Growler Ink, Alternative Story Line #1
To Say that Sally Well and Growler Ink were made for one another, would be a slight understatement. Sally thrived at Growler, the work was exciting, magical, imaginative, creative, and the atmosphere more like a daily gathering of friends at a back-yard barbeque than work.
The stuffiest bunch of folks at Growler Ink were the News folks. Facts were God and Growler no twist or spin. The lengths they went, checks, and balances that were part of the routine often had those guys flummoxed. Believing they had everything necessary to push a story out but the bosses insisting on one more read through, or another source, or an alternate check on the background of a source.
Sally had told Mitch that she would rather be homeless then go through what those guys must endure getting a story published. It had been half a year now since Mr. Wren had given her the additional task of an uninterested eye for the Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Albania newsgroup. Meaning she had to read and edit the news articles coming from those poor souls. The only saving grace was she edited for voice and tone, not source or fact.
“By Far it is the worst part of my Job baby, but even it is more enjoyable than any other job I have ever had,” Sally said as she sipped coffee at the desk in her room.
“Nice, maybe we should go on Vacation to Moldova so you can get a feel for the people and the vibe. I here Chisinau is beautiful in the summer.”
“Oooh, look at Officer Trowelsted doing his research. Not no, but hell no. Hawaii, or California, beach, and sun. You hear me?”
“Yes, Ma’am. Mark my words babe it’s only a matter of time before they decide you need to visit the place.”
“Hush, don’t you jinx me like that.”
Months later in Moldova Sally sat alone in a room with wood panel walls, Marble floors, and nondescript plain furnishings waiting to talk with someone. She had been plucked from her hotel room by Moldovan Police Officers and a man named Igor Greceanii, his ID said detective on it. She was scared, and really wanted to call Mitch but she had no cell service in this room.
The door opened and a flurry of folks entered the room. Two pushed service carts that carried pitchers, glasses, small plates, and pastries. Another young lady carried a tablecloth that she preceded to drape over the table, then she shifted to assisting the others in setting two places with dining wear, napkin, utensils, and glasses. Two other gentlemen entered carrying high back plush cushioned chairs which they sat at the table and removed the uncomfortable wooden chairs. Sally sat on the dingy chair next to a side table watching this oddity unfold mouth agape in disbelief. Then all but one man left the room, the door remained open, the man stood by the serving cart hand towel draped over his left arm, he stood motionless and silent.
“I demand you let me contact the American Embassy,” Sally said to the motionless mute man. He didn’t move or even glance her way with his eyes. She fell silent again.
Moments later Detective Greceanii came in. He walked toward her plain-faced. Sally was scared.
“I demand you let me …..”
She fell silent as Detective Igor Greceanii raised his right arm out in front of him index finger pointing her direction wagging back and forth.
“Not time for you to demand here, Ms. Well.”
He spoke with what she thought was a bad Russian accent, or maybe it was a good Russian accent and American movies were just bad places to learn what Bad Russian accents sounded like.
“Please join me, I think coffee, pastries, and a chat will calm your nerves and improve your demeanor.”
He motioned to the table with the same hand, pivoted, and stood behind a chair that he pulled out for her and waited.
“What is this? What am I doing here?” Sally spoke as she came and sat, Igor pushed the chair in as she sat.
“Ah, Ms. Sally Well, creator of Bang and misfire, such an entertaining comic, I do so enjoy. I only wish it were translated. Sometimes I have hard time understanding American humor. Perhaps an Autograph.”
Detective Greceanii smiled, gestured to the attendant setting him in motion, and presenting the latest copy of Bang and Misfire as he spoke.
The attendant poured water, then coffee, and lastly serving two pastries, he then pushed the cart a few feet further away from the table and left the room closing the door behind him.
“Wait, really! You kidnap me and whisk me away to this place and then ask for my autograph. Are you crazy?”
“Ms. Sally, please, this is not kidnaping, if you kidnap in Moldova, I not think you so lively. Now have drink, eat, we chat.”
Two hours later the van pulled up in front of her hotel and dropped her off. She went straight to her room and cried, then contacted the other Growler Ink employees she was with to let them know she was ok. She would explain her absence later. Then she cried some more and slept.
Back home she sat in the breakfast nook with Officer Mitch Trowelsted, recounting the drama that had befallen her in Moldova.
“What! And they told you all this why?”
“They want me to tell Mr. Wren that if he doesn’t stop his drug smuggling operations in Moldova, that all his business activities in Moldova will be seized and his employees arrested. I mean how do you tell your boss something like that.”
“Dang! Ummm. I guess you just tell him. Don’t hold back or hesitate.”
“Just like that? Thanks, Mitch.”
She folded her hands around the coffee mug letting the heat soak in.
“I do have a couple of questions, how did it feel to learn you have fans in Moldova and did you give him an autograph?”
“Shut up! Good, fantastic actually.” A smile broke the tension in her jaw.
“And the autograph?”
“Ugh, four, he had original copies of issues 1–4.”
They both laughed.
Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.
T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.