As a note to everyone who took the time to comment on my first story... “Becky’s Really Hot Day” ... IT WAS A SPOOF! Please see my bio for more details. My problem now is that I am working eight storylines at once and not getting any finished. For some reason this one grabbed my interest this morning and finished itself ... NO SEX I need to offer thanks to sbrooks103x who graciously agreed to edit this offering. He went beyond my wildest expectations and has my utmost respect. If there are errors still in the text or you do not like all or part of the story, they are MINE not his. <-- see, SB, no ellipses, just a comma and no exclamation points. Who says you cannot teach an old squid new tricks.
I am sitting here in the ER waiting room of Raccoon City Memorial Hospital three days after New Year’s. I’m Daniel by the way. Mercy Helicopter transported my wife Tammy and my daughter Janey, age 10, to the hospital a few hours ago. Tammy and Janey had been driving back from visiting the Grandparents in our old hometown when Tammy hit a patch of ice on the road, spun out and went off the road into a farm pond. It took more than a few hours before I realized something was wrong. They were late and neither Tammy nor Janey had called nor texted to let me know. First, I tried calling Tammy’s cell; it went into voice mail immediately. Hmmmm. Next, I tried Janey’s cell; the same thing happened. This was not good. Then I called my Mom, but she said that Tammy and Janey had left about six hours earlier. That was bad because it only took about four hours to drive from their house to ours. I called Tammy’s Mom and found out that they had visited the day before and as far as she knew Tammy and Janey were going to spend the night at MY Mom’s and leave for home from there. With a sick feeling in my stomach, I contacted the police but they said there were no reported accidents. I relayed what information I had to them and they said they would send a notice out to let the various jurisdictions know to be on the lookout.
That was all well and good, but I couldn’t sit by and just wait. I bundled up our youngest, Jonathan Edward Stangski, age two and took him across the street to Mrs. Wilson. She is a widow who babysits for us. Mrs. Wilson was of course upset with my news and promised to watch Jonny for as long as need be. With that settled, I got in my car and began driving to my folks’ house.
It was dark by then and it had started to snow again. The roads were crappy but I inched along, squinting through the windshield, hoping to see something ... anything. The plows had covered up where Tammy had gone off the road and it was only a fluke that my headlights had passed over the farmer’s pond and that I saw the ice was all broken up. I pulled over, grabbed a flashlight and slogged my way through the snow to the edge of the pond ... well actually more like a small lake, I guess. It really looked like something had broken through the ice. I began calling my wife and daughter’s names. I just knew they had gone into the water. I kept flashing my light out over the water, time and time again. Finally, I saw a reflection of blue from out in the middle ... my wife’s car was blue! I hit 911 on my cell and told the dispatcher that I thought I had found my wife’s car and where.
All hell broke loose; Police, Volunteer Firemen; all coming in with lights and sirens.
Divers went into the frigid water while the firemen began searching the shoreline. The divers came up and said the car was empty. That was both good news and bad news; they weren’t trapped in the car, so they were hopefully thrown clear before it went in the water; or they might be at the bottom of the pond.
“Over here!” a voice called out of the night, “They’re over here!”
There on the ground, wet and unconscious, were my wife and daughter. They were lying on a survival blanket (you know ... one of those silver metallized things), wrapped in heavy wool blankets. They were dripping wet and shivering, unconscious but alive. I was not sure how my wife got herself and my daughter out of the car, retrieved the emergency pack out of the trunk and got them to shore, but she did!
The Firemen called for a Mercy Helicopter to take Tammy and Janey into Raccoon City rather than use their ambulance to take them into the small local clinic.
So, there you are ... or should I say, there I am ... nothing to do but worry and sit with my memories.
Five Years Earlier
My wife Tammy, my daughter Janey, age 5, and I had just moved to Raccoon City when my job was transferred here. We found a perfect place in one of the older neighborhoods; large trees in the yards, larger than modern lots, multistory houses ... you know what I mean.
I was looking forward to this move for a lot of reasons; yeah, the money and responsibility were better, but the real reason was that we were away from our home town. You see, Tammy and I had both grown up in the same hick town in Ohio. From Middle School on, we had seen each other every day at school. By High School, little Tamara Goodside had grown into “Tammy,” a real American beauty. She was 5-8, blonde hair, blue eyes, a 140-pound athletic body with a 34B-24-36 figure. Not runway model quality, but my god she controlled my heart. Up until the end of Junior year, everyone expected Tammy to marry James “Jimmy” Oglethorpe. Jimmy was the “Big Man” in the school; quarterback on the football team, clean-up batter on the baseball team; and ... wait for it ... waaaaait ... all around PRICK. Well at least to anyone he wasn’t trying to get a piece of ass from. How he and Tammy ever got together, I don’t know. I do know that Tammy would never see anything bad about Jimmy. She would defend him even when he was caught red handed. He could go out on a date with her after having just fucked one of her friends earlier in the day and she would gush and goo over him. Then something happened over Junior/Senior summer and at the start of the school year, Tammy was “single” and Jimmy was gone. We heard rumors that he had gone into the service but no one was sure and Tammy wasn’t talking.
