THE BAYOU BEACON
DATELINE: January 4, 2023
As you can see, I made it, although it wasn’t easy. As I rolled into town, I heard an awful racket coming from underneath–the car, that is. Then, just like in the old cartoons, the backend of the car gave a sigh and dropped flat. Okay, so I agree I should have started out earlier in the day. Maybe a part of me was a little nervous and wanted to sneak back into town under the cover of darkness. Well, I did that, all right.
So, there I stood, hands on my hips and Kenzie squatting on everything in sight to mark her territory. The tires were both flat, and I noticed the tread on one had a wide open split that made it look like a pitiful plea for help. It was even gray around the edges. I admit I’d pushed them well beyond retirement. It was after five o’clock, and everything was closed. My goose, and Kenzie’s, were cooked.
“You havin’ trouble?”
I turned to see a man I vaguely remembered scratching his head and surveying my mess. I nodded.
“Hey, ain’t you Roxie Maxx?”
I nodded again.
“You forget how to talk while you were away?”
He wasn’t teasing; I could tell by the look on his face. I nodded and then burst out laughing. “Gill Sans, is that you?”
He scratched somewhere else and nodded. I knew he looked different. He had a new mole on his chin. He reached up to rub it with pride. “So, I heard you bought the paper.”
“Yes, I sure did. But it took my last dime, Gill. Now…” I said, pointing to the flat tires, “looks like I’m in trouble and with no way to get to the office. I thought I could bunk there for the night.”
“That your dog?” he asked, pointing at Kenzie. I nodded. “I figgered so. Ain’t nobody in Buccaneer’s Bayou gonna have a foo-foo dog like that. Ain’t practical. It’s all white. Foolish thing you done, Roxie. Figgered you for smarter than that.”
I opened my mouth to defend myself but recognized Gill was the only thing that stood between me and spending the night in the car. “Any way you could give us a lift, Gill?”
“Why sure. Be right back.”
“Don’t worry, Kenzie,” I snatched her up for a cuddle. “Gill will help. Good people here in town.”
Gill was good for his word, as we heard when he came bucketing around the corner in his farm truck, a chicken perched on the hood. “Don’t mind Myrtle,” he called out. She don’t eat dog.”
I nodded my thanks as he hefted our luggage out of my back seat and then tossed it, as well as Kenzie, into the bed of his truck and held the passenger door open for me. I climbed in, and that’s when it hit me. It sort of smelled like when I was potty-training Kenzie, but worse. I looked around, and to my horror, Gill had ignored the fact that his pickup bed was filled with manure. Kenzie, and even Myrtle, were cavorting and burrowing in with sheer abandon. Before my eyes, Kenzie’s beautifully-groomed white coat turned to the color of… well, crap.
So, here I am at my new old desk, and Kenzie is locked into the bathroom, yipping. She spent the night in there, and I had to shove her aside twice as I went in to use the toilet. I think I might smell as well since I went to Dan’s Diner this morning for doughnuts and coffee, and noses went into the air like beagles on the scent of a treed raccoon. Gill had my tires fixed and said never mind the money, as the folks at Dan’s Diner had taken up a collection with the stipulation that I eat somewhere else for a while.
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