Scene 12

The voice was at once frightening and familiar.

Melody was the first to turn around, and she wasn't entirely surprised to see Uncle Gordon standing behind them. He was still wearing the same outfit when they had last met him, which meant that he either didn't own another change of clothes or this was one heck of a coincidence. The beard on his face was also thicker, and his eyes seemed more desperate. “If you don't mind,” he said. “I'd like that device of yours.”

“What device is that?” Melody said, handing the phone they had acquired from Dondra to her father.

Bernie gave her a pinch-eyed look that told her “Smooth move, Jackson. I'm sure he didn't notice that”. He then slipped the device into his pocket next to his own phone.

“And then the target was on Bernie,” Bernie said, softly.

“As the father,” Melody said out of the corner of her mouth, “it's your duty to protect the children.”

Uncle Gordon cleared his throat. “I've always found it highly suspicious that y'all've been tacking onto each of these same locations as us, and now I see why. Please give me that device.”

Melody's eyes narrowed a bit. “Tacking onto?”

Lonnie stepped forward. “Look here,” she told him. “I really don't know who you are or what you want, but we don't deal with criminal...”

“Don't rile up the criminal man,” Bernie told her out of the side of his mouth.

“Allow me to rephrase that,” Lonnie said, and cleared her throat. She didn't say anything for a few minutes. “I don't know a better word to put here,” she said, finally. “We don't know WHO you are or WHAT you're about. But you seem to be around every time something weird is going on.”

Uncle Gordon rubbed his beard. “Whal,” he said. “I could say the same about you.”

Lonnie furrowed her eyebrows like an old sail. “Listen,” she said, slowly. “This started happening on OUR BLOCK at the location across from OUR house. I don't know what you were doing there, and frankly we thought that you might have been the cause of it for a while. Then you were stalking us at a few locations downtown, and finally at the music store. Maybe this is all a coincidence and everything you're doing is somehow on the up and up, but unless you want to fill us in on the secret, we're not about to go out of our way to help you.”

Uncle Gordon seemed to consider all of this, then he laughed, and knocked back his hat. “Whal,” he said. “I appreciate everything you just said, but I don't have time for some lengthy explanations.” He took a few steps toward the Jacksons. “Please,” he said. “I NEED your device. I don't have much time.”

Lonnie folded up her arms, and at her example, Melody and Bernie did likewise. “I'm sorry,” she said. “But we're in too deep.”

Uncle Gordon reached into his pocket, pulled out a revolver and pointed it in their general direction. Not exactly at them, but perhaps instead a rather lackadaisical attempt to get their attention and to show that he in fact meant business. “I don't want to insist,” he said. “But I'm really runnin' out of time.”

Bernie raised up his hands, and said “Fine. I really don't want to argue with a man with a gun pointed at our...well, at our elbows maybe? I'm going to put my hand into my pocket and take the device out of said pocket now.” Bernie did as stated, slowly so as to not create any unnecessary excitement, and retrieved a black phone device from his pocket. It was his own, but he was banking on Uncle Gordon's inability to tell the difference.

“Hand it over,” the scruffy man said, impatiently.

“No, Dad,” Melody said, suddenly. She snatched the phone out of her father's hand, and ran towards the center of the field.

“Oh my God, Melody,” Lonnie screamed. “What are you doing?!”

“Wait, what?” Uncle Gordon seemed confused at first, and then seemed unsure how to react. Finally, he regained his senses and took off after the girl. After a few steps, he seemed to realize he had a weapon in his hand, stopped and pointed it at her. “Stop!” he cried. “I, don't want to...”

He was unable to finish his sentence before he found himself on the ground, tackled by Melody's father.

The girl stopped and looked around, panting as though out of breath.

“Okay, kid,” came another voice from behind her.

She turned and found an equally scruffy, younger man. “Hairy Mike,” she said under her breath.

“We don't want any trouble,” he said, reaching out his hands and stepping towards her slowly. “Just give my friend the device and we'll be on our way.”

“What is this all about, anyway,” she heard herself ask. “We didn't have this until just a few days ago. This can't be what you guys were after all along.”

Hairy Mike seemed confused. “It's not. I mean, we didn't know you...JUST GIVE IT OVER!”

The two stared at each other for an eternity. Suddenly, Melody smiled crookedly, and sprinted up the hill to where she had previously located the air vent. It was slightly exposed, but she still had to remove a section of grass which had grown over the greater part of it. Hairy Mike was nearly upon her when she dropped the phone through the grate.

“No!” he roared, exasperatedly. “Why...Why did you?”

“Well, to be fair,” Melody began, “I had intended to dangle it over the hole for a bit, and just threaten to drop it unless the two of you left us alone, but it slipped.”

Just at that moment, they heard the phone hit the bottom and smash into pieces.

Hairy Mike sighed. “Of all of the idiotic...” He got on his knees and attempted to peer through the grate. “I should shove you down there, too,” he said.

“That seems hardly possible,” she told him, folding up her arms determinedly. “The phone barely fit through.”

Mike shook his head and turned to Gordon, who was still pressed to the ground by both Bernie and Lonnie. “She dropped the damn thing down the hole,” he shouted.

“Well, go get it,” Uncle Gordon said, though his words were somewhat muffled.

“I heard it break.”

There was a pause, and then Lonnie adjusted herself so she was no longer sitting on the back of his head. “Dagnabbit!”

Mike pointed at Melody, pulled a rather large knife from his belt and pointed it at her. “You're lucky we're not the angry, murdering types.” He glared at her for a few agonizing moments, and then turned. “Come on. Get up. I guess we're done here.”

Melody realized that she had not been breathing since the knife appeared. She took some air into her lungs, and let it out quickly as though it had gone bad.

As Hairy Mike approached, Lonnie rolled onto her side and let Uncle Gordon go. The men were soon on their way without another word.

“You know,” Bernie said, once Melody had come within earshot. “That was my work phone.”

“I'm fine, thank you,” Melody said.

“Yes, yes, we're all fine,” Lonnie said. “I'm just saying that the device only seemed to work for you. I mean, you could have told him that, or at least demonstrated that, and my work phone would have also been fine.”

“You're the one who offered the fake out with his own phone.”

“Excuse me for trying to protect my family!”

“I'm just saying, events were put into play because of your actions.”

Lonnie put up her hands. “Who cares about the dumb phone. Isn't the fact that we're all alive and undamaged the best thing?”

“I'm just wondering how undamaged I'll be when I tell my boss that my work phone is at the bottom of some air shaft, smashed to pieces.”

“So, assuming no one cares about dad's phone anymore, can we move on?”

“Yes,” Lonnie said. “Now that the device is working, let's take it over to the field across the street and see what it says.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Message from Space

by BMB Johnson

Scene 8

<= scene two Scene four =>

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