Around the start of the holidays that year, I finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy if she would go to the Christmas dance with me. You could have knocked me over with a feather when she said yes! We went to the dance and had a great time; well I did at least. At the start of the spring semester, there were rumors again about Jimmy; that he had come home on leave between Christmas and New Year’s but no one would claim having actually seen him. Tammy was grumpy for a few weeks but was soon back to normal and we dated exclusively through the rest of the year.
After graduation, I entered the electrical apprenticeship program at the local auto parts factory and Tammy went to the community college for nursing. After two years, I had done well enough to get my Journeyman’s card. My Boss was impressed enough to convince the Plant Manager to set me up in the Company’s College Reimbursement Plan; they agreed to pay for me to go to college for a full up electrical engineering degree if I would continue to work for them for five years after graduation. Tammy had gotten her LPN license and was working full time at a doctor’s office in town.
We had continued dating throughout this time. One night I took Tammy out to dinner and afterwards got down on my knee, pulled an engagement ring from my pocket and asked her to marry me. Tammy went quiet ... froze in place ... she looked right in my eyes for the longest time ... I was starting to think I had fucked up and she was going to say no when she said “OK.” I put the ring on her finger. I was so happy, I didn’t even notice that she never really said “YES.”
The wedding was great. As was the honeymoon! Tammy and I were not virgins when we got together and we had been sexually active during our dating and engagement time so the honeymoon was not so much about discovering sex as about cementing our relationship together as man and wife. The ONLY rain on our (OK ... MY) parade was that Tammy got real nervous and moody about a week before the wedding and was jumpy as a cat in a rocking chair factory during the honeymoon and for a few weeks after.
When we got back, we moved into my apartment. Things were great. Tammy and I were banking some money, looking forward to buying our first house and making plans for the future.
One thing that was sort of crappy was Jimmy came back to town. He HAD gone into the Army but got out after his first enlistment was up. He got a job in the warehouse for the plant I worked at. We never saw each other, but I began to hear the stories about Jimmy’s conquests. It seems that he was still the same old piece of shit.
I only had one more year to get my EE degree. My classes that semester were on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I would get off work a half hour early and get to my 5:00 class. It let out at 11:00 and I would be home by 11:30.
About that time, Tammy mentioned she wanted to start getting together with some of her classmates from nursing school. She said they got together Thursday after work for a dinner out; no bars, no dancing, just eating and gossiping. I readily agreed to the idea and quickly forgot about it.
For the next few weeks, I would come home from class on Thursday to be greeted by Tammy waiting up for me. We would chat a bit about where the girls went for dinner and what everyone had to eat and say. One night I came home to a very wound up Tammy. She about raped me as soon as I came through the door. This happened two more times and then it stopped. Tammy announced that the girls were thinking of going out for drinks and dancing after dinner and she did not feel comfortable with that.
A few weeks after she quit going out with her friends, I came home to find a moody and generally morose Tammy. I asked her if there was something wrong and she teared up. She said she was just down about work and life and stuff. I pressed a bit to see if it was something I had done that was the problem. She said that nothing I had done was a problem for her and quietly left the room. A short time later, I followed her down the hall and found her lying down on our bed. I was not sure if she was asleep or not, so I covered her with a blanket, turned off the light and left the room. I stayed up watching some really bad 1950 Sci-Fi movies on TV and must have fallen asleep sometime during the night. I woke up all stiff and sore from sleeping on our couch. I checked on Tammy, finding she was still asleep. I fixed myself a quiet breakfast before getting ready for work. I wrote a note to Tammy, telling her that I would call her off from work today and hoped she would feel better.
When I got home that night, Tammy was looking a little better but was still not too forthright about what was bothering her. I tried to give her some space and didn’t press her too much. Things were awkward for the next couple of weeks. Tammy actually called off work for a few days during this time. About a month later, she called me at work to tell me that she just found out the reason she was so moody and down. She was PREGNANT; we were going to have a baby.
I was soooo happy that I completely ignored the talk coming out of the warehouse regarding Jimmy and some whore of a wife he was banging. The story was that her husband was a loser who did not know what his wife was doing even though she was doing it right out in the open almost. The stories came to an abrupt stop when Jimmy left town in the middle of the night. The gossip mill was chock full of stories about how he had gotten burned with his “Player” rep and decided on finding greener pastures. All good by me!
All this drama was wearing on me. Our families were good, but kind of smothering at the same time; first grandchild for both sides. By the time Janey was born I was a frazzled wreck. Tammy was not doing any better but at least she could distract the moms by waving Janey in front of them. Between work, classes, helping Tammy with Janey and trying to maintain the house and both cars, I was burned out. I love both sets of parents, believe me, but oh boy, they were offering “advice” and “helpful hints” on everything under the sun.
So you can see why I wanted to “get out of Dodge,” so to speak ... new job ... new house ... NEW town!
