Presumed Dead-Chapter 1 (1)
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     As soon as the car pulled up, fear and dread gripped him.  He felt like running away, but knew he had to face it.

     “It’s time,” one of the men in the car told him.

     “My wife, my kids,” he pleaded, “they’ll never know what became of me.”

     “You know as well as we do that it must be this way,” another man told him.

     “Promise me my family will be okay.  That they won’t be harmed.”

     “They’ll be fine.  You have our word on it.”

     He struggled to breathe out in the open and fresh air.  It wasn’t like him to feel this way.  He was used to being rough and tough, and being the boss, totally in charge.  Now, he wasn’t and it scared him.  His forehead and hands were sweating in fear, something that had never happened to him in his whole life.

     “Get in the car,” the man in the back seat said.

     “Please don’t do this to me,” he begged.  “There’s got to be another way.”

     “No, there really isn’t.  This is it.”

     “There’s no other way I can cooperate?”


     “My kids will grow up without me.  What will they be told?”

     “We don’t know.”

     Standing there, he felt like he might pass out right on the pavement.  He knew what going with these men meant, and for him, it wasn’t good.  Very reluctantly, his insides shaking, he got into the car, on the rear passenger side.  Life, as he knew it, was over, and it shattered his heart into a million pieces.

     “Where are you taking me?”

     “We have our orders.”

     What had I done?!  I had just jumped from the little leagues into the big leagues, a small town in West Virginia, to the big, noisy, crowded city.  I knew that from about the last three nights of no sleep in my new one bedroom studio apartment that I think costs too much for a one bedroom, considering I’m not home much anyway.  Why not just put a cot in my office and leave it at that?

     Well, at least there was a window in my new office this time.  That would be good for my Philodendron I named Teddy four years ago.  Daddy had given me Teddy and the plant had almost died at my last place of employment, an office with no window.

     Hi, ya’all!  My name is Clementine Diana Calvin.  Clem for short.  I took over for Kailey Mumm at the “Exclusives” desk when she decided to retire it to take care of her adopted baby, Kai.  I got to town in enough time to be at her baby shower a month after Kai had been with her.  She got tons of cute baby clothes for him, in all sizes, toys, stuffed animals, an adorable rocking horse, and baby swing.  The newspaper paid to have it all catered at her apartment, so we had delicious food to go along with our fun and presents.  It was a rip roaring afternoon all wrapped up in baby blue.

     So, now, here’s me in about a minute, okay, maybe two, possibly three.  I told you my name is Clementine Diana Calvin.  My first name comes from "My Darling Clementine," the movie, with Henry Fonda.  My middle name comes from Diana, the one from Wales, the English rose.  My mom loved her.  Daddy gave me every picture book on her that Mom collected.  It was a huge stack.  I devoured them and put them on a special shelf in my room.  He made Diana special for me and I cried when he finally broke the news to me, when I was old enough to know, that she was dead and had been for several years.  I felt like I lost a sister and part of my mom all over again. 

     I never knew my mom.  I was too little to remember her.  She died of breast cancer right after my little brother was born.  She got it when she was pregnant with him and refused treatments that would hurt him in utero.  Her pictures are everywhere and I know I look a lot like her.  Daddy was a huge “Gunsmoke” fan and I spent my childhood watching it with him, and my brother, Matthew Dylan, in reruns, or on whatever channel we could find it.  I wondered why “Chester’s” leg was lame and thought “Kitty Russell” was the most beautiful woman who ever walked the earth, even though my dad said Mom was much prettier.  I’ve also seen every John Wayne movie ever made and can do a good voice impression of him.

     I married my high school sweetheart, Brian Harly, in Vegas, when I won a trip there on “Wheel Of Fortune” and took him.  We got really drunk.  We divorced six weeks later, but we’re still best friends.  The sex thing was great, but the marriage, not so much.  We’re both too career oriented, me—this, him—stockbroker on Wall Street, and his moods varied with the day’s highs and lows the market brought.  I knew in the first week it wasn’t going to work.  Brian and I never even got rings.  I guess we knew it wasn’t going to last, so we didn’t make the dollar investment.  Lucky, I suppose.  We needed the money for the lawyers to end it.

     I hate cell phones, but I have to have it for work.  I admit it, I’m not cell phone tech savvy, and probably, the only person in the world who doesn’t know how to take a picture on her phone.

     I live off any greasy french fries I can find from any dive around, Cocoa Puffs, and rootbeer.  Back home, in West Virginia, I got my greasy fries at A’s Diner.  Addie, who owns it, has been a friend of my family since I was a baby.  She and my father dated several times a few years after my mom died, but decided to break it off and stay really good friends. 

     My dad’s name is Nathaniel, but everyone calls him Buster.  I think he got the nickname in high school when he got into a fight and broke, busted, another boy’s nose.

     What else about me?  Hmmmmmm.  I carry Caramel M&M’s in my coin purse, because I’m addicted to them.  I have a male black cat with white feet named Sherlock.  I always carry a tiny tape recorder with me to interviews and keep a box of little tapes, about 20-30, at all times, in my car.  I love to collect old snowglobes and old teddy bears and try to pick up one of each  from where my travels take me, marking them on the tags, or on the bottoms, where they came from.  I also love to bake cookies.

     I unpacked my box onto my new desk and opened the curtains to let some light in on Teddy.  I laid out my laptop, office supplies, a couple of pictures,

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