The Mysterious Letter – Chapters 1 Thru 5

themysteriousletter

Chapter 1: The Letter

I originally wrote this story back in 2007 on an old message board and it turned out crappy. However, the idea and premises behind it had me intrigued to go for a re-write. I changed the character and the plot a little, but the same idea remains the same. So please don’t hold back your critique when reviewing as it’s always welcomed 🙂

Plopped on the couch, beer in one hand, phone in the other, Brad Keselowski was content in watching the latest movie that he had been able to find. Given the comedy level, he knew that he’d be entertained for the rest of the night.

Though, of course, peace and quiet wasn’t in the cards as he heard a knock on his door. His mind immediately surfaced as to who it could be, knowing there were only a couple of options. Joey was looking for someone to hang with while his fiancé was busy, or it was his dear neighbor Dale on another little layer.

Those thoughts immediately escaped his mind when he opened the door, seeing a shorter individual standing there.

“Well you weren’t who I was expecting,” Brad comments. “What can I help you with, Chase?” Chase looks down at his toes, already hating that he was having to ask this question with it only being his second week living on Dale’s property.

“Dale and Amy are out and I sort of have a problem,” Chase starts. “I forgot the passcode to open the gates.” Brad shakes his head, unamused immediately, though not surprised. Chase was only 18 and 18 year olds, as he remembered, never remembered details that well. They were thinking about going fast, living the life and girls….a lot of girls.

“So you’re bargaining that I know the passcode so you can get in?” Chase shakes his head yes as that had been his theory, since Brad lived in the pool house before him. “Your lucky kid as Dale still trusts me to have that information. Passcode is 8732-5053-15.” He watches as Chase jots it down on his phone. “Don’t ask how I remember it. I forgot it for the first month that I was there. Anything else?” Chase shakes his head no.

“Thanks man. I appreciate it. Oh, and I found this at the end of your driveway.” Chase then hands Brad an empty envelope, in which Brad takes immediately.

“Thanks. Probably just some random fan who found out where I lived and wanted to drop a note.”

“Do they do that often?” Brad shrugs his shoulders.

“Not really, because not many people know where we are located. Listen, don’t worry about it and anytime you forgot the passcode, don’t be afraid to ask.”

“Got it. Thanks Brad.”

The pair of them then trade their goodbyes before Brad closes the door and flops back on the couch, envelope in hand. He slowly tears it open, having become a custom to the random envelopes at the end of the driveway.

Reading over the details, he immediately rolls his eyes. Typical fan who didn’t like his attitude and felt the need to express their opinion. Nothing new in his eyes as that was how the boat rocked.

Though for the rest of the night, the letter caught his eye a couple more times rather than that movie he was hoping to enjoy. It wasn’t the first letter that had been written in this hand writing or style. It wasn’t the first letter that had the same tone that this letter contained.

This had been going on for the past three weeks with Brad finding a total of 15 letters written in the same style. Some of them he’d get at the Team Penske shop in the fan mail, others he’d get at his own shop, and a couple now had surfaced at his house.

However, he was determined to remain unfrazzled by it at all as the only though that crossed his mind – just a random angry fan, nothing to worry about as it was part of being who he was.

 

Chapter 2: Friday

For the two days that followed, Brad was determined to put the letter out of his mind. He wanted to forget that he had received it that day, or any day prior. He kept writing it off as it just a random fan with their random threats of notes. He focused on the responsibilities at hand, and sending out some tweets to keep himself amused.

However, no matter how hard he tried, the letter kept entering his thought process as it wasn’t like the typical letter. The style was different in how they wrote it, and how they had been delivered. Without a doubt, it just felt….different.

Brad could only hope that race weekend would bring some distraction to the cause for him so that way he could forget the letter even existed. Perhaps focusing on winning both races that weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway would bring the perfect distraction. Focus on driving, focus on winning – don’t let anything else interfere.

With Sprint Cup Series final practice set to start in the next 10 minutes, Brad strolls his way into his stall, set to climb in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford and get some much needed practice laps on the board. He wanted a win at Indianapolis just as badly as any other driver for the prestige, but also simply because he wanted a win.

“So, I started out with the second set-up from the first practice since you liked that the best,” his crew chief Paul Wolfe comments.

“Sounds good,” Brad replies, approving of the idea.

His car felt good during the first practice and had decent speed as he was able to post a solid time in the top 10. Though if he was to beat the Hendrick cars, he was going to have to step up his game. He knew that and it was why he demanded that his brain totally focused on the weekend at hand.

As the clock to practice continues to tick down, Brad reaches in the car and grabs his HANS device, placing it on his shoulders. He then reaches in the car to grab his helmet, when instead his hands brush across a piece of paper. He then grabs it, confused, as he had never found a note in his car before.

