produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #23 (Wednesday 5/23/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
same day, September 1935


Joe's Cafe"So, are you having a good time?" Burt asked as he looked across the table at Janet.

"Very much so," she smiled.  It had been such a long time since she'd enjoyed herself in the company of a man.  She couldn't explain it, but Burt sparked feelings in her that she hadn't felt in ages.  "So, tell me, exactly how did you wind up in Albanyville?"

"It's a long story," he laughed as he reached out and took her hand.

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Joe's CafeBurt Lamont"Well, I was born and raised in Kentucky," Burt began.  He thought back on his childhood and realized that things were much simpler then.  "Just your average childhood, I guess.  Once I grew up, I worked for several years as a horse trainer."

"What about your family?"  Janet watched him intently.  She was completely fascinated by him and wanted to know everything she could.

"I don't think I could love anyone more than I love my mother," he confessed as he thought back on all the sacrifices she'd made for him over the years.  "My father, on the other hand..."

"Why?  What did he do?"

"Well, to tell the truth, Pa was never really the loving sort.  He was always out playing the horses or drinking with his buddies.  He never really seemed to have much time for us."  Burt looked away for a moment as if the thought of his father was too painful to remember.  "Finally, when my little brother Randy was still young, Pa just took off and left.  He kinda disappeared off the face of the planet.  We never saw him again."

"Oh, Burt, I-I'm so sorry!"  Janet gave his hand and slight squeeze and looked at him with such compassion.

"Not long after that, Ma started getting sick.  She really couldn't work to support herself and Randy anymore so it became my job to take care of all of us."  Burt grew solemn as he began to think about the dark times that followed.  "When the economy got as bad as it is, the horse farm had to cut back and I lost my job.  I thought I would quickly get snatched up by another farm, but it didn't happen.  Jobs were becoming more and more scarce.  I couldn't even get a job as a paperboy."

"W-what happened?"

"Finally, I left Ma and Randy in Kentucky and went to New York," he continued.  "I eventually found work as a bartender in a nightclub.  It was a good job and I met lots of interesting people..."  Burt caught himself when he realized he was about to say too much.  "Anyway, the money wasn't all that good.  I couldn't support myself and still have enough money to send home.  I left New York and decided to try my luck in Chicago, but work prospects were even slimmer there.  Eventually, what little money I'd managed to hold back began to run out.  I didn't know what to do.  I was getting really desperate."

Janet Stokes"That's horrible!"  Janet quietly began to make comparisons between Burt's life and her own.  Although she'd been born into a family of wealth and privilege while he'd been born into a family of poverty and hardship, she could almost understand what he'd gone through.  "H-how did you wind up here?"

"Well, actually it was by luck."  He smiled as he thought about the stroke of good fortune that had landed upon him.  "I was still in contact with some of my horse trainer friends.  One of them told me that they'd heard the Callisons were looking for a caretaker for their stables.  Since Albanyville is relatively close to Chicago, I made a beeline here and got the job.  That's basically all there is to tell."

"I'm glad you found your way to Albanyville."  Janet looked at him and smiled.  "If you hadn't, I would never have met you."

"I'm glad I'm here, too."  Burt held her hand gently in his.  He paused for a moment and then looked up at her.  "So, Janet, tell me about you.  Tell me about the Scott family."

Janet swallowed hard and began to grow nervous.  How could she tell him about the Scott family when they didn't even exist?


The Wishing Well Soda ShoppeRandy LamontRandy walked cautiously into The Well.  He hadn't really begun to feel comfortable in his new school.  All the other students stayed away from him because he was new and he was finding it difficult to make friends.  This was not at all like his old school in Kentucky.  He hung his head as he walked, trying not to stand out.  He should have watched were he was going.  With a thud, he collided with another customer.  He looked up quickly and was deeply surprised to find himself again standing in front of Maggie Callison.  But now, Maggie was covered in the cherry milkshake he'd just knocked from her hands.

"Oh, my god!  Look what you've done!" Maggie gasped as she held out her hands.  The sticky pink beverage dripped off of her hands and stained her blouse.  "How can you be so clumsy?"  She looked up at him and began to seethe with fury when she realized who was the cause of her mess.  "You!  Do you always make it a habit of running over me and getting in my way?"

"I-I'm sorry," Randy muttered nervously as he grabbed a stack of napkins.  "Here, let me help!"  He rushed to wipe the mess off of Maggie, but she quickly pulled away.

Maggie Callison"Leave me alone!" she yelled as she yanked the napkins out of his hand.  "I can do that!  I don't need your help!"  She urgently blotted the spilled milkshake off of herself.

"I didn't mean to cause such a mess," Randy muttered nervously.  "I really am sorry!  I-I guess I'm a little clumsy."

"A little?"  Maggie glared at him angrily.  "You must be a complete idiot!  I don't know why you had to come here!  Why couldn't you have just stayed where ever you came from?"

Randy swallowed hard and quickly looked away to hide his embarrassment.  Why did he have to leave Kentucky?  Why did Burt have to drag them here to this horrible town?