my passions, my loves, my interests, my thoughts, my ramblings - come inside and warm yourself on the heat of my muses!
Julie L. Hayes
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Wednesday Briefs: Dallas in Wonderland #9
Hello and welcome to another edition of Wednesday Briefs! Flash fiction that will make you smile, make you laugh, make you cry, or even make you horny! This week, we had these prompts: If I'd known you were coming, I'd have.... (fill in the blank)
or the alternate prompts were: tree, highway, understanding or all we are is dust in the wind or do something involving time travel. For myself, I chose the dust in the wind reference.
This week, Dallas in Wonderland continues with Dallas seeking more information about the mysterious Dr. Levi. Where better to look than in the apartment building where they both live? See what's up there! Then don't forget to check out the other Wednesday Briefers. Take note - we have two virgins among us! Cheer them on and make them feel at home.
Without further ado, I gave you
Dallas in Wonderland #9
He knew he should be headed to class, but once the last echoes of Paris and Oz’s collective footsteps ceased to reverberate through the otherwise silent apartment house, Dallas found himself frozen in the same position as when they’d left. He was torn between going and staying. Between furthering his education, or adding to his knowledge of Dr. Samuel Levi. In the end, he brewed a pot of coffee after all and decided to skip today. At least at the university level.
The hot sweet brew flowed down his throat, warming his grateful insides. He held it in one hand, while with the other he tapped his spoon against the cup. It was a nervous mannerism of his, one he’d acquired since leaving Quentin, a way of combating the silence of being suddenly single. He only stopped his impromptu drumming when he realized he was doing it to the rhythm of an old Kansas song. All we are is dust in the wind.
Yeah, like he needed reminding of that.
So, first things first. And the first and foremost thing on Dallas’ mind, at least concerning Dr. Levi was—which apartment was his? And how long had he lived there?
Let’s do this by process of elimination. He knew with absolute certainty that the good doctor did not live on the third floor. That was the domain of himself and the woman across the hall. Mayhew, he thought her name was. On the rare occasions when he’d needed to address the elderly female, he’d simply referred to her as “ma’am”. Kelly lived on the first floor, that much he knew. He didn’t know who else was there, and he’d only seen glimpses of one of the tenants on the second floor. A forty-ish man who carried a rather large case with him, and always seemed tired in Dallas’ eyes. He kept long hours, him and his case, leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. He seemed harmless enough.
That left two apartments unaccounted for. One of those must be Dr. Levi’s.
Of course, he could knock on both doors, see which one was answered by the handsome doctor—what sort of doctor was he, he’d never said, perhaps a doctor of philosophy—and make his apologies should he find himself at the wrong door first. But somehow that didn’t feel right, as if that made Dallas a freaky stalker, which was the last thing on his mind.
Or there was door number two—no pun intended—he could check the last names on the small mail boxes in the first floor hallway, next to the broom closet. Assuming Mrs. Persepolis kept them up to date. He had no idea, as he’d never paid them much heed before, more concerned with collecting whatever mail came his way, mostly of the bill variety.
When he found himself humming Carry on, My Wayward Son, he knew he needed to move his ass before he became as loony as the song’s protagonist. Finishing his coffee with a resounding slurp, he set the cup near the coffeemaker to await his return, slipped his cell phone into his shirt pocket, as well as the key to his box, and exited the apartment. In case he was caught snooping, he’d claim to be checking his mail.
His footsteps sounded loud even to himself as he clattered down the stairs, sneaking surreptitious peeks at the doors on the second floor as he passed. Maybe good timing would be his, and one would open just as he happened by, and his mystery tour would be happily concluded with the discovery of the good doctor.
No such luck.
Instead, as he stood in front of the boxes, preparing to scan the names embossed upon them in black labeling tape, he heard a door open. His heart beating rapidly, he looked up. A shy smile greeted him.
“Good morning, Dallas.”
“Morning, Kelly.” He mustered his best smile, pushing his disappointment into a corner. It wasn’t her fault if she wasn’t the one he was looking for. Her dishabille of the day before had been replaced by a conservative skirt which reached to her knees, a dark stylish sweater, which made her skin all the paler in comparison, and sensible low-heeled shoes. Normally, they didn’t cross paths in the daytime, as Dallas left for school before she headed to her job. Today was an exception to that rule. “You look nice,” he added, both to be polite and to give himself something to say. She pinked at his words.
“I’m going to work,” she explained. Rather unnecessarily, Dallas thought, but he said nothing. “Aren’t you usually
at school by now?”
“Usually,” he said, affecting a slight cough, as if that explained his absence from the hallowed halls of higher education.
“Oh dear.” She frowned, her voice taking on an edge of concern. “Shouldn’t you be in bed, taking care of that?”
Feeling a twinge of momentary guilt at his deception, Dallas held up his key, then indicated the boxes with the other hand. “Just picking up my mail,” he explained.
“Oh, but the postman doesn’t come for some time. Close to noon, actually. It’s barely nine now.”
Dallas grimaced. Way to botch up an excuse. No matter. He doubted she’d ever be prevailed on to testify against him anyway, as she seemed partial to him, a fact which he could use to his own advantage if necessary.
He coughed again, a little louder. “I’ll go back to bed then.” He hoarsened his voice a bit, for good measure.
“I’ll come check on you when I get home. Just to make sure you’re okay.” She bit her lip, twisting her purse strap around her hand. “Well, see you later.” She turned toward the door.
“Wait.” An idea had just hit him. “Do you know which apartment is Doctor Levi’s?”
She gave him a blank look.
“You know. Older guy. Long red hair, braid?”
“No one here by that name, Dallas.”
to be continued
Now see what the other Wednesday Briefers are up to!