Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stull #26

Lana walked into Frank's bedroom after taking a shower and getting a cup of coffee from the kitchen. "Your roommate is having sex on your couch," she told Frank.

"So? We've had sex on that couch," Frank said staring at the bedroom door before focusing his eyes on Lana. "If I had a spare bed she'd be having sex in that. I don't care. Neither should you."

"But I do care. I think you should ask her to leave," Lana said. "She's not showing effort to get her own place and I know she has feelings for you."

"She's a friend. I'm not just going to kick her out. She has nowhere else to go," Frank said. "Why are you worried about it? Don't you trust me?"

"I trust you. I don't trust her. Especially since she seems quick to get into bed with someone."

"She just got out of a long term relationship. I remember when you broke up with me you went through a bit of a phase."

"One week Frank. I want her out in one week."

"Fine. Whatever," Frank rolled his eyes.




"You didn't have to drive me to work. Jason could've taken me. Besides, you only live three blocks away. I could've walked," Jen said.

"Jason. Is that the name of this one?" Frank parked the car in front of the Historical Society. "Anyway, I wanted to talk about our living arrangement."

"What about it?"

"Lana hates it. She wants you to move out," Frank said.

"Okay. But what about you?"

Frank sighed. "I think you should move out, too."

"What?"

"It's nothing personal and I don't necesarrily agree with Lana but I can't take you living with me anymore. Especially when I can't have you."

"Then have me. You don't seem happy with Lana but you are ecstatic when you are with me. And everyone agrees that you should break up with her," Jen said.

Frank was quiet.

"Can I have the day off to go find a place?" she asked.

"Of course," Frank said.

"Thank you," Jen opened the car door and began to get out. "What did you hate most about me living with you?"

"Being able to hear you have sex. It made me a little jealous."

"Good. That's what I was going for," Jen smiled.




"Homecoming"
Frank was loading signs and poles into the back of one of the SUVs when John arrived at the Society. "What are you doing?"

"Loading up these signs. Since it's nice and we have nothing planned, I figured we'd go out to the old Brooklyn Cemetery and get these signs up."

"Old Brooklyn Cemetery?" John was confused.

"The cemetery we bought. We took possession of it last week but I had the signs made a few months ago. I have now accomplished my dream of owning a cemetery."

"Dork. Are we all going?"

"Yeah. You, me, Katie and Caitlin."

"Why isn't Jen coming along?"

"She has to find a new place to live," Frank shut the door to the back of the SUV.

"Ah. Lana finally kick her out?"

"No," Frank began. "Lana made me kick her out. Come on, let's get the girls and get out of here."




Jen pulled into the parking lot of a small apartment complex. She got out and climbed the outside stairs to the second floor apartments and knocked on one of the doors. A girl with long black hair, dark complextion and puffy, half-closed eyes opened the door and smiled when she saw Jen standing at her door.

"Jenny! It's been forever!" she hugged Jen, who was reluctant to hug back.

"It's good to see you too, Wanda," Jen chuckled uneasily. "Can I stay with you for awhile?"

"Of course. Didn't you break up with Chris a couple weeks ago? Where have you been staying?"

"With my boss. But his girlfriend kicked me out. Probably because I have a crush on him."

"Your boss? That weird guy that runs that library?" Wanda asked.

"Yeah but he's more of a dorky guy that runs a historical society."

"Either way, the Weiner Queens are back together. Mothers, lock up your sons," Wanda smiled and laughed.

"Oh, Lord. I haven't been called a Weiner Queen since I dropped out of college," Jen rolled her eyes.




Brooklyn was a small town in Brooklyn Township about three miles west of the Miami County line. Brooklyn used to be a major agricultural  center and the remnants of that still remain. Half a dozen grain elevators tower over the town along the old highway. The town lost prominence in the 1930s when two of the major farming businesses moved from Brooklyn to Frontenac.

Twenty years later, the highway, which went through Brooklyn as High Street, was moved four blocks to the south along Monroe Street. Businesses along High School closed and by the turn of the century, most commercial properties in and around Brooklyn were abandoned.

