“Why did I cross that road?” {Reconstructed by Molly Rodgers}

First Person:

*tap* so anyway, is this thing on? um… I’m Janey Soblerg and I’m trying out my new (to me) mini-cassette recorder, trying to maybe finally finish my novel, hey, whatever works. Course I’m not gonna use my real name on the cover, probably a Penn-name like, you know, ‘William’, or Sean. ‘cept they’re boys’ names. Is that a problem? guess I’ll edit out the PMS scene. *laughs* Who cares though, I might just throw the whole thing in the dumpster if this higher learning thing works out. *better check if it’s recording* {gnidrocer s’ti..”} *click* yeah, it works! Anyway, the box it came in says ‘Take it anywhere!’ and that’s prolly when it hit me: “Yes, but I’m not going ‘anywhere’!”  “Lightweight but surprisingly shock-resistant” they also said. Yeah, that-there is ME, at least. so yeah, the gizmo will survive a fall onto concrete. Wait, is that an omen, a foreboding, a prophetic sign, a thesaurus? Oh my, we’re not supposed to learn about tricks like that till second semester at the School. Which is just about across the street from me here in Dopplerville. Yes, now I reveal where I’m going, to the Podunk County campus of College of the Air. Housed in an airy building with ivy covered walls. Well, ivy-covered wire screens; the original walls collapsed in the late 50s and they never had the budget to replace them. Oh well, dress warmly in January. I’m not saying their credentials are ‘iffy’, but I did have to look twice before I signed up for the right MFA program. At first, by mistake, I was lined up for a History course, Master of Feudal Activities. Except that they spelled it ‘Futile’ in the brochure(!) That class uses an old textbook by the late great Bennet Serf, so they say.
Anyway *how much tape did I use? Wow, hardly any. great, but maybe it means, like the Beatles said about Her Majesty, that “she doesn’t have a lot to say”*} Ok, so anyway, I got my ski mask on just right. Sure hope nobody recognizes me. Oh no, she saw me! Waved too. Do I know her? Kinda hard to see out of this thing. Oh yeah, it’s Molly. *whew, coulda been worse. Molly Rogers, she has a boy in my son’s class. Sweet enough. Think I told her once, a little tipsy, that I was an aspiring  writer. Oh well, might as well leave the mike on, it works even here in my coat pocket. Might get some new angle on dialogue. “Molly, nice to see you. We met at that Halloween thing. At school”…”Oh yeah, Joanie, I remember.”… “Janie. I’m..um.. on my way to the supermarket. A nice walk, not worth firing up the Prius.”… “Yeah, I’m walking too, going to the Corrections…you know…office. see what I can do for my brother, he’s been locked up too long, and they took the Chevy, It was in his name, dammit!”…”Sorry to hear it. we should have lunch, Molly, maybe I can help you. Oops, i’m late, wanna buy a couple new outfits before the sale ends. Gotta spend those royalty checks before the dollar goes totally broke.”… Yeah, you said you were a writer. I always wanted to do that too, but, you know, with the kids and all.”… “Nice chatting, Molly. See ya soon”.
*did that record? Wow, perfect. I should be a spy.
So, now out of clear and present societal danger, whew, I have just one more street to cross. So much traffic at 10 AM? least it’s not a dark and stormy night, even though that woulda saved me thinking up a first line. Guess I’ll go with ‘Call me, Ishmael!’ the story is, after all, about the struggles of a young writer, and I sent samples to God know how many countries. Ok, now ‘Cross the Road’, as I prophesied in the title, gotta stick with the progra*** *SPLAT!!!*

End of Tape, End of First Person.

