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    Frontier Society - Members - C. A. Passinault - Stories





A short story by C. A. Passinault

Based on a true story

© Copyright 2002, 2007 Passinault.Com . All rights reserved.

I've never been scared before.
At least not before that night.
It was the early 1990's, and I was working as an Insurance agent in a building south of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. The building that my company worked in was called "the Point", and it towered over a cluster of restaurants across the street that line the shoreline of Tampa Bay.
You know the Restaurants. Whiskey Joes. Crawdaddys, which was also a nightclub. The Rusty Pelican, one of Tampa's best places to eat. I know because my coworkers and I ate there every Friday after work, before walking over to the club and dancing until one or two in the morning. Sometimes, some of us would pick up some hot girl in the club, and more often than not, would indulge with our new acquaintance before we made it home. God, that parking garage has lots of memories. The south end of Rocky Point was a single man's playground.
One of those Friday nights, I hit it big. I was at the bar in Crawdaddys, slamming shooters. One by one, I slammed them down. The dance floor blurred around me, and I lost count on how many I had. I swayed into the swirling mass of color, and in the middle of it was this goddess. I must have been able to talk, because we actually had some sort of conversation. Her name was Kristi, she was a Gemini, and I was in love again. I told her that I was rich.
Kristi and I made our way to the parking garage. People were wearing heavy coats outside, which was unusual for Florida, but it was a really cold night that night. I didn't care. I was hot. I was down to my T-shirt, which was soaked in sweat, and I wrapped an arm around Kristi. Kristi told me that I needed to put something on before I got sick. I laughed. Why bother? Why put something on when I would only be taking it off again in a few minutes? Besides, I really was hot.
Kristi told me that I drank too much. I told her that she worried too much.
Kristi told me that we were going to take her car. I didn't mind, as long as it had a big back seat. I forgot to ask her that. We had to climb a series of stairs, and I hit my head on a wall when this top step got in my way. She managed to help break my fall. The weird thing is that it didn't hurt.
Her damn car was a two seater. A convertible, one of those Miata's. Was it going to be her place, my place, or a sardine can? She helped me in, then walked around the car to the drivers side. The parking garage was quiet. I got dizzy, and closed my eyes. I listened to the hollow clack clack of her high heels bounce off the concrete. Weird. I was about to have heaven.
The drivers door shut. I pulled her to me, and gave her a kiss. She tasted good; definitely a non smoker. I liked them like that.
She pushed away. Her blonde hair draped over her bare shoulder, leading the eye to her low cut dress.
"Listen, you're too drunk."
I blinked.
She smiled. "How about we go to Dennys and get some coffee? I'd really like to talk to you some more."
I stammered.
"Talk? About what?"
"Tell me more about your family. I'd really like to hear more, Kevin."
This was really weird. Why was she so interested in my family?
"What about them?"
"It's sad." She looked away, down to her door, "Will you ever get over her?"
"Who?" I demanded.
"Your fiancé. What was her Cameron?"
"How do you know about Cammy?"
I felt that. It felt like a brick hitting me in the chest. I winced, and went stiff in the soft seat. I closed my eyes. I tried to distract myself with the overpowering fragrance of Kristi's perfume, which seemed to coexist with the interior of her car. God. I hope that the smell wouldn't stay with me. My room mate would call me a fag.
I turned to her.
"You told me. When did she die?"
"Uh, she died a year ago."
Kristi seemed to be annoyed. She gave me a PMS glare.
"Is there really a Cammy?"
"Yes, there is."
"You're not fucking with me, are you?"
I Smiled back.
"Of course I am not."
"Jesus." She hissed, "You are fucking with me. You're so blasted, you can't even keep your sorry ass pickup line lies straight."
The car started to spin around my head. I groaned.
"Get out. I don't have time for this."
She reached over me and opened my door. Her breast grazed my arm. I placed my hand on her ass.
She looked me in the eye. She seemed dark, cold. Her eyes sucked me in.
"Get the fuck out of my CAR! Do you hear me?!?!?"
I threw up on her. I spewed like a fountain. Red and blue. She got it. Her sardine can got it. Justice was served. God help her get THAT smell out of her car.
"Asshole!" Kristi shrieked, "Fucking asshole!"
The car spun again. I fell out. My head hit the pavement.
The door slammed shut. I closed my eyes. I felt that, too. When I opened them, Kristi, and her smelly car, were gone.
My body hurt. My head hurt. Damn, my buzz was gone. So were my chances of getting laid tonight. Maybe I DID drink too much.
