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Chapter 30

Ralph Tarrance was emotionally besotted by the appealing widow. But he was not stupid. As he drove back out of the North Side Heights subdivision, he still realized he had to catch up to Peggy.

Where did that damn bitch go???? I’m sure she pulled into this subdivision. Fortunately, there’s no other outlet to this street. If she came in here, she has to come back out.

I’ll just return to the main street, park with my lights off and wait her out. She won’t stay hidden long. I know she has to get home to her precious kid.

That ‘bang’ as she left my office must mean the bitch had a tape recorder in her jacket pocket. I have to get the tape or I could be in trouble. When I get her alone I’m going to get even. She’ll find out what a real man I can be. All I have to do is to wait.

As he drove his BMW out of the subdivision he realized he’d made a mistake by following her too closely. I need to keep further back this time. I need to grab her when she exits her car.

After Peggy wrote the note, she went back to the front window of Ken’s house. The street appeared quiet. Time to move.

She got into the car, locked the doors and pushed the garage door opener. As she droveback towards town, she decided to drive at a normal pace. She figured, if I drive slowly back, ‘on average’ I will have obeyed the speed limit. Too fast going out, too slow going back. My‘average’ speed would be legal.

She saw some car lights behind her. Because they were some distance back and the car appeared to be going slowly, she wasn’t concerned. No way it could be Ralph. He will be racing hither and yon. Thank goodness, Ken gave me his garage door opener.

As Peggy drove, she remembered she needed to buy some milk and eggs. Whenever she needed eggs, she went to Mr. Lansing’s. Mr. Lansing was a farmer who owned a tiny retail store. His eggs were truly home grown. In fact when you bought eggs at his store they were placed in a brown bag, not in one of those fancy egg cartons you get in a supermarket.

As she pulled into Mr. Lansing’s tiny parking lot she noticed it was darker than usual. Apparently the parking lot lights were out. The store was all lit up, so Peggy knew Mr. Lansing was still open.

“Hi Mr. Lansing, do you know your parking lot lights are out?”

“Mrs. Waldren, how are you? Yeah, some kids with sling shots broke all the bulbs yesterday. The Misses won’t let me climb that tall ladder anymore. She made me call the electrician. He promised to be here in the morning.”

When Peggy came out of the store she was still shaking a little bit. She put the bag of eggs and milk onto the passenger seat. She walked around to the driver’s side of the car, reaching for the door handle.

Suddenly, two arms shot out from behind trapping her against the car! She knew instantly Ralph had followed, slithering up behind her in the dark.

Peggy’s stomach felt as if it would drop through her shoes! Her throat went dry. She was certain her heart skipped several beats. Cautiously, she glanced around. Can I scream? The dark parking lot was empty!

“So Mrs. Peggy, out shopping are you?”

She could hear Ralph salivate as he breathed heavily upon her neck.

Peggy looked down. Ralph had spread his legs to keep her from ducking under his arms. No question she was securely ensnared against the side of the car! He grabbed her neck with one hand, roughly shoving her face into the closed car window. Next she felt his slippery hand slide into the pocket of her camel jacket. He pulled out the tape recorder gleefully announcing, “Well what do we have here; this appears to be a tape recorder, doesn’t it Peggy?”

She remained silent.

“Oops I dropped it,” snickered Ralph. “It appears it is now broken; but to make sure I think I will stomp on it a bit. As Peggy glanced down, she could see his foot smashing the tape recorder into hundreds of pieces.

As she watched Peggy saw the cassette pop out of the ruined recorder. Ralph clomped on the cassette extra hard. It shattered into tiny pieces. Giving her an extra hard shove into the car door with one hand, he reached down pulling out the tape itself. The strip of tape disappeared into his pocket.

Slowly, oh so slowly, Peggy forced herself to breathe deeply. She knew she needed to begin to manage her fear. Knowing the tape that mattered was safe in Ken’s house helped a lot.

Ralph grabbed her shoulders, twisting Peggy around until she faced him. “You little bitch. If you try another trick like this one, I’ll run you out of town.”

Putting his face inches from hers, his oily voice switched to an oozing tone, “So, now that I’ve foiled your little game, why don’t we share a kiss to begin our new relationship?”

At that moment, Peggy’s brain switched from petrified to furious. She remained silent as Ralph bent to kiss her lips. Peggy was a jogger. She knew her legs were strong. Daddy always taught me if you get in serious trouble: “Strike hard and hold nothing back.”

