The Blitz by Christine Swiderski

 

The day started just like any other day. My feet hit the floor running. The power had been out for 2 days due to a wind rain storm. I need to get the woodstove cranking to heat the house. The generator is only used to keep the food cold in the refrigerator or to take showers.

The dogs need attention first so I let them out to do what needs to be done. I grabbed some kindling and firewood. The girls came back in the house with me. Once the kindling took, I set logs in hoping they put out enough heat to warm my backside. Living out in the middle of nowhere not too far from somewhere can be challenging but I would not want to change it for anything in this world.

Frank left early this morning he will be driving his truck to Ohio today. I try not to worry when he leaves the house. He got up late this morning so he did not have time to start a fire. I was too lazy and cold so I stayed under the blankets and enjoyed his kiss goodbye.

He called around 7 am to let me know he was doing well. He had stopped for coffee and a Sausage McMuffin. What concerned me was that he said there was trees down and debris in the street. At that time of the morning there was not much traffic near us but the closer he got to town the more traffic to watch for as people were swerving to avoid downed limbs and trees. Trucks cannot stop on a dime and Frank is on a schedule.

He promised to call after 12 and told me not to worry. As soon as he told me not to worry only made me worry. That was a signal to me the roads were more treacherous than he initially said. Frank was holding back so I would not worry. Darn him.

Lunchtime came and went and still there was no call from Frank. By the next morning, I was beside myself with worry.  I called dispatch asked if they had heard from Frank. No one heard from him not even through the CB. When I heard about the CB, I knew something was terribly wrong.  Frank’s supervisor sent out one of his office help to take a cursory look. Frank has a specific route which will make it easier to look for him; he never ever deviated from his route in case there was an emergency.

The Governor of our state had issued a state of emergency due to so many without power and road conditions. He urged people to stay home unless it was an emergency to give workers time to clear the roads.

A sick feeling went through me. I started to wonder if that goodbye kiss was the last I will receive from my Frank.

An hour after my call to Franks supervisor I received a callback. Gordon told me they found Frank’s truck and will send someone over to talk to me about it. I dropped to my knees and cried out like a wounded animal.  Not realizing I had not hung up the phone, I heard Gordon weeping.

The knock at the door startled the dogs they started to bark. It was all I could do to pry myself off the floor and answer the door. There were two uniformed police officers at the door, one was in blue the other had a starched white shirt and blue slacks. I knew by his name tag he was the chief of police.

They came in and the officer in Blue introduced himself as Officer Prentice and with him was Chief Tyson. I nodded whispered for them to come in. My throat was raw and dry, my knees were wobbly. Officer Prentice took my elbow and helped me to a chair. Chief Tyson knelt down in front of me and started to tell me what they found.

He said:” Mam, we found your husband’s truck. It had been torched, I say torched only to say the fire destroyed the cab of the truck. There are remains which the coroner will need to test to be sure that they are of your husband. I am sorry about how brutal this all sounds but I need to know if Frank was concerned with regards to the mechanical integrity of the truck. Did he ever say he had problems with the truck?”

I answered: “Frank owned the cab, he kept it in top condition. His job was to pick up what needed to be delivered, take it to its destination and return the container to the yard. “

Tyson nodded and said: “That is what I needed to know. I will give you my card and I promise to contact you when we know more.”

After they left I called my sister she came right away. We sat drinking wine and crying together. It took over a week before the Chief came to my house and said: “I am sorry to tell you this Mam the remains of the person who was in the truck have been identified as Frank. Dental records and fibers left behind.”

None of this made sense to me. They said it looked as though the fire was intentionally set.

“I feel as though I am losing my mind. That is why I made the appointment to see you, Doctor Sturgeon. That was a year ago. I moved out of state because I could not take the memories at every turn of the road. Yesterday while I was at the Home Depot I swore I saw Frank. He was with a woman and 2 small children. My breath caught in my chest. I wanted to call out. Instead, I carefully walked over to get a closer look. I am telling you Doctor it was Frank, same mannerisms, voice and the way he leaned in to kiss the woman he was with.”

“Keri, sometimes these things happen after such a severe shock. Give yourself some time. If you see this person again, walk up and strike up a conversation. You can simply ask for directions. I believe you will find this man is so similar in his appearance and that is what convinced you it was Frank.”  Sturgeon said

After I walked out of the Doctors office I was more convinced it was Frank. I called Chief Tyson and told him what I saw. I also admitted I went to see a Doctor but after leaving the session I was more convinced it was Frank.  I asked the Chief if it is possible for someone to fake their death. He said yes.

I went back to the Home Depot but did not see Frank. I know Frank and know his habits he likes McDonald's. Early the next morning I went to McDonald's with my computer and sat in the corner. My hair is shorter now and I colored it. When Frank I were together I never wore makeup. I wear makeup now and I do not believe he would readily recognize me. I did not have to wait long, Frank walked in with a young boy in tow. He ordered and they took a table near me. Frank’s back was to me. I called the Chief and told him where I was and what I was about to do. He cautioned me not too. I told him I was determined to do it and that I would keep the phone on so he could hear the conversation.

As I approach the little boy Waved and said: “Hi Lady.”

Frank turned and his face turned pale. I said: “Hey Frank how are you besides alive.”

Two uniformed police officers walked in. They immediately arrested Frank.  He is not being cooperative or forthcoming as to the reason for the deception.

I hope he fries in hell.