Daily Prompt: West End Girls

Daily Prompt: West End Girls

 Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?

 ***

“Why do the girls always get to go?” I asked my dad.  “What do they do over there?”

“Shh,” he hushed me.

“I don’t want to ‘Shh’,” I protested.  “I wanna know what they are doing. Are they havin’ fun?  Why can’t we have fun too?”  He took my hand and we turned away from the bridge.  Headed back east, headed back home.  I turned my head to watch as my sisters, Shelly and Annabelle, crossed the trestle to the other side of the river, but it was too late they had already melted into the throng of young women crowding up to the narrow entrance of the bridge, like a funnel.  I couldn’t spot them.

“Come on, Richey,” Dad said, “Lets finish up the yard work, and then we can go get some burgers.”  I surrendered, I gave up asking.  I knew he was never going to tell me.  But, like clockwork, every Saturday morning we would walk the girls to the bridge and send them on their way.  Then, sometime later that evening they would come back, always smiling and always happy.  Curiously, they never told us about their day either.

Then one Saturday night Annabelle didn’t come back.  Shelly did though, and she had another girl with her.  They told me the new girl was Annabelle but I knew she wasn’t.  Her eyes weren’t quite the same and she spoke with a slightly different cadence.  No way was this Annabelle.  This girl was a little scary.

That night, late, I screwed up my courage and tapped on the door of my sister’s room.  Almost immediately the door was pulled open, but just a bit.  The girl who was calling herself Annabelle peered out at me.  “Richey, what are you still doing up?” she asked, feigning concern.

“What are you doing up?” I countered.  “Who are you and, what have you done with my sister?”  At that, she came out into the hallway, softly closed the door, grabbed me and hustled me downstairs.  We went in the garage and she produced a small, but powerful pen light.

Switching it on she said, “it’s OK Richey, you don’t need to be afraid of me.  I’m not going to hurt you.  How did you get onto me so fast?  I thought I was better than that.  Do you think your dad suspects?”

“I know you’re not going to try to hurt me,” I said.  “If you tried I could scream and jump on the car.  The alarm would wake Dad up and probably half the neighbors too.  As for your other questions, you are obviously not Annabelle.  You talk funny and your eyes are all wrong.  Dad doesn’t have a clue but Shelly probably knows.  Why hasn’t she said anything?  You still haven’t answered my questions though – who are you and what have you done with my sister?”

“Shelly only knows and does what she is programmed to know and do.  We don’t have to worry about her.  She’s passive and because of her age, her capabilities are a bit limited. She’s about at the peak of her technology curve.

“My name is Ruby and I sure hope you’re not going to turn me in.  I’d be in big trouble if I’m found out.  You’re not going to turn me in are you Richey?”  I shook my head no, and she continued, “I’m from Concord, a city on the other side of the mountains.  I’ve been sent here to take Annabelle’s place until next Saturday so that our engineers can analyze her circuitry and software.  I’m sure you know that she’s quite advanced.”

“Our engineers believe that successful modifications were made to her organic CPU’s or supporting circuits during one of her recent weekly upgrades.  Our instruments indicate that her AI capabilities skyrocketed.  Have you noticed any changes in her behavior over the last six weeks or so?”

“Richey?… Richey? Are you still with me?” She tilted her head and looked into my eyes.  Then she reached out and gently pushed my jaw upwards, closing my mouth.

“That’s why the girls go to the west side every weekend?” I whispered to myself.

“Richey, how long have you lived in Stepford ?  Don’t you watch movies?”

***

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

 This week, we’re asking you to make “silence” a presence in your post. We promise, it’s not as counterintuitive as it sounds!

***

The sound echoed down the hall.  He was at it again, pretending to call the game.  But, not just any game, no – The Seventh Game of the 1965 World Series. It was always the same game. He got most of the names right and he had the teams right but the winners and the scores changed each time he replayed the game in his head.  Aloud – for the rest of us to hear.

It used to annoy and may have even been initially designed to annoy.  Over the years though, I learned to anxiously anticipate these games.  I could lean back against the bars and listen.  It took me away from the monotony that was my daily existence here at Sandoval, waiting to die.  It gave me something to look forward to.  I could close my eyes and see the pitcher of the day struggling with his slider but sometimes, the pitches were working brilliantly and he was striking out batters one after the other.

On July 17th the game started later in the day than usual.  He had a big dinner that he finished first.  When it finally got underway it opened normally enough; with the announcement of the starting lineup.  Starting pitchers were to be Sandy Koufax, for the Dodgers and Jim Kaat for the Twins.  Koufax started with his curve but when that didn’t pan out he had quickly settled into a comfortable routine of fastballs that Minnesota sluggers just couldn’t seem to get the hang of. In the fourth inning Johnson hit one off the left field foul pole giving the Dodgers a lead that would turn out to be the game winner.  Two pitches later, Fairly scored, coming home from second and giving Wes Parker an RBI.  Kaat was pulled and a string of relievers finished the game for the Twins.

As the contest progressed there were a couple of scary moments for Dodger fans but Koufax went the distance, winding up with a three hit shutout, striking out 10 Minnesota batters along the way.  A spectacular pitching performance and a 2-0 result, earning the Dodgers a well deserved World Series win.

The guards came for him shortly after midnight.  With his hands and feet shackled he was escorted to the execution chamber.  He nodded or waved to each of us as he walked past our cells but the only sound was the chains rattling and dragging on the floor.  When the door slammed, a tangible quiet descended on death row.  Someone lay back on their bunk and the springs squeaked just a little.  I replayed the game I had heard that night in my head as I lay awake in the dark.  I guess I would have to silently replay that game over and over, until it was my turn.

***