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Marni demurred, saying that she had special feelings toward Clay, and didn’t want to treat her relationship with him like just a date. One of the girls was overweight and especially aggressive person named Lena Kalb.

“Look here, Marni,” she growled, “I ain’t been near a man for almost two years, and the one I was near at that time turned out to be gay. So, you better give some details. I’ve never seen such a transformation. When you left here yesterday, you looked like death warmed over. Your skin was grey, like you were depressed. You could barely drag yourself to the elevator. I left right after you, and I saw you hail a cab like you were desperate. It was as if you didn’t have the strength to get home on the bus. So what gave you this amazing transformation? Are you on drugs, or were you sitting on a handsome face. Or perhaps pretty face. But something happened to you last night.

“I have to get to work, Lena, and so do you,” Marni snapped. “I spent the night with my lover, not that it’s any of your business.” That ended the harassment for the rest of the day.

Clayton Wing got to the garage just in time to take his car out for the morning shift. He was just pulling out of the garage when he heard Herbie on the radio, pleading with the drivers to pick up the Whitehall fare. Clay was deciding which way to turn as he drove toward downtown when Herbie addressed him personally on the radio.

“Seventeen,” Herbie said. “Get in touch with me right away.” Clay was ‘seventeen’, and he knew what Herbie wanted and turned toward Cabot and Whitehall. “Get the Cabot and Whitehall for me and I’ll make it up to you through the day.” Clay didn’t know what ‘make it up to you’ meant, but he assumed that having the dispatcher indebted to him was a good thing. He pulled up in front of the walled mansion and stepped out of the car. The day was warm, and the tree-lined street was fully shaded by giant oak trees that must have been there for more than a hundred years. The houses also looked that old, with the leaded glass windows, granite construction and ostentatious ambience.

He leaned on the front fender of his car enjoying the fragrance of the quiet, rich street. When he saw the wheelchair woman come around the back corner of the house, he opened the back door of his cab and waited. The huge wrought-iron gate swung open by remote control as expected. The woman was dressed in the same kind of clothes she had worn the day before, but the colours were different. A green plaid replaced the grey plaid skirt of the previous morning. A green blazer had replaced the black one, and green shoes replaced the black ones.

The young woman didn’t acknowledge Clayton in any way. She rolled her chair up to the open door and waited. Clayton slipped his arm under her legs. The hem of the pleated skirt fell away and his hand was solidly on the back of her thigh. She made no reaction and slipped her arm around his neck as he slipped his around her back.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he lifted her gracefully out of her wheelchair.

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