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04-17-2012, 02:07 AM
For Charity's Sake or The Road Whitaker
Five Hours Ago, Knots Landing Post Office
Garth Holloway hated his job at the post office. He had for some time now. The pressure to produce and get things done was suffocating. His supervisor was always hounding him to be faster and at the age of 55, things didn’t move as quickly as they used to. And then there were the customers who never appreciated anything that he did for them. All they seemed to focus on was the negative. Why was everyone so damn negative? Why did they always blame him? It was almost enough to push him over the edge sometimes…
Today had been a terrible day, and thankfully it was almost over. Just fifteen more minutes, and it would be time to close the front doors. No more customers to deal with, until the next day. He finished with the one man he had been helping and then called for the next person in line. As two women approached the counter, another postal worker came up to Garth and asked, “Garth, have you seen Sheila?” Garth shook his head quickly and said, “Last time was about an hour ago when she reprimanded me yet again for taking too long on my break.” With that, the other worker walked away.
Claudia Whitaker was not happy, and she always made sure to let whomever was responsible know that. Claudia had been through a grueling day of long brunches and manicures. Anne Matheson had tagged along because, well…she didn’t have a vehicle and Claudia did and she desperately wanted to go to the Knots Landing Flea Market down the road from the post office before they closed. A reliable source had told Anne that you could get some very authentic looking Gucci knock-offs there and Claudia had promised her the day before that she would take her, but that was before Claudia received the unpleasant surprise from the post office...
“How may I help you?” Garth laced his fingers together and offered Claudia a welcoming smile.
“Well, I’m not sure you can.” Claudia gave Garth her best insincere smile and then slapped down three stacks of invitations that were bundled together. “I sent these out two weeks ago. Invitations to a fund raiser I’m helping with, for charity. I got half of them back to today with ‘insufficient postage’ marked on them. I’d like to know why?”
“Because you know, we spent close to a thousand dollars on these invitations. They're for a charity auction that’s at the end of the month.” She was nodding her head frantically and grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m so sorr…”
“My associate and I…” Claudia jerked her thumb towards Anne who was busily looking at her knock-off Cartier watch. “…have been working diligently getting this shindig in order. Making sure everything is in order.” She placed her hand over his and dramatically added, "A shindig that's for...charity."
“Well, let me see…”
“This puts us in a most uncomfortable position. After all, this is for charity, but then how can you understand that when you won’t even listen to what I’m saying! Let me speak to your supervisor. What’s his name?” Claudia slapped her hand on the counter to illustrate she meant business and flashed another sickening smile.
“You told him, Claudia. By the way, the flea market closes in another half hour.” Anne was fluffing her hair as she admired herself in a hand-held mirror.
“Oh, for Chrissake’s, Annie! Will you can it with the flea market already? I told you I’d take you there. Try to be a little more considerate and remember why we’re here right now. Charity...and compassion!” She turned her attention back to
Garth. “Uh, excuse me but could you move your ass there Speedy Delivery? Mr. Rogers can’t wait!”
“Don’t you mean ‘Mrs.’ Rogers, Claudia?” Annie was now applying a fresh coat of lipstick.
“No, I meant Mr. Don't ever forget...I always wear the pants.” Annie rolled her eyes.
After waiting patiently, Garth calmly said, “Certainly. Let me get Sheila for you.” He stood there for a second eyeing Claudia and before he walked away, a single tear fell from the corner of his right eye.
Anne looked away feeling awkward and horrible. If she didn’t get a bag by the end of the day, she didn’t know what she would do. “Let’s just go, Claudia. It’s almost time for them to close up and he looked upset, AND you never know when these people will do something…crazy.”
“Oh, you’re just looking for any excuse to get outta here. Besides, if he can’t handle me giving him the business, he shouldn’t work here. ‘Crazy’! Ha! I wonder about you sometimes, Annie.” Claudia shook her head.
“Remember where we are, Claudia. Knots Landing Post Office!”
Without missing a beat Claudia nodded and replied, “Let’s go.” With that, the two women headed out the door and towards Claudia’s BMW.