While it was called Old Brooklyn Cemetery, it was really the only Brooklyn Cemetery. The only other cemeteries near Brooklyn were Pleasant Mound, located between Brooklyn and the now-ghost town of Gettysburg, and Cavalry Hill Catholic Cemetery about five miles northwest of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Cemetery was established shortly after the town was founded and was used until 1851 when Pleasant Mound was created and located along a better kept road. The land for the cemetery was donated by the Ferber family and remained in the family until recently. The only way to the cemetery was down a dead-end minimum maintenance road and the cemetery was well-hidden by trees and bushes. The cemetery was well taken care of until the 1970s when Ferber Farms became a dairy farm and began neglecting the old cemetery.

Frank parked on the road that led to the cemetery and worked on placing a sign on the side of the road that read "Brooklyn Cemetery" with an arrow pointing toward the minimum maintenance road. Other nearby signs--the minimum maintenance sign and a dead-end sign--had clearly been shot, repeatedly, with guns and the dead-end sign was hanging onto the post by one bolt.

"You do realize that the sign will just be used as target practice, right?" John asked.

Frank stopped digging and looked at the sign then at John. "Yeah. Probably."

"I'm sure Frank has thought about that," Katie began. "I'm sure he's also thought about the possible vandalism these signs could bring to the cemetery as well. If they're not just outright stolen, that is."

"Hmm. I would like a sign that says 'cemetery' hanging in my bedroom," Caitlin smiled.

"I hate you all," Frank said. He got out of the ditch and put the shovel in the back of the SUV. They all got back in and Frank drove down the minimum maintenance road until it almost ended.

The cemetery was surrounded by trees and bushes and the ground was overrun with fallen branches and vines. Frank took the 'Brooklyn Cemetery' sign out of the back.

"This is going to need a lot more cleaning up than I thought it would," Frank said and began looking for a place to put up the sign. "I guess I'll just put the sign right here, near the road but adjacent to the entrance."

The group began digging a hole for the post and Frank lowered the sign into it and then filled the hole. They tossed the shovels back into the SUV and then entered the cemetery. There were only three stones still standing in the cemetery, other had been toppled and were now covered by branches and vines. Frank attempted to move some of the vines from covering stones but it didn't help.

"We'll need to come back and get this cleaned up," Frank said quietly.

"Hey, Frank?" John called from the far corner of the cemetery. He was standing next to a clearly dead tree whose top had been snapped off. There were two branches jutting out of one side and the tree was nearly pale white and no longer had any bark. Frank, Caitlin and Katie walked over to John and the tree trying their best not to stop of any fallen gravestones. "What does this mean?"

Frank looked at what John was pointing at. A word etched, or burned, into the tree. RUN. "I...don't know. 'Run.' What does that mean?" Frank traced the word with his finger. "It's probably just a teenage prank or something. When we get these vines and branches out of here, we'll have to get this tree chopped down."

A rustling sound came from the trees behind them causing Caitlin to shriek. "Maybe we should leave and investigate this later. When we have clubs and guns," she said.

"I agree," Frank said and the four of them quickly headed out of the cemetery and got back into the SUV. Frank turned the SUV and drove off down the road and back onto the main gravel road.




Frank dropped Caitlin off at her father's house on their way back to Stull. She walked in to find her dad, Detective Bilko, sitting in a chair in the living room, reading. "Oh good, you're home. Your mother called. She wants you to call her back to see when she should come pick you up."

"Okay," Caitlin took the phone and called her mother. "Hey, Ma. What's up?"

"It's time to come home. What time do you want me to pick you up on Saturday?" her mother asked.

"Um, actually, I kind of like it here," Caitlin said.

"Oh, you want to stay for another week or something?"

"No. I want to stay for my senior year. I like it here in Tontzville. I've made several friends, I like living with Dad and I kind of have a job."

"A job? Doing what? You're 17!"

"I'm helping out at a historical society. It's really cool," Caitlin said.

"Well, I don't know Caitlin. How does your Dad feel about you staying?"

Caitlin looked at her Dad who was stunned to hear that she wanted to stay. "Dad? How would you feel about me staying?"

"I would love it," Bilko said.

"He said he would love it."

"Let me think about this. I'll call you tomorrow," Caitlin's mother said.

"Okay, Mom. Talk to you tomorrow. Love you. Good-bye."