“Paul, who dropped this off?” Brad asks as he holds the folded piece of paper in the air. The crew chief shrugs his shoulders, obviously just as surprised as Brad was about the note. “Seriously?”

“I didn’t even know that was in the car Brad,” Paul comments, confusion written on his face as he looks around at the crew guys. Each of them shrug their shoulders, just as confused as their driver, before going back at their jobs.

“Well then…” Brad then twirls the piece of paper in his hands as Paul walks over, curiosity peeked.

“What does it say?” Brad slowly unfolds the note, though freezes immediately.

His eyes are immediately drawn to the hand writing in how the person has written out ‘Bradley Keselowski’ at the top of the page. It was the same hand writing, same curves on each letter, that he had seen on the previous note at his house. It was the same hand writing that he had seen on the letter at his office.

He didn’t want to become unfrazzled. He wanted to focus solely on running well that weekend at Indianapolis. He didn’t want to worry about it one second long. However, as he stared at the writing, his felt the blood leave his body as he felt frozen in the moment.

“It’s nothing…” Brad suddenly says as he folds the note up and places it conveniently tucked away with his hat, phone and other important belongings. He had remembered that Paul was standing there and didn’t want to worry him. it was just some simple fan writing a bunch of threats, why bother making a big deal out of it?

Brad then climbs in the car without another word, determined to remain focused on running well that day. Though as he gets comfortable in the seat, nothing feels right as he thinks about the note laying just moments earlier on the dashboard in front of him. How had the person gotten the note to where it was? What gave them the access? How did they sneak it?

Whether he wanted to admit or not, he felt fear creeping into his mind more and more with each passing second. Though he couldn’t think any longer on the subject as he fired the engine and backed out, ready to lay down some laps at the brickyard.

 

Chapter 3: Curiousity

Partway through practice atop the Shell Pennzoil hauler, Joey Logano watches Brad practice on track. He was done making laps for the first session as him and Todd Gordon were happy with their piece, considering that Joey had posted one of the quickest times of the session.

Though his eyes wouldn’t leave that of his teammates, as his teammate had his curiosity pegged to the maximum. Joey had noticed a change in Brad’s attitude and behavior. It seemed as though something was off as he wasn’t as outgoing as he normally was. Instead, he was more quiet – as if something was on his mind.

Normally, the teammates would talk about anything and Joey would know exactly what was bugging him. However, Brad had yet to bring any concerns to his friend.

“Have you noticed anything different with Brad?” Joey blurts out as he had been curious since arriving at the track and noticing how Brad was acting in the garage earlier with Paul Wolfe.

“A little,” Todd answers. “He’s a little more quiet.” Joey thought of that – it matched his suspicions immediately.

“Anything strange happen this week that I don’t know of?” Todd shrugs his shoulders as he looks back at Joey. This wasn’t the type of conversation that he was used to having with his driver.

“Why are you so curious anyway?” Joey looks back towards the track as he watches the Miller Lite Dodge.

“I’m just wondering, that’s all. I thought it was just me, but your answer equals my thoughts.” Todd then takes one final glance at the speeds before heading for the stairs to head down.

“Maybe you should talk to him if you’re so curious then. Meeting in 15.” Todd then heads down the steps as Joey leans against the rail, eyes looking back towards the track before looking down at the speed chart. His time from earlier had kept him in the top-five, though he noticed that Brad has slipped down in the charts to post only a time that would find him in the 20s.

Joey shrugs his shoulders, thinking that perhaps he is overworrying himself as he begins the climb down. Maybe Brad and Paul were struggling a little, maybe they were hiding the true speed. Maybe all this suspicion about how Brad was doing and the whole change in attitude was just a bunch of random blitz that didn’t mean anything.

Though – what if it did? What if there was something going on? What if it had to do with a girl, family, or something else? If that was the case, why was Brad so quiet about it?

“You’re worrying yourself too much Logano,” Joey tells himself as he hops off the final step and heads for the front door of the trailer.

 

Chapter 4: The Letter

Following the final run for the practice session, Paul Wolfe stood waiting for Brad to return to the garage stall so that way they could debrief about the final run before going to meet up with Joey and Todd to discuss the session overall, as normal.

As he stood there waiting, his eyes kept wandering to the piece of paper crumpled up on the floor that Brad has thrown earlier in practice. His curiousity was getting the best of him as he wandered why Brad has thrown the piece of paper so quickly, and why he was curious of how it got to be in the car. Well, of course he’d be curious about why it was in the car – anybody would if something showed up that shouldn’t be there.

