Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Fox of Philadelphia ( Part 1 of a short story)

The Fox of Philadelphia
By Michael P. Tremoglie

“You know the more I think about it, the more I figure it’s a good idea if you and Mikey go stay with your sister for a while,” Ilario Enna said to his young wife. “I can’t be around that much with the way this case is going and she can help you take care of Mikey. Besides she would love having a one year old around the house.”
“Yeah, and who is going to take care of you, Larry?” replied Katie Enna, using the name everybody on the Philadelphia Police Department called him.
“I can take care of myself,” Larry replied indignantly.
“I know you can,” Katie responded plaintively “It’s just that I hate the idea of leaving you alone. It’s not like there aren’t people around here who won’t help me with the baby if I need it.”
“Yeah, but we don’t want to burden anyone. If I thought your sister would be burdened I wouldn’t tell you to go there either. But she is always asking you to spend a few weeks with her, and it might be a good thing for both of you.”
It was no use arguing. Katie knew that. She was going to go. Besides, if she stayed and he worried about them, it would affect his job. She certainly did not want that to happen. She knew the case was a dangerous one because, normally, Larry never talked about his work. Although he tried not to alarm her, just the mere fact he suggested she spend some time with her sister in Chicago made her apprehensive. Katie knew her husband too well not to be concerned.
Katie, whose real name was Caterina, was an attractive young woman with raven black hair and beautiful blue eyes. She, like her husband, was twenty-three years old.
Larry and Katie had known each other since they were infants. The two of them had immigrated to the United States, with their families, from the same town in Sicily twenty years earlier. Their families settled on the same street in South Philadelphia.
They fell in love with each other and were married shortly after Larry became a Philadelphia police officer - three years after graduating high school. Two years later, their son Michael was born.
Both sets of parents returned to Italy not long after they married. Larry’s father returned to Sicily – something he always planned to do. Katie’s father’s plant closed. He got a job with a company that wanted him to manage their Rome office.
Neither of them had any aunts or uncles who lived in the United States. Larry had two older brothers. They moved away years earlier and he rarely spoke with them.
Katie had one sister, Ida, who married, Herman Meadows, an Iowa farmer turned Chicago factory foreman. They lived in Elmwood Park, Illinois just outside of Chicago. Despite the distance, Katie and Ida maintained a close relationship.

A few weeks after their conversation, Katie and Michael flew to Chicago to visit Ida. However, she desperately missed her husband and worried about him every day. The fact that he did not call heightened her anxiety.
Four months after she arrived at her sister’s house in Chicago, Katie flew back to Philadelphia, without the baby, for a surprise visit with her husband. Ida objected to her returning so soon, nonetheless, she enjoyed taking care of her nephew and she could not prevent Katie from going.
Katie arrived at the house in the evening. She wanted to surprise Larry. As she unlocked the door she noticed that the lock had some scratches on it – as did the doorjamb.
The house was empty. Larry is probably still at work, she thought, as she climbed the steps to the second floor bedroom. When she got to the landing, she peered into her bedroom and noticed Larry’s legs on the bed.
She got a knot in her stomach.
She walked softly into the room. He snored ever so softly. She smiled, leaned over and kissed him. He awoke; startled at first, then he smiled, grabbed her and kissed her.
“What are you doing here? Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”
“I wanted to surprise you. You had me a little worried there. “
“Yeah, I normally don’t sleep so soundly. This investigation’s got me goin’ for a few days now, so I took something to help me sleep.”
“I didn’t know what happened,” Katie said with a smile. “I got scared, especially after I saw the scratches on the doorknob and doorjamb. It looked like someone broke in. I thought somebody killed you.”
“Scratches?” Larry asked, a note of concern in his voice. “Whaddaya mean? Show me.”
He quickly got out of bed and walked down the stairway to the front door. Katie was a few steps behind him.
Midway down the stairway they saw the flash of the explosion come up the stairway - neither lived long enough to hear the sound.

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