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Anything Goes - A Story by USMB

masquerade

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It was an early spring day, much like all the others. Sitting in her office, she gazed out at the grey sky, wishing the sun would come out. The wind howled as the rain pelted against the windowpane as she waited for the last half-hour of her workday to tick away. It had been a busy day with clients coming and going … the phone ringing off the hook, but now it was quiet. She took the opportunity to gather her personal belongings, preparing for home before she snuck out the door without anyone noticing. She wasn’t in the mood for a round of ‘have a nice evening! See you tomorrow!’ She just wanted out!
Her umbrella was little help when it came to the wind and rain this storm brought. She threw her hood up and walked briskly to the train station. She shook the rain water off her umbrella as she descended the flight of stairs. Keeping her head low … not wanting to make eye contact with anyone, she made her way through the turnstile. When she reached the platform she was stopped abruptly and that was when she saw …….
 

midcan5

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....her older sister. She stood reading a paperback in a position she remembered from their youth. A studious involvement with a book. The last time she saw Ann was at their mother's funereal. Mom had a life, they agreed, she had them, she had dad, she had home. Ann had remarked, 'but times change, we have a life too, only a different one.' Was mom happy they wondered, why didn't they know? Just then Ann looked up....
 
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masquerade

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... and saw her younger sister Eva standing there staring at her. It was too late for Eva to turn and run. She had been spotted. Nothing left to do but confront her sister and say hello. They hugged and told each other how great the other looked while they continued on with the usual small talk about work and friends ... both avoiding the mention of their mother.

The southbound train was pulling out of the station, as the northbound pulled in. Eva took a couple of steps in the direction of the train, hoping her sister would get the hint that she needed to go. The doors of the train opened and that was when they heard the first shouts.
 

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"Eva! Ann! Hello girls..." The shouts were coming from Father Anthony. He was the Catholic priest who has just weeks before gave the funeral mass for their mother. He came running up to them from a distant stairway that led down onto the train boarding ramp. Slightly out of breath, he smiled and said, "Hello girls. How are you both doing?"

Each of the girls looked at Father Anthony and as if on cue, they both replied at the same time, "Fine. I'm just fine."

"Good. Good. I'm glad to hear that. I have thought about both of you since your mother's death and often wondered how you were getting along now that your life has been so drastically changed. You've both been in my prayers." Having said that, Father Anthony asked, "Is this your train?"
 

midcan5

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A confused quiet ensued as each girl looked to the other for help. How to escape the friendly priest when each knew that he really wasn't the cause of the unease. 'Yes, it is,' Ann replied, quickly saying goodbye to her sister and saying 'how they must get together soon.'

The doors closed, and Ann looked back to see Eva look back at her. Father Anthony headed for the exit. The moment passed but in her thought Ann tired to reason through what had happened just now. She thought why do we grow apart. This is my sister, my friend, and the only person who really knows who I am. The train arrived at dad's stop. Could she tell him she just saw Eva. What would he say.

Entering the apartment, dad sat cursing the news, a position he took too often today. Without mom telling him to calm down he rattled on, quiet for a minute, as she asked how his day had gone.
 

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"Hello! I'm home Dad. How was your day?", Ann asked not knowing what to expect. Had he been drinking again?

"Fine, Ann. The day went just fine. I went by your Mom's grave and the stone looks real nice. I think she would have approved.", he said. "and you? How was your day, young lady?"

He cursed and slapped the side of the television. It had been acting up lately and rightfully so. It was almost 13 years old. It would play for a while and then for no reason at all go completely blank. At first it would only happen now and then but here of late it seemed to happen after it played for 30 minutes or so. He turned it off and sat in his chair.

"I asked how your day went, Ann. Didn't you hear me?" he asked in a slightly louder voice.

"My day was so-so. Work wasn't fun today. Everybody seemed really cranky and the phone never stopped ringing from the time I got to the office until I left. I hate my job.", Ann stated. "Oh, you'll never guess who I saw today. It was quite a surprise!"

"Don't keep me waiting. Who was it that you saw?", Ann's father, William asked.