Though why had he thrown so it quickly? It wasn’t like he could’ve read much of the letter in the time span that it took him to throw the piece of paper. Perhaps he read just a line…but why throw so quickly without hesistation?

Paul noticed that Brad had called the letter ‘nothing’ and tried to distract the conversation away from it. Was there something else that Paul should know? Was there more to the story of the ‘letter’ than what lied on the surface?

This wasn’t normal for Paul as he normally wouldn’t fascinate himself this much with something to do with Brad that didn’t do with the car. Sure, they had a good friendship. Sure, they spoke of life away from the track. But beyond what was said to each other, there wasn’t wandering into each other’s lives beyond that.

Then again – this did do with the car because the letter was found in the car. So was he honestly crossing the privacy line right now in being curious?

Sick of his own curiosity and how crazy it was driving him, he makes his way over to the piece of paper and picks it up. Slowly unfolding it, he notices that Brad’s name is written in a distinct cursive writing style and spelt ‘Bradley Keselowski’ versus just Brad. He then lets his eyes scan to the body of the message, curious as to what it say – unable to fight his own curiousity any longer. As he reads more of the letter, his eyes continues to grow in disbelief of what he was reading. There was no way that what he was reading was simply ‘nothing’ as his questions peaked beyond anything.

If there was more to the story, it’d make sense why Brad acted like he did. It’d make sense why he threw the letter away so quickly. It’d make sense why he didn’t want to talk about it any longer.

Without a doubt, Paul knew that it was worth discussing with Brad. He watches Brad bring the car in and shut it off. He watches as Brad slowly takes his helmet and HANS off, hanging it where it goes in the car before climbing out to look his way.

“Loved it,” he tells Paul. “That worked so much better. That loose in that I was complaining about earlier – if it was say a 5 before, now it’s like a 3. You’ve also improved on the tight off, too, as I barely noticed it that run. We’re heading in the right direction.” Paul smiles as he was glad that they had made the right adjustments throughout the practice, in hopes to have a good Indianapolis weekend.

“That’s great,” he replies. “I think that’ll work well for qualifying so hopefully we can post a good lap. Just got to get the right adjustements.”

“I have faith in you.” Paul laughs.

“You better. If you don’t by now, something is wrong.”

“We have to go meet up with Todd and Joey, right?” Paul shakes his head yes, though pulls Brad towards the back corner of the garage stall as the various crew members focus towards their jobs.

“I have a question for you before we go. What’s this?” Brad then takes the letter from Paul’s hands, his hand immediately beginning to shake as he knows what it contains.

“It’s…nothing. I told you that earlier.” Paul shakes his head as he expected that answer. He knew that Brad was going to try and make it seem as though nothing was wrong once again.

“You do know what it is, Brad. I could tell by how you looked at the note earlier. I could tell that once you recognized the handwriting, you were ready to throw it without reading the rest.” Brad lets out a sigh as he knew that he couldn’t lie to Paul. The pair had a good trusting relationship and could tell when either was lying.

“Ok, so maybe I did recognize the writing. Maybe I have seen hand writing like it before. So maybe once I noticed that, I just tossed it away.” Paul crosses his arms, knowing that there was more to the story.

“Keep going.” Brad lets out a sigh as he looks down at the ground, knowing that there was no way out.

“It’s not the first note that I’ve received. I’ve received notes just like it, same handwriting, same kind of message behind them, multiple times. I’ve gotten them in my fan mail at the shop. I’ve gotten them at my shop and….at my house.” Paul’s jaw drop in shocked as he couldn’t believe that he was just hearing these details now.

“Why haven’t you said anything to anybody?” Brad shrugs his shoulders, knowing what he has been telling himself all along each time that he thought that something was seriously going on with the letters.

“Oh come on – these letters aren’t anything new. Drivers get this crap all the time when they’re at the center of controversy. It’s just a frustrated fan who is upset about something.

“Are you seriously saying that right now? Sure, it’s just a frustrated fan. Only someone that knows where you LIVE and is able to place a note in your car. Sure, just some random person. They have access to the garage and where you are. Do you not realize hwo serious this is, Keselowski?” Brad’s jaw drops as he had never heard Paul call him by his last name – ever.

“I know…I get it….” Brad lets out a sigh. “Listen, I’m a little freaked out about them, okay? It isn’t something that I’ve felt the most comfortable with either. But come on, just let it go. It’s just someone trying to knock me off my game.”

“Sure, that’s all they’re trying to do. Keep telling yourself that but don’t bother coming to find me when something happens!” Paul then grabs his notebook off of the pit box before heading out of the garage stall.

