Entry 20: Roger Blaine: Friday July 29
Thank god it’s Friday, but I’m not so sure it’s a reason to be happy. Donna reminded me first thing this morning that her parents would be up for the weekend. That’s just great, here we are having problems and the in-laws will just add to it. If her mom thinks we’re not getting along, it will be open season on Paul.
Donna is still treating me kind of cold. I tried to tell her again this morning that she was the only one and that Mischa was not my teenaged mistress. Before I went to work, she finally came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. It was brief, but it was a start.
“Have a good day,” she said.
“Don’t,” she interrupted, “just have a good day.”
Everything wasn’t quite hunky dory yet, but at least I felt like we had a chance to work through this.
I had to get some janitorial supplies today, so I drove to the supply store. It just so happened it was only two miles down from the industrial park Larter mentioned yesterday.
I decided to just take a look at the place, see if there were any factories I thought could produce the sound I keep hearing over the phone. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but parked the car outside the industrial park and took a quick survey with my eyes.
There were around four factories there, but a fence separated the parking lot from the buildings. So I got out and walked around the fence line, trying to get a closer look and to listen if I heard anything familiar. I was hoping I would hear that rush of air and discover part of the mystery, but that didn’t happen.
I walked halfway around the parameter when I came face to face with a guy in a blue uniform. A rent-a-cop security guard.
“What are you looking for?” he asked, his face glaring at me from the other side of the fence. He looked to be in his thirties and his face bore the marks that said he didn’t take anything off anyone.
“I was just walking, uh, around the fence.”
“Looks like you’re looking for something if you ask me.”
“No, just walking.”
He snorted. “So let me get this right. You pull your car into the lot and get out to walk around the fence of an industrial plant, when there is a city park right down the street?”
“Uh, I like factories.”
“Nobody likes factories,” he scowled and I looked at his name tag. A lump grew in my throat when I saw the name there: Blaine.
“Tommy,” I blurted out, not really meaning to. He realized I’d seen his name tag.
“Roger,” he corrected me. “Tommy is my big brother. But you won’t find him here.”
I didn’t say anything.
“You know Tommy?” he asked.
“Not really, no. Just the name.”
He laughed. “Yeah everybody knows about Tommy Blaine. Crazy fool. They won’t ever let him out for long.”
“What? Let him out?”
“Yeah, the State Hospital.”
I was confused. Didn’t Mrs. Shiflett say he was out and living on the outskirts of town? “I thought he was living in town.”
“Oh,he was, but they sent him back.”
“Kept babbling about playgrounds and obsessing over his childhood girlfriend. He never could get over her.”
“They leave a lasting impression,” I agreed.
“Do I know you?” Roger suddenly asked.
“No, I don’t think so.”
He nodded and seemed to be pondering something. Then he spoke again. “Sure I do. You’re the cleaning guy at Resurrection.”
“How do you know that?”
“I saw you there Sunday.”
“Oh,” I chuckled. “Yeah, Pastor Chiles sure put me on the spot.”
“Yep, he did,” he laughed. “Hey man, I’m sorry about giving you a hard time there at first. It’s just unusual to see a guy taking a stroll around the fence. Ever since 9/11 you got to be careful about people, you know.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. And then I stuck my neck out. “Do you ever go see Tommy?”
“Oh, hell no. I can’t stand those kinds of places. It’s crazy enough out here.”
I grinned. “I hear you.” I looked at my watch. “Well look, I better go.”
Roger nodded. “Hey well, it’s good to meet you, uh…”
“Paul,” I finished.
He nodded. “Paul.”
“See you at church then, Roger.” I said and waved goodbye. I went to the car. I kept looking back, and each time he was still standing there, watching me from the other side.
I really don’t know what to make of Roger. At first he seemed like a jerk, but the minute I mentioned Tommy, he did a complete about face. He almost seemed to want to make friends. Maybe it was that Tommy alienated his family from the townsfolk, or perhaps he was ashamed of his brother and was just talking freely of him to clear the air. I myself want to see Tommy, and now thinking over my conversation with his brother, I think I’ve found a way I can talk to him and get some real answers about Mischa.
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.