Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?
During the summer I look forward to the fall. During the spring I look forward to the summer knowing that I’ll be looking forward to the fall when summer arrives. Did I forget to mention I like the fall? The only thing I don’t like about the fall is cider and donuts. People talk about them all the time. The mere mention of them in any combination or in the same sentence sets by teeth on edge and my blood-sugar sky-rocketing.
We have arrived at episode 6 of the short story, The Match. It is at this point we understand the name of the story, but there’s more to follow. Thanks for keeping up.
The Match (Part 6)
Rusty drove to Miles City and talked with the lawyer, Harry Proxmire. He did not know Sam Collins and knew little about the arrangement other than administering it. He acquired the account from a lawyer who had retired and died.
The restaurant was two blocks from Proxmire’s office. Rusty walked it. “Nice place,” he mused. “Could use some pollution and traffic.” Rusty smiled.
He entered a diner called Rusty‘s. He ordered steak and baked potato. It was tender, cooked just right.
“Like to have some dessert to go along with that?” the waitress said.
“No,” Rusty said. “I’ll just take my bill.”
“Here ya go partner,” she said. “Just pay at the register.”
Rusty shoved a five under his plate and walked to the register.
A man in his mid thirties came to the register. “How was everything?”
“Good meal,” Rusty said. “Best steak I’ve ever had.”
“That’s $12.75,” the man said.
Rusty handed him $15. “Keep the change. That’s at least a $20 steak.”
“Thanks,” the man said.
Rusty squinted at a gallon jar on the counter next to the cash register. There was change in the bottom, not enough to cover it and a few one dollar bills. A sign was taped on it. “For Lucinda’s Surgery.” Rusty studied it. Something occurred in him; what? He did not know.
Before Rusty slipped his billfold back into his pocket. He pulled a hundred dollar bill from his pocket and dropped it the jar.
“That’s mighty generous of you,” the man said.
“I came into some money I didn’t work for,” Rusty said. He stared at the jar.
“The truth is money ain’t the real concern,” the man said. “We can mortgage the restaurant and our homes for that. What she needs is a bone marrow match.”
“You know her?” Rusty said.
“Yeah,” the man said. “It’s my mom.”
“And you’re not a match?” Rusty said.
“No,” the man said. “And there’s no other living relatives. If we find a match the money raised would likely go to them.”
“Lucinda, pretty name.” Rusty said. “That was my mother’s name.”
“Was?” the man said.
“Yeah,” Rusty said. He pulled another hundred from his billfold and dropped it in the jar. “It’s tough to lose a mother.”
“Sorry,” the man said. “How did she die?”
“She left,” Rusty said. “Somehow that’s worse than death. They’re someplace and just don’t know where.”
“That’s strange,” the man said. “My mother was separated from her first boy years ago. I don’t know the details. She doesn