Joan's Book Shelf

For our visitors reading pleasure we are serializing some of our short stories.  Be sure to stop by every four weeks and read the latest installment.

Maudes Deceptions- Part One

“If you feel that way about me, don’t come to visit,” Godfrey James yelled as the guard dragged him out of the Trenton Prison’s visiting room.
Alex James grit his teeth. After an argument with his estranged brother, Alex didn’t relish battling the rain to return to Manhattan. He’d be better off finding a cheap place to stay the night and getting something to eat. He could head back to the city the following morning. Good thing his boss knew that he was here. Ashamed of brother’s incarceration, he’d told Mr. Alcot that he had to check in on his ailing aunt.
            Alex hurried to the ticket counter in the bus station. “It’s pouring out there. When’s the next bus?”
“Sorry son. You just missed the last one. The next one isn’t until very early in the morning,” the agent replied.
Alex would have to go with Plan B.
“Do you know a place I can rent a room for the night?”
The man behind the window took one look at the dark circles under Alex’s eyes as well as his sagging shoulders and wrote a number on a slip of paper.
“Go to Maude’s Inn. It’s not the Hilton, but the rooms are clean, and the old lady makes a great breakfast. Tell her I sent you. She likes referrals.”
            “Thanks,” Alex said walking out to the taxi stand.
En route to the Inn, Alex popped another Tums into his mouth. The way his luck was running, the innkeeper was probably a crazy old lady.
A half hour later, the cab arrived.  Alex gathered his jacket collar tighter around his neck and stepped outside. The rain, which subsided during the drive to Maude’s , returned with a vengeance. After handing the driver a paltry tip, Alex raced up the rickety wooden steps and rang the doorbell.
“Who’s there?” a nervous voice asked. 
            Alex positioned himself in front of the peephole so the proprietress could look him over.
            “My name is Alex James. The bus station attendant said that you might have a vacancy for the night.”
The door opened with a chain attached.
            “Can I see some identification?” Maude Franklin asked.
Alex held his driver’s license at eye level. He heard the chain come off the latch.
            “Sorry if I appeared a bit paranoid, but one never knows who’s roaming these streets with the prison so close,” she said.
End of Part One, be sure and visit in late January for the next installment.