Lucy is one of today’s mysteries.
First there was the question of Sunday. I’d not noticed it was Sunday until I picked up the newspaper from the driveway’s edge. What a big newspaper today, I thought. Why, it’s the Medford Mail Trib. We get the Ashland Daily Tidings, except for Sunday, when the Tidings isn't published, which is when the Medford Mail Trib is instead delivered. But why were we getting it today, I wondered, hypothesizing about what had happened in the Saturday morning newspaper delivery business that may have wrought this baffling change. I could have looked at the newspaper for clues, perhaps finding something in the masthead, like the date, explaining this change, but I instead noodled around it until I slowly warmed to the understanding that this was not Saturday, but Sunday.
That mystery resolved, I left for the coffee shop and on to other mysteries. The first were the jays. What was going on with them? Hustling into flight from tree to tree, their noisy progress eviscerated the morning’s quiet. Flying across the street and down from several directions at once, all followed a route. Must be a predator they’re chasing away, I guessed, looking for them. Quickly as they began, the birds found trees and quieted.
Then a puke beige Toyota from the late 1990s raced past, empty except for the female driver eating something in her hand, going 50 to 60 to my eyes, in a 35 MPH zone, worrying me on behalf of the cyclists, elderly drivers, small animals, walkers and runners who use the road. But while cursing her for her speed and wondering what drove her to drive fast here, a man came by on a bicycle. Carrying a long handle ax, he nodded at me and said, “Good morning,” as he pedaled past.
Say, buddy, I was inclined to ask, where you biking with that ax? But he was past and gone. Besides, it’s a beautiful morning, two parts early spring, one part late fall, totally unseasonable, part of an unseasonable winter. Today’s high will be 67 F. Lack of snow has closed the ski resort again this year. They’ve laid off everyone save five, over one hundred people. I feel for them but had always had doubts about the ski resort’s planned expansion, pushing back against it because I was more worried about the water supply than employment.
Brian is today’s barista at the coffee shop. It’s his birthday. We chatted and laughed about that and the less than significant impact a birthday has on us. Neither of us are big about ages or birthdays. He’d splurged on himself, bought a new iPhone, two weeks ago, after saving for it for months. Two days later, his car stopped running correctly and made death noises. He took it to a mechanic. Major work needed, emptying his cash. He was living day to day. Today is pay day but since it’s Sunday, he doesn’t get paid until tomorrow. Can I loan or give him something? No, but thanks.
Then – I heard about Lucy. I’d been writing like crazy. Dressed in casual hiking gear, of the sort favored for a few miles with friends, nothing strenuous, the five women spoke with lively volume at the next table. I heard references to east coast rowing, crime rates, and new stores. They reminded me of my wife and her friends, discussing well known subjects that needed little explanation, building on things said in past meetings.
“I have to go,” one said. They rose, talking louder, and one said, “I have to check on Lucy and see if she’s still alive.”
Lucy had gone into the garage and eaten four bars of rat poison yesterday. “Oh, no,” everyone said with shocked gasps. “Fortunately Ron went into the garage, saw some rat poison was missing, figured it was Lucy, so we rushed her to the hospital out by the airport. We couldn’t take the chance.” As all agreed, “No,” she said, “They pumped her stomach and sure enough, she’d eaten all four bars.”
“No,” they said, “is she all right?”
“It takes two days to affect her so fortunately we found her and had her stomach pumped, otherwise it would have been Monday and she would have been in the air, which would have been terrible.”
Yes. I figured Lucy for an animal, a dog, perhaps. They left. Decibels in the coffee shop fell by half. I took a little writing break to write this note, amusing myself as I paused to consider the novel, the progress, my day, and my life, and sent Lucy a little positive energy.
Time to return to writing like crazy, where things are climaxing.