Ruby leaves. Amelia sighs and looks in the fridge. She puts a piece of cheese inside two dry pieces of bread. She leaves her shoes at the bottom of the staircase and goes up. Cup of tea in one hand. Dry sandwich in the other.
The shoes at the bottom of the stairs was an old family habit. Ruby used to make everyone take off their shoes when they entered. No, not as any sort of spiritual thing. She just didn’t want dirt “tracking her house.” So, almost thirty years later, it was ingrained in Amelia. Ingrained or stained?
She’d never tell Ruby, at Amelia’s home in California, she also makes visitors take off their shoes before entering. Amelia’s greatest fear I that somewhere deep inside, she may have no choice but to be like her mother.
The home is weathered, but solid. Brick and mortar with bay windows all around. As expected, spotless. In fact, from its neurotic cleanliness to the cases of intricately arranged insects on the wall, the house has a kind of sinister dark side of Disney World feel.
Amelia looks in her parents’ bedroom. Antique furniture that wasn’t when her folks bought it. Daddy’s old dresser. She runs her fingers lovingly across the top. And for her trouble, gets…a deep splinter cut. Blood spurts from it. So much for warm fuzzy memories.
She hears something that sounds like a body being dragged across the downstairs floor. Look out. It’s Cleveland dragging her suitcases from the kitchen. His cat, Golddust, walks in between his feet. The feline doges his walk with grace and a lack of concern for safety. Amelia laughs as Kelly ignores Golddust with studied practice.
“You can leave those. I’ll get em,” says Amelia. “I’m not going anywhere soon.”
Cleveland smiles a crafty smile and tosses her hat.
“Oh yes, you are?”
Before Amelia knows it, she and Cleveland are exiting her rented car taxi at the city’s police car impound lot. The lot spreads for miles, a fact that amazes Amelia.
Who would guess that that many scofflaws existed within such a small county? Or that the county would have such a vast property simply covered with cars.
You’d think they’d build a multilevel garage and use the rest of the property for something much less intrusive to one’s eyes than cars that ranged from dented violet Corvettes to burnt out burnt orange Hundi’s.