Couch Matinee: "ROGERS BAY" Episode 1

Written by Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The DJ hit the play button and the sounds of the Kool and The Gang song “CELEBRATION” filled the banquet hall. This was timed to coincide with the end of the main course. He was practiced enough to know when the guests were done and beginning to get restless, wanting to get back out and party.

The guests at the wedding of Phil and Sally Michaels streamed to the dance floor. The DJ, Steve Dixon encouraged the guests over his wireless microphone…”It’s time to party now that dinner is over…let’s get our bride and groom onto the dance floor!”

Burger, Fries and Large Drink


As Mary Alice Silber passed the “Welcome” Sign for Rogers Bay, she looked down to see the odometer on her 1986 Dodge Colt click over the 138,000 mile mark. With a small, sad smile she pondered the oddity of this occurrence. When she had “run” from Rogers Bay at the age of 16, the car was one year old and the odometer read 11,000 miles.

The oldies radio station from the city 50 miles away played through the tinny speakers located on the top of the dashboard. Again she smiled sadly as she realized the song had been released in 1986, during the spring just a few months before she had packed the Colt in June, after her sophomore year in high school had ended and driven out of Rogers Bay. A song she and her girlfriends had listened to in the basement of Mary Alice’s parent’s home, or danced to on the beach when they would cut out of school.


Around town Mary Alice, Ann Murphy, Mary Beth Snyder, Liz Johnson, Lee Ann Paterson and Elizabeth Stevens were known as the “Bay Babes”. They had all started kindergarten together, had been girl scouts for a few years, moved from Rogers Elementary School to Kennedy Junior High and eventually walked the halls of County High. From the time they were freshman, they were the clique everyone wanted to be a part of, but theirs was a closed group…no other members allowed.

Growing up, Mary Alice’s parents ran the diner on Main Street in Rogers Bay. When her friends would go home for dinner, Mary Alice would rush to the diner to sit in the kitchen, do her homework, and watch her dad as he cooked the meals for the tourists who would flock to the thriving resort community, while her mother acted as Hostess and cashier up front.

Driving onto Main Street, she was not surprised to see the same sign in every third store window.


Looking to her left, a tear formed at the corner of her eye looking at the empty space that had been Silber’s Diner. The sign was still above the main window, part of the neon broken after years of neglect.

Coming to the one light in the town, Mary Alice turned the car left and followed the road as it wound upward to the cliffs above Rogers Bay. When she crested the hill, she pulled the car into the gravel parking area, laughing to herself as she saw the “Scenic Overlook” sign upon entering the small parking lot.

As she had hoped, on this gray day in October, the lot was empty. She pulled the Colt to the far side of the lot, turned off the radio and then turned the key. The car showed its age and shuddered into silence.

Opening the door, Mary Alice grabbed her coat from the back seat and pulled it on tight as the winter began making its presence known. Walking to the edge of the cliff she peered out at the waters of the bay.

How many times had she stood in this same spot? The number was too big to calculate. Pulling her jacket closer, Mary Alice thought back to her last winter in Rogers Bay to those months when everything was normal here in Rogers Bay.


Then, in January, everything changed. Mary Alice shivered, only this time it was not from the cold wind, but rather from the memories.

Right after Christmas, Mary Alice learned that not everything was rosy in the Silber household. She began to hear arguments coming from her parent’s bedroom when they had thought she was asleep. It seemed like they grew louder and louder each evening.

At first, Mary Alice could not hear the subjects of the fights, but then one night after about two weeks, she climbed out of her bed and quietly padded to the door outside her parents room. Putting her ear to the door she sat quietly and listened as her father berated her mother for having an affair with Mr. Hill, who was the owner of the company that supplied the produce to their diner.

Mary Alice snuck back to her room and fell asleep that night covering her pillow with tears. Over the next weeks, the arguments continued and her father began sleeping in the third bedroom. Neither her mom nor dad had guessed that Mary Alice was aware of the nature of their fights.

Then one day, Mary Alice had finished her homework and she and her dad left the restaurant. Her mother never came home that evening and after that, never lived in the house. She began sleeping in the small apartment above the restaurant.

Neither ever discussed the real issue behind their breakup with Mary Alice. The next Saturday afternoon as Mary Alice, Liz J. and Ann were on their way to the movies, she told her friends about the breakup of her happy home. Her girlfriends listened silently and showed true sympathy for their friend.

Mary Alice took one last look at the bay and walked back to her car. She slipped behind the wheel and started the car. She turned the heater on and sat there letting the car warm up.

