Emboldened by the memory, she pressed on. “What the hell am I supposed to do with these numbers? Memorize them and then eat the note? Global nuclear war didn’t start after the nightly news, did it? You giving me the combination to Carl’s underground bomb shelter or his safe deposit box?”
“Watch the Boffo Lotto drawing tonight at 11:00. We can’t, because we’re deadheading to Rock Island, Illinois. I knew you stayed up late and would do a favor for a friend.” Bonnie didn’t pause to allow Fran to object. “I have a question for you, Fran. What the hell are you saying hell for? You’re a pastor’s wife now!”
“I’m off-duty.” Fran slammed down the phone.
Fran stood, hoisted her robe so she wouldn’t trip over its hem—and to shake off Bonnie’s rebuke—and swished into the family room. She turned on the TV, already set on FOX, and heard the same news pronounced by another bauble[…]”
“the parsonage under extreme protest, put her Craftsman cottage up for sale. Paul didn’t know it, but she’d slipped back several times for respite from his parishioner problems, of which she now owned fifty percent. For better or worse.
The sixth ball rolled down the chute, almost smiling as it scooted into place. Fran looked at the paper in her lap, looked at the screen, looked at her lap, took a deep breath, and squinted.
Then, she looked again. Shock sucked her breath. I’ll be go to hell and back! Did that just happen? Is this a dream, a fairytale, or a nightmare come to life?
Bonnie’s, er Carl’s, numbers were winners! Fran’s heart felt as skittish as the numbered balls had looked inside the tumbler that assured their mix. Her sleeves fluttered like monarch wings while she flapped her arms in a wild chicken dance. She’d never pranced with abandon at wedding receptions, not even her own. She grabbed a table lamp before it toppled, then twirled it for good measure.
She longed to scream. She was a former school administrator, used to being in control, and a newlywed mindful of her husband’s rest, not a frivolous teen[…]”
“Bonnie, how are you? Are you sitting down?”
“I’m fine. Carl’s doing 80 mph on I-80 so, of course, I’m sitting. I’m seat belted and squeezing the handle above the truck cab door, gluing my tongue to the roof of my mouth to improve my balance, like you told me from yoga class. I’ve only driven small town roads, never been accelerated as a passenger to this speed. Carl said the sky’s the limit on the Interstates, so I’m hoping to not go airborne.”
“Of course, I won. I won the man, took that church secretary job and shoved it. Did I tell you we’re headed to Vegas to marry in the Little White Wedding Chapel near the Strip? Elvis will officiate.”
“You won the Boffo Lotto.” Fran kept her voice flat. Mention of a strip flustered her all the more. Was the former church secretary wayward already? She held her tongue, willing Bonnie to comprehend soon. Fran longed to end the call and return to bed.
“I did, er, Carl, my intended, did? What’s the total?
|PJ Colando, Author|