Speak Easy
1920s America...where the gin joints were underground, the liquor was fine, women enjoyed life, and organized crime was born.
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J.A. Fletcher

A very beautiful convalescent home in Boston. There are many former veterans here who spent many of their days basking in the sunlight in one of the beautiful gardens around the complex.

8/1/2011 #1
J.A. Fletcher

It had been a few days since Joe Whalen was transferred out of the hospital upon his request and the doctor's agreement, although that was partly due to a sizeable check written by Joe. He was now on the balcony of his suite, also due to a large check, sitting in a wicker-padded wheelchair. Joe was clothed in a beautiful satin smoking jacket, pajama trousers and slippers, with an unlit pipe on his lap.

"Oh, nurse Beatty?" He called over his shoulder. The nurse was inside his suite, straightening things up. She hurried out on his command, and he flashed her a suave grin. She giggled and blushed heavily, being a few years younger than he, and taken in by his good looks. "Nurse Beatty, if I may have another cup of tea?"

"Of course, Mr. Whalen." She patted his hand gently, although Joe knew that it was more than a friendly and complient gesture.

She was back with the tea almost instantly, and Joe dismissed her to see to her other charges. He sipped his tea and looked out at the Boston skyline. What had become of Alice? Oh, dear Alice. Alice was - Alice was something else. Alice was beautiful - and her body wasn't bad either - but she was more than that. She was more than the French ladies that had frenched Joe during the war. She was intellegent, she had a personality that any fellow could go for. Being with her for that little while was like - it was like falling deep in love minute after minute, even moment after moment. Alice was the nicest girl he had ever met.

Where was she? Had she wondered about Joe? Did she know that he had come out of his coma? How often had she come to see him while he was under? Had she come at all? Did she feel the same way about Joe as he had felt about her? If she had, then Joe knew that he had found the one girl to make his life complete. Every time he had seen Alice, it was like seeing something in a dream. Only this dream had come true. Or had it? It felt like a dream. It felt so surreal that Joe just had to wonder - had it happened? Had he really met a girl named Alice Stevens? It had to be a dream. No girl could be that wonderful.

Joe had only one wish at that moment. He wished that he could feel the touch of her sweet lips against his for at least one moment. And he knew that it probably was not going to happen anytime soon, if it were going to happen at all. He pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the tears that were coming. But he could not stop his feelings.

He cried.

8/1/2011 #2
J.A. Fletcher

A riveting explosion nearly shook what was a mere husk of a building off its crumbling foundation. With the bombardment of the town came the loosening of the earth, and many of the structures that were still standing amongst the sea of rubble were in constant danger of collapsing upon their occupants.The occupants of the now-rattling building were Joe Whalen and Andy Sherman, two young Americans who had decided to try their hand in the war against the Kaiser by joining the French Foreign Legion. Joe, in the recruitment stages, had envisioned romantic rolling desert sand dunes, with flowering palm trees blossoming out of the red sand here and there. He imagined himself fighting off hordes of nomadic infidels, armed with old flintlock muskets and gleaming sabers. He imagined a solitary Legionnaire fortress, flying high a lone French flag as he and his diverse band of comrades fended off barbarians outside the walls.

Andy, a midwestern farmboy, had joined for mysterious reasons of his own. But neither imagined that they would be fighting in a -"MOVE!" Joe shouted to Andy. He burst forward from his kneeling position and ran a German soldier through with his bayonet. The German had been stealthily moving toward Andy, the artillery bombardment masking his footsteps. The German clutched the bayonet which had pierced his D-strap and had gone all the way through his stomach. Joe shoved the bayonet in a bit more, twisting it to finish the job. The soldier groaned, and Joe waited until he fell to the ground to pull his bayonet out.

8/2/2011 . Edited 8/2/2011 #3
J.A. Fletcher

Joe spun around. "My Lord!" He exclaimed as he did so. "Did you see that-"

He was immediately struck by a horrible burning sensation. His view was clouded by thick gray smoke, and he heard a high buzzing in his ears as he was knocked off his feet. He coughed and sputtered as he lay on the ground, waiting for the smoke and dust to clear. He shouted Andy's name, but no sound came out of his mouth. Rather, he could not hear his own voice. He called Andy again, inaudibly. He stood up slowly and reached his open hand out in front of him, picking his way through the cloud to dissipate. He called Andy again. Whether Andy answered him, he could not tell. The smoke thinned enough to see Andy's headless body on the ground, the neck scorched. Joe screamed.

He screamed loudly, waking everybody in the rooms around him. He writhed and contorted in his bed, twisting the sheets around him better than he could have purposely. "NO!" He cried out. "NO! GODDAMN IT, NO!"

He heard his room burst open and nurse Gutierrez and a male orderly rush into his bedroom. Nurse Gutierrez sat by him and soothed him in her gentle accented voice, while the orderly wiped the sweat from his forehead and hoped that the nurse could calm Joe down. He finally subsided his screaming after a very long two minutes, and the orderly left, leaving the nurse to sit by Joe quietly, holding his hand until he went back to sleep.

8/3/2011 #4
Phoebe Powers

((From Hospital))

When Alice reached the convalescent home, she slowed and stared at the building. She could only hope that they would allow her to see Joe. Obviously she was not family, nor was she married to Joe. In her mind she had fantasized about what could have happened if things had gone well, but according to the rules of the medical profession she really was nothing more than a friend.

She walked over to the front desk. "Excuse me, I am here to see Joe Whalen."

8/5/2011 #5
J.A. Fletcher

The man at the front desk looked her over. "Who might you be?" He asked. "And for that matter, why are you visiting at this hour?"

