Saturday, March 8, 2014


      Her computer pinged, making Jeannette jump. She laughed as the instant messaging screen popped up on her computer. Max Randolph.
      Hey, pal. What's up?
      Just wondering if Nathan has lived up to his promise and gotten online yet.
      Actually, yes. Max made an open-mouthed, wide-eyed icon in the instant messaging box. The problem is deciding what screen name he wants, can you believe that? Why do you want to know?
      I have some news, and I'd like to tell him at the same time I tell you, instead of asking you to pass the news along as usual.
      Ooooh, now you've got me interested. What's the news?
      The doorbell rang.
      Hold on. Let me answer the door.
      Don't leave me hanging!
      Jeannette laughed as she got up and scurried from the spare bedroom, down the hall to the front door. Just as she reached to open the door, she caught the blue and red flash of police cruiser lights through the front window. Something wrapped around her, cold and piercing, before she even opened the door.
      "Hey, Jen," Arnie Willis said, ducking his head at the last moment and refusing to meet her gaze. "I'm sorry." He looked past her, into the living room.
      "Brody's not here," she offered. She focused on wondering why one of Brody's basketball buddies would stop by the cottage while he was on duty. And use the flashers while he was at it.
      "He's in the hospital."
      Jeannette nearly forgot to IM Max and let her know she was heading out. She grabbed her coat and stocking cap and was halfway to the door. Arnie was already in the cruiser, with the door open, waiting for her. She scurried into the spare room and tapped out her message.
      Pray. That was a cop friend. Brody's in the hospital. Bad ice storms all over.

      She waited for the bong that meant the message had been received. Then she clicked on the buttons to close down the Internet connection, then the computer, and headed for the front door before she got confirmation of the commands. If Max responded before the connection closed, Jeannette had no idea.

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