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Written by DTYarbrough
FOR THE LOVE OF GLORIA
Copyright 2010 All rights reserved
FOR THE LOVE OF GLORIA
Written by D.T.Yarbrough Jack awoke to find the room was frigid. He was chilled to the bone. Jack knew this feeling all to well. "Who's there? Show yourself," he shouted. From behind a closet door he appeared. Jack recognized him. Oh, he didn't know his name but he had seen him on the streets many times, always in the background. It was as though he had been following Jack. "What are you doing here? What do you want?" Jack asked. Jack knew he wouldn't be able to tell him. They can't talk. Or at least the living couldn't hear them. Most of the living couldn't even see them. Jack walked over to his desk and motioned for the ghost to follow. "Spell it out for me," Jack said as he pointed to his computer's keyboard. The ghost pointed to the blank screen. The computer wasn't turned on. "What difference does that make? You can't press the keys anyway," Jack said. "Just point to the letters." Jack picked up a note pad and pencil and began writing as the ghost pointed first to one letter and then the next. The ghost needed Jack's help. What a surprise, they all wanted Jack's help. He had been watching Jack to be sure he could trust him. "Why are you still here," Jack asked. "What sort of unfinished business do you have?" "I finished my business long ago, but I can't leave," the ghost answered. "Why not? Isn't that the way it works?" Jack asked. "I'm in love," the ghost replied. "I want you to help Gloria." "Many ghosts were in love when they died, but they all moved on," Jack said. "They were in love with the living," he replied. "Gloria is a ghost, and if she can't leave then I'm not leaving without her." "Why can't she leave? What is her unfinished business?" Jack asked. "Oh, if only it was that simple. You see... there are others like you who see ghosts. They are not nice people. They take advantage of us when they can. They are forcing Gloria to help them perform criminal acts. They have threatened to harm her living relatives." After getting more of the details, Jack asked the ghost to meet him at the Downtown Cafe around noon. Jack showered and got dressed and went to talk to some of his old friends at police headquarters about the people the ghost had mentioned. Jack had skipped breakfast, but he knew there would be plenty of doughnuts and coffee at headquarters. Jack had gone to high school with most of the officers and was still on good terms with them despite his stretch as a 1
hermit. These bad guys were relatively new to this area. Not a lot was known, but some of them were suspects in several unsolved crimes. Lack of evidence had prevented any arrests. There was an ongoing investigation so most of the data was classified. As Jack waited at the Downtown Cafe he thought about the other ghosts he had helped. There had been all sorts of unfinished business, but none had been this dangerous. These guys meant business and it would not be easy to get close enough to learn more about them. Jack had solved crimes before that lead to the arrests of murderers, thieves, muggers and all sorts of vermin, but innocent lives had not been at stake. The ghost sat down across from him at the table. He made a shrugging motion that Jack interpreted as "Will you help me?" Jack nodded an affirmative and quickly finished his lunch. They left the diner and climbed into Jack's truck. "When did you last talk to Gloria?" Jack asked as he sat a keyboard in the seat between them. Jack watched as the ghost began pointing at letters. It had only been a couple of days since he had talked to Gloria. They met almost nightly but had to communicate through an open window. Gloria couldn't come out and he couldn't come in without setting off some mysterious alarm system. "Talk to her tonight and see if you can find out anything that might help us help her," Jack said. "And find out what you can about her living relatives. Can I drop you somewhere?" "I can get where I want to go much faster than you can get me there," he replied as he got out of the truck. Jack had never charged any of the ghosts for helping them but some had lead him to money and valuables they wanted him to have. Jack was now a rich man by his standards, but he had long since lost interest in the things money could buy. Jack was a lonely man but keeping busy didn't give him time to think about it much. Tomorrow he would see what the ghost had learned, and he could get started on this adventure. In the meantime he would try to get a little extra rest. Things had been busy and showed no signs of slowing. He wondered how many others had his gift, and if he would ever meet one of the good ones. The next morning Jack woke up to another frigid room. "Don't you ever knock?" Jack asked. "Never mind ... What did Gloria have to tell you? No ... wait till I've had a cup of coffee." Jack started the coffee then showered and got dressed. He filled a cup and walked over to the computer where the ghost was already waiting for him. "What's your name? I'm tired of saying Hey You!" Jack asked. "My name is Richard, Richard Nash," he replied. "What did Gloria have to tell you?" Jack asked. "Only one of the guys that are involved can actually see ghosts. Without him the others wouldn't know if Gloria was even there. We should concentrate on 2
