Scene 2

Mr. Roger's house was eerily quiet. All of the lights were off and the curtains drawn, giving the place an overall feeling of deadness.

“The lights are on in his garage,” Bernie said. “He must be playing in his workshop.”

Melody stepped into the driveway, and found that her father was correct. “His old Studebaker is in the driveway, too,” she said, noting the pristine antique car was sitting out in the open and unprotected from the elements. Thinking back, she realized it had been sitting out since Mrs. Roger's left in the ambulance.

Melody often admired Mr. Rogers car as he drove it slowly past the front window. It was a dark, matte green finish, and always immaculate. Mr. Rogers cleaned and polished it every Sunday morning in his driveway whether it made an exodus outside the neighborhood or not. It always seemed to Melody that Mr. Rogers thought of his car as a favorite child. Now it was just sitting here in the driveway, looking abandoned.

“Should we just knock on the garage door?”

Bernie began his way down the driveway. “I don't see why not,” he said, boldly.

The two climbed the small hill, and made their way to the detached garage. The building was painted the same as the house, white with light green trim, and was nearly indistinguishable from it's larger counterpart. Next to the large standard garage door, was a smaller, regular-sized one with glass panes and a pull down shade. There was light and obvious sounds of life coming from behind it.

Bernie rapped on the glass, and after a few moments, the noises ceased. For a moment, the Jacksons thought perhaps Mr. Rogers was now going to pretend he wasn't at home, or rather, at garage. It was a ploy Bernie himself had made use of more than a time or two. However, a face suddenly appeared from behind the flap of the shade, and then the door swung open abruptly.

“Jackson!” the old man said, smiling.

At first, Melody failed to recognize the man. In all of the years she had seen him puttering in his yard, she had never seen anything but a scowl on the man's face. She hoped this newfound happiness wasn't because his wife was comatose in the hospital, allowing him to finally spend all of his free time at his hobbies. However, the smile soon faded. A brief candle, Melody realized needlessly poetically, lit merely for the benefit of her and her father. One simply had to look into the man's eyes to find nothing there save unbearable sadness.

“We saw the light on and thought we'd stop by and check to see how you were holding out.”

“Oh, I'm getting along,” Mr. Rogers said. “I've got my radio to keep me company.”

“He's talking about his short wave radio,” Bernie turned and told his daughter.

“I figured,” Melody whispered back loudly. “Did you really think someone in this neighborhood could have a gigantic antennae looming above his house without me looking into it?” She knew a ham operator when she saw one. “You don't need a forty foot receiver to pick up the sports channel on the AM dial, after all.”

Mr. Rogers laughed at this, though it seemed hollow. “No, but it helps if you want to pick up a baseball game in Japan.”

Melody smiled with sudden interest. “Oh,” she said. “Do you often do that?” While she wasn't a huge fan of what she referred to as “the sports”, she was fascinated by Japanese culture.

Mr. Rogers shook his head. “Nah,” he said. “My knowledge of the language is a tad rusty.” He patted Bernie on the shoulder, and turned to him. “Say, thanks for stopping by, you two. I hate to blow off you like this, but I have a fish on the line, so to speak.”

“Oh, okay,” Bernie said, stumbling on his words.

Mr. Rogers winked. “I'll call you next week. Maybe we can play some Chinese Checkers.” He then bid the two of them goodnight. He began to close the door and suddenly, poked his head back out. “Oh,” he said. “I didn’t tell you, Dondra passed away, and I wanted to invite you all to the funeral.”

Bernie and Melody looked at each other, blinked almost audibly, and then returned their collective gazes back to Mr. Rogers. At first they were too stunned to speak. Finally, Bernie said, “, Bill. I’m so sorry to hear that.”

Mr. Roger’s shrugged. “Her health has been failing for quite a while now.” He stared at the ground and seemed lost in thought for a few moments, and then quickly perked up. “Oh, and Jackson. She had some old records she wanted you to have. “I’m not sure why, but she specifically mentioned them in her will. You can swing by later and pick them up once I’ve sorted through her mess.”

“Oh, Okay,” Bernie said, unsure what to say.

With that, Mr. Rogers smiled at them, nodded, and disappeared into his garage.

Melody sighed dramatically. “Mysterious much?”

Bernie scratched his head. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Weird.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Message from Space

by BMB Johnson

Scene 2

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