Scene 3

Lonnie stared at her husband for an uncomfortably long period of time. “Dead?”

Bernie nodded.

“And he was all casual about it?”

Bernie raised an eyebrow, and nodded again. “I like to think he’s just processing it. Or maybe had a small stroke.”

“You’d like to think your old friend had a stroke just so you can account for some odd behavior?” Melody glared at her father as she walked past him, not once taking her eyes off of him as she pushed her way into the kitchen.

“Don’t judge me,” he told her. “You were there.”

“He’s clearly broken,” she said, from behind the door.

“And his wife wanted you to have some records?”




“Well, what kind of records? Tax records, phonograph records…?”

“Oh, I don’t know, now that you mention it.”

“It’s all very strange.” Lonnie sat down, apparently lost in thought. “Did you even know...what was his wife’s name again?”

“Donder?” Bernie said, apprehensively.

“DondRA!” Melody returned from the kitchen.

“Did you even know her?”

“Nope,” Bernie said. “Never met her.”

“Why then would she bequeath, specifically to you, some records?”

Bernie sat down next to his wife, and placed his hand on top of hers. “If this is a jealousy thing, I’ll gladly share the booty with you.”

Lonnie smacked his hand away. “Don’t be stupid,” she said. “I don’t care about your fancy records. I’m just trying to work it out, is all.”

“Hmmm,” Bernie said, trying to sound helpful. “Mysteries, eh?’

Melody emerged from the kitchen, holding a plate containing four squares of chocolate.

Lonnie looked at her crossly. “You needed to dirty a plate for that?”

“You know that I have to portion out chocolate or I lose control.”

Bernie reached for one of the pieces. “This is for everyone, right?”

Melody pulled the plate away from his grasp. “Yours is in the kitchen,” she said. “Wrapped the cupboard.”

“Very thoughtful,” he told her.

“So,” Melody said, delicately placing a chocolate square into her mouth and taking a tiny bite. “Since none of us admittedly knew, or even ever met, this Dondra character, I don’t see where there’s any obligation to go to her funeral. Am I right?”

Lonnie narrowed her eyes at her daughter. “Funerals are for the living, dear,” she told her. “We’d be going for Mr. Rogers.”

“Also, they’ll have cake,” Bernie added.

“It’s not about cake,” Lonnie told him.

“Oh, I know, but they’ll have it. It’s conciliatory.”

“It’s not about cake,” Lonnie said again, sighing. “We’re going. Mr. Rogers asked us. And we’re going to go and be supportive.” She rose from the table. “And I think it’s high time that maybe you both didn’t always just think of yourselves for once.” She turned and pushed her way through the kitchen door. As the door swung back, Lonnie returned. “A woman died!”

“I don’t have a problem with us going,” Bernie said, defensively. However, Lonnie was already gone again.

“I think she mostly has a problem with you equating dessert with tragedy.”

“You’re the one who tried to get out of it.”

“I was just trying to keep you from developing diabetes this weekend.”

“Like fun you were.”

Lonnie emerged from the kitchen enraged. “FORGET IT. I WILL JUST GO WITHOUT YOU...” She stopped in her tracks, staring at the front window.

“What is it,” Bernie said, getting out of his chair. ‘Why did you just stop yelling?”

Lonnie ran around the dining room table and towards the front door. “Fire,” she said. “Call 911.” She opened the front door, and covered her face with her arm, as if to shield herself.

Bernie caught up to her, phone in hand. “What are you…?”

Lonnie opened the door and ran down the porch. “Call the fire department, Bernie!” When she got the edge of the street, she bent down to a crouching position.

Bernie's face fell into a loose collection of mixed emotions. Whatever his wife was seeing was clearly in her head. “Okay,” he told her, softly. “They’re on their way.” He took a few tentative steps toward her. “We should get back in the house now, okay.”

Lonnie lunged across the street towards the weather station, suddenly stopping on the sidewalk. She dropped to ground and let out a plaintive cry. “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!” She screamed, now staring intently up to the sky.

Bernie quickly rushed to her side, and wrapped her in his arms. He turned towards their own house and saw that Melody was approaching them with a confused look on her face.

“Melody,” he yelled at her. “Call the hospital.”

“I would,” she said. “But you have the phone in your hand, genius!”

Bernie looked dumbly at his palm and realized he did indeed have it in his possession. In fact, there was already a dial tone.

“Bernie,” Lonnie said to him, no longer dazed. “What was that?”

“I was afraid it was some kind of psychotic episode,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.

Lonnie stared at him for a moment, confused. “Episode?”

Bernie shook his head. “You just ran over here, for no reason that I could see, and then screamed. What was I supposed to think?”

Lonnie seemed to grow angry with her husband, and then looked over to the weather station. She lifted her head as if in surprise, and then stood up. She pointed at the little building, and turned to Bernie. “But the fire?”

He shook his head. “There was no fire.”

“It was an old white house, blazing away. And then...” She trailed off and pointed towards the sky. “There was a big, orange fireball that ascended from it into the sky.”

Bernie patted his wife on her shoulders. “Okay, dear,” he said. “Let’s get you inside.”

“Dad,” Melody said, softly, although she had to repeat herself to get his attention. Once she had it, she pointed to Mr. Rogers driveway. “Company.”

Mr. Rogers was staring into the field. He had upon his face the same look that her mother had moments before. Suddenly, as though triggered by someone taking notice of him, he shook his head and smiled in their direction.

“Hello, Jacksons,” he said, waving. “Say, Bernie,” he said. “If you have a minute, let’s go take a look at those records.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Message from Space

by BMB Johnson

Scene 3

Please support our efforts

Support the author -- buy him a coffee to keep him awake and writing

Read Bark, the first of the Bill Swagger stories, free on our site.

Tales of Fastlegreive

Our new ongoing series of stories in the Fastlegrieve realm.

Read the "Tales of Fastlegrieve" for free on our site.