The first message was my sister, Hilary, going on and on about Mom.
I called her back.
“No, she isn’t on her death bed Hil. No matter what she tells you. It’s too soon. Beside she won’t die until it suits her. And it won’t suit her unless it inflicts the most pain on me.”
I spent the next 10 minutes talking my sister off the cliff’s edge. I actually felt bad for Hilary. Our mother was a handful and now, home in bed, dying of stage 4 colon cancer, she was even worse. I did feel guilty, very guilty, that I wasn’t there to lend a hand. Not because I wanted to be there for my mother, not at all, but because Hil was trapped.
“I’ll make it up to you Hil. I promise.”
The next message was Greta Little. (The homeless shelter, pancake lady)
She was in a dither about her son, William. Apparently, he didn’t turn up after school.
The detective paused.
“Greta? The preacher’s wife?”
“I didn’t know she was married to a preacher.”
He offered to drop by and check on them on our way to the hatchery.
“I’ve had a chance to meet William. Nice kid. Likes the ladies.”
“He goes by Billy.”
“So his mother says.”
We arrived to find Greta pacing in the yard.
“BILLY!!, BILLY WHERE ARE YOU?!”
She addressed us.
“He was supposed to be home three hours ago and no one has seen him.”
She walked us back into the house to find her husband getting ready to go somewhere.
“Now where are you going? I can’t find Billy.”
“He’ll turn up, he always does.” The Reverend spoke softly.
He nodded in our direction.
“Do you have to go?”
“Honey, you know it is my duty as Pastor to visit the sick. It’s just to the Hospice.” He smiled sheepishly.
“Yes, but you were just there.” Greta was clearly vexed now.
“This is the life of a Pastor. You know that.” He was getting antsy to leave. His wife noticed.
We all noticed.
“But what’s the hurry? Can’t you wait until Billy is back in? I’m worried about him.” She was standing in her husband’s way now.
“Greta darling, these patients are dying and need attendance by a man of the cloth. I can’t keep up with that boy. If he is misbehaving, we will take care of that in the morning.” With that he brushed past us and got in the car.
As he drove away, his wife wept.
Next – Billy’s Behavior.