I crawled to my feet and made my way to the wall of the second floor parking garage facing the club. The parking lot was almost empty. It was also a lot colder. I shivered. I realized that I was only wearing a t-shirt that was saturated with sweat and puke. I shook my head. The Bitch took off with my shirt, tie, and coat. Just great. I glanced down at my watch. How the hell long was I out, anyway?
4:15 AM. I didn't know what time we had left the club, but it had to be well before 3 when we did. My head throbbed. I wondered if I had a concussion. I was definitely out for a while. Damn. I didn't even get to find out if she swallowed.
I walked to my car. It was locked up on the top level, which was two flights up. The air was still, cold. The dampness sent a chill in my bones. My teeth clattered. I couldn't stop them. Bursts of breath clouded my way.
It was quiet, dead. I'd never seen the parking garage this barren before. Hell, I'd never been here this late before.
"Help me."
I stopped. Glanced around. What the fuck was that?
I heard something that sounded like a soda can being kicked. It clattered, echoed. I couldn't tell where it came from.
The air was heavy. My breath hung in the air in front of me. God, it was still.
I started walking to my car again. I took the long way and avoided the stairwells. I figured the exercise would warm me up and clear my head. One flight to go. I trudged up a ramp toward the upper level.
"Please help me."
I stopped. The hair on the back of my neck prickled. I heard that. It was like a whisper behind my ear. I felt cold bursts of icy breath.
The air was still, quiet. I felt a cold sensation sweep over my arm.
I began to run up the ramp.
Air roared past my ears. The painted lines on the cement jiggled with each stride. I started to lose my breath. My car was just ahead. The air stabbed into my chest like a knife with each breath. God, was I out of shape. This air was damn cold! I resisted the urge to stop, double over, and catch my breath. There was something weird in this garage, and I was about to piss my pants.
I reached the car, catching myself on the hood as I stopped. I fumbled for my keys. Another icy sensation.
My pockets were empty.
I screamed in frustration. The air continued its assault on my chest. My throat hurt from the cold. I wanted to leave. Where in the hell were my keys?
I heard another whisper. This one hissed. It sounded like air being let out of a tire. I looked down at mine. They were fine. I looked around. Fog hung in the stagnant air, making light rings around the street lights. The only movement were my breaths.
I screamed into the fog. "Why don't you help ME?!?! Where in the hell are my keys?!?!??!"
My voice echoed back. Silence answered me. My head hurt.
I kicked my car. The alarm went off. God, it was loud.
The elevator leading down to the lower levels was close by. I marched off to it. I didn't have to wait for it to open. On the second level was a breezeway corridor that led to the building. I had to get to a phone.
The elevator smelled like piss. It let me out just before I was asphyxiated. My head throbbed from the stink, as I was still breathing hard and inhaled more than my share of the stench. Did they ever clean this thing?
I left the elevator, and entered the breeze way. A bitter cold, soft wind blew around me, and I could hear my car alarm still going off. I shuddered, certain that my lips were blue. This was not my night.
I heard foot steps ahead of me. I stopped. They were coming for me.
"Can I help you?"
A gruff voice rattled me. An old, feeble bodied security guard sauntered up to me. I was happy to see him. I was happy to see anyone.
He looked me over, then spoke again. He had a firm, scratchy tone to his voice.
"What's wrong?"
"Nothing." I replied without a second thought.
"Are you alright?"
He seemed to be interrogating me.
"Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?"
He looked toward the noise of my alarm.
"That your car doing that?"
I paused. Caught my breath. Looked at him. I recognized this security guard. He was always sitting in a corner at the front of the building when I came in to work. He always seemed to be whittling wood with a pocketknife. Until now, that was the only movement that I've ever seen from him. He seemed to be alive now.
"Yeah, it is. I lost my keys."
"You have a spare set?"
"No. Do you have a slim jim?"
The guard stopped. He seemed to be quizzing himself.
"What kind of car is it?"
"It's a corolla."
"Do you have air bags?"
"What kind of air bags does it have?"
I couldn't believe this guy. Who the fuck cared about my air bags? I couldn't get in. That was my problem. Did he have a slim jim or not?
"Side impact and door." I replied.
"Jesus, sir, I have one of those, but I'll be damned if I'll use it to open up your car."
"Why not?"
"How you gonna start it when you get in? You gonna hot wire it?"
He had a point. I thought momentarily, realizing that this could be a trick question.
"Of course not! The alarm won't let it start, anyway."
"Damn right, kid."
This guy was starting to annoy me. He shifted his weight, and smiled at me. It was broken.
"Can't open it anyway. That jimmy could trigger the door air bag, and it would kill me when it shot back out. It's not worth dying for."
I shuddered. He made sense. I never thought of that.
The alarm stopped.