“Paul!!” Brad yells as he follows behind, though gets cut off by his PR rep to do an interview with FOX Sports. Brad does the interview, as instructed, before heading off to the hauler to meet up with the others.

 

Chapter 5: Post Garage Discussion

So with the reviews (thanks Lacy), my original idea for this story has changed slightly with regards to the letter content and the road that it is going to take us on. I can promise that it will be a fun ride in seeing the drama that is going to unfold.

Paul walks into the hauler and takes his seat across from Todd and Joey. The pair glance at each other, noticing that he was late and a negative tone to his attitude, before glancing back towards his way. Joey was also surprised that he hadn’t seen Brad with him.

“Where’s Brad?” Todd asks as Paul shrugs his shoulders, as if to say that he doesn’t care. “Oh.”

“Did you two get into a disagreement?” Joey ponders as Todd looks at his driver.

“Now now, it’s not nice to ponder into his business. He’ll talk about if he wants to.”

“I can hear you both,” Paul states, causing their attention.

“Sorry,” Todd says as he opens up his laptop and brings up his notes.

“So how are we going to do this meeting without Brad?” Joey asks as Paul lets out a sigh.

“Todd and I can discuss set-ups, strategy, tires and fuel without a driver present as we’ve done it before,” Paul answers as he begins to look over Todd’s notes. They mirrored his own as he bring up the notes that he had from the last couple of runs with Brad.

“I’m going to go find Brad then….” Joey then stands up, feeling the awkwardness in the room. He doesn’t get far as he watches the door open and Brad climb the steps to join them.

“So did you really have to say what you said?” Brad questions as Paul keeps his eyes on the notes. “Wolfe? Did you really have to blurt that out as if you don’t care?”

“What’s…going….on….?” Joey lets out slowly, wondering if he’ll get an answer to what he and Todd were talking about earlier.

“Do you guys need to have a powwow before we can get some work done?” Todd questions as he looks between Paul and Brad. “It seems that neither of you are happy with each other.”

“Well maybe if somebody would use his brain and listen to me, there’d be no issues,” Paul states as he continues to compare the notes, making some additional markings in his own. “But of course, when a threatening letter shows up and looks suspicious, we just push it off as being someone trying to throw us off our game.”

“What are you talking about?” Brad then lets out a sigh as he flops down on the couch beside Joey.

“I’ve been receiving some letters that aren’t the most pleasant works lately,” Brad admits, hating that he is even explaining this to Todd and Joey.

“Continue….” Joey encourages, his curiosity peaked by Brad’s words.

“They have been a little threatening and I have received a series of them in different places.” Joey shakes his head understanding, figuring out that was why Brad’s behavior was off due to these ‘letters’.

“He’s received them at both his shop and the Penske shop, his HOUSE and oh, there was one sitting on the dash of the car before practice today,” Paul states as he looks between the teammates. “But someone here says that they’re nothing to worry about – just someone trying to throw him off his game.”

“They’re probably just trying to spook me and make me think about that rather than focusing on the racecar,” Brad reasons as Joey thinks it over. Brad’s reason possibly could make sense as there were ways that people would try to mess with each other in psychological ways in saying certain things, so perhaps this was a new tactic.

“Can I see one?” Joey asks, fear in his voice as he wasn’t sure that he wanted to see the content. Paul then hands Joey the letter that he had found in the garage area later as Joey slowly unwraps the notes.

I know where you live, I spy on you
I see what you doing every night, everyday
You seem to have fun and do well,
But you will see your failure
Say a word to anyone about this
And you will lose everything that means to you
For this is our secret to share
And I can’t wait till we meet

“See what I mean?” Brad questions as Joey looks up from the note, even more worried than he was earlier when Brad started the explanation about the letters with Paul.

“Do you have any clue of who wrote it?” Todd wonders as he looks over the handwriting, trying to see if he recognizes it.

“Don’t you think if he had a clue he’d be kicking their ass?” Paul reasons as he glances between the faces in the room.

“I don’t recognize it, but listen, I feel worried about you safety. I think you should go forward and say something to Roger or Tim or even Mike Helton. Just incase it’s not what you think, they can maybe add extra security so that way incase something goes wrong you’re okay.” Paul then crosses his arms as he looks towards Brad.

“And you told me that I was crazy for saying that!”

“Please just do it so we have some peace of mind?” Joey offers.

“If you don’t, I will,” Paul adds, knowing hat he wasn’t stand around and take any chances, especially with his fear being matched by that of Joey and Todd.

“And I’ll back him up because I think you should say something,” Todd states as Brad lets out a sigh.

“Fine – since you aren’t giving me any choice,” Brad offers as he heads towards the exit of the hauler. “But when this comes out to mean nothing at all, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.”

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