Having Been Summoned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick gets a call from his friend Chris. The urgency sends Nick back to Ridgeview as fast as he can get there. When he gets there, the situation turns into something that a writer like Nick couldn't have come up.

Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Sometimes it is for the best if you cut off communication with certain people.

I was working on a crossword puzzle in my living room. Sam Jacobs had just left after spending the day drinking with me and telling stories of the old days in Gallatin. Sam was a new friend I had made in the few months I had lived in Gallatin. Life in Gallatin was great. The pace was slower, the people were friendlier, I could be an actual adult. I was very happy with the life I was starting to build for myself.

In all honesty, I guess I was happier that communication with my old friends was rather limited. Not that I didn't miss those guys, I did, but I wanted to be on my own and not drawn into some silly and juvenille act. I was glad too that I didn't have to worry about a newspaper column to write. I called my publisher and told them that once I had finished my last book, I was taking time off. They weren't that understanding, but that didn't matter to me. Needing to unwind and relax was what I needed more than anything. Gallatin provided the place for me to just hide. I didn't want to turn into a J.D. Salinger, but I wanted to be alone.

While I was working on my crossword puzzle, I heard my cell phone ringing. I looked over and saw that it was Chris Messner. I shook my head. Chris was my best friend, but I was not in the mood to talk to him. I let the call go to my voicemail. After 3 minutes Chris called back. I figured I might as well answer it.

"Hello Christopher," I said.

"Where do you get off not calling anybody for six months?" Chris asked.

"It is nice to hear from you," I said. 

"Answer the question," Chris said.

"I wanted to be alone. I didn't want to call anybody until I felt I was ready. Luckily you called at the right time." I said.

"So you are becoming a Cowboy? That I wish I could see." Chris said.

"What are you calling me for Chris?" I asked.

"You are needed in Ridgeview," Chris said.

I laughed. "I am needed in Ridgeview?" I said.

"Gotta come back, Nick. I know you weren't too keen on this place, I wouldn't ask if it wasn't necessary. Let's just say, there is a matter that needs to be resolved by you." Chris said.

"Your not gonna sue me, are you Chris?" I asked. "I would hate for our friendship to be ruined by a lawsuit."

"If that is what it takes for you to come back, I will do it." Chris said.

"What is going on?" I asked. "Talk to me Messner. What the hell is going on? What do I need to resolve in Ridgeview that I can't simply do it over the phone?" 

"Just come back, Nick." Chris said.

Chris hung up. I sat there in a state of confusion. I knew that I had avoided talking to my friends for a long time, but I had never heard Chris with that serious of a tone. It raised my suspicion levels for sure. I walked over to the fridge and grabbed a Pepsi. As I walked back to the couch, my thoughts were on Ridgeview. More specifically, on what exactly required my attention. The more I sat and ran through all the possible scenarios, the more it had occured to me that there really wasn't anything to require an in person appearance. 

Chris just wanted to see me.

It was flattering that my friend had missed me. If that was the fact, he went about it in a weird way of showing it. The writer in me was trying to come up with how I would write the story next. The only thing that seemed to make sense to me was the one thing I had no desire to do.

Go back to Ridgeview.

I shook my head and proceeded to pack a suitcase and purchase a ticket for a flight to Ridgeview. The whole process was something that I would not wish upon anyone. I thought of it as akin to an addict taking a hit of the drug they had just kicked the habit of. After I purchased the ticket, I ended up driving to Bozeman and heading to an airport hotel for the night.

The next morning I left my pickup at the overnight parking and got on my flight. It was quite shocking to me how many people in Bozeman were on board for a flight to Ridgeview. The Reporter in me wanted to ask what in the world would make them go to a place like that. I remembered though that I didn't want to be so negative about the town, even though I had a strong dislike of it. I got on the flight and read my paperback. I wanted my focus on something else before I had to do whatever Chris told me I had too.

We made it to Ridgeview late in the afternoon. I grabbed my duffel bag and made my way to the rental car area. After getting all of that taken care of, the first place I went to was the Tuneup. It was Ridgeview's only honky tonk bar. The place was a throwback to the Urban Cowboy era. Rhonda was the owner of the bar, a former biker queen. She often reminded me of a female Sam Elliott.

I walked in and immediately I saw Chris Messner talking to Jake Portman. Chris was the regional president of the Railroad. He was a good looking guy, 6 ft tall and a swimmers body. He was wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans with his khaki baseball hat. Jake Portman was one of the local comedians in town. He and his partner Casey Freeman were a good duo. Jake had appeared to shave his head recently, wearing a blue fishing shirt and jean shorts with sandals. I walked over to their table.

"OK. I am here," I said.

"Holy god," Jake said.

"He is holy, but now is not the time to talk about that." I said.

"Took you long enough," Chris said.

"It was last minute," I said. "I did the best I could,"

"How's Montana?" Jake asked.

"It's better than here," I said.

"How is it better than here?" Jake asked.

"Because Ridgeview is like the 9th circle of hell. I made my escape and have been very happy because of it." I said.

"I'm sensing some hostility," Jake said.

"Go write some original material," I said.

"What the hell, Nick?" Jake asked. He got up and left after that remark. I turned my attention to Chris.

"Why did you summon me?" I asked.

"I didn't summon you. I simply said that there is something that required your attention." Chris said.

I took a deep breath. I felt my anger build. I wasn't sure why I was angry, but the rage was building. 

"Regardless of the circumstances, I am here. If you do not wish to tell me why I was brought back to Ridgeview, I am gonna look at getting a return flight home." I said.

"Ridgeview is home," Chris said.

"No sir, Gallatin Montana is home for me now." I said.

"How long are you here for?" Chris asked.