"Kind of cold to be dressed like that, isn't it?"
"Yes, it is." I retorted, "I had a bad night."
I looked away. I felt anxious; a mixture of fear, frustration, and annoyance with this shell of a man.
"Sure you did. I watch you."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
I raised my voice.
"You work for that Insurance company in the building. You and your friends think that you're in charge. You fuck girls in the garage."
"How do you know that?"
"I watch you. I watched you once."
"Really, guy, this old perv stuff is fucked up!"
The guard stared at me. His jaw slacked. He looked nervous.
"You- you heard her, didn't ya?"
"You did. I hear her, too.
His voice was grim.
"Who do you hear?"
"She exists in there. I hear her all the time. I do."
"Who do you hear?" I asked. This was starting to creep me out.
He laughed. It came out like a cackle.
"Wanna hear a story?"
I shrugged.
"Sure, if you help me get back in my car. I just want to go home."
We walked into the building, and the man called me a tow truck. He got me a maintenance coat. I was grateful for the warm clothes, even if they had grease stains on them.
"Let's go outside and wait for the truck."
It sounded more like an order.
We walked back out through the breeze way. It was colder. I looked at my watch.
5:00 AM.
We stopped by the stairwell. He lit up a cigarette.
I winced, feeling nauseous again.
"No thanks. Are those things Camels?"
They smelled worse than the Elevator did. I started to wonder what happened to Kristi. She was pretty pissed off at me, but what if something happened to her? What if it was her voice that I heard? It sure sounded like her. What if she were hurt? No one deserved that.
"Listen." I broke the silence, "I think that I heard some thing earlier. It sounded like a woman asking for help. Do you want to walk with me and see if anyone is in here? I met this girl tonight, and I'm afraid that it might be her."
The guard stared into the Garage. There was a blank expression on his face. He took a slow drag on the cigarette.
"Sure. I'll walk with you. Gotta make my rounds soon anyway. First, I'm gonna tell you a story."
"What story?"
I had almost forgotten about his creepy ramble.
"A few years ago, I worked here. There was this girl that worked on the ninth floor. She was magnificent. Beautiful, intelligent, great personality. She was a beauty queen, let me tell you."
I shook my head.
"A beauty queen? Why was she working here?"
He didn't seem to get my attempt at humor.
"Don't know that, but she was a sharp cookie. She had this boyfriend, see, and they used to have lunch down by the water every day at the tables."
His eyes seemed to well up with tears.
"Did ya see that big iron gate down by the end of Rocky point?"
"Yeah. They keep it shut after five. It's the only way to get to the other side of the building."
"Ever wonder why we close it?"
"Not really. No."
"It was because of her."
"The girl. Her name was Jenny. One day, her boyfriend couldn't make it for lunch, and she was disappointed. He called her up that afternoon, though, apologized, and planned to make it up for dinner. He told her that it was a surprise."
"What happened then?" I asked.
He took another drag. Exhaled. His voice broke.
"We were friends. We used to talk. She was all excited, and told me that she thought he was going to ask her to marry him. She had been saving herself for him, you see......"
I wasn't buying this. A virgin beauty queen working in an office building? Right.
"He met her after work, and they walked over to the Rusty Pelican to have dinner. He asked her to marry him, and she accepted. They were really happy on the way back. They walked by the Gazebo. They talked. They kissed. I saw it."
"I bet you did." I interjected. I couldn't believe this pervert.
He started to get upset.
"Let me guess, you were heartbroken, right?"
"She was my friend. My only friend. It wasn't right."
He started crying.
I didn't know what to say. I kind of felt sorry for the old buzzard. I looked around. Was that the wrecker down below?
He started to sob. I had to say something.
"Maybe they were meant to be together. Weren't you happy for Jenny?"
I put my hand on his shoulder. Poor guy.
"Y-yes, I was."
He dropped the cigarette. The ember broke off when it hit the ground, and winked out.
"Then why are you so upset?"
I didn't understand this.
"They walked back, and crossed the parking circle up front. This car came floored through the entrance, and hit her."
"Oh my God!"
"She died in my arms. She begged me to help her, and there was nothing that I could do. She wasn't ready to die.... wasn't ready. Oh, God! She kept crying for me to help her. I couldn't. There was nothing....... nothing I could do."
He cried softly, as if resigned to what had happened.
I shuddered again. The coat was letting the cold in.
"Listen, I lost someone that I cared about, too. I had a Fiancé, and she died. I know what her Fiancé, and you, went through. I miss Cameron."
He looked up. Tears were streaming down the narrow creases that showcased his face. The broken smile emerged again.
"Really? Does she talk to you?"
