Welcome to another edition of Tuesday Tales. A couple of weeks ago, I promised Hello Again would get a cover to help you get to know Charley and Bill. Thanks to my supremely talented cover artist and friend, we have lift off.
This week’s word is flavor. I’m jumping back a bit from last week’s post to pick up the story where it left off two weeks ago. Bill just realized how similar he looks to Mike, Charley’s dead husband.
Bill stared at the photograph Shirley held in her hands. He hadn’t been kidding when he said he resembled Mike. While his doppelganger’s hair was longer, it was the same vibrant red, and no camera could accidentally color the man’s eyes that vivid green. But, from what Shirley was saying, this man was dead—one of the spirits who spoke to her.
“Mike didn’t have any brothers or sisters,” Charley said quietly. “He had a few cousins, but that was it. His dad had a twin who died in the early 1980’s in an accident working for one of the big oil companies in Alberta, but as far as the family knows, he never married or had kids.”
Shirley pursed her lips. “The resemblance is amazing, but if you look closely you can see differences. Now, eat and you can talk while you do.”
“Didn’t you eat earlier?” Charley asked, picking up her spoon.
“No, I was working on fixing the pen for the cattle. By the time I came in, Shirley said you’d be up soon, so I thought I’d wait.”
He dipped his spoon into the vegetable and noodle rich soup. The flavor tickled his taste buds and his stomach rumbled. He was hungrier than he’d thought.
“You’re a damn fine cook, Shirley,” he said. “I meant what I said at lunchtime. If you want to move to Regina, I’ll get a bigger place so you can move in and cook for me. I’ll do all the dishes.” He winked. “The stew we had was good, but this is the best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever had.”
Shirley chuckled. “You have a silver tongue, cinks. Chicken soup’s good for you. I told you; you need a wife, not an old lady to make meals for you. Eat up. There’s plenty more.”
Wondering what the word in her native language meant, Bill polished off two bowls of soup and four muffins before putting down his spoon. Charley had managed to finish one bowl and had eaten a muffin.
“Do you feel like explaining why you’re travelling across the country alone?” Bill asked. “Not that I’m judging you. Just curious.”
“I’m not going across the country,” she answered defensively. “I was only going as far as Saskatoon, and I have no idea how I’ll get there now.”
She swallowed, and tears brimmed her eyes, punching him right in the gut.
“Hey, I can get you to Saskatoon as soon as we can leave. People will be out to fix the roads and the phone lines in no time. A couple of days off the leg will help it heal, too.”
“Everything I owned was in that car. And without the car…”
“It looked pretty old. I’m amazed it got you here.”
“Matilda was old, but she was in great shape. I saw to that myself.”
“You’re a mechanic?” the surprise in his voice seemed to anger her.
“Yes, I’m a mechanic, on my way to Saskatoon to teach automobile mechanics at the local high school. I’d hoped to buy my own garage one day, but the money I had in the bank isn’t even enough to replace the car.” She sniffled. “I can’t get a break. I thought the worst day of my life was the day Mike died—so far, this is running a close second.
“Yeah, but it needs a lot of work. If you think you can bring it back from the dead, you can have it.”
Well, that’s it for now. Now, please drop by and visit all the Tuesday Tales