This morning, I’m sharing Chapter 3, Part 7 of my story, “Garage Sale Addict”. If you’d like to catch up, here’s:
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 1“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 2“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 3“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 4“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 5“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 6”
And, here is my disclaimer one more time…
Disclaimer: I am nervous about sharing this. Instead of me being able to use words like “crap” or my made up favorites like “goody-ness”, what I’m about to share will be held to a higher standard. Because it’s part of my hidden soul-my personal writing projects. Who knows if this will ever go anywhere-but it’s fun to write and to dream. I’d love to hear what you have to say, or maybe I won’t.
Bonnie counted the money as Rosalyn and Micah started the process of tearing down the sale. Only one small shoebox was left of Rosalyn’s trinkets.
“So, what’s the final tally?,” asked Rosalyn, once Micah left to retrieve the garage sale signs from the corner.
“Give me just a sec,” said Bonnie as she counted the last few quarters. “Alright, are you ready for this? You made $2,845.72. Now, how much did you spend?”
“Not anywhere close to that.”
“Ros, I need you to be straight with me. I’m beginning to think you might have a real problem.” Bonnie squeezed her friend’s arm.
“Fine. I spent $575 dollars, or thereabouts, to make this happen.”
Bonnie’s eyebrows raised but she kept her lips closed tight.
“Bonnie, that means I made a profit. You can’t argue that.” Rosalyn said, flipping over a table and kicking closed one of the metal legs.
“Nope. You can’t.”
Micah walked up the drive, signs in hand. The sun was behind him, outlining his form and Rosalyn watched every move. He smiled at her and she instinctively smiled back.
“Can I take you out tonight for pizza-as a thank you for helping me today?,” Rosalyn asked him. He set the signs in the yard and shook his head.
“No, I don’t think that’d be a good idea.”
She felt kicked in the chest.
“Oh, ok. I just thought…,” she stammered out. He chuckled.
“I want to take you out. I know you’ve recently come into some money,” he paused and stepped closer and she felt his breath on her cheek. “But, being the old fashioned man that I am-I’m taking you out-for pizza, or whatever your heart desires.”
Rosalyn’s skin turned hot and her palms started to sweat.
“I can be ready in less than an hour.”
“Sounds good. I’ll be back here in an hour.”
Micah walked back down the drive, waving at her over his shoulder. Rosalyn watched him until he was out of sight.
“What was that all about?,” asked Bonnie.
“I just got asked out on a date.” A grin spread across Rosalyn’s face. Bonnie followed suit.
“We’d better get you ready. I’m so glad this was the last sale,” said Bonnie as she stretched and yawned. “I have a date tonight with my couch, Audrey Hepburn and some popcorn.”
They carried the last table inside and said their goodbye’s. Rosalyn locked the door after Bonnie and made her way to the shower. She flipped on the faucet, allowing the water to warm up, and heard a knock on the door.
Tying her robe around her, she tiptoed towards the front door. Rosalyn glanced out of the peephole, and spied the man in the cheap suit again.
“I’m sorry, but the sale’s over,” she said from behind the closed door.
“Ma’am, you haven’t called me yet,” the suit said.
“Sir, I’m not about to call some stranger that showed up at my garage sale.”
“I would advise that you do,” he said, unbuttoning his jacket and sticking his hands on his hips. A holster and gun were easily visible.
“I’m in a real hurry to get somewhere. I need you to go away, or I might have to call the cops,” Rosalyn’s heart pounded.
“I’ll go away-for now,” the suit re-buttoned his jacket. He stood a moment longer, turned on his heel and left.
Micah arrived exactly one hour later. Even a t-shirt and jeans looked remarkable on him.
“I just need to grab a shawl, in case it gets cold,” she said. “Help yourself to something to drink.”
Rosalyn labored over whether the ivory or pink shawl better complemented her light blue summer dress. She decided on the pink and returned to the kitchen.
“You look fantastic,” Micah locked eyes with her.
Rosalyn curtsied and giggled.
“Thank you, my lord,” she said bowing low. Micah chuckled and bowed back to her.
“Are you ready for your dinner, fair maiden?”
“Certainly. Shall we make haste?,” she said, feeling rather silly.
“Your carriage awaits.” Micah ushered her out the door.
Rosalyn loved that he played along with her so readily. Kyle always thought her random antics not amusing. Micah unlocked her door and then went around to the driver’s side.
As they backed out of the driveway, Rosalyn noticed a black sedan a few hundred yards to the north of her that started its engine. She watched in her mirror as the lights flicked on and it pulled out right behind them.
“So, where are we going?,” she said, trying to shake off her paranoia.
“I thought instead of pizza, we could go to a really great sushi restaurant.”
Rosalyn kept her eyes on the sedan as it took one turn after another right behind them.
“Is sushi ok?,” Micah asked.
“Oh, sorry. Of course. I love sushi,” she responded.
“Great. It’s one of my favorite places in town to eat. I’d love to finally share it with someone,” he patted her knee and turned on some music.
She loved his hand on her knee. You stupid sedan-why don’t you go away and leave us alone?
Micah parked the car a few minutes later and she watched as the sedan trolled in, headlights off, behind them. Whoever you are, you aren’t very sneaky.
“Are you ok? You seem a little distracted,” Micah looped his arm through his as they walked to the restaurant.