stopping him. Her family lives at 123 W. Elm Street. Her husband and three kids don't even know they are in danger, and Gloria doesn't want us to worry them," Richard said. "What sort of criminal acts are they involved in? How can I get close enough to learn more about them?" Jack asked. "Gloria says that they have a weekly poker game in which Gloria is forced to help the bad guys win. She looks at the other players' cards and uses sign language to indicate what sort of hands they are holding," Richard said. "Well, that gives me a way in, but we'll need more than cheating at cards to put them away," Jack said. "Tell Gloria to keep her eyes and ears open to anything that might be suspicious." Jack entered the bar and looked around. There were a couple of guys sitting at the bar that he had seen hanging around the building where Gloria was being held. Jack sat down near them and ordered a drink. "Where can a guy find some high stakes gambling action around here?" Jack asked the bartender. "I've just hit it big at the tracks and the money is burning a hole in my pocket." "What sort of gambling do you have in mind?" asked one of the guys. "I'm sort of partial to poker," Jack said. "I think something could be arranged. Come to 735 E. Main later today and give them the password PHOENIX. The game starts at 6:00 pm. Don't be late," the other guy said. "I'll be there," Jack replied. Jack went back to his apartment and got some more money. Jack had heard of tricks like using mirrors or hidden cameras, but using a ghost was a new one. Jack knew they would let him win at first to sucker him in and take all his money in one big pot. Jack was hoping to turn the tables on them tonight. Make then desperate enough and they will need to try one of their other criminal activities to make money. Then he could trap them with the help of his friends at the police. Jack knocked at the door and was greeted by a lovely woman about his age. She was dressed like a dancehall gal of the old west. "What's the password?" she asked. "I can't let you in without the password." "Give me a hint," Jack replied. "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" "Go away," she warned. "You don't want to be here anyway." "Phoenix, the password is Phoenix," Jack answered. "May I come in?" She stepped aside and allowed Jack to enter. "Down the hall, second door on the right. Good luck," she said. "You're going to need it." Jack entered the room and found several men seated at a poker table. Jack 3
hadn't seen this much money on a table since he sold one of the antique trinkets a ghost had given him. "Good afternoon, gentlemen. Have you been waiting for me?" Jack asked. "Nice of you guys to offer me all of this money." "Just have a seat so we can get started," said the one at the head of the table. As they played for the first hour or so there had been no sign of Gloria. Jack was doing nicely, having practically doubled his money. He had determined that there were two others at the table that were new suckers like him. They hadn't done badly themselves. As far as Jack could tell, they were all dealing fairly, no slight of hand. But when you have a ghost to help you, who needs slight of hand. Jack watched as the man at the head of the table told one of the men guarding the door to go and get Gloria. A few minutes later the lovely dancehall gal who had greeted him at the door came in with drinks. As she came to his side of the table Jack said, "Hello, Gloria. Nice to see you again." "My name is not Gloria. Would you care for a drink?" she said. "Thanks ... I believe I would," Jack replied. "What do you know about Gloria?" asked the man at the head of the table. "I overheard you telling one of the guard dogs to go and get her, that's all." Jack said. "I was wondering when we would get something to drink so I naturally thought ...". "Okay. Let's get back to the game," he said as Gloria entered the room. She was a lovely woman too and Jack could see why Richard was attracted to her. Gloria stood behind one of the other suckers. Jack watched the dancehall girl avoid her as she passed out the drinks. It was obvious she saw Gloria even though she pretended not to. "Jack was holding a pair of kings and a pair of queens. Jack raised the betting. Gloria walked around to his side of the table and signaled the man at the head of the table. He called Jack's raise and raised the pot even more. The others began to drop out. Jack