"As soon as I can take care of this piece of business, I am back to my house in Montana." I said.

"Did we do something to you? Why are you so angry?" Chris asked,

I clenched my left hand into a fist.

"Damnit, just tell me why I am here." I said.

"Perhaps I can help with that."

I wasn't sure of the voice. I had a hunch and I hoped I was wrong. I took a deep breath and turned around.

Sure enough I wasn't wrong.

It was none other than Katherine Taylor.

I turned to Chris.

"I am gonna kill you," I said.

"Nick, let us explain." Chris said.

Katherine hurried over to the table. At one time, she was the love of my life. One of the biggest singers in the northwest. She was a beauty with black hair and olive skin. Her voice reminded me a lot of Ella Fitzgerald and Linda Ronstadt. She left me two years ago to work in Santa Fe at a theatre. She said that she was a music teacher. I had run into her in Idaho when I worked at the Elkhorn Resort researching a book. I saw her kissing one of the guys she was working with. I never spoke to her again.

"If this is why I am here, our friendship is over." I said.

"Nick, please let us explain to you." Katherine said.

"Sweetheart, this is a waste of time. You look good but I am outta here." I said.

"Just wait Nick. Please. If I need to beg I will." Katherine said.

I had stood up and put myself in the direction of the door. I wanted to make a full time sprint for the door. I was furious with the situation at hand, more furious at myself. Last thing I wanted to do was talk to Katherine. I knew however, that was precisely what I was gonna do.

"OK, I am here." I said. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Chris and I have been dating," Katherine said.

"Of course," I said.

Katherine tilted her head. "What does that mean?" Katherine asked.

"It makes sense why I am here," I said. 

"What are you talking about?" Chris asked.

"I can't get away from this. No matter what I do and how far I travel, I am always some how drawn back into this clusterfuck called my past." I said.

"So are you OK with us dating? We wanted to ask for your blessing." Chris said.

"That was something you couldn't do over the phone? You summoned me here for this?" I said.

"Please Nick, this wasn't easy for either of us." Katherine said.

I walked over to a table and sat down. I reached in my coat pocket and looked at my cell phone. I had one message from Sam. It just said that he hoped all was OK. I wanted to tell him that it wasn't.

"How long has this been going on?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" Chris asked.

"How long have you two been together?" I said.

"I just came back to town a couple of weeks ago," Katherine said. "I came to the Tuneup one night and saw Chris with Lucas and I walked over. Lucas left as soon as I sat down. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like me anymore." 

"He never did." I said.

Katherine nodded her head. "Anyway, Chris and I started talking and one thing led to another." Katherine said.

I was nodding my head. Not so much agreeing with them but understanding more and more of the situation.

"Chris I am rather surprised at you," I said.

Chris tilted his head.

"You know what she did to me. She said she loved me and wanted to be with me forever. I was counting on that promise. But, she left me and went for Matt Carlton. Now she leaves me for two guys in New Mexico. Coming back, she wants to hook up with my best friend. This is typical of her." I said.

"I've changed Nicholas," Katherine said.

"Just be prepared. For the day when she decides that she wants to do something else and leaves you a note that doesn't tell you why. You have to dig around and find out awkwardly in a situation you never thought would happen." I said.

"I am sorry about that Nicholas," Katherine said. "I wish I had done things considerably different. The whole situation could have been handled differently."

"Of course it could have," I said. "You could have just been honest with me from the start and told me that we were through. I had lost you once, had come to terms with that. When you wrote that note saying you were going to New Mexico, I had accepted you were gone too. The funny thing was seeing you in Idaho. I should have really asked what the two guys were doing with you in McCall Idaho of all the places. Not caring though. I had no desire to be around you." 

"You are being rather harsh, Nick," Chris said. Chris stood up from the table. I was under the impression that he was expecting a fight.

"Sit down," I said.

Chris looked at me. I motioned for him to resume sitting. After a minute he walked back to his chair. I just shook my head.

"You know Chris, I am sorry for one thing." I said.

Chris tilted his head.

"I'm sorry that you are even considering a relationship with Katherine. I really am. If I were a real friend, I would do anything I possibly could to stop you from doing something as heinous as this. At the end of the day however, I just don't care." I said.

"You know Nick, you are just getting really harsh these days." Chris said. "Here all this time I thought we were friends."

"Well, it turns out that you thought wrong." I said.

Chris's jaw dropped at the last statement. He looked at me and I just stared as blankly as I could. In all honesty, I didn't care that Katherine and Chris wanted to be together, if that made them happy then so be it. What I was really upset with was the fact that I had to fly out here and have a face to face chat. When a phone call would have worked just fine.

Katherine was starting to cry. I felt for a second, the urge to comfort her. I thought otherwise.

"Why are you crying?" I asked Katherine.

"You have turned cold and mean. I didn't think you were like this. It is just surprising." Katherine said.

I tilted my head.

"It is funny what a broken heart will do to you. It is hilarious what your supposed best friend will do when you move away. It is a laugh riot when you answer a phone call only to find out that all it ends up being is a reminder of why you left certain things and people in the past." I said.

"You are a bastard," Katherine said.

I stood up from the table. Chris and Katherine both had an expression that could only be read as what they had planned didn't work the way they wanted.

"You two have my blessing. Don't ever call me or contact me in any way, shape or form." I said.

I walked to the door. As I made it to the door, I heard Katherine stand up. I paused, waiting to see what she was gonna do.

"Nick," Katherine said.

I turned around to look at her.

"I'm sorry," Katherine said.

"Easy come Katherine, easy go." I said.

I left Ridgeview for the last time. Like the tides that come and go in the ocean, it was time for me to go. 


© Copyright 2017 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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