She put the car into reverse and began to pull out of the lot. When she reached the road, she turned the knob on the radio. From the speakers came an ad for the megaplex movie theatre that was showing 20 different movies. It was such a change from when she and the girls would walk into town and go to the Odeon Theatre. They showed one movie which ran every evening and 4 times on Saturday. Each Friday a new movie would premier.


As the ad ended the disc jockey came on and introduced the next song. Mary Alice wondered if they were programming just for her today. This day she returned to Rogers Bay after being gone for 20-years.

This song had been the #1 hit the week, Mary Alice actually left town.

Turning right out of the parking lot, she followed the road down about 2 miles and made a left onto “Old Cemetery Road.” Another chill formed at the base of Mary Alice’s spine and worked its way up to the base of her neck. She reached down and turned the heat up higher, even though she knew it was not the cold, but was generated by her thoughts.

The iron gates of the “Blessed Eternity” cemetery loomed ahead. Driving under the archway Mary Alice thought back to the last time she had actually been on this property. It had been the day before she had packed the Colt and headed out of town.

Pulling deeper into the property, the tall trees planted throughout blocked out even more of the gray day light, bringing an extra gloom to this depressing place.

Mary Alice pulled over, turned of the radio and, once again, as she turned the key the car rattled to silence. She wondered when the time would come when she tried to start the Colt and it would sit, without coming to life.

Opening the door, she was shocked to realize it seemed even colder here then on the open cliff over the bay. Again, she wondered if it was truly the weather.

Walking between the headstones, she walked directly to the one she was looking for. She did not even wonder how she could remember its exact location after twenty years. Looking down at the engraving the tears came without warning. Reaching into her pocket, she grabbed a tissue and began wiping them away as fast as they came.


Her thoughts flashed back to that Saturday at the movies once again. When the three girls arrived at the theatre, Mary Beth, Elizabeth and Lee Ann were waiting a few doors down smoking cigarettes. The “Bay Babes” had all taken up smoking at the same time over the past summer. It gave them another common bond that the “outsiders’ could not join in on.

They stood around for a bit and then headed into the theatre to see “Pretty In Pink.” They all strolled down the aisle, enjoying the whispers that followed them, both the whispers of jealousy and the whispers of hate.

When the movie ended the “Bay Babes” all left the theatre and began walking down the sidewalk. Mary Alice was chatting with Ann and Lee Ann. Behind them Mary Beth, Elizabeth and Liz J. all walked together chatting.

When they arrived at King’s Burgers, they took their normal table just inside the door. This way, everyone who entered or left would have to pass the table of the most important group in Rogers Bay.

After their Pepsi's and burgers were delivered, Elizabeth looked over at Mary Alice and, with a smile on her face, spoke, “So, Mary Alice…you mom is slutting around with Mr. Hill and your dad kicked her out of the house. That must suck for you.”

Mary Alice practically leaped across the table and the two girls fell to the floor scratching and hitting each other. It took all four of the other girls to pull them apart.

Once they were separated, Mr. King told them all to get out and that they would be banned if they ever did anything like this ever again. Mary Alice stormed out of the restaurant and left her friends behind.

That Monday at school, Mary Alice stayed to herself even after Elizabeth tried to apologize and Ann tried to act as a mediator. Mary Alice just hated Elizabeth for her words and wanted nothing to do with her.

She also knew, deep in her heart that Elizabeth had spoken the truth and hated her mother for putting her in that situation.

When she sat by herself at lunch she could hear the other kids whispering and knew that the subject of the fight at King’s was now oozing throughout the school and that by the end of the day every student would know of her family’s dirty secret.

Looking down at the headstone, Mary Alice’s tears came even harder as the words choked out of her…”How could you… why did you have to ruin my life?”

End of Part One….


An Original Work Of Fiction Copyright 2007 - V.E.M.
Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is purely coincidental.
Originally Published On 3/12/07

0 reviews

Post a Comment


This is a collection of my works of fiction. They began as an occasional post on my home blog BIG LEATHER COUCH and then evolved into MONDAY MATINEE ON THE COUCH.

I wanted to find a spot for them all to reside and to make it more convenient for anyone wanting to explore the recesses of my brain.

Hopefully, you will find something you like here. Two stories, THE QUEST and HER FATE are unfinished novels.

I have done much work on THE QUEST and hope in the next year to finish it and see if it can be published. HER FATE, on the other hand is much more involved and might never get finished!

Music On The Couch

BlogBlast For Peace