December 21. 2022 (Submitted by Howard Diamond)
This is the sixth part in a multipart series. To read from the beginning, click here.
Mystery Man Appears Again
On a warm 60-degree end of March day in Lake Town, Ruth decided to take a walk into town. She waved at the grocery store manager, Ted while he was painting his window, Sal and Tony, the guys at the pizza place and others. Also, she walked into the diner to ask about the open part time position. At this juncture, Ruth left her resume and filled out an application. In the distance, she thought she saw the mystery man.
At around 8pm, Ruth receives a phone call. Several minutes later, another phone call and no one there and again a third, a fourth and at about 9:45pm a fifth. Each one was similar, Ruth picked up the receiver, said hello, but no one was at the other end of the line, and eventually replaced the receiver. At around 10:30, Ruth tried to fall asleep. Generally, Ruth turns off or buzzer mode on her cell phone. Overnight, she receives six text messages from an unknown account, which Ruth believes is from the same person.
When Ruth wakes up she calls Holly and lets her know what happened. A suggestion Holly offered to tell Office Grey. Reluctantly Ruth agreed. Ruth proceeded to phone the police and tell Officer Grey what occurred. He said he would write a report, but nothing else can be done because it was only one night. Two nights later, the calls and the texts returned with a message…” YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!”
The next morning Ruth called and made an appointment for the same day. Before that Ruth phoned Officer Grey who said he will meet with Ruth and Holly. Everyone met at Holly’s office at 3pm the same day. At around 2pm, Ruth received another text message stating, “BEWARE THE STREETS”. A scared Ruth arrived at Holly’s office but had to wait. Secretary Steve greeted Ruth and tried different techniques to get her to calm down. By the time Holly was ready was better and Officer Grey was standing by Ruth’s side and escorted her to Holly’s station.
Since Taylor was out of the office, the three met inside his room for privacy. There Ruth informed them of the prank call earlier in the afternoon. After she was done, Officer Grey asked for Ruth’s cell phone. While he was inspecting her phone, Holly told Ruth that she made a visit for her with Jane at 5pm, she will drop her off and give her exact money to get her home. Upon finishing with Ruth’s phone, Officer Grey filled out and completed more police work that Ruth signed.
Before ending the meeting, Officer Grey wanted to say that there were more things that he wanted to clarify and give the women information. Although all phone numbers were anonymous, he said that they came from the same person. Officer Grey continued, actually there were more than two texts, probably over twenty, with a couple of common themes. Most glaring was spelling mistakes, phrases and questions that were commonly incorrectly stated. This news startled Ruth, but she did not understand why. It was almost 4:30pm when Officer Grey left with Steve and asked him a few questions. Shortly thereafter, Holly and Ruth proceeded to Jane’s building.
PIECES TOGETHER, PIECES BROKEN, MORE PIECES
During the next couple of weeks, Ruth walked into town as usual, no sign of the mystery man and no threatening text messages. Everything seemed to take a lull and that suited Ruth well. Weather outside Lake Town was getting warmer, flowers were blooming, and vegetables were growing. One day last week, friends of Ruth had a picnic in the park.
For Holly things were getting better. Stress levels were manageable and her anxiety was under control. Her brother Andrew called and said was coming to visit the last week in April for a few days. At work Holly’s consumers were doing okay and putting the pieces of the lives together. Taylor, her supervisor met with Assistant Director, Karen Collins on a couple of occasions regarding the vacant Assistant Supervisor position. All Holly knew that there were five candidates remaining. One was Anna Mancini. At the police station, Officer Grey had no news.
April 15, things changed. That day Ruth started her day around 6am and an hour later, she receives another unusual text message. This read, “BEWARE THE STREETS! I WILL BE THERE! I KNOW HOW TO FIND YOU. I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE! BEWARE THE STREETS! Immediately she proceeded to the police station to report to Officer Grey. He will be in at 10:30 about 45 minutes from now. Alright, I will come back then. My name is Ruth Haines, please tell him that I was here and want to speak to him.
Halfway between the police station and the center of town, is a coffee shop so Ruth decided to have breakfast. Ironically, Taylor and Holly chose the same place and walked in around 8:10 and the three ate together. At the table Ruth began to inform the two of what transpired earlier. Both went through her text messages and were upset by what they saw. After the meal, Taylor offered to drive Ruth back to the police station. Taylor said no problem, Holly and I have other cases to go over.
Upon arrival, there was a disturbance outside the station. Someone put a large rock through a window, shattered glass everywhere, nearly hitting Officer Grey in the head. This incident terrified Ruth again and suddenly she received a ding from her phone. Some rocks had attached messages including, BEWARE THE STREETS, “WE KNOW YOU ARE CLOSE” and “WE WILL GET YOU.”
About ninety minutes later. a new text appeared on Ruth’s phone. It read, “BEWARE THE STREETS! I WILL FIND YOU! I KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! LOOK LEFT, LOOK RIGHT! I KNOW HOW TO FIND YOU! BEWARE THE STREETS! BEWARE THE STREETS!” She saw Officer Grey coming toward them. He took down the latest information and he said he will call Ruth soon. Right now, he had to stay here.
NIGHTMARES, A NEW ENCOUNTER, HOLLY LEAVES EARLY
A few days later after the window through the police station, things were getting worse for Ruth again. She was receiving additional texts and phone calls plus these were getting more vulgar. One day when she was leaving therapy, she saw a strange man at the other side of the building. Ruth noticed that he had a cap on backwards and slowly put his hands together. In addition, she heard him whistling, “Take me out to the ballgame”. Although Ruth was not followed home, she arrived safely, but was still shaking.
