, heartbreaking situations like this that end in tragedy when the husband finds the wife.

Lyn said...

But is it really worth it...really, really? Can't wait for the next chapter... Another Brit Masterpiece Mysteries?

Berowne said...

Lyn: "But is it really worth it...really, really?"
It was worth it. If you knew Maureen, you'd agree. :-)

Berowne said...

Ann G: "There are too many real, heartbreaking situations like this..."
By the way, this story actually happened -- sort of. Years ago, while I was working in New York, a guy phoned me from Rhode Island; his wife, whom I had known, had left him. He wondered if she was with me. She wasn't. That was the key difference between fact and fiction.

Berowne said...

Irish G: "Well written and great punch at the end!"
I'm in favor of some great punch at almost any time. :-)

Berowne said...

Chiccoreal: "Excellently written, clean, clear and succinct! Perfecto mundo!"
Perfecto commento! Thanks.

Berowne said...

It's wonderfully encouraging when you get such fine comments as these from Martin, Kathy B, Kay L D, Lena, Tumblewords, Gemma W, Stafford R and Doc FTSE -- thanks so much.

Brian Miller said...

i agree with mary...and all too real tale depending...well spun berowne ...you let us feel the characters well...

Brigid said...

I agree, I think it was 'effictive' also. I am going to use this new word every day now. Great tale, run, Maureen, run!!

Berowne said...

A very effictive comment... :-)

Isabel Doyle said...

I'm with Rall I'm afraid.

Great story

Arnab Majumdar said...

Now that's a great story! Not something that you come across every day...

Well written. Very well written! :)

Cheers,
Arnab Majumdar on SribbleFest.com

gautami tripathy said...

Enjoyed this!

innards

Elizabeth said...

I think that he needs to get a heavy duty lock put on that door. Another lovely tale, Berowne. x

Roger Owen Green said...

i feel like i SHOULD have seen that coming, but i did not. great telling.

covert relationships can be very exciting...for a while...

Jo Bryant said...

I think they need to run far far away - quickly...

Nicholas V. said...

Marilyn, indeed! ;-)
Godo take on the prompt!

Nicholas V. said...

*Good, even!

lotusleaf said...

Prudent paramour!

Berowne said...

"Another lovely tale, Berowne."
Another fine comment from my friend Elizabeth -- thanks.

Gattina said...

A husband of the "old school" what school was that?? lol !

Francisca said...

Oh the lies we tell and the secrets we keep. I don't think I'd want ANY of these three characters in my life! Well done, Berowne.

Berowne said...

lotusleaf: "Prudent paramour!"
The only kind to have. :-)

Berowne said...

Nicholas V: "Godo take on the prompt!"
Thanks -- I've been waiting for Godo. :-)

Alice Audrey said...

Excellent writing. I saw the ending coming, but that only made it all the better.

Bee's Blog said...

I got the feeling early on that the husband was an abuser. A most enjoyable read.

The story did however remind me of a true story involving my husband! A few days before we got married my now husband of many years and I were at home preparing when he received a telephone call from a colleague based in Madrid. My husband had flown from Nigeria to the UK for the wedding. The purpose of the telephone conversation was to inform us that the wife of one of my husband's staff had disappeared and her husband was telling the 'world' that she had flown out of Nigeria with my husband-to-be! Very few people in the company including the enraged husband knew that we were getting married!! The wife never returned to Nigeria and the husband who I always thought was an abuser was eventually transferred. It's amusing now but it wasn't funny at the time!

Berowne said...

Fascinating story, Bee -- thanks.

Paigescen said...

Living on the edge is surely scary and rightly put as dangerous living!! The three words very well melted into the conversation!!

 
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