called his raise and raised again. This continued until the man was all in. They asked for their cards. "I'll take one," Jack told the dealer. "I'll play these," the man said. "He probably has a straight or flush. It would do no good to bluff since he was all in," Jack thought. All Jack needed was a king or queen for a full house. The cards were dealt. Jack picked up his card and without turning it over, he placed it back down on the table. "Aren't you going to look at it?" the man asked. "I feel lucky tonight," Jack said. "Besides we're through betting. Turn over your cards." "Who says we're through betting. He reached into his pocket and pulled out another wad of money. I'll bet one hundred thousand," the man said. "I'll call and raise you another hundred thousand," Jack said as he reached into his pocket. "And I don't even have to look at my card. I can tell you're bluffing 4
with that all in trick you tried to play on me," Jack said. The man didn't like Jack from the beginning and he liked him even less now. He reached for another pocket and called Jack's bet. "Let's see what you got," he said. "You first ... you called me," Jack said. The man turned over a spade flush. Jack turned over his two pair and looked at the card on the table. "I knew this was my lucky day. You should have seen me at the track," Jack said as he turned over the king of hearts. "Full House ... That beats a flush, I think. Well, it's been fun. You don't mind if I come back next week ... do you?" Jack started picking up his money from the table. "Got a paper bag?" he asked. "Rita, would you get the gentleman a bag and show him out," the man said to the dancehall gal. After Rita returned with a paper bag, Jack gathered up the money, placed it in the bag and followed her into the hallway. "That was amazing," she said. "How did you know you had him beat?" "Well, since I didn't have a ghost to help me, I thought a little slight of hand was appropriate," Jack said. "Ghost? What are you talking about?" she asked, trying to look confused. "You know very well what ghost. The one you avoided like the plague when you were passing out the drinks," Jack replied. "Was it that obvious?" she asked. "But you ... You can see ghosts too? We've got to talk about this. I get off in 30 minutes. Meet me later." "The Downtown Cafe, in 45 minutes," Jack suggested. "Okay. See you there," she said. Jack went back to his apartment and dropped off the money. He quickly shaved and combed his hair. "This could be an interesting first date," he thought. In a few minutes he was at the cafe. Rita was entering as he drove up. She wasn't wearing the dancehall gown, but what she was wearing was just as amazing. Jack felt like a teenager on his first date. "This is silly," Jack thought. "She's probably engaged or married, and what is she doing mixed up with those crooks." Jack entered and walked directly to the table where she was seated. "Do I need a password to sit here, ma'am?" Jack said. "Sit down. This is serious. You knew there would be a ghost before she even arrived, didn't you?" she said. "Why were you there and how did you know about Gloria?" 5
"I might ask you the same thing," Jack said. "Fair enough," she said. "But then I want to hear your explanation." Rita lit up a cigarette and took a puff. "That will stunt your growth," Jack said. "I'm trying to quit. I only smoke when I'm nervous," she said. She took another puff and began her story. A ghost had told her about Gloria. The ghost had been in Gloria's situation until an automobile accident had killed his last remaining relatives. He was free now and had asked Rita if she could do something to help Gloria. "So. I make you nervous?" Jack said with a smile. "I was there to try to find a way to help Gloria. Her friend Richard Nash asked me to help her. What do you do for a living when you're not a dancehall gal?" "I help ghosts. Just like you, I expect. If you can see them, you have to help them," she said. "And what does your husband think about your choice of vocation," Jack asked, noticing the ring on her finger. "My husband was killed in the war," Rita said. "What does your wife think about your line of work?" "She died about six years ago. I still wear my ring to remind me that I once had something worth living for," Jack said. "Let's get back to Gloria. How are we going to help her?" "We? Did I ask for your help?" Rita asked. "I don't usually ask for help either, but I think we could make a good team. Our special skill makes us unique. Wouldn't you like to have someone you could share your experiences with that can truly understand," Jack said. "I don't know you that well. This is all so sudden," she said. "Hey. I didn't ask you to marry me ... just work with me," Jack said. "Just what are your plans for helping Gloria?" "I've been trying to find out if they really know Gloria's relatives and how closely they are watching them. I want to get them hidden so the crooks can't find them," Rita replied. "That shouldn't be so hard. From what I've seen, they couldn't find their butts with both hands tied behind their backs. But what about the next ghost they intimidate. We've got to put them in jail where that can't do any more damage," Jack said. "Do you have a plan?" Rita asked. 6
