It has been three days since Agatha disappeared.
I look again at the ticket. I don’t know how it got into my wallet. I didn’t even go out the night before.
When was the last time I looked in my wallet? Yesterday morning, when I was in the coffee shop? Noon, when I bought an Italian sausage with onions and peppers from the bodega in Union Square?
The ticket says, “Friday, June 9th. 9:08 PM to 11:42 PM. It’s such an odd time, like something on British TV. And there is no location.
Agatha and I had gone to some crazy vaudeville-type show, in the back room of one of the Union Square bars. It was Monday. No, Tuesday.
The next morning, she had left a note on our bed, which said, “Will be back in a bit.” Nothing more.
She hadn’t come back by the time I left for work that day. She wasn’t home when I got home, around seven o’clock. The last time I actually saw her was when we went to bed the night before.
I find a map and inspect it. Yes, there are any number of places where “Dr. Hillenbrand’s Arena of Mysterious Mysteries” could be.
My best guess is the local pharmacy. I had gotten an abortifacient there when Agatha had miscarried, but the baby had not been expelled. It had worked.
Who is this Dr Hillenbrand? Is he a real doctor, or just some charlatan who calls himself a doctor. “Oddities and surprises,” the ticket says. Sounds like a P.T. Barnum-type scam to me.
But I am out of leads. I called her mother in England, making sure that I don’t let anything on. I called her best friend; the friend’s husband says Katherine is in California attending to her due-any-minute cousin.
Why I didn’t call the police? As I read the police blotter in the Record American, I count no less than twelve ads for children and dogs either lost, stolen, or missing. I have long since learned to ignored them, to my discredit.
I have to do this alone. If Dr Hillenbrand and his cadre see even one other person, it will alert them. I want to make them think that I suspect nothing.
I go upstairs to our bedroom and wash, shave, and dress.
I go to the bureau and rummage through the top drawer.
I take my grandfather’s Smith and Wesson snub-nose 33 and walk out the door.
“It’s the morning of June 9th. You find this ticket in your wallet with no memory of how it got there. What happens next?” (Writing Prompt #87)