(See below for links to Part 1-9)
Elouise drove down the street silently while Gert just stared quietly out the window. I’m gonna drop you off if you don’t mind, might go home and take a nap, been a long day and I don’t know about you but I’m ready to just slip into a bit of sleep and hope to wake up refreshed and having never started this day. Gert nodded and looked at Elouise, she looked tired and pale, and Gert felt a bit bad for having anything to do with it.
I’m gonna give some thought to the getting rid of the ring thing Elouise. Not that I believe in that voodoo woman’s magic but it seems to be affecting you worse than me and I don’t want to see you sufferin’ over me. Just drop me off and give me a call later when you wake up, I’ll make a decision in the meantime, okay?
Elouise smiled softly and nodded. She turned down Gert’s street and pulled into the driveway. You need me to see you in Gert? Gert just shook her head no and opened the car door. Give me a call, okay? Elouise nodded and Gert shut the door and walked away with her small bags and the picture.
Elouise backed the car up and headed down the street. Instead of turning the corner to get to her house, she kept going straight to the light at the end of Seminole. The light turned green and a car began honking behind her, alerting her to the fact she was missing the turn arrow and she swung the car into the traffic and headed back towards town.
She pulled down Spur Street and drove slowly till she reached the garage. The doors were open and a few cars were parked out front. She went to the door and walked into the barely air conditioned office and saw Albee behind the desk waiting on a customer. She nodded to him and took a paper cup and filled it with water out of the blue tank in the corner and took a chair by the window to wait. Albee was fidgeting as the customer kept droning on about the weather and then he finally cut in and said he had another customer to take care of. The elderly gentleman glanced over at Elouise and nodded politely, tipped his hat and then walked out.
Albee came around the desk and Elouise was happy to see that he had taken Gerts advice and changed shirts. The scent of fresh laundry was a pleasant change from the greasy body odor smelling tee he had on earlier. Nice to see you Elouise, I saw Gert earlier today and told her I hadn’t seen you in awhile, she musta told you, huh? Elouise just nodded and smiled lightly. She felt better just by sitting here drinking cold water and far away from that ring.
Are you feeling okay Elouise? You don’t look so good. Did you eat anything today? This weather is brutal and you gotta make sure you stay hydrated and nourished. You want me to go get you a bite of sumthin? The bakery down the street makes some fine stuff, I eat a little too much of it myself as you can see he said as he patted his protruding belly. I’ll go get you a pastry, maybe a little sugar will perk you up, hmmm?
Elouise felt the tears begin then. She sniffled loudly and Albee reached into his pocket to find a Kleenex but could only manage a bandana with grease on it. Hold on hon, lemme get you a tissue. He went behind the counter and grabbed a box of tissues and she reached out to take one.
I’m sorry Albee, I don’t know whats gotten into me ‘cept it’s been a mighty long day and I’m afraid tomorrow isn’t gonna look any brighter. Her tears kept falling and he wiped his hand on his pant leg and reached out for her free hand, patting it like a father would a child.
Now, now Elouise. It can’t be that bad, whatever it is. How bout I go see if I can get off and then we can go somewhere and talk, somewhere a little more quiet than this place. The sounds of riveting on tires could be heard echoing off the walls and she smiled. That sounds lovely Albee, I mean, if it isn’t too much trouble. Albee’s smile lit up like a kids at Christmas.
Albee went through the employee only door and spoke to the man fixing the tires. The man looked back at Elouise, said something with a big grin and slapped Albee on the shoulder. Albee was nodding and smiling and he turned around as red as a beet and came back to where she sat. You wanna follow me or you want me to drive?
She stood up and pondered it for a moment then grabbed her keys.
I’ll follow you, don’t want to hold you up on my account.
Albee smiled and said that’s fine, I know a place just up the street a bit, gotta make a quick stop first and then we can go to a special place I know.