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Gone Astray

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“You know you can’t park there”, Esther called as Lydia’s 1990 Grand Am pulled up to the curb. The car was another member of the family complete with missing trim, rusted body, and peeling paint. For years they had referred to it simply as The Pontiac. The plastic sheets that covered the screens rattled and cracked, billowing in-out as she broke the vacuum and the cold wind entered the front enclosure. She stood just inside the front porch and held the storm door open. “I started chopping celery and onions thirty minutes ago. I thought you were going to be here at the crack of dawn?” “I don’t think they will tow me today, Esther.” Lydia stood in the street with the driver’s door open as she manually rolled the window down a quarter inch before punching the knob and throwing it closed. Over the car roof she said, “I could use some help with the pies.” With a waltz step to the right she opened the back door and peered into the interior of the beast. “Pumpkin for Paul, mince for Corey, and a treat for the two of us, custard!” Her statement was swallowed by the grey-blue carpet. The pies wrapped in handmade cozies with Lydia embroidered across the tops, rested on the floor board behind the driver’s seat. She reached for the pumpkin. “I’ll get that, Mother.” Esther said from behind her. Her apron hem caught by a gust of wind blew out behind her and settled back with the ruffle inside out across her peasant skirt. “You can pull the car around to the back as soon as I unload.” “Dear, I really don’t want to do that.” Lydia straightened to her whole 5’2 inch height and looked up at her daughter. Lydia’s wire rim glasses slipped down her nose and she tilted her head back awkwardly to look through the bi-focal at Esthe... ... middle of paper ... ...h and looked at the washer and dryer setting side by side. The coffee pot sat on the washer. It would never do for the bottle to sit it out in the open beside it. She found the cupboard above crammed full of towels, bed sheets, detergents, and cleaning supplies. Surveying the room she thought of using the cupboard under the sink, too obvious. The frilly curtains covering the window hiding the sill, too opaque. The wicker basket on the dryer full of folded towels, too handy. Surely, she could find a space for one little bottle. At that moment she had an epiphany, inside the dryer! She stepped gingerly to the appliance and prudently pulled the door down. Standing frozen in place, a small gasp escaped her rouged lips. Nested inside she’d found the Grey Goose, snuggled between Capt. Morgan and Jack Daniels with what appeared to be Jim Beam standing guard.
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