Scene Eight

Melody took her time walking to the counter. She had hoped that the clown would work its way out of the building, like pus from an infected cut, before she returned back to her seat.

The woman at the pick up window laughed, and said, “Like pus?”
Melody blushed. She was speaking her thoughts again. Someday this would get her into trouble.
“Never mind that,” she said, and asked for the take away box. The woman appeared to be in her mid-forties, hair sweaty from the proximity of the hot... Nope! Melody stopped her assessment and blocked out her thoughts. She had no guarantee at the moment that anything in her brain wasn't currently being broadcasted as audible words.
“One sec,” the woman said, appearing not to be offended. ‘I’ll have to go and grab one.”
Melody grimaced. Now what was she supposed to do? Just stand here? She might as well be wearing a T-Shirt printed with the phrase, “Clown Food”.
“What's new on the walls,” she wondered purposefully aloud, taking her time. “Pictures of old sportsy people. Pete Rose...nice haircut. Old soda signs, kitschy...”
And then something odd caught her eye. Under a bumper sticker, labeled “Keep Portland Weird” were a number of newspaper clippings. The one that stood out, or more precisely the one that sent shivers like a thousand tiny cold fingers down her spine, was the following

The Well of Mystery.

[Photo of old farmer standing next to a very wide-mouthed stone well, angled so that the width of the well – about five feet across, was evident.]

Oregon City man, Goreg Finesten, claims well on his property is a bottomless pit, and according to the Siletz Indian Tribe, the well existed “long before they came to the land.”

Now lost, the “Goreg Hole” has become the stuff of legend...

Melody snapped her fingers to summon her parents (or rather as she had not this ability, she rubbed her fingers together and yelled "snap snap".) Deep in conversation, Lonnie and Bernie took no notice of her.

The older couple at the table closest to the sign, however, whom Melody somehow seemed not to have noticed, appeared to be quite concerned with her sudden intense interest in this article.

“Ah,” the gentleman said. He was casually dressed, wearing sandals and a tan vest, still sporting the balloon hat the clown had placed on his head not ten minutes earlier. “I see that you've spotted the article on the Goreg Hole.” He pinched at his short white beard as he spoke.

Melody's eyes narrowed to slits. She had the distinct impression that any resulting conversation might just turn into some sales presentation. It was then that she noticed the tear off sheets, and upon the little tabs were written the word “For more information about Goreg Hole, Call Donald” followed by a phone number. She noted that none of the tabs had yet been pulled.

“What do you think, dear?”

The woman, whom Melody assumed was the man’s wife as she was wearing nearly an identical outfit (save, of course, for the balloon hat), smiled and nodded.

The man stammered. “Did you know that the thing was purported to be bottomless?”

“Interesting,” Melody thought, not letting on that she had just read that very fact not moments before. What is this guy at? she wondered.

“What do you make of that?” he asked her.

Just off the top of my non-balloon adorned head,” Melody began, “that given the finite size of the planet, unless said hole travels all the way through to the other side of the Earth and then some, that calling this hole “bottomless” is a misnomer.”

The old man laughed. “A misnomer, you say.”

“Well, think about it...,” Melody said. She was about to continue when the old man stopped her.

Young lady,” he said, adjusting himself haughtily in his seat, as Melody had often seen people do when they were about to prepare for some disastrous monologue. “I have, in fact, thought about little else for quite some time. There are more possibilities in Heaven and Earth than...”

While many subtle social cues were still a bit of a mystery to Melody, the temperature of this friendly conversation seemed to have turned a bit chilly. Perhaps this was one of those times, as her mother had sometimes told her, she should keep her opinions to herself. This, however, was advice for which she could rarely find merit. It was her opinion if people asked a question, she should share her thoughts. Why bother even asking the question if all you expect is some canned, pointless answer? Besides, wasn't that the basis of every friendly debate? A bit of give and a bit of take? And damned if she was going to keep quiet to simply appease someone's ego.

