Thursday: "Just Gotta"
Friday: Short Fiction
Saturday:Challenge: Using prose or poetry, write anything you want (fiction, nonfiction, or essay) but include the words: ramose, georgic, and marplot.
Telemarketers Have Souls
As the fourth ring jingled inside his headset, the lines inched closer to the edge of his tongue. He had been trained to turn his script over when the fourth ring began, but by Tuesday afternoon he knew the company's weekly message by heart. No one picked up after four rings. No one picked up at all really.
Five rings. He cleared his throat, pulling his tongue away from the deepening gorge in his back molar, and waited for Grover or Sheila Underhill to tell him their preferred format of leaving a message, but Margaret, their daughter, proved to be a marplot to his usual message routine.
"You've reached the Underhill family. As most of you know, our daughter Margaret has been missing for two days. If you have any information please contact the Brentwood police department or leave it here with us. We're eternally grateful for your thoughts and prayers."
Grover Underhill's voice echoed in his head, leaving him to breathe unevenly into his headset well after the answering machine's quiet chirp sounded. He ended the call and yanked the headset away, letting it bounce against his desk.
"Why didn't you leave a message?"
He hadn't noticed the round bellied manager, hadn't heard his short strained breaths that filled the small room during the large man's hourly stroll through row of cubicles. The manager stared dully at him, waiting for an answer, more as an excuse to catch his breath than to berate him.
"They just..." he started.
"Leave the message. You just gotta leave the message. I know it doesn't do any good, but you just gotta do it. Company policy," the manager said.
"You've reached the Underhills. If you're calling with information regarding our daughter Margaret, please leave your name and phone number, along with your information. Also please forward your information to the Brentwood police department, ask for Detective Morgan. It's been three days. The police need information faster than we do."
The large green eyes, locked between long dark curls, stared, out of his computer screen, back into his own. The same photo had appeared on an old man's newspaper, but he'd paid no attention to the headline. The wide smile she wore could not have been associated with bad news.
Skipping lunch, he read every article that he could find on the sixteen year old Margaret and her disappearance.
Last seen by her friends, leaving Caroline's Creamery. Only five miles from her house.
2002 Green Ford Taurus.
She was happy.
That night he found her blog. Her last post, "Ramose Oak," was simply a poem and a smiley face. He reread the georgic poem over and over, committing it to memory faster than his work script. It wasn't special, probably just written for her English class, but he felt like he knew her from reading it. The other posts were typical updates on a young lady's life. She'd failed to make the dance team, but didn't really care. She'd only tried out so she could practice with her friends. She wanted a Jeep, but would have to drive her mother’s Taurus.
“You’ve reached the Underhills. Margaret, our daughter, has been missing for four days now. Please take the effort you would use for prayer and turn it toward our current search efforts.”
“This is Sheila Underhill. Five days ago my daughter went missing. As you can imagine, this is a trying time for myself and my family. Information regarding Margaret is greatly appreciated. Please forward any information to the police as well.”
He returned his phone to it’s cradle. Without his script in front of him, nothing came to his tongue.
He called the Underhills’ number every day. During the second week, Grover took over the messages again, after Sheila had let a sob slip onto the recording. Grover’s voice was back to the calm tone he had heard during his first call. He guess reality was sinking in for Grover.
Some night’s he would see Margaret’s green eyes while he slept. She would pass him on the street and shoot her eyes toward him, or she would stare at him while he waited for his coffee, smiling her wide smile in thanks for the quiet concern he’d shown her and her parents. When he opened his eyes from these dreams, the red digits on his alarm clock greeted him, and he knew. He knew that the young girl was somewhere she had never thought she’d be, blood stalled in her veins, or spilled from them. Her body was alone in the night, eyes open to the stars.
“You’ve reached the Underhills. It has been two months since Margaret went missing. Any information on her whereabouts should be delivered to the Brentwood police. We just… Just gotta… We all need to keep our eyes open for her.”