I don’t know why I thought a ten-to-seven shift would be so great. No time in the morning to do anything useful except get ready for work, and too tired at night to exert myself with housework, or think about going out. Seven-to-four, at least, got me home early enough to do something, though the ungodly hour I had to get up and face walking to the subway station had scared me when my team first had that shift, and that’s when I found out how many people rode the subway at six-thirty. That’s why I took the switch, figuring I’d get off at four, and head out to LaGuardia for a shuttle flight to DC. My team had the next two days off, and this was a chance to see the capital. I’d gotten a great airline discount at a very good hotel.
Now, as I stare at the alarm clock with one eye half open waiting for it to tick down to 530AM, I remember that the shuttles go every hour on the hour until 10P. So I feel a bit foolish, but it will give me an early evening arrival in DC. That’s if I get a seat, as I am on standby. Antsy, I can’t wait, or rather I can’t bear to hear the horrific clang of the alarm, so I hit the off button seconds before the blast. Don’t go back to sleep,-Don’t! Don’t! Feeling one eye open is good enough, I swing my legs out of bed to the ice cold floor and that does it for the other eye to pop open. Having set up the percolator the night before, I quickly plug it in while heading to the bathroom.
Even at this hour, I still peek out the door before stepping out. Why, I don’t know, because I’m very aware that ghosts never sleep, and sure enough Rachel and her husband are standing on the stairs. Rachel never talks. Moaning and crying is what she does, and her husband screams in, I think, German. Nothing from either of them this morning, so I glance to my right. I don’t see Ben Senior, the one I’d prefer to see and talk with, but he indicated that he is now gone for good. I hurry out the front door and down the stone stairs of the brownstone, high-heels clicking, I worry about waking the living.
Walking to the subway at this hour is a bit creepy, but there are still enough people using the stop under the Museum of Natural History that I don’t feel I have to cab it, and I luck out when a B train comes, meaning I don’t have to change at Columbus Circle. I get off under Stern’s department store and walk the few blocks to the building that Atlantic Basin’s res office is located in. I get my headset out of my locker, head to the bays, which are mostly empty at this hour. I say hello to most of the team I’m working with today, and realize it is Marty Carper’s team. And sure enough when he comes over to verify my switch, that poor, sad ghost of his dead wife is hanging on him like the proverbial albatross of legend. I don’t make eye contact with it, but one of these days, no maybe years, I’ll have to find out why she clings to him.
You can read more about Paulette in Brownstone Burial from the “Paulette Palinsky Travel” mystery series.
About Brownstone Burial
1947 murders come to haunt Paulette Palinsky when she leaves her small town for the big city of New York in 1963 to escape her reputation of cavorting with spirits. She is starting a new career as an airline reservations agent when she finds herself falling in love with those wonderful old New York houses: Brownstones. Thrilled when she finds a small studio in one, she forgets how old they are and the secrets they may hold. The first ghost to make contact used to be a NY detective and knows exactly what she needs to do to get the case reopened. Reluctantly, Paulette agrees, and learns that three murders happened that day in 1947, and that her landlord is the son of one of the ghosts and the nephew of the other two. He isn’t happy with her poking her nose into his family affairs. Pauly finds herself sandwiched between the living and the dead, finding clues that soon involve the airline she works for.
# # # # # # # # # # #
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, September 11 for your chance to win a print copy of Brownstone Burial. (US entries only, please.)
Meet the author
Patricia Gulley is a retired travel agent, and did time at two airlines as a res and fares agent. ‘I know what it takes to get people on those great adventures.’ Born in Pennsylvania, escaped to New York, then headed to Oregon, she lives in a floating home on the Columbia River.