“Don't mind him, sweetie,” the woman said, placing her hand on top of his. “This hole of old Mr. Finesten is more than just a hobby. It's been rather an obsession.” She turned to the man across from her. “You shouldn't get so worked up. I told you, Donald, you can't expect everyone to be as intrigued about the subject as much as you based on that ratty old newspaper clipping you tacked on the wall.”

It suddenly became clear to Melody that some sections of this pizza parlor's were community decorated, which would explain a lot of the choices. It appeared as though this Donald was allowed to tack up this clipping, and sit underneath it like a coiled snake awaiting its prey. She grimaced. But for what purpose? A test to see how people reacted to the concept of bottomless pits?

Donald looked down at the table. He seemed to have retreated into a fit of grumpiness. “It's fine,” he said. “People are just too cynical these days to appreciate a good mystery, I guess.” He looked up at Melody once again and smiled at her. “Don't mind me,” he said. “I was just hoping to be able to stir up some interest and get a more youthful search team together. We're getting too old to be spending so much time up there sneaking around.” He pointed at both himself and the woman sitting across from him. “Especially now that it's on government land.”

“Well,” Melody heard herself saying. “I'm not saying that it's not interesting. That wasn't my point at all." Mentally she chided herself. Wrap this up. What was all of that early about not appeasing some old man's ego?? "And I actually do enjoy a good mystery,” she continued aloud, because the topic to her was actually mind-blowing. The similarities to whatever was buried just across the street from her was obvious. A well, seemingly dropping to unknown depths, hidden away, perhaps even guarded by some bizarre sect of humanity. “Did it happen to have some sort of cover over the top of it, perchance?”

Donald perked up. “The hole? I believe that Goreg constructed some wooden cap so that children wouldn't fall into it. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason,” Melody said, suddenly feeling the need to guard her information like a protective mother. There was a hunger in Donald's voice that hadn't been there before and she didn't quite care for it. “Just curious. I mean, if it was a bottomless well, that could be pretty dangerous. Whatever happened to it?”

Donald shook his head. “No one knows. Goreg passed away and either covered it up before he died, or it was overgrown by foliage. Either way, he left no map to the exact location.” He fell silent, seemed to muse about it for a moment, and then smiled. “GPS tracking location would have been nice, eh?”

Bernie suddenly approached the table, and tapped on her shoulder exaggeratedly. He pointed to the To Go box sitting on the pickup counter and Melody quickly retrieved it.

“Hey lady,” he said. “Just about ready to go?” Out of the corner of his mouth, he whispered loudly, “I'm rescuing you.”

Melody looked at her father, and then over to Donald and his wife in turn. She then looked back to her father again. It occurred to her that the proper thing to do was to make some sort of introduction, but at the moment she was unsure how to do so without mentioning what they were talking about.

“This is...,” she began. “Donald and his...lady friend. They like weird things, too.” She then pointed up to the ceiling. “Like...look, Dad...upside down tables and chairs. How weird is that?”

“Yeah,” he said, “I saw those the last twelve times we were here.” He took the box into his possession, and turned to the older couple at the table. “Well, nice to ...” Bernie was unable to finish before finding himself being pulled back in the direction of their own table.

“You didn't give me much time to talk to your new friends,” he said.

“Just close the gob, and put on the coat.”

Lonnie grabbed the box out of her husband's hand and began filling it with uneaten pie. “Melody made some new friends?” She raised a single eyebrow at the concept.

“Well,” the girl admitted. “We do share some similar interests, but I don't think we'll be hanging out later, if that's what you mean.” Melody snapped her fingers, and mumbled, “Let's go. Let's go,” under her breath. As they passed the older couple, Donald and his wife were also getting ready to leave.

Bernie said. “Well, once again...” And then something on the wall caught his eye. “Hey,” he exclaimed. “That looks like the well we saw buried under the house across the...”

Bernie found himself once more being stifled and pulled away. This time in the direction of the exit. They were out the door before Melody could see just how far up his face Donald had raised his eyebrows.

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Eight

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