Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two

Day Twenty-Three, Tuesday
At Nancy's, Morgan found a note on the dining room table, tucked under the edge of a placemat.

“Morgan. Two friends asked who does my cleaning. They asked me to give you their names. If you don’t want to call them, that is fine. I am kind of embarrassed to ask you this, hope you are not offended. You are doing a great job, and since we are moving, I thought, maybe, you would like to work at someone else’s house? Here are their names and numbers. No worries if you don’t want to call them, or pursue this. Oh, and by the way, don’t be afraid to charge these gals a bundle – they will gladly pay it, and you are totally worth it (as Sarah would say).”

She tucked the note in her pocket. Do I want to start a business? Wouldn’t be a bad way to earn money. Flexible. Independent. I will have to think about an income at some point, anyway. Interesting idea. Looks like I could start without advertising, too, just word of mouth.

In the afternoon, she heard car doors slam across the street, the usual noisy chaos when Nancy’s family arrived home from school. She could hear Joey yipping her “hellos,” and smiled to herself. The neighborhood will be quiet without them, she thought.

Her doorbell rang. At the door, stood Sarah, Johnny and Jimmy. Nancy, behind them, had Joey on a leash. All three kids had tear-stained faces, Jimmy was still crying. “Come in. What is wrong?” Fears for their father flashed through her mind. Oh no, please, no, she prayed.

All three kids walked over to her couch and slumped down, like a choreographed move. They looked so glum, like they were acting out a desperate scene in a play. It almost made Morgan smile.

“Please, tell me what is wrong.  Nancy, sit down. Come here, Joey, what is going on with your people, huh?” Joey scooted over to her, her tail swinging so wide it almost hit her in the face.  No answer, the kids just looked at the floor. Nancy looked uncomfortable. Morgan was afraid to ask, but she took a breath and said, “Is it your husband?”

“No, no he is fine. Well, sort of, they let me talk to him today. He is recovering, in therapy, a long haul, but he should be okay.”

“That sounds like good news. What makes all of you look so sad? Are you still able to go see him?”

“Yes, we are still leaving on the twenty-ninth.”

“But we can’t take Joey!” blurted out Johnny. Jimmy sobbed again.

“Oh, that is sad,” said Morgan.

Sarah, never at a loss for words, said, “Morgan, we want you to have her. She likes you, she knows you, she would be happy with you. We can’t stand the thought of taking her to the pound, or giving her to someone we don’t know, or…” and then her voice caught in a sob and she cried, too. Joey sat on the rug, looking from person to person.

Morgan looked at Nancy, not sure what to think. She said, “Well, this is sudden, but I could keep her while you are away, then you could take her back when you come home.”

Nancy said, “No. We talked about that. We don’t know when, or if we are coming back. Or what country John will be assigned to, or if we will be with him. There are too many unknowns. And it is crazy for you, too, to have her, then not have her. We agreed.” She paused, to look at the pained faces on the couch. “We agreed it would be best, if you are willing, for you to keep her. She would be your dog. And, as soon, as we can, if we ever settle somewhere again, we will find another dog. We know she would be happy and well cared for, with you.”

Silence, except for the sniffles from the couch, sank over the room. Morgan was not sure if she was the bad guy or the good guy in this scene. Take away the puppy from the kids? Bad Guy. A home they knew and were comfortable with? Good Guy. She wasn’t sure she wanted a part in this. But, if she didn’t take Joey, what then? Where would she end up? Joey came over to her, nuzzled at her knee, her deep brown eyes looking up at her. How could she say no? Was she crazy?

Morgan looked at the three on the couch. Jimmy still cried, his hands tight in his lap. Johnny looked right at her, his eyes, begging. Sarah looked at her too, pleading. She looked at Nancy, who looked down.

“Yes, I will take her.” She should probably have said she would think about it overnight, but she knew she would still say yes, so why prolong their agony.

Sarah came over and stood close to Morgan. “You know, Morgan, I thought of something. Oh, first, thank you. Really, really, really thank you. But what I thought of, your name, the nickname could be, “Mo,” short for Morgan. And Joey, she could be “Jo,” short for Joey, so together, you guys will be MoJo. You know, get your mojo on, find your mojo – you guys will have it all the time!”

“Sarah, that is ridiculous,” said Nancy, shaking her head.

“I kind of like it. I could use some mojo,” said Morgan.  “I won’t take her until you guys leave. Until then, she is totally yours. Enjoy her. I know you will miss her, but don’t worry about her, she’ll take care of me, keep me company when I am missing you. And we’ll have fun.”

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