“I’m sorry, Micah. It’s been a long day.” Rosalyn glanced over her shoulder and watched as the suit got out of the sedan.
“I understand. Let’s get some food in you. That’ll help,” he squeezed her arm. She loved the warmth of his skin on her bare arm.
Micah was greeted at the front door by the owner with a bear hug and two pats on his back. Each staff member they passed on their way to their corner booth, smiled and waved at him. Immediately, green tea was brought and Micah poured her a tiny cup.
“You are a bit of a celebrity here, aren’t you?” Rosalyn sipped from her cup.
“This place got me through college. Great food, quiet atmosphere and they let me study for hours,” he said, pouring more tea into the tiny cup. “And, they always let me drink as much tea as I could handle.”
The owner approached their table, smiling from ear to ear.
“Micah, it’s good to have you back. And to see you with such a fine woman,” the old man said with a thick accent as he patted Rosalyn’s hand.
“He’s a great man. I would be proud to call him my son.” The owner puffed out his chest and raised his chin skyward.
“Oh, Kim. You just love me because I love your ‘special sushi’,” Micah laughed and the old man joined in.
“True, true. Not many white people like my ‘special sushi’. Now, what will it be tonight?,” the old man grabbed his pad of paper and a tiny pencil and started scribbling even before Micah had spoken.
“Why don’t you surprise us?,” Micah laughed. “I know you will even if I didn’t ask.”
The old man scurried off, yelling at the chefs and pointing his fingers in all directions. Just as Rosalyn turned her attention back to Micah, the bell on the front door jingled and the suit walked in. He was sat just a few tables away, with only one other couple between them.
Rosalyn started to whisper to Micah, when the old man returned with a dish full of something light gray and jiggly.
“Now, pretty lady, you try this. It may look awful, but it’s good.” He placed it on the table and was off again.
Micah laughed and picked up his chopsticks.
“It’s squid and it’s best dipped in this,” he pointed to a dish in the center of the plate.
Rosalyn dipped her first piece into the sauce, excited to try something new. For a moment she forgot about the suit. He coughed loudly and looked in her direction. Micah had his back to the suit and was busy explaining the next dish to her when the suit approached their table.
“Excuse me,” he said as he straightened his tie. “I’m not from around here and wondered what you would recommend. I saw how well you were getting along with the owner.”
“Of course. I would try I-9, which is mostly vegetables. But, if you need something with a little more meat,” Micah paused, thinking, “I would recommend P-17, but tell Kim to tone down on the spice.”
“Thank you. Have a nice night,” the suit said and looked straight at Rosalyn. “Ma’am.”
The suit walked away and Rosalyn wondered how much a ‘concealed carry’ license might cost.
“Micah,” she whispered and scooted closer to him. This made him smile and he scooted closer to her. “That man was at my garage sale, came back afterwards and pounded on my door, followed us here and is now eating at the same restaurant.”
Micah grew solemn, he looked over his shoulder, his forehead creasing.
“Who is he?,” he asked.
“I don’t know. He gave me his card and asked me to call him,” she whispered even more quietly. “His card said he was a federal investigator.”
“What does he want with you?,” Micah whispered back.
The old man brought out another dish, interrupting Rosalyn’s response. This time it was green and a little juicy.
“You like my squid?,” Kim smiled at Rosalyn.
“It’s delicious,” she said, forcing a smile.
“You don’t like it, do you?,” he frowned and hung his head.
“No, it’s wonderful, I promise.” Rosalyn mustered up her biggest smile. That seemed to satisfy him and he hustled back to the kitchen, barking out more orders.
“I have no idea what he wants. But he’s giving me the creeps.” She finally whispered back.
Micah took a few more bites of the squid and then moved on to the green pile. He sighed and scratched at his head.
“Well, why don’t I just go and ask?” He got up and threw his napkin on the table.
Micah began the conversation with his arms folded, but soon they were flying around int he air. The suit stood up and tore off his glasses. Rosalyn watched as they argued, both pointing at her from time to time. Micah suddenly calmed down as the suit pulled out his badge. After several more minutes, Micah returned to the table and the suit left. Micah sat down and was quiet.
“Well?,” Rosalyn finally broke the silence.
“He said there’s nothing he can tell me, other than that you’re under investigation.”
“Investigation?,” she shouted much too loudly. The other couple stared at her. “For what?”
“That’s what I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me.” Micah took another bite, not looking her in the eye. “And he said you need to call him.”
“Micah, I promise that I have no idea what this is about.” She suddenly felt dirty.
“You should probably just call him. I’m sure it’s a mistake.”
“I’m sure it is too. The most illegal thing I’ve ever done is not use my turn signal.” Rosalyn laughed faintly.
“Is there anything else you can think of? Anything at all?”
“I’m a pet photographer, I live in my Grandma’s house, I have garage sales. I mean, what’s there to investigate?,” her eyes started to fill with tears. She wondered what Micah was thinking of her.
The green plate had hardly been touched when Kim returned with two small fried pockets of something. He ran off again, wiping his hands on the towel tied to his waste.
“Look, this won’t change the way I think about you. I’m just concerned there’s something going on that you don’t know about,” he grabbed her hand. “But somehow-you are involved.”
“I’ll give him a call tomorrow,” she said, thankful for his hand on hers. “Let’s not let this ruin our night.”
“Deal,” he said. “Now, eat up. There’s a lot more to go.”