"I saw Father Anthony at the train station in the city. He asked how you were getting along. I told him you were getting along real well.", Ann offered. She knew she was lying. She was lying about how well her father was getting on since her Mom's death just a couple of weeks ago. He was still very hurt and in pain from her passing. She was lying about seeing Eva. She just didn't have the heart to tell him that she had saw Eva at the train station too. Why was it so difficult for her to tell her father the truth about seeing Eva? She thought for a few minutes and then decided it was best not to tell him and open up old wounds again. After she had hung up her coat and kicked her shoes off, she approached her father and asked him what sounded good for supper. She looked at the clock and noticed that it was now 6:15 pm. That was the exact time that her mother had died just two weeks ago. Fighting back the tears, she again asked her father, "What sounds good tonight, Dad? I'm hungry and I just know you have to be too."
 
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midcan5

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Eva was different. As Father Anthony climbed the steps, she saw her train approach. In a window seat she looked out at the people at each stop and thought of the Beatles 'lonely people.' Ads went by and briefly an exec she once dated popped back into consciousness. Stale smells filled the car as daylight startled her. The train now above the street.

"Sun, sun, what a day and Ann looked well, sad maybe. I wonder what she thinks of me today will she tell dad we met." Years earlier the sisters had met or was that loved the same man, and that single confrontation had separated them. "Maybe she's got over it." She thought. And then her mind went to dad who always wondered why his girls hadn't found what he'd wanted for them. "Dad needed a grandchild." Eva thought, "a boy, someone to focus on, spoil, it wasn't too late."
 

AllieBaba

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Just then, her ex-husband, Del, walked up to her, and Anne remembered why she had never had children. The chances of having a rare, recessive genetic trait that you could inadvertently pass on to your children, as Del's parents had unknowingly passed on to him, was just too horrible a prospect.
 

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Del stared at her with his one functioning eye and said....
 

midcan5

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'Eva, you'd never believe who I saw today?
'Who?
'Alli!
'Wow, your old flame.
'Yes, she looked so old and still the same complaints. It is a wonder why she even goes on living.
'She lives to complain, what else does she have. But guess who I saw today?'
'Well come on, tell me?
'Ann.
'Oh. How was she?
 

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Suddenly there was the sound of a woman screaming and before anyone could determine the cause the impact happened. A great bang sound followed by the train car turning quickly on it's side and catching fire. The smell was awful and the smoke thick and black. Everyone inside the train car had been tossed about like a rag doll and landed rather abruptly piled into a heap on the floor. Del came to get a handle on the situation rather quickly and knew what had to be done. Being a take charge sort of person, he barked out commands for everyone to get out of the train car and exit quickly by climbing onto the seat and then out of the window that was now above them. Those that were able began to pile out of the car. Some assisting others who had been injured and within a matter of minutes everyone was out of the car. Del searched amoung the survivors until he found Eva. She had a laceration above her right eye, her left arm appeared to be causing her great pain. After a closer look Del saw that it was broken. She looked as though she was going into shock and suddenly collapsed in front of him. She fell to the ground quickly and as she did, Del began to call for help.

"Help. We need some medical attention here. Help. Somebody please help.", Del yelled as loudly as he could.

A freckle-faced paramedic was first to reach Del and Eva. He appeared to be so young but he had a calming effect upon Del and reassured him that Eva would be helped quickly. In moments she was loaded onto a stretcher and carried out into the sunlight and the fresh air. Loaded into an ambulance, she was transported to the local hospital with Del by her side. Just as the ambulance rolled into the enterance to the Emergency Room, Del passed out. As the doors to the ambulance flung open, a nurse began to administer care to Del. Both were taken inside for further exam and treatment. After an amonia ampule had been crushed and waved under Del's nose he came around. He had fainted. The doctor examed him carefully and found no injury and stated the cause of his blackout was from sheer excitement generated by the train wreck. He explained to Del that Eva had been treated in the Emergency Room and sent upstairs to Room 313. She had a broken arm, a concussion, the laceration above her eye, and unfortunately, the baby had been lost.

"The baby had been lost?", questioned Del. He did not know that she was pregnant.

The doctor told him that she had a miscarrage due to the accident and he thought the baby may have been in the second trimester. The doctor assured Del that Eva was in no danger and would be held over night for observation and to allow for her broken arm to be set. He suggested that Del go up to her room to see her.