Caitlin hung up the phone. Bilko put his book down and stood up. "Why do you want to stay?"

"For the reasons I told Mom. I like this town. I like working with Frank and the others. I like living with you. Between you and the Historical Society, I feel like I am contributing something," Caitlin said.

"Well, if you want to stay then you can. I would love to have you here," Bilko said and pulled Caitlin in for a hug.

"I didn't agree to any hugs..." Caitlin said.




Frank, John and Katie returned to the Society. A Society SUV sat in front. "Is Jen back already?" John asked. "Maybe she's just going to live at the Society."

Frank parked his SUV behind the one already there and turned it off. "I'm sure sleeping in an office chair or the hardwood floor would be comfortable," he said.

"What are you going to do about Brooklyn Cemetery?" Katie asked as they walked into the Society.

"Well, I'm going to get those vines and branches off the ground and then I'm having that tree chopped down."

"Yeah, that tree was creepy," John said.

"I'm sure it was just a teenage prank..." Frank began but was interrupted.

"Where the heck were you guys?" a voice said, stepping out from Frank's office.

The three of them looked up and saw Matt standing in the office doorway.

"Oh my God," Katie said softly as she teared up and ran to Matt. They embraced and kissed each other. They hugged and kissed for a solid minute until Katie pulled away. "Welcome back," she smiled.

"Hey Frank? I'm going on a two month vacation so Katie will welcome me back like that," John said.

"I think that greeting is just for Matt. Welcome back, buddy," Frank shook Matt's hand and pulled him in for a hug.

"Thanks, man. What's with the giant sinkhole?" Matt asked.

"You've missed a lot," Frank said and began telling Matt about the sinkhole and the underground Comchau city plus everything else that had happened since Matt left. Frank concluded with their trip to Brooklyn Cemetery.

"So it just said 'Run?'" asked Matt.

"Yep."

"Creepy."

"We should have a celebration of your return. I'll call Jen and Caitlin and we'll all have dinner together," Frank grabbed his phone and called Jen.




Jen's phone rang but she wasn't able to hear it. She tore her nails across Mike's back as they pressed their bodies together. Wanda had left to go to the store when Mike stopped by. Wanda usually bought her drugs from Mike and Jen was offering payment. Mike gasped loudly and collapsed on Jen. She exhaled and run her fingers through his hair.

"Sorry that took so long," Mike said. He climbed off of her.

"It's fine," Jen said.

Mike unzipped his backpack and handed Jen a sandwich bag. "Here you go. Smoke it in good health."

"We will," Jen giggled and they began putting their clothes on. When they left Wanda's bedroom, Wanda was in the kitchen. Jen blushed and covered her face when she saw her. "Next week?" Jen asked, opening the door for Mike.

"Yeah. See you, Jen. Hi, Wanda!" he waved.

"Hi, Mike," Wanda replied. Mike left and Jen closed the door. "We need to get you a bed because you are not going to keep doing that in mine," Wanda chuckled.

"Sorry," Jen said and picked up her cell phone. She saw the voicemail and listened to it. "Oh, cool. Matt's back."

"Who's Matt?" Wanda asked.

"A guy we work with. He's been gone for two months. Frank is taking the Society out for dinner to welcome him back."

"I thought we were going out."

"We still can. It's just dinner. I'm gonna call Frank back. Why don't you start rolling what I just paid for?"




Later that night, at a restaurant, Frank, Caitlin, Detective Bilko, John, Matt, Jen and Katie gathered around a table. "I'm glad you're back, Matt. It really hasn't been the same since you left."

"I can vouch for that," John said. "Frank made me do too much work since we were down one person."

"If you can call what you did work," Frank retorted. "Caitlin, you're going back with your mom on Saturday aren't you?"

"Actually," Caitlin smiled. "I'm staying in Tontzville. I'll be spending my senior year at Tontzville Central High School."

Everyone cheered and congratulated Caitlin.

"Now this is even more of a celebration," Frank said.

Matt and Katie kissed, John began talking to Detective Bilko while Frank talked with Caitlin and Jen. A waiter came over and began taking their orders. Frank leaned over and placed his hand on Jen's thigh. They looked at each other with smiles. They then turned to the rest of the group and continued conversing.

T h e   E n d

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