"Yes ... but it will require your help. I'll tell you all about it over dinner," Jack replied. The following week, Jack arrived at the poker game a few minutes late. "Sorry I'm late fellas, I stopped for a couple of drinks to get ready. The last time y'all were so stingy with the liquor that I couldn't enjoy myself," Jack said as he stumbled through the door. "Now where's my seat." "Right here, Jack," said one of the suckers from last week. Jack staggered over to the table and flopped down heavily into the seat. "Anybody ready for a round of drinks?" he asked. "Where's Gloria with the drinks?" "Her name isn't Gloria. Vido ... go tell Rita to bring in some drinks," said the man at the head of the table. "Are we ready to play? Jack, where's your money?" Jack pulled out his wallet, opened it, and hundred dollar bills went flying all over the table. "Oops. There it is," Jack said. "Did I bring enough?" "That will be fine, Jack. Sit down and we'll get it all together for you. Rita, put down those drinks and gather up Mr. Weston's money. The rest of you sit back and let Rita take care of this." In a few minutes the game began. Jack was getting a drink from Rita when the man said, "It's your turn Jack. Call or Raise?" "You keep those drinks coming, Gloria. Oh ... that's right ... You don't like to be called Gloria. But I thank it's such a perty name ... ma'am," Jack said as he patted her on the butt. "Keep your hand to yourself and cut the cowboy crap," said Rita as she brushed his hand aside. "Now Rita, be nice to our guest," said the man. "Call or raise, Jack?" "All this money makes me think of banks," Jack said. "I hate banks. You won't catch me putting my money in a bank." "Where do you put your money, Jack?" asked the man. "Under my bed in a special safe. No combination lock, I had it made special," Jack said. "Aren't you afraid someone will steal it?" asked the man. "I have the only key," Jack said as he stood up and reached into his pocket and pulled out a large pocket knife with a keyring at the end of the handle, "and if anyone tries to take this from me ..." Jack fumbled around opening the knife and the knife went flying and landed in the middle of the table point first, putting a hole in a couple of the discards. "Did someone say CUT THE CARDS?" Jack 7
asked as he flopped back into his seat. "Vito, get over here and do something with this before Mr. Weston hurts someone. You know what to do, and get us a new deck of cards," the man said. Gloria had just come into the room and was standing behind Jack. "Brrr. I feel a chill. This is just like my apartment. No matter how warm I make it or how much scotch I drink, I keep having these chills. Night or day, morning or evening, every day." "Sit still Jack, and tell me more about these chills. You say they happen all the time?" the man asked. Vito came in with the new deck and Rita entered with more drinks. As she went around the table she walked right through Gloria as if she didn't see her. "Brrr," she said as she spilled the drinks all over Jack, "I just felt a chill too." "I'm gonna ketch a cold fer sure," Jack said. "You guys will have to excuse me. I've got to go and get out of these clothes. Where's my key?" "Vito, give Jack his knife and show him out. Rita, clean up this mess. If the rest of our guests will excuse us, we've got a lot to discuss," the man said. "See y'all next week," Jack said as he staggered down the hall. Vito returned to the room. "Guys ... take that copy of Jack's key and go to his apartment tomorrow and rob his safe," the man ordered. "But boss, you know the other guys are afraid of ghosts. Maybe you should come with us," said Vito. "The others, huh? Well, you're probably right. We need a new ghost to replace the one that got away," he said. The next morning Jack left his apartment and drove off in his truck. Not even a hangover, thanks to those watered down drinks Rita had given him. The crooks immediately broke into his apartment. The boss cornered the ghost and began questioning and intimidating him. "Hey boss, the key doesn't work." yelled Vito. "You guys are hopeless, you can't even make a good copy of a key," the boss yelled. "So let's bring the safe with us. Let's go." As they walked back into the living room they heard, "Hands behind your heads. No funny moves. Cuff 'em fellas." "Let me do this," Jack said. "You have the right to remain silent ... Anything you say will be too stupid to repeat in a court of law....Maybe you better do it. I forgot the rest of the words."
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