Del left the Emergency Room headed for room 313 to see Eva and get answers to questions that he needed to ask her. Was this his baby she lost? Why hadn't she told him she was pregnant? Did she know she was pregnant when she obtained that quick divorce in Reno just last month? Del's head was spinning. He had to see Eva to ask.

When Del arrived at room 313 there was a sign on the door that stated "No Visitors". Just as he was about to open the door and walk in, a nurse approached him and said, "I'm sorry sir. No Visitors means No Visitors." "Are you by chance, Del?", asked the nurse.

"Yes, I'm Del. Why can't I see my wife? I mean, my ex-wife.", Del asked.

"Eva has requested that there be absolutely no visitors. I'm sorry that you'll have to leave now." the nurse spoke with authority in her voice.

Del turned to leave knowing that he would get nowhere in his quest to see Eva and because he wasn't even legally married to her now, they would not give him any information about her condition. He was angry and sad all at the same time. As he approached the elevator, he wondered what, if anything he could do. For now, I'll just go home. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.
 
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masquerade

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Ann went to the kitchen to prepare some dinner as her dad continued to watch the evening news. She pushed out any sad thoughts from her head and instead thought about the group of friends she was to go away with this coming weekend. A smile settled over her face as she cut some fresh vegetables to throw over a bed of lettuce. The group of them were to take off into the mountains for an extended weekend of camping and hiking. Something she always loved to do. Being outside in the fresh air, taking in the beautiful views and enjoying the company of her very best friends.

As she continued to think about all she had to pack, she went ahead and filled a pot with water for pasta. Her dad liked his spaghetti and meatballs, so that's what she decided to cook for him. She knew he wouldn't eat much. His appetite had decreased since the passing of her mom. She threw the meatballs she had made the day before, into a pot of simmering sauce and added a little salt to her boiling water.

Just then she heard her dad yell at the television again. She rolled her eyes and smiled slightly. Dad she thought .... he should just give up watching the news. But after all these years there was no way that was going to happen. Another yell and then her name.

"Ann!"
"Ann, come here quickly!", yelled William.

She wasn't much in the mood to hear what the current administration or Congress could have done this time to get her dad all riled up, but after he yelled for a third time, she knew something was up. There was a different sort of sound to his voice.

She walked into the family room and saw a reporter on television and the words .... BREAKING NEWS!

A train had derailed and was on fire. Firemen were making their way down to the subway, but the reporter gave no word on whether there were survivors or how many may have been dead.

Ann's thoughts immediately went back to Eva. Could SHE have been on that train?
 

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After a moment Ann was turning and just beginning to go back into the kitchen to finish cooking supper. As she took her first steps heading in that direction there came a strong knock on the door. It startled Ann but nevertheless, she went to open the door. Through the side glass she spotted a policeman's uniform. Her heart pounded. Ann opened the door and said, "May I help you, officer?"

The policeman was polite, and despite his attempt to appear professional, Ann couldn't help but to notice that he was rather cute. "I am officer Crowley from the police department. Does a Mr. William Bortz live here?", he inquired.

"Yes, he does. He's my father. Is there a problem?", Ann asked in a shakey voice.

"If Mr. Bortz is home, I would like to speak with him, please.", the officer politely insisted.

"Please step inside. I will get my father for you, officer.", Ann said and she opened the door wider so the police officer could step inside. Once he was inside, Ann closed the door and called out for her father.

"Dad, please come here. There is a police officer here to see you.", Ann called.

William Bortz came walking into the hallway from the den and spotted the officer standing there. He extended his hand and offered to shake the young policeman's hand as he spoke, "I'm Bill Bortz, can I help you, sir?"

The police officer asked him if he was infact, William Bortz. After he received the acknowledgement, the officer began to speak.

"Mr. Bortz, do you have a daughter named Eva?"

"Yes, I do. She is my youngest daughter. Is she in some sort of trouble?" Bill Bortz asked with a puzzled look on his face.