8/5/2011 #6
Phoebe Powers

"My name is Alice Stevens. I am a nurse at the Hospital. I realize that this may be entirely inappropriate but Joe is really important to me. If I could just see him for a few minutes, I would really appreciate it."

8/5/2011 #7
J.A. Fletcher

"Do you have some sort of identification?" He asked, putting down his copy of Melody magazine.

8/5/2011 #8
Phoebe Powers

"Of course I do," Alice said as she reached into her purse to pull out her identification for the hospital. She grabbed it and handed the card to the man at the front desk.

8/5/2011 #9
J.A. Fletcher

The man shrugged and handed it back. "Faked."

8/5/2011 #10
Phoebe Powers

"It is not a fake. You can call the Hospital to verify."

8/5/2011 #11
J.A. Fletcher

"I was only kidding." He gave her directions to Joe's room.

8/5/2011 #12
J.A. Fletcher

Joe was wading through a sea of blood. The shore on both sides of him were miles away, and blackened by millions of artillery shells. Above his head rockets exploded in great arches as though he were walking through a hellish cathedral.

8/5/2011 #13
Phoebe Powers

Alice let out a sigh of relief. "Thank you." Then she headed down the hall towards Joe's room. At the door she stopped, not quite knowing what she would find when she went inside. She still remembered all the gun shots that had pierced through Joe; it could have done so much damage. Letting out a slow deep breath, Alice reached up and knocked on the door.

8/5/2011 #14
J.A. Fletcher

Nurse Gutierrez dropped Joe's hand and quietly tip-toed to the door. She opened it slowly, and peered out cautiously to see the white woman standing outside the door. She put her index finger lightly to her lips.

"Shhhh..."

8/5/2011 #15
Phoebe Powers

"Oh, I'm sorry. If he's asleep then I can come back some other time," Alice said, keeping her voice soft. In all her thoughts of what could have happened, she had not thought of the possibility that Joe would be asleep.

8/5/2011 #16
J.A. Fletcher

((Really, Phoebes? That's probably the only thing you've done that I have to complain about))

"Who are you?"

8/5/2011 #17
Phoebe Powers

"I'm Alice Stevens. It's an extremely long and complicated story but I know Joe will want to see me."

((I do not control my characters. Don't blame me for Alice's actions.))

8/5/2011 #18
Phoebe Powers

"Perhaps I could just sit with him for a few minutes," Alice said after a moment.

8/5/2011 #19
J.A. Fletcher

((Wait, wait, wait...do you mean to tell me that I'm not responsible for what my characters do? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?))

"I don't know..." Nurse Gutierrez said reluctantly.

8/5/2011 #20
Phoebe Powers

((Well I don't know about your characters but mine have minds of their own. I've given up on trying to get them to do what I want them to.))

"I promise I won't wake him or anything. I just...I really need to see him."

8/5/2011 #21
J.A. Fletcher

Nurse Gutierrez felt a little suspicion, but she saw the look in Alice's eyes and nodded her head. "Do not disturb him. It was very hard getting him to sleep.

((Wouldn't it be romantic if Alice did a Snow White "Love's first kiss" thing to Joe?))

8/5/2011 #22
Phoebe Powers

((Now why would she do that after promising not to wake him?))

"Thank you so much." Alice slipped into the room and made her way to where Joe was sleeping and she slipped into the chair next to him. As she sat there she studied his face. He seemed a little older but otherwise he looked the same. She wanted to reach out and set a hand on top of his hand but she balled her hands into fists so she wouldn't.

Oh, Joe. I cannot believe I allowed myself to believe that you were dead. It was not as if I heard an actual official declaration that you were gone. Did you think I didn't want to see you?

8/5/2011 #23
J.A. Fletcher

((Love knows no bounds))

Joe continued wading upstream through the bloody river with his Springfield in his hands. He saw a light on the horizon, and moved quickly toward it.

8/5/2011 #24
Phoebe Powers

She turned and looked to see if the Nurse was watching. Then she slowly reached out and gently set her hand on top of his hand. Feeling his warm flesh underneath her hand was reassuring; now she could truly believe that he was alive.

8/5/2011 #25
J.A. Fletcher

Joe felt as though he was touched by the heavens. He felt an eerie glow, more eerie than the river of blood around him.

8/5/2011 #26
Phoebe Powers

((You're just trying to force me into getting her to kiss him, aren't you?))

She had to keep herself from crying. This was a lot to take in and she was still coming to terms with the fact that she had mourned his death. Yet here he was, lying in front of her, very much alive.

The potential, the possibilities that had come from meeting Joe had loomed over her since that fateful day. Now that those possibilities were more than just silly thoughts, she felt that she could not just sit there, regardless of the promise she had given the nurse.

Alice pushed herself up out of the chair and leaned over Joe. Slowly she moved closer until there was no space between them and she placed a gentle kiss on his lips.

8/5/2011 #27
J.A. Fletcher

((Your kisses are special, Phoebes))

Joe felt lips against his and opened his eyes slowly. He knew that he was kissing someone, but who was it? Nurse Beatty? Nurse Gutierrez?

8/5/2011 #28
Phoebe Powers

Alice pulled away to find that Joe's eyes were open. She moved back to her seat beside him and gave a small smile.

8/5/2011 #29
J.A. Fletcher

No. Joe thought, his eyes widening in horror. He was not seeing what he thought he was seeing. He could not say a word, but could only stared at what he hoped was Alice, but knew was only a dream.

8/5/2011 #30
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