Waiting for Richard
Location: Sterling, Ohio
“Run!” said Rita, fear catching in her voice.
“Are you kidding me?” replied Skye. “I’m too damn old to run! Want me to have a heart attack? Fall and break a hip? If some slimy son of a bitch wants a piece of me that bad, let him come! He’ll be damn sorry.”
“We gotta get out of here. I’m scared,” Rita whispered. Skye pulled out her cell phone and tapped 9-1-1.
“Yes, we’re in the underground parking garage of the Sterling City Center and we’re being chased by a madman with a knife, and my friend here is scared and I’m too damn old to run. Yes. Skye McKenna. Sixty-six. Well, I’m glad you agree that’s too old to run.”
“Help is on the way, Rita. Calm down.”
“Skye, you don’t know he has a knife!”
“You’re absolutely right! He could have a gun. Shall I call her back and correct myself?” Sirens were blaring in the distance.
“Isn’t this illegal? This is at least a misdemeanor, if not a felony. Skye! We could end up in jail!”
“Would you rather be murdered in the underground parking garage?”
“Then, cry and sniffle, look weak and helpless, and let me handle Sterling’s Finest. Damn! If I knew there was a chance we were going to die on the way to the car, I would’ve had dessert. They make this wonderful strawberry and mascarpone cream cheese torte in there that is pure heaven on a plate.”
A police car pulled up the aisle. Skye and Rita were shouting and waving.
“We’re here! We’re here. Did you see him? He ran that way,” Skye pointed. One officer, the shorter, younger one, took off on foot in the direction of Skye’s pointing finger. The taller, older one stayed with them and tried to calm them down. He walked them to their car and let them sit to rest.
“It’s okay, ladies, you’re safe now. Can you give me a description of this madman with the knife? Height, weight, clothing?” Rita cried and sniffled, shaking her head no.
“About six feet tall, brown hair, brown eyes, stubbly face, jeans, light green tee-shirt with some band name on it, navy pea coat, old black tennis shoes. No jewelry. No visible tattoo. Not a bad looking guy.”
“I’m no judge of weight. Far be it from me to attach a number to the human frame. I know I certainly don’t like it when they do it to me. Not fat, not too skinny, but a slim build. Just right.”
“Thirties, I’m guessing here.
“Chef’s knife. Silver handle, scalloped grip. You can’t buy those individually, you have to buy the whole set. They come with a wooden butcher’s block.”
“Did he brandish the knife at you?”
“Of course, he did! Do you think we would’ve called for help if he were just a prep chef taking his chef’s knife out for a midnight stroll in the underground parking garage? He threatened us.”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Die, bitches!’’”
The other officer came back, shaking his head.
“Couldn’t find him. I heard running and panting, though. There was definitely someone out there who didn’t want to stop and talk to the police. He got away.”
“Were you in the restaurant?” asked Tall Officer. Skye and Rita nodded. “Did he follow you out?” They looked at each other.
“We don’t know. We ate too much. We were just about rolling out of there. We weren’t paying any attention,” said Skye. “Officer, we’re really tired. This has been a harrowing experience. We want to go home. If we remember anything else, we’ll call you, okay?” He took their names and contact numbers and said he’d be in touch.
“Lock your doors. Go straight home, Ladies.” He patted the hood of Skye’s car and let them go. Skye drove away.
“God, Skye, I was scared to death! How can you be so calm?”
“This isn’t calmness. It’s boredom.”
“How can you be bored when we’re being followed by a menacing slasher in a dark underground parking garage at night with a big knife?”
“Did you ever think he might’ve just been some poor shlub walking to his car? Maybe he had a business dinner, or some other meeting. Or maybe he works at Sterling City Center. And, Rita, we didn’t see a weapon, remember? Just because he was in the parking garage at the same time as we were doesn’t mean he was after us or dangerous or a public menace.
“No, no, Skye. He was! He was looking at me funny. And where did you ever come up with that description? That was nothing like him.”
“That cutie pie? Oh, he’s the man in my head! He’s always there, smiling at me. That one walking in the garage? I’m not sure that he was after us, or after anybody.”