December 25, 1969
"Where is he?" screamed Amy.
She needed John by her side.
"We're losing her. The baby is..."
Michael John Wilson was born into a world where no one welcomed him. No one held him, and told him, all would be well.
December 25, 1969
Molly waited for him. She had her savings for med school in a brown paper bag next to her. She just wanted this to be over. She waited until the storm subsided and knew he wasn't coming. She white knuckled her way hoe through a snow covered road, narrowly missing the ambulance wailing across the train tracks.
"Damn Midwestern weather." John sat on a bar stool and through a smokey haze, watched the snow fall. He hated coming back here. Hated the smell, the cold, the always friendly grins. But, the baby was due any day now. He promised her he was going to take care of her. Just had to go back home and see someone, he had told her. Just one more drink before he had to go out there. He drank his whiskey and listened to the freight trains moan like ghosts to their destinations. He smiled as he thought of all that money and a baby.
"This is fun, Frankie," said Lily Bean. "I never saw so many buttons in one place."
"I'm glad you are having a good time. These shoes are going to look spiffy. We our going to be the Belles of Manoomin when we parade around town, don't you think so, Lily Bean?"
"Indeed," agreed Lily Bean. "You know what I like about you, Frankie? You don't treat me like a kid."
"How nice of you to say," smiled Frankie.
"Now, how about we crack open a can of dad's Fat Squirrel from the fridge?"
"Nice try, but, no."
"Hey, Frankie, do you have a secret door in your basement?"
"Hmm...it's possible, but I haven't seen one. That rat went somewhere, though. Do you have a secret door?"
"Yesterday, I heard Mom and dad downstairs, so I went down there, and they jumped ten feet and yelled at me for creeping up on them. They were acting weirder than usual, so I snuck down after they had gone upstairs and looked around where they were standing and I saw a keyhole."
"A keyhole without a door," mused Frankie."
"I didn't see no doorknob or nothing." Mom yelled at me again and told me to feed Fred, so I haven't been down there. Wanna look, Frankie?"
"Well, a keyhole without a door is a puzzler. Let's finish our shoes and if we have time, we'll take a look."
"I love when you sit with me, Frankie. Can we blow up marshmallows in the microwave, later, too?"
After creating their awesome button shoes, and had sticking their tongues to frozen Popsicles, Frankie and Lily Bean went downstairs and found a door that belonged to a keyhole.
They peered inside the keyhole and saw- darkness.
"This is odd," frowned Frankie.
"I though so," replied Lily Bean.
"It smells like dirt, rat hair, and Chanel #5," sniffed Frankie.
"Good thing you went to college and learned how to sniff stuff."
"You try it, Lily Bean. Close your eyes and take a whiff."
Lily bean pushed her nose to the peephole and inhaled. She looked at Frankie and said, "Smells like my dad."
Before they could sniff some more. they heard noises above and heard Lily Bean's parents arrive.
"Our secret, right Frankie?"
"For now. Don't explore alone kiddo, hear me?"
"Done deal." And they clasped pinky fingers and shook.
Frankie looked at her books and wanted to cry. Someone had violated her space, thrown every one of her books to the ground and left a room full of fear.
Frankie moved from room to room (with a cheerleading baton, of course) and checked for any more damage. All the rooms were as she had left them. All but her own room.
"Long time, no see, Johanna MacGillicuddy. I see you got a mess here. What happened, have a tiff with your girlfriend, Leslie?"
"Bobby Lee Bing. How did they allow you to carry a gun? Let's cut the small talk. Someone was in my house, and it had nothing to do with Leslie, got it?"
"I'll ask the questions, MacGillicuddy. Where were you tonight? What was taken? Were the premises sealed tight? Where's Molly and Angus? Why did you ditch me at Homecoming? I waited and waited..."
"Officer Bing, I'm reporting a break in. That is all. Don't you want to take fingerprint samples or at least a few pictures?"
"Who have you ticked off lately? Did you break a boy's heart? Looks like a personal issue, as nothing else was touched. So, where's the 'rents, Fr...,Johanna? Molly hasn't left this house since I known her. Where is she?"
"Molly is fine. They are traveling with the TLC's. They are a traveling troupe of singers and storytellers who try to bring a little happiness to the weary."
"The TLC's? Spell that, and give me a number."
"T-L-C. Why don't you google them, or use your officer privileges to verify their existence? Right now, i have left a message with Angus. i don't want them to worry, and I'm sure they will call me as soon as they can."
"What's the number, then? I'll talk to Angus myself just to make sure they are where you say they are." Bing licked the pencil tip and waited for Frankie to recite the number.
"Well, what is it? Don't shake your head at me, Frankie. You are obstructing an investigation. What are you hiding? Are they down in the basement, covered in a layer of cement?"
"Okay, Officer Bing. I'll make a call."
Bobby lee gestured to say, 'go ahead' and Frankie punched in some numbers.
"Hi, this is Frankie. oh, just fine. How are you?"
Bobby Lee gave her a look of impatience and mouthed, "Hurry up."
"Bobby Lee is here and wants to know if I killed my parents. Someone trashed my bedroom and..."
"Give me the phone." Bobby Lee grabbed the phone from her hand. "This is Officer Bobby lee Bing, of the Manoomin Police department and I'm just trying to verify the whereabouts..." Bobby Lee's face turned a beet red as he aimed his bloodshot eyes on Frankie.
"Ma. Ma. I'm on official business. I ain't bothering Frankie! Ma. Ma. I don't care about your whereabouts. Aawww, come on, Ma, don't throw my tidies with my fuchsia shirt. It's not pink, Ma! No, Ma, I..." Bobby Lee turned purple and handed the phone back to Frankie.
"Yes, Mrs. Bing. oh, no problem. Molly and Angus are just fine. (laugh) I'd love to. Night, Mrs. Bing."
""Your ma say to get home or she's going to throw out your nudie magazines you have hidden behind the toilet tank."
"Same old Frankie. You think you can treat me like this? You're gonna pay for this, girlie." Bobby less placed his hand over his gun belt, then turned around and stomped down the stairs and slammed the front door.
Frankie tried to stay calm as she picked up books.
Frankie and Jack
"Eeeeeeeewwwwaaaaaahhhh, the world's full of sausages. Would you like some of mine? Let's get naked and eat what's in the fridge, Ooooooooooohhhhhh, so tasty and deviiiiiiAAAAAAHHHH!"
Frankie giggled. "Don't you ever get serious, Jack?"
"You can laugh or you can cry. The outcome's just the same. OOOOOOOhhhh, yeahah. It's just life with some tricky bits, sort of like a gaaaaaaaaaaaammme."
Jack and Frankie danced around her bedroom.
Everyone was asleep, except for one.
He watched Frankie dance in her sleep, and wondered just how he would kill her.