“You don’t think I’m involved in any of that now, uh?” Jenny asked Nana.
Both women kept their hands busy, Jenny nursing her rum and coke in her coffee cup, Nana playing solitaire with a deck of cards. Both moved their hands while they kept the rest of their bodies still.
“I’m just hoping it ain’t.” said Nana. “Just hoping that you’re not doing that, or anything worse.”
“What could be worse than that?”
“Selling drugs, selling your body, being some sort of slave to some moneyed prick on the West Side, something like that.”
“And if I told you I’m not doing any of those, would it make you happier?”
“But you’re doing something, or you’d be here empty handed, right?”
Jenny said nothing in reply, ceding the field by sipping her drink.
She finally replied, “Ah, who knows, maybe some day I’ll do something. Find something that pays enough, something to get you out of here, not have to worry anymore.”
“And you find your mom, yes, I heard it all before.”
“I’d find her and get us all back together. It was nice when we were together, wasn’t it?”
“It was different. A little cooler, for one.”
“I remember it being nice.”
“You were too young to remember the worst of it. Maybe you will get something that pays, dear, and maybe you’ll get everything you want, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
The only sounds in the house were flipped cards and sipped rum and coke.
“You know what I love about you, Nana?” Jenny finally said after two more hands were played.
“Your undying faith in me and your realism.”
“Hey, I remember, when you were growing up, I made sure you had plenty of books to read, hoping it’d help you with classes at Saint Andrew’s and maybe encourage you to try harder.”
“And I thanked you for the books, right?”
“The ones you liked, you did; I never should have given you Treasure Island to read.”
Jenny smiled. “I better go,” she said as she got up and kissed her on the forehead.
“Thanks for coming by.” Nana added. “And keep your nose clean, all right?”
“Yeah, right. Good to see you too.”
Jenny let herself out, locking the door and the gate over the porch before turning to go to her car-
Which had leaning on it a tall, dark man with a long coat.
She walked up to him slowly, getting within arm’s reach as he reached into his pocket and flashed his badge…
All content Copyright © 2011 James Ryan