Garth had gone to fetch Sheila. He remembered now where she was. He walked over to his locker and opened it. Sheila’s lifeless body was jammed into. Her blank eyes stared off into space. There were bruises all over her throat where Garth had strangled her over hour ago. He reached up into the top compartment of his locker and pulled out a revolver.
As Claudia pulled out of the parking space her car had been in, she heard what sounded like several loud pops and then screaming from the direction of the post office. Then the door to the Knots Landing Post Office building shattered and Annie let out a scream. “Oh my God! I was right! That clerk has gone postal!” The two women watched in frozen terror as Garth walked out of the metal frame of the front door and then started running towards them with a gun pointed at them.
It was fight or flight time, and Claudia decided on the latter. She gunned the BMW and it screeched down the parking lot. Annie watched behind her to see the postal worker run to a van and jump in. “Claudia, I think he’s…”
“What?” Claudia was now turning onto the main road. A truck almost hit them as she made her escape.
“He’s coming after us. He’s in that red van.”
Claudia looked in her rear view mirror to see a van charging onto the main road behind them. Claudia looked at her friend and with utmost solemnity said, “Don’t you worry, Annie. We’ll get you that handbag no matter what!” With that she floored it.
Garth was determined. He stepped on the pedal until it wouldn’t go any further. He sped past traffic and was soon side by side with the woman’s BMW. With his window rolled down, he casually extended his left arm and fired a few rounds carelessly into the right side of Claudia’s car. He shouted, "That's for charity, bitch!" The back passenger side window blew out and Anne screamed once more while holding her head down.
They were almost at the flea market now. “Goddammit! You want a fight, you p@$%y?! I’ll give you a fight!” Claudia jerked the wheel to her right and her car hit the van violently. Both the man ‘s and Anne’s air bags deployed. Anne yelled out in pain as the force knocked her head back. Garth was knocked unconscious. The van careened off the road and went straight into the crowded Knots Landing Flea Market.
“You alright, Annie? We’re here! I told you we’d get you here!” Claudia made a hard right at the last corner the flea market was located on just in time as Garth’s van ended it’s violent journey and hit the last booths and tables on the far end of the flea market. Upon hitting the last table (not to mention the vendor as well), merchandise was thrown into the air and rained down in the direction of where Claudia was now driving. A few bags hit the hood of her car and one miraculously landed in the backseat through the now windowless back passenger door. “Annie, I told you we'd get you a bag! Annie!?” Claudia stopped the car and tried to push the air bag away from her friend's face. “Annie?”
Now, Knots Landing Medical Center
“Mom, what happened?” Michael had arrived with Kel.
“Karen, how’s Uncle Mack?” Kel looked a little flushed.
“Oh, Michael!” Karen hugged her son. “Where have you been? When Mack got worse, I called for you, but you hadn’t come home. Are those mosquito bites on your neck?” Karen was studying her son’s neck and then noticed his face had gone flush. Kel was now trying to inconspicuously button the top button of his shirt. Apparently whatever had bit Michael had also gotten him in several places.
Quickly trying to change the subject back to the crisis at hand, Michael asked again, “Mom, what about Mack?”
“Oh, they ran some tests on him. Blood and urine. They also gave him some morphine to contend with the pain, but he’s still feeling some discomfort.” She sighed. “But…at least he says he can deal with it better. We should know something in a little while.”
“Can we see him?”
“They're in the process of moving him up to the floor. It shouldn’t be too long. They’re really busy tonight.”
“Yeah, we saw Val and Gary leaving. They didn't say what happened." Several screams could be heard beyond the doors. "Plus it sounds like a madhouse back there.” Michael was staring off into the direction the commotion was coming from.
Karen nodded her head. “Well, there was an accident at the construction site and Gary got a little banged up, but he’ll be okay. AND there was an accident at the…” Karen stopped as another team of paramedics rushed in and recognized a familiar face. “Claudia?”