Rogers’ Version, as told by Ms Molly Rogers

Dear Reader, let us pause a respectful second, you and me. It’s been four months since I found the tape recorder, after the ambulances and the police did what they could to ‘clear the intersection’. You may hear the bitterness in my voice. Even the ski-cap she was wearing ended up in the gutter, a final insult to this brave soul who wanted only to fine-tune her writerly ‘voice.
You are reading this book, one would hope, out of that simple human empathy for a brave soul cut down in the middle of her life’s dream. (Or, out of purely morbid curiosity and boredom, which the book, with its eye-catching cover promises to satisfy and relieve, respectively.
In the appendix you will find my complete transcription of Janey’s last words on the tape. You will note that I have since then researched her collected writings, through the generous personal help of the folks at her long-time blogging site, who gave me unlimited access to their Archives. Ms Soblerg was without question an extremely gifted narrator, and I am grateful to have met her, albeit briefly. Such a crying shame that her final meeting was with a municipal garbage truck.
And now, that said, let us begin to tell her Story, shall we?

Third Person, unreliable:

…From an eyewitness at the scene of the incident:
“So yeah, there was this kinda weird-looking lady, cute though, blonde hair under a ski-mask or something. She was talking into a phone, I guess. The truck didn’t even brake, just ran her over like she wasn’t there. Everybody stopped what they were doing and watched, till they took her away. A little excitement here in Dopplerville. Oh, there was this one lady who was, like, crying and shit. The cops talked to her a while, then told her to go home. She was kinda cute too, but too old for me…”

FOR OBL, of course, who gives me goosebumps, but in a good way. If you are not Following her, you are missing her actual saga (this story is fictitious, duh, and thank God) and, just as importantly, missing her insights into life as we (slowly) come to know it, hers and ours./ JS



12 thoughts on ““Why did I cross that road?” {Reconstructed by Molly Rodgers}

  1. Roadkill Spatula

    There is actually a Podunk, VT, according to wikieverything. Mark Twain made a joking reference to Podunk in 1869; he lived not far from Podunk, NY, and the Podunk River.

    I misread the Molly Rogers portion as being narrated by Mr. Rogers, and heard his voice as I read until I realized that the wording didn’t sound like Fred at all. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood… Splat!”

    1. solberg73 Post author

      yes, and Podunk=Podville=Dopplerville.. ‘Roger’s Version’ was (and is) the title of one of the Run,Rabbit,Run series by wha’s his name, a writerly writer of repute.
      Tim,, this is a simple fleshing out of a nightmare i had about , (who woulda thunk), MS. OBLADI and I’m trying to understand 1st person, 2nd person etc in their various stripes.

  2. eleanorio

    Jolly Molly Rogers, sad Janey Solberg. Any similarity to any person living or dead is purely coincidental, correct? I am relieved to know that.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Nope. re-read it. Molly, a bystander, is still very much alive. It’s OBL who trained and paid a ringer to sacrifice her life in Vermont in an elaborate feigned death ruse. Wait, maybe *I* need to re-read. Thanks for the ‘Like’. I think that gives me 10c off on a cup of coffee but I’d have to check ‘Help’.

  3. ordinarybutloud

    I can’t believe you killed me off!!!! In three different POVs! Brilliant, my dear. I will look out when I cross the street from now on. Not that I wasn’t looking out before. I *was* looking out, before I was fictionally killed off three times in three different POVs, but *now* I’ll be extra-special careful. Ah, my archives. Killed off. By me.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      *Giant sigh of relief* Every time I give in to the compulsion to ‘diddle’ with your vastly-inspiring personna, I then hold my breath awaiting some signal that I have, as yet, not crossed the line into Jody Foster manic adulation. (something like that)
      Oy, there be parallels I hadn’t considered. As in “I loved her so much I had to kill her!’
      At any rate, my intentions are purely playful. Your mention of ‘Person’ in writing struck a sensitive nerve, I guess. I have 982 posts in my Archives here (*hint*) most of which are in the ‘Unreliable First Person’.
      Once again,, do alert me if my ‘fan-boi’ madness reaches a level at which intervention is warranted. ♥ JS

      1. ordinarybutloud

        I would like to avoid being killed or stalked but other than that I’m okay with adulation. Yep, killing and stalking, I think that about covers it as far as my comfort zone. Marking down Thursday to send me a message on wordpress does not count as stalking. Googling obscure references from my years of blogging to pinpoint my geographic location and then asking a “friend” in a nearby spy agency to photograph me coming in and out my front door = stalking.


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