Margie answered her phone. “Hello?”
“Hello?” said a girl’s voice. “Someone told me your husband worked on old cars?”
“My husband? Where’d you hear that? Who is this?”
Margie’s elderly husband did in fact work on cars. It was a lifelong hobby, and he was pretty good at it. He found cars, bought them for a steal, then resold them. Viva la retirement.
Whenever Margie asked him why he worked on cars, he would always answer, “Why the heck not?”
“He’s not a professional,” Margie said into the phone. “He doesn’t fix cars for a living or anything, but, well… I don’t know if he’d be interested in helping.”
“Oh, okay, I’m sorry for bothering you, ma’am.”
“What was it you needed, sweetie? Maybe I can at least ask him when he gets home.”
Long silence. Two strangers. Stuck on the phone.
“Well, ma’am, my car, they say it needs a new transmission. I can’t afford to pay what the mechanic charges. And I really need a car for work.”
“Well, I guess I can take your number.”
“Ain’t got no number, I’m calling from a payphone.”
“It’s a long
Margie looked at her side table to see photographs of a girl she once knew. A blond child, much like the girl on the phone. A daughter who once made her house feel alive. The same little girl who grew up to be twenty-six, then overdosed.
“It’s none of my business,” said Margie. “But do you have somewhere to stay, honey? Everything you need?”
“I’m okay. It’s just, well…” Long pause. “My parents kicked me out.”
This was all beginning to feel too familiar.
“Sweetie, you know what? I’m SURE we can help you, how about my husband comes to look at the car tonight?”
The girl sighed. “No, ma’am, I work nights.”
“Oh, I see. Honey, I don't mean to pry—and you can tell…