Are You Alienated (part eight)

Are You Alienated (part eight)

Are You Alienated
(part eight)








“No, this is Mrs. Graham. May I take a message?”

Well, awkward. Cammie, Minta guessed to be in her late twenties. Which was no reason she shouldn’t live with her mother. But she wanted to speak to Cammie only to learn why she’d lied, not to give support to the lie.

She offered minimal information. “I’m Minta Castelberry. Do you have my number, Mrs. Graham? Cammie stopped by to see me, and I wasn’t home.”

She tossed her phone onto the sofa and looked at Quentin.

“Yeah, this place needs work,” he said. “Be a bitch, trying to sell it. I figure it’d sit on the market a long time.”

“Kills that idea, then,” Minta answered.


Dr. Slater had assigned her the task of locating two people.

These were former students, last known to Slater during the early ‘80s. Presumably he had some contribution to the October tour in mind, which these two might make.

So, Minta asked herself, where do I look for someone who’s been missing for thirty years? She decided to compose one of her emails to Emmett. It would make an organizational exercise. And he might answer.

She thought at first that she had heard from him. The message identified the sender as “me”—but an Emmett reference had been part of the subject line, and Minta, after opening it, found herself amazed.


Actually, you need not refer to my old rank in addressing me; it has been many years since I have had to do with the army. Friends call me Doug. I hope I may call you Minta. You will let me know if you object. In any case, Ms. Castelberry, I have been informed that you are interested in John Emmett. I may be of some help to you.


“Well,” she said aloud, “what do you mean by ‘interested’, and which John Emmett?”

And, under the circumstances, how could she not contact Torbay?

She did not yet hit Reply. The name Brian Virgil appeared at the top of Minta’s list of two. She did a cursory search, pulled a news article, checked social icons that popped at the bottom of the page, reminding her of their existence—visited seven of these sites. Two hours later, she’d ruled out all of numerous Brian Virgils. Including the one with a “Space 1999” Pinterest board.

Making a sticky note, she typed “BriVi”; underneath, she indented and put “not social”. The alumni office had listed him as a native of Crescent City, California. So, the hometown newspaper?

She began composing her phantom email to Emmett.




Are You Alienated
Are You Alienated (part eight)

More of this piece on Are You Alienated page
Are You Alienated: part nine (excerpt)












(2015, Stephanie Foster)



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