The Jones – Postcard Prose #8

Dear Dorothy, we are in Atlanta, I am taking a data processing seminar. Elaine is here too taking in the seen – She has a broken ankle but is enjoying it. We are really living it up on Singer.

Wally & Elaine

“Dear, you spelled scene wrong,” Elaine complained, “and you make it seem like I’m enjoying my ankle being broken, when I, in fact, am hating it!”

She tossed the postcard back to Wally, her husband, who sat across the red and white checkered-covered table. He caught it with his fingers, and took a look at it.

With a sigh he replied, “Well, as always, you’re right, Elaine. But I don’t feel the need to change it; Dorothy will know what we’re talking about.”

Elaine worriedly asked, “Oh, do you think she’s okay with Kelly? We’ve been gone almost a full week, and I’m hoping Kelly hasn’t been so terrible to scare Dorothy away! She’s the only nanny we have left to call on!”

A waitress came back to their table to refill their water glasses, and to let them know that their dinner would be coming out shortly. Wally shook his head, and sipped his water, unable to find the words to comfort his wife. Their daughter Kelly was only five-years-old, yet she had managed to cause three different nannies to break ties with their family, never wanting to watch Kelly again.

As cute as she was, Kelly tortured the nannies her parents paid to watch her as they went on business trip after business trip, and seminar after seminar, across the country. Not only was her behavior and attitude disrespectful, but she would lock her nannies in closets, put dead beetles in their meals, leave poop in the tub for the nannies to clean. None of it was worth the amount of money Wally and Elaine had to offer the girls they’d asked to take care of Kelly. They’d even raised the amount they were willing to pay, but even then, every teenage or young adult female in the area was unwilling to risk spending any quality time with Kelly.

The parents and friends of Wally and Elaine tried to tell them that the only reason Kelly was acting out was because she truly wanted the attention and affection of her own parents, not the half-hugs-and-kisses of young women who were only in it for the money and the alcohol they were permitted to indulge in while they supervised their five-year-old. But Wally found it impossible to stay at home for longer periods of time, and it was out of the question for Kelly to join them in their travels. So, she stayed at home.

Once Elaine realized her husband was in no way going to comfort her, she tried to assure herself by saying, “Surely, things are going well since we haven’t received a phone call.”

At that moment, their meals were brought to the table – a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for Wally, and the filet mignon for Elaine. But before either of them could let out a “thank you,” the waiter said, “There seems to be someone trying to reach your hotel phone. They’ve called several times asking for you both; it seems urgent.”

Wally and Elaine looked at each other, each one trying to decipher who should handle the call, and wondering if it was Dorothy.

“Thank you, I – I’ll take the call in your lobby, if you don’t mind,” Elaine hesitantly said. She stood up and grabbed her crutches from against the wall, very annoyed that Wally would rather eat his dinner than have his crippled wife stand up to take a phone call.

She hobbled behind the waiter out of Lorraine’s, the hotel’s restaurant, and toward the front desk in the lobby. A woman with curly, brunette hair and dark red lipstick held the phone in her hand. Seeing Elaine walking towards her, uncertainty clouded her face.

“I’m sorry, miss, I kept telling the young woman over the phone that you and your husband were having dinner, and that you’d get back to her as soon as possible,” the woman told Elaine, “but she insisted that she speak to one of you right away.”

Elaine steadied herself on one foot with one crutch, and rested the other crutch against the desk. Her hand shook as she reached out to take the phone from the receptionist. “Thank you,” she let out after taking the phone, and she held it up to her ear, prepared to hear the frustrated screams of an unhappy Dorothy who was ready to quit her job in the middle of the week because Kelly had done so many awful things to her. “Hello? Dorothy?”

“Hi, Mrs. Jones,” an unfamiliar woman’s voice said on the other end of the line, “this is Detective Lori Brown of the Solano County Police Department, how are you?”

Elaine’s shock and confusion stunned her into silence. Detective? Police department?

“Ma’am, are you still there?” Detective Brown asked.

“Oh, yes,” Elaine finally responded, “yes, I’m still here. How can I help you, detective?”

Detective Brown replied, “Mrs. Jones, I was wondering if you currently knew the whereabouts of your daughter and Miss Dorothy Mielke?”

“Why, no…I assumed they should be at our home in Vallejo on Bayberry Street,” Elaine said, gripping the telephone cord, “why is-is something the matter?”

“Ma’am, a neighbor reported suspicious activity occurring in your house today. She said she heard screaming, crashing, possibly a gunshot. We reached your residence, searched the place, and…”

Elaine’s grip grew tighter as the detective paused.

“I’m sorry, to tell you this, Mrs. Jones, but your daughter and Mrs. Mielke are nowhere to be found.”

Elaine’s eyes widened, unsure if she had just heard the detective correctly. She wanted to ask a million questions, but her tongue had grown numb, or maybe she’d accidentally swallowed it after hearing the detective’s news.

Detective Brown, probably aware of the shock that she’d given Elaine, continued to speak. “As we searched your house, we found many of your valuables either taken or destroyed. Each room looked like it had been broken into. We also -”

There she goes again with that pause, Elaine thought, why can’t she just spit it out?!

“We found – blood in the middle of your living room,” Detective Brown finally said, “there was a pretty good sized puddle.”

Elaine could barely stand at this point. She quickly slumped to the ground, knocking her other crutch onto the floor, and stretching the phone down to the floor with her. She shut her eyes, unable to believe what she was hearing. She finally got the courage to ask, “Who’s-who’s blood is it?”

“We’re unsure of that still, ma’am,” Detective Brown replied, “we’ve taken it to the lab to be processed.”

There was another pause, then the Detective said, “Mrs. Jones, I understand you and your husband are traveling for business. But we need you to come back to Vallejo as soon as you can.”

“I – I need to tell my husband,” Elaine croaked, choking back tears.


She looked up to see Wally running towards her, his face a curtain of concern. She dropped the phone and wrapped her arms around him as soon as he knelt to the floor to meet her gaze. Uncontrollable sobs escaped her lips.

“We need to leave now, Walter,” she finally said after crying for a good minute, “tonight.”

Wally took the phone off the floor, and asked the receptionist to call the airport. Without knowing the details of the situation, he knew that it wasn’t good.

Elaine used “Wally” every day – when she was happy, sad, mad, etc.

And she only called him “Walter” for extremely serious occasions.


💙 Mishy 🦋

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