Our new neighbor, John, was a hoot. He showed up the first night with a pizza and sodas. We had been so busy unpacking we had lost track of time and it was way past Janey’s dinnertime and we had nothing in the house.
John was more than a neighbor. He was the neighborhood hero. One time, he decided to go down to the stream that ran through the neighborhood in the middle of the day. Just as he stood there on the bank, one of the kids playing in the water slipped, hit his head on a rock and stayed underwater. John stepped right in, picked the boy up, carried him to the bank and began mouth to mouth. A few minutes later, the boy spit up a bunch of water and began to breathe normally. Another time, a Pitbull escaped from its yard and was chasing little Magen Cummings down the sidewalk. Just before it could get its teeth into her, John stepped from around the corner of a house with a TASER in his hand and popped the dog. It was so strange; it was as if anytime a child was in danger; John showed up.
One summer night, John and I were sitting in the side yard between our houses sipping on some coffee. The air was still. For some reason, even the cicadas and tree frogs were not singing.
“John, how do you do it?” I asked.
“Do what?” he replied.
“Do what you do ... showing up just when you are needed ... like with the Reilly boy or when you saved the Cummings girl from that dog?”
He got real quiet. I was afraid I had wandered off into some area that was private. “Sorry John, didn’t mean to pry.”
“Naw, that’s OK,” he said, “Just trying to figure out how to say it right so you could understand.”
John began, “Let me say it this way; you start with a boy, or girl I guess, smart, gotta be smart. Then you start placing responsibilities on ‘em ... not just chores, but responsibilities...” He was staring off into the night now ... his eyes were not really focused ... at least not on anything I could see. “Take care of your sister ... It’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure she doesn’t get hurt ... We got the puppy for your sister, but it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure it gets food, water, walked ... Don’t forget to clean up the yard ... As they get older, say things like, “I was talking to old Mrs. Wittiker down the block and promised her that you would take care of her lawn this summer, she needs the help.”
John stopped as he refilled his coffee. “Move the family around a lot ... that is necessary ... keep the kid off balance ... don’t stay in one place long enough for him to make friends. If you do stay ... make sure just as he is starting to fit in ... move so the pain is fresh again. Expand the responsibilities ... but don’t ask him ... just promise other people that he will take care of it.”
“Now here is the real important part,” John said, “dangle the military in front of him ... let him read all about Horatius and the 300 Spartans and Sgt. York and Audie Murphy. Let him read stories where the hero does the RIGHT THING and everyone cheers and cheers. THEN give him reality! He goes into the service ... the bastards know who and what they are looking for ... they groom you, isolate you ... then they ask you to take care of this little problem...” John was getting agitated now ... he was sitting up in his chair ... leaning forward towards me ... his eyes were now focused like lasers on MY eyes... “What you do Dan is you lay out all the tools and then stand back ... the boy ... well, young man now ... will take what you said ... The village is being attacked by tigers ... make the village safe ... and do it. He will find and kill ALL the tigers; every last one of them, cubs included, within a hundred-mile radius. He’ll go back, expecting the HERO’s welcome ... the cheers ... What he gets is ... What are you, FUCKING NUTS?! You killed all the tigers! We just wanted you to make the village safe.”
John was up now ... pacing back and forth ... I was guessing the story is very much personal now and that we weren’t talking about tigers.
Through tight lips, John continued, “Put the guy away ... Don’t punish him outright ... Just isolate him so that he knows he is not acceptable company to have mixing in with the good people ... Oh, but when the tigers come back ... yeah ... Then you pull him out from whatever box you had him in and do it all again ... Give him hope that maybe THIS time ... he will make you happy ... make you proud of him ... After years ... he will start to see things ... in dreams ... drift off while awake ... anticipate what is going to happen ... see things BEFORE they come true ... so that he can be RESPONSIBLE for making everyone else’s life good!”
With that, John threw his mug against a tree, shattering it along with the stillness of the night air. The hair was up on the back of my neck as I stared at this thing I knew as John. I could almost see the air shiver around him as he drew a breath and let it out slowly.
“Sorry, Dan,” John walked into his house. I watched as the lights turned off. I went home feeling a strange itching on my skin; almost like I had acquired a giant charge of static electricity.
A couple of weeks after our talk, I was driving home at the normal time. I turned onto our street and saw a car pulled up to the curb in front of my house. That in itself was not what attracted my notice; it was that the car was parked all wopperjawed, like someone was drunk or something, also it was blocking my driveway.
As I pulled up behind it, I saw some guy holding Janey in one arm, pushing Tammy back with the other.
As I got out of my car, I saw it was Jimmy. CRAP, what is that piece of shit doing here. Why does he have Janey? I was running towards them now; close enough to hear what he was screaming. “I just want to see her ... she’s MY daughter too. I just need to see my daughter.”
Tammy was crying saying “Please, Jimmy ... let her go ... she doesn’t know you ... Dan is the only daddy she knows ... please let her go.”