Michael and Kel turned to see Claudia Whitaker coming in alongside a gurney that carried Anne Matheson. “Don’t you worry, Annie! They’re going to fix you right up!” Anne Matheson moaned and then disappeared into the ER. A nurse motioned for Claudia to stop.
“I’m sorry, you’re going to have to wait here and fill out some forms. It’s a madhouse right now.”
“Of course. Can you make sure my friend gets this? It will make her feel better.” She held up the handbag that had landed in the car. The nurse eyed it and then her for a second and then said, “When you’re done with the forms just bring them back to the nurse’s station."
Rene Auberjonois as Garth Holloway
04-21-2012, 01:10 AM
Laura pulled into the cul-de-sac and parked in front of Val and Gary's. She couldn't help but look around with a bit of nostalgia as she emerged from her car, but it was only a second or two. The shrubs were a bit taller; the willow tree in Val's yard was much larger. She was still a bit bothered by the way her old house looked with that shade of stain on it, but she had long ago left behind her home on the cul-de-sac, and if they liked it...well, that was their bad taste and they'd have to live with it.
"Oh, Laura! My darlin', beautiful Laura!" Lilimae exclaimed when she opened the door. She moved to throw her arms around her once-presumed-dead friend, but Laura reached forward to give Lilimae a simple peck on the cheek. Laura was never the effusive type, and sometimes Lilimae could really pour it on thick. As Lilimae babbled on about how wonderful Laura looked and how happy she was to see Laura alive and well, Laura sought to get a word in edgewise. Every time she sees me, it's like I'm Lazarus... Laura thought to herself.
"I came over to see Val, but I see she's not here," Laura finally interjected.
"Oh, I'm afraid an emergency came up...Gary got hurt at the job site." Lilimae noted the shocked look on Laura's face and added, "He's fine, as far as I know, but she went to the hospital to pick him up."
"I certainly hope everything's okay..." Laura said, realizing she'd now have to sit a while with Lilimae--not a good prospect. "She wanted to talk to me about her next book."
"Laura, can you answer a question that's been nagging at me for a long time?"
"Um...sure, okay." Laura braced herself for something really wacky. Nobody did wacky like Val's mother.
"Why did you leave Greg and everybody else behind when you thought you were dying?"
Laura had braced herself for just about anything, but Lilimae had managed to hit Laura right where it hurt. She probably didn't realize it--Lilimae didn't have a mean-spirited bone in her body--but the question about that awful time in her life was so sensitive, so personal, that she was rendered utterly speechless. Lilimae continued as Laura began to turn away.
"I mean, far be it from me to judge....I've been known to turn tail and run on more than one occasion. But when I heard why you had left Knots Landing, I thought 'why on Earth would she go away to die rather than stay where everyone who loves her can make her last days filled with love and support?' I mean, I know Greg Sumner likes to make everyone believe he's this hard-hearted, mean-ol' polecat, but Val told me the man darn near fell apart when you left. I know Val wrote a book about Greg about three or four years ago, and he refused to talk about what happened, and darn near sued her when she tried to include a chapter about you. And then little Meg--"
"Will you tell Val I will call her tomorrow?" Laura interrupted, getting up to leave. Lilimae, sweet little granny though she may be, was making Laura really uncomfortable, and bringing up Meg was indeed the final straw. She most certainly couldn't bring herself to talk about Meg with Lilimae--she hadn't even approached the subject with Greg! Laura had her purse in hand and would have ripped that front door off its hinges if necessary in order to get out of that conversation.
Lilimae wasn't very good at noticing when she'd stepped in it, so she continued. "But I'm sure Val and Gary will be home soon."
"That's okay, Lilimae...I have somewhere I need to be. I hope Gary is okay."
"Oh, yes, I said a prayer for him. And I said plenty of them for you...look how that turned out!"
Feet don't fail me now, Laura thought as she fled the Ewing home. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes as she shut the car door. Alas, it was not the first time she had driven a car with tears in her eyes.
"If Val thinks she's going to write her next book about my brain tumor and kidnapping, she's as crazy as her mother."