Good morning and welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. I’m continuing with Same Time Next Year. The prompt this week is the word COZY. I’m picking up where I left off with Mike getting ready to go to see Twyla and discover the truth.
Pete laughed. “Lucas knows better than to believe any of your fabrications.” He pulled a black suit from the rack. “Let’s go try this one on first, shall we?”
“I’ll try it on. You can wait out here.” He turned to go into one of the dressing rooms.
“Not so fast, cowboy. Let me grab a couple of shirts and ties and a pair of gray pants. If you’re going to try it on, you need to do so properly.” He frowned. “I don’t suppose you brought your shoes with you?”
“Damn.” Michael rubbed his chin. “I take it wingtips aren’t in style now either.”
Pete grabbed his throat as if he were choking, rolled his eyes, and burst out laughing, no doubt adding up the sale in that steel trap mind of his.
“Let’s get the shoes first, and then we’ll try the suit. And for the record, combat boots or sneakers won’t work either.”
Mike looked down at his feet.
“When do you need it?”
“Tomorrow. My flights on Tuesday.”
“Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Lucas is in the office. I’ll get him to come measure your pants, and he can hem them right away.”
“Can’t I just buy a suit with hemmed pants like the ones Lydia got?”
Pete looked skyward, no doubt imploring the gods to rescue him from this scuff-booted Neanderthal. Obviously, pre-cuffed suit pants weren’t an option. Pity.
“Never mind,” Mike said before the man could lecture him on fashion etiquette. “Let’s try on shoes.” He followed Pete to the back of the store and a cozy little room set aside specifically for footwear and formal rentals.
An hour later, his credit card up more than a grand, Michael left Suits and More with his purchases. Lucas had hemmed the pants for him while he’d waited. The two men had bantered back and forth while Lucas had pinned and measured. Michael had envied them. Love was love no matter what. These two had been together more than thirty years. Their wedding five years ago had been the culmination of their dreams. There wasn’t anything the one wouldn’t do for the other, and both looked forward to retiring and traveling. Mike would like to travel more, but going solo, especially at his age, wasn’t as much fun as it was cracked up to be.
After dropping off the bags at the truck, he headed toward the barber shop. If he didn’t get that haircut, the dragon lady would never let him hear the end of it. Even he had to admit he looked a little scruffy.
As he passed a pawn shop, a record album in the window display caught his eye. Did people still own turntables? Someone had mentioned vinyl was making a comeback.
The Mamas and the Papas. Not stopping to think, he entered the store and went straight to the window. The album was a greatest hits collection. He skimmed the list of songs. “California Dreaming” was there as was “Dedicated to the One I Love.”
Walking over to the cash register with the record in hand, he stopped. What the hell was he doing? He couldn’t play the damn thing even if he wanted to.
“Brain fart,” he mumbled, returning the record to the window and leaving the store, hoping the clerk didn’t think he was in his dotage.
His barber, Max, had retired a couple of months ago and had sold the business to a couple of locals. The place was busy. It seemed most people were no longer content with just a haircut. Now, the Sunset Salon—and why the hell couldn’t they just have kept the name, Max’s Barbershop?—offered everything from scalp massages to God alone knew what. How he missed those military buzz cuts.
“Morning, Mr. Morrison,” the girl at the desk said, smiling up at him.
Did he know her? She looked familiar.
“You probably don’t remember me. I’m Sable Hunter. My dad works for you on the Lydia 3.” It’s been a while.”
“So, are you one of the new owners?” he asked, barely remembering the kid. He needed to attend more of the company’s employee functions but going to those things alone or tagging along with Lydia and Chuck just wasn’t in the cards.
“This is my baby now—well, mine and the banks. My husband and I bought it three months ago.”
“Business looks good,” he commented, missing the taciturn Max who rarely engaged in chit chat. God, he was becoming one of those crusty old bachelors, just as Lydia had predicted.
“So far, so good. What can we do for you today?”
“I need a haircut.” Hell, he needed a whole new look.
“Not a problem.” She punched something into the computer and smiled. “I can take you right now. Would you like the works? That’s a shave, beard and mustache trim, wash, and scalp massage?”
“Sure, why not?” In for a penny, in for a pound.
Two hours later, his hair styled, gelled, and sprayed, a bag full of hair products in his hand, he headed toward his truck. The girl had even hot toweled his face, trimmed his facial hair, including the one that grew in his nose and ears, and had given him the best shave he’d had in years. While he’d been a bit uncomfortable with the whole process—a man didn’t let a stranger use a straight razor on his throat without some trepidation—he did look good even if he said so himself. He would definitely go back.
As luck would have it, since just about everything that could go wrong lately had, when he turned on his truck, the sound of the Mamas and the Papas filled the vehicle. The words to “Dedicated to the One I Love” swamped him.
“Son of a bitch,” he cursed, turning off the radio. “This is a mistake. The past is dead and buried and should stay that way. I may look like a dandy now, but I’m an ass to even think seeing her again will change anything.”
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.