Thursday morning found Karla at the local butcher. Well, actually, dentist. She and her friends had called him The Butcher because of his reputation for bad jobs or not enough anesthetic. But, he had filled the need for someone affordable in this sad neighborhood. “Can you make this look more like a tooth?” He assured her he could, but it would cost her five hundred, cash on the line. “Three hundred. I can have it by Friday”. Four hundred would do it, he said, but the price would go up next week.
Thursday afternoon found her at the local Coin & Stamp shop, toting a plastic bag containing a large album. It had been her father’s. He had been a collector, and she was certain that some of the things in it had value. The short grey-haired man behind the counter began to leaf through it, paused a couple of times, took a closer look, then said: “I’ll offer you two hundred”. She knew then that there was something he wanted, and said “I just came from the library, and I looked some of these up. Just some of them. And, it looks like this whole thing is worth at least five.” “Ma’am, those stamp catalogs are just guidelines. The market fluctuates.” “Okay. I’m going somewhere else.”
She walked. “Will you take three hundred?”…….sold.
By Friday afternoon, she had taken half a mouthful of Tylenol for the pain and was scratching her top lip and itchy nose. She took one more look in the mirror. It would have to do. She hoped the glue would hold out as long as he had said it would. He had taken the three hundred, with a promissory note for the rest.
She made the nervous phone call to Paul. Great. He would pick her up tomorrow afternoon. They would go for their coffee and wherever else she wanted to go. Everything would be fine. She searched her closet and dresser for her Sunday best, and found some pantyhose, a tartan pleated dress, a white lacy blouse, and a pair of her sister’s hand-me-down shoes, in navy blue. Then spent an hour ironing each one of the pleats in the kilt.
It could be said that Karla was close to being as blind as a bat without her glasses. Horn-rimmed and sturdily built to last the ages, they had a thick lens on one side and almost plain glass on the other. While she was bent over the ironing, they fell to the tiled floor with a click. Oh God. Oh God. She panicked and stumbled about looking for them. Then, crunch. She found them. In two pieces.
Now, almost in tears, she remembered the tube of glue the butcher had given her, to be used in an emergency in case her new tooth broke again. Went to the dresser, pulled out the old magnifying glass, and set to work. That, my girl, is enough for one day. We’re going to bed early tonight.
To be continued.