That evening Ruth had sleep issues. Most of the night she was awoken by the sounds of, “Take me …” and the visuals of that man. Each time she got up, her dreams were getting increasingly clearer. Finally at 9AM, she decided to stay up and start. Tomorrow Ruth has an appointment with Jane, but she will phone her later. Also, she will let Holly know, also.
Upon getting to work, Steve noticed that there was a man making a weird noise at the corner of the building. The man had a hat on and looked disheveled and he appeared to be in need of new clothes. As Steve was opening the office at about 8:30am, he figured out that he might be the mystery man. Like most times, Taylor walked in at exactly 9:00am. Shortly after, Steve wanted to tell Taylor what occurred,
but said he had calls to make. Also, Holly was not in yet, so put on both schedules for 10am.
By the time Holly strolled in at 9:26, the office was bustling with plenty of workers, phone ringing and the clatter of desks being moved. Just a common occurrence in the office between 8:30am to 10am. On Holly’s way, she received a message from Ruth. When she returned the call, Ruth did not pick up. At 10:00am, the chimes outside Taylor’s office and the meeting began. Steve had the floor and told the entire team what had transpired earlier. Various participants expressed and showed concern. After the short fifteen-minute meeting, Taylor said he will phone Officer Grey later this morning.
Except for Steve, no one else knew that Taylor had a meeting with Karen Collins regarding the vacancy of Assistant Supervisor. The two of them discussed three possibilities with other Supervisors. Two were already for the agency and the third was working for an agency twenty miles from here, but in Garland County like us, working as a Case Manager for the Mental Health Court. Ms. Collins ended the discussion by stating she will start meeting with the participants next week and hopes to make a decision soon. Clear schedules, please.
All morning Holly and Ruth did not connect, and albeit that Holly worked only till 12:30, they will talk tomorrow. She reminded Steve about her day, and he said he knew and already told Taylor again. Her afternoon was to pick up her brother, Andrew, at the train depot and spend the rest of the day with him. At around 11:30, Taylor spoke with Officer Grey and said he would be in the office around 2:30 and he would speak with Steve.
ANDREW VISITS, A THIRD MEETING, A PLEASANT WEEKEND
Although Andrew’s train arrived 45 minutes late, Holly didn’t mind much This is because she will spend this Wednesday through Monday with her big brother Andrew. Both were hungry so they went to a local Chinese takeout, had an eggroll, and shared boneless spareribs. one was off to a great start, and both hope that this will continue. Additionally, Holly was scheduled to take off Friday afternoon and Monday to be with Andrew and bring him to the depot on Tuesday morning. Friday morning rolled and Andrew made his younger sister toast and tea, but she ran late and grabbed a half slice of toast before she flew out the door. She had to be in court promptly at 9. Then she needed to be at hospital at 10:30 for a case conference at 11, then go to the office to speak with Steve, sign out and proceeded home. Another half day in the life of a Peer Specialist.
Shortly past five, Steve saw a man lurking around outside the building. It looked like the same man as last time. He motioned he wanted cigarettes, but he said nothing and everything was covered except his eyes and nose. Since Steve did not smoke, he could not provide any. Under the cape, Steve saw him get upset, growl a couple and walk away…or did he? As usual, Steve took his familiar route to his bus stop. A block down, he heard the man right behind him, growl and then run away. 10am, Ruth replacing Office Grey and Taylor plus assorted other staff to give small messages and Steve a weekly update. Things have been relatively quiet since Tuesday, she said. Also, she went to nearby mall and the local shopping center without incident. When Ruth was asked about her sleep, she said it was better and had only a few nightmares about the mystery man and “Take me out …”Then, Ruth wanted to ask Holly a couple of questions. Steve informed Holly was not here this afternoon. Oh Yes, I now recall she will not be here Monday also. Steve said she was correct.
Holly and Andrew spent a good weekend together. They took walks in the two parks in Lake Town, had pizza one night, Andrew cooked another, and had an expensive five course Italian meal. Sunday morning Andrew made an exquisite brunch platter for two. Around Three pm and the two went to a local area
production of “Les Misérables”. Each day the weather was in the 60s by day and 50s by night, with blue sunny days and clear starry nights. Little or no wind accompanied low humidity made the days and nights spectacular.
Tuesday the 29th, the wind has changed direction and speed. It started well when Holly dropped Andrew at the bus depot and she proceeded to work. As soon she arrived, there were two messages from Ruth. At approximately 10:15 am, she spoke to Steve and when Holly was ready, he transferred the call and Ruth explained that she had little or no sleep, had many prank calls and frequent horrible text messages. Also, she mentioned she scheduled a 4:30 appointment with Jane. Holly had a busy day ahead but thought she can cancel her last appointment and meet Ruth at the clinic. Later, Steve received a call from Holly’s consumer, who said he cannot make and the 4:00, so Steve phoned Holly to let her know the details. This meant that Holly was free and she let Steve inform Ruth today to meet her. “Beware the Winds of Change.”
This is the sixth part in a multipart series. To read from the beginning, click here.
Stay right here for Random Act By a Peer Specialist: Part VII … Coming Soon
See you in the NewsBlogs and Newsletters, Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island/