The policeman began to speak and told them of the train accident and Eva being transported to the hospital. He suggested that they go and see Eva for themselves without giving them any indication of her condition or the injuries that she had received. After he finished speaking, the policeman wished them both a pleasant evening and left the house in a quiet, professional manner.

Ann was the first to speak. She said, "Let me turn the stove off and grab my coat and we can be off to the hospital."

Her father just nodded his head trying hard to show strength but his bottom lip was trembling. He was putting on his jacket when Ann came back into the hall. As she reached for her coat, all of a sudden her father clutched his chest, gave Ann an odd look and fell to the floor.

"Dad, Dad, Dad..." Ann called out. She bent down to try and assist her father but noticed that he was not breathing and was beginning to turn blue. She immediately ran to the phone to dial 911 and after doing so and ensuring an ambulance was enroute, she returned to aid her father. She got down on her knees and turned her father onto his back but was aware that he was already dead. She attempted CPR and within moments the EMS paramedics had arrived and took over the task of trying to revive her father. They continued CPR as they loaded him into the ambulance and barked an order for Ann to get into the front seat. Off to the hospital they roared with sirens blaring but it was wasted effort. William Bortz had died and would no longer be a part of Ann and Eva's life. Just two weeks after her mother's death, she had also lost her father and overcome with grief she began to cry and was shaking. A caring Paramedic consoled her and offered her a shoulder. As they entered the hospital ER doors, Ann became ill and needed to sit down for a few moments. She was assisted to a chair and a nurse came to her assistance and led her into the ER and a waiting exam room. She had Ann sit down and got her a cold compress for her forehead and a glass of water to drink. Ann began to calm down and as the nurse spoke she barely understood anything she was saying. Just like in the movies, a doctor came into the exam room and checked her over quickly and then informed her that her father had passed away, most likely of a heart attack. He offered her a sedative but Ann refused. Regaining her composure, and knowing she needed to be strong, she asked about her sister who had been brought to the hospital because of the train wreck. Ann was led to the nurses station on the floor where Eva was a patient. A compassionate, caring nurse said she would take her to Eva's room and walked around the nurses's station to take her hand. Together they walked to Room 313 and prepared to go inside. The NO VISITOR sign was no longer hanging on the door.
 
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Big Black Dog

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Ann entered Eva's room and found her to be sleeping. Quietly she pulled up a chair near the bed and had a seat. As she sat in the chair looking at Eva she thought back about how life had changed from the happy family they once shared into what was left of the remaining Bortz clan. Both parents were now dead. There was nobody left except for Eva and herself. While that made life a bit more simple now, it hurt to think that there was now just the two of them. Maybe now the past could begin to heal and Eva and Ann could once again become close. With their father's sudden death, restrictions could now be lifted and the pains of the past could begin to heal. Ann wanted to become close to her sister, Eva again but she didn't know what to say or how to begin that healing process. Maybe if she truly wanted that closeness she could find a way to say she was sorry for her role in causing the family rift. She had remained loyal to her father through the battle within their family. Now that war was suddenly over. Could peace finally come after such a war? Only time would tell. As Ann sat quietly thinking of the things that needed to be be done, Eva stirred and looked up at Ann and was surprised that she was there.

"Ann. How long have you been sitting there?" Eva said.

"Just a few minutes. How are you feeling, Eva?" Ann asked.

"I feel ok. I am just here for overnight observation." Eva continued.

"I'm glad you were not seriously injured, Eva. I'm afraid though that I have some terrible news for you.", Ann stated.

"Eva, father is dead. He died this evening of a heart attack.", Ann said sadly.

Tears came to Eva's eyes and that caused Ann to begin to cry too. She leaned over the hospital bed and gave Eva a hug. Together they both weaped.
 
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masquerade

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I'm going to jump back into the story once a box of tissues isn't needed.

Please radioman ... continue ... lol
 

AllieBaba

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Usually sex made them feel better about things, but in this case, it made things worse. It brought up latent memories of their father and a hellish summer spent in Minot, ND, when he was at his drunken worst.
 

RadiomanATL

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Usually sex made them feel better about things, but in this case, it made things worse. It brought up latent memories of their father and a hellish summer spent in Minot, ND, when he was at his drunken worst.


Plus, they couldn't walk afterwards.
 

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