As Ralph bent forward, Peggy crashed her knee into his crotch with all the force she could muster. With his feet spread wide apart, a direct hit was easy. It was a ‘knee in the nuts’ of Olympic quality!

Ralph screamed, doubling over in agony!

Both of Ralph’s hands dropped to his crotch. Peggy didn’t hesitate. His unprotected face left a huge target. She doubled up her fist, quickly throwing a straight right as hard as she could. She made sure to put her shoulder into the punch! She aimed for his nose; but at the last second he flinched.

Her fist caught him in the eye. There was a kind of gooey sick sound, which told Peggy she’d really injured him. To her great joy, he toppled over backward!

She whirled into her car, punching the automatic door lock button. Safe inside her locked car, she risked a glance down. Ralph was still doubled up writhing on the ground. Too bad, I’ve rendered him helpless. Thank you Daddy, for teaching me how to punch.

After she started the car she took a second look. Ralph was rolling in pain. She knew she shouldn’t …. but she couldn’t resist. Reaching into the bag beside her she grabbed two fresh eggs. Opening the window, she shouted, “If you lie there all night you’ll need breakfast. She tossed the two eggs. Direct hit! Both of them broke splattering raw egg all over him! Peggy was sure much of the egg went into Ralph’s precious long hair!

As she sped away, she looked back one more time. Ralph remained huddled on the ground, holding his jewels.

Ken called around 9:30, which was 30 minutes early.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, thank God, but it was really spooky.

“Can you talk or is Ned close by?”

“He’s in the next room watching TV.”

“Can I come over? I think you need a hug.”

“I really do need a hug. Tell you what; come over at 10:30. Don’t ring the doorbell just sit on the porch. When I’m sure Ned’s asleep, I’ll open the door. Did you get a duplicate made or was the store closed?”

“I have a duplicate. I also bought a second recorder so I could listen.”

“Well, that’s the first recorder now, the original has been demolished.”


“I’ll tell you at 10:30. Now listen carefully. Leave the cassette hidden in your house. Don’t bring it with you.”


At 10:35, she peeked out the front door leaving the chain in place. Seeing Ken, she scrambled into his arms.

For a long time the two hugged tightly. Finally Peggy whispered, “I put on some hot water, do you want a cup of tea?”

He needed tea. They snuggled together on the couch. As they sipped tea, she shared the entire story. Except for the egg part. She was too embarrassed to share that, even with Ken.

After the story concluded, Ken took Peggy in his arms. They kissed and hugged each other for a long time.

He whispered, “I should’ve been there.”

She replied, “How could you know I needed you? Thank God for your house and for your garage door opener. It certainly saved the tape.

“Ken, he might even have raped me if he’d cornered me in some lonesome place. I’m terrified to go to work tomorrow. The thought of a sexual harassment suit horrifies me. I don’t know what to do.”

“Ever since I heard the tape I’ve been thinking about your difficulty tomorrow if you go in to work. I have an idea. I’m guessing it has approximately a 40% chance of success. Peggy, do you trust me?”

“You know I do.”

“I don’t want to share this idea with you because I don’t want to get your hopes up. Here’s my plan. I’ll see if my idea works early tomorrow morning. I’ll know before it’s time for you to go to work. I’ll call you before then and probably escort you to work. If my idea works, it’ll be great. If it doesn’t, we’ll go in together and talk to Henry Johnson.”

“Well……OK…. . Whatever your idea is, I hope it works. Now you have to go.”

“No I don’t, Peggy. I’m going to stay so I can hold you right here on this couch until you have slept a couple of hours. I’ll go before Ned wakes up.”

“You are the sweetest man.” Peggy kicked off her shoes, slid her legs down the couch, put her head on his chest. Moments later she was asleep. Ken gently covered her with the thin blanket she kept folded up on the couch.

Ken held Peggy for the longest time. Safe in his arms, she felt totally at peace. Ken was not about to leave her alone. He remained on the couch hugging. His thoughts lingered on how much she meant to him. I’m so in love with her.

Hours later Around 0400 she stirred, realized she was still in his arms and gently kissed him.

“What time is it?” she asked.

“Around 0400.”

“Have you been holding me all this time?” she asked sleepily.

“Yes, and I’ve loved every minute of it, Peggy.”

“I’m OK now. Off you go. Thanks for being here for me.”

They kissed and Ken left. He wanted to stay and sleep with her so badly. But there was the Ned factor to consider. He made sure Peggy chain locked the door before he left the porch.

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