Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: The Final Gig
By Judy Webb
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“Mrs. Porter, I am sorry, but I have to ask you these questions,” said the investigator. “Did your husband say anything that might give us something to go on? Has he been acting out of character or suffered a job loss. Are you having financial problems that he can’t deal with?” The questions continued and Jazz answered all of them the same, no, no, no and no.
Then he asked the one question that Jazz was afraid of hearing, “Mrs. Porter has Mr. Porter had contact with anyone unusual recently, perhaps someone from his past? Is there anyone who might want to harm him?”
Jazz considered this question before responding. She gestured to the answering machine attached to their home phone. “There was a message left here two days ago that I didn’t understand. It was from a woman Len knew many years ago. She asked him to call her back, said she wanted to get the band back together one last time, before the end.”
“What did she mean, ‘before the end’?”
“I have no idea. I asked Len and he just said that Yellow Bird was always the drama queen. He returned her call later that evening, but it was a short conversation and he didn’t elaborate except to say he was going to have coffee with her in the morning.”
“Did you say Yellow Bird?”
“Oh, that is her stage-name; Janine Walters is her legal name. She wore a yellow boa when she performed, that’s how she got the name. Len had a rock band many years ago. Yellow Bird was the lead singer. The band broke up after only a couple of years.”
“Has there been any contact before this by any of the members?”
“There was a reunion about four years ago, but, once they learned that Len had become a believer, the group pretty much dropped him.”
Just then the back door creaked; Jazz jumped up and ran through the kitchen. “Len, where have you been? Are you alright? Why did you disappear like that?”
Jazz glanced behind Len and recognized Janine and the rest of the band following behind her husband. “I’ll explain in a minute,” Len said.
“Officer, I am sorry for the confusion. I know I scared my wife by not contacting her, but as you can see, I am safe. Thanks for your trouble.”
Raising an eyebrow the officer turned to leave, “This is why we wait 24-hours to take a missing persons report.”
Jazz stood there, puzzled and afraid to ask what was happening. Len broke the silence by inviting his friends in and asking everyone to sit down. He took Jazz by the hand and led her to the seat next to Yellow Bird.
Len began, “Jazz, do you remember the phone message from Yellow Bird saying she wanted to get the band back together one last time?”
“Yes. Don’t tell me you are going to start playing with the band again.”
“No, that is not what this is about. She wanted us to get together again before the end. That is, before she dies. Janine has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has been given months to live. Her doctor suggested she get her affairs in order; to her that meant preparing to meet Jesus.”
Jazz was speechless by this revelation. She knew the band dropped them because of their new found ‘religion’. She and Len allowed the band to pull away but prayed for them often, not forcing anything on them.
Grasping Len’s hand tightly Jazz turned to the band and with tears trickling down her face she smiled. Using her given name said, “Oh, Janine, I am so sorry, but I have to admit that I feel privileged that you choose to turn to Len – to us – to help you prepare.”
Janine said, “Len told me about Jesus and why He is so important to you both. I always believed in Jesus, it just wasn’t important to me until now. I just hope it isn’t too late.”
With her free hand, Jazz touched Janine’s shoulder and smiled at her friend. “It is never too late. Jesus loves you and has been waiting. It just took the doctor’s prognosis to open your eyes and heart to Him.”
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