"Uh, no. She's gone."
I was beginning to wonder about this guys sanity.
"I had it rough for a while. I missed Jenny. It wasn't until she talked to me one night that I understood. I believe that she talked to you, too."
"Listen, I have a knot on my head. I did hear something, but I think it was my concussion talking."
I motioned to the knot on my head. It still hurt.
"Maybe you should go to the Hospital, then." He miffed.
"Maybe I should, I don't know" I replied, "I do figure that I'll be ok."
"Jenny told me that she was coming for me. She told me to wait."
"Oh..... OK......"
"She'll come for you too."
"Let her come." I resigned. I was getting the creeps again.
The Guard recomposed himself, and lit another cigarette. To my joy, the wrecker showed up. It was a beat up flat bed tow truck. A large man built like Jabba the Hut was driving.
"Your ride is here." The guard announced, stating the obvious.
"Thank you for your help, guy!" I beamed as I jumped into the truck, "Thanks for the story, too. Can I give you some advice?"
The buzzard nodded.
"Get help."
The guard frowned.
"You heard her. I know it. She'll come for you, too. There's a reason."
Whatever. I had a car to get home.
Jabba and I drove to the top level, and he expertly hooked up my car. A breeze whistled around us.
I laughed.
We drove off, and I began to feel at ease. Jabba tried to talk to me, which I recollected couldn't be any worse than the weirdo security guard.
"Rough night, eh, buddy?" He quipped.
"Yeah. You could say that."
He laughed loudly.
"You don't have it as bad as I saw this one gal tonight over in Clearwater. She was at a service station, hosing puke out of her car. Someone always has it worse."
I shrugged and smiled. Someone.
By Monday, I had recovered from my weekend. The knot on my head had almost gone down, and I was ready for another week of working hard. This weekend, though, I'd have to play catch up. Anyway, there was this really hot girl in the office. Her name was Jessica, and she was the type to lead the guys on all day at the office and work out at the gym the rest of the night. I really wanted to sleep with her, and she knew it. She seemed to take particular delight in torturing me daily, and sentencing me to lonely isolation in a cold shower at home when I left work empty handed. On this day, though, she seemed friendlier, and was not being shy with the flirting. She came by my desk before lunch, and asked if I would spend it with her.
Off course I would.
It was great, until she told me to meet me at the tables by the waterfront in front of the building.
Why did I feel so uneasy?
I met her there. She had some food from Whiskey Joe's, and offered to share it with me. God, she was a dish! The sunlight traced over her golden hair. For a moment, I imagined that the shafts of light were my fingers.
"Kevin, I really needed to talk to you today." She said, poking slowly at her food. She intertwined a finger through, then around, a strand of hair. I was transfixed on the finger play.
"About what?" I asked. I was surprised that I was coming across as cooly as I was.
"I feel bad about the way that I've been treating you." She confessed, shifting forward to me, "You probably think that I'm a tease."
"Uh, not at all." I wheezed, finally showing a tiny bit of nervousness, "What caused the change of heart?"
"Well, I do have a heart. I really do. You've been so patient with me. You've been so sweet to me, too. I'm sorry if I have been unfair with you."
"It's ok."
"So, do you want to ask me something?"
Did I?
"Sure I do. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"
She paused. My heart sank.
"I'm sorry, but I have plans. I'm free on Friday, though."
She smiled. We both did.
We ate, and talked. I found out a lot about her. She was the proud owner of a hyper, yappy chihuahua. She loved art. She also knew all about what happened with Cammy. It was a good lunch. It felt magical.
She took my arm as we walked back, the round drive beneath our feet. She leaned into me, and whispered in my ear.
"If you wait for me, I'll come for you."
A chill ran up my spine. I looked down the entry drive at the black iron gate. It rattled in the breeze. For the first time, I looked down at our feet. The driveway was made up of precision cut stones, forming a cobblestone like surface. My eyes widened. There were bloodstains in the seams. I was sure of it.
My voice trembled.
"For Friday, silly. I'm looking forward to getting to know you."
She giggled, and pulled me to her, kissing me on the cheek.
I managed a smile. I needed a drink.
Was this a beginning, or the end?
I didn't know. I took her by the arm, and we returned to the building. Who knew what was to come? I did find out one thing, though. The security guard disappeared that week. One day he was whittling, barely looking up, and the next gone. No one knows what happened to him. I'm never going in that garage at night anymore, that much I'm sure of.
As far as Jessica was concerned, she was an adventure all in herself. That's another story, though. As far as this one, I still have questions that will never be answered. Some things, though, aren't meant to have answers. The price would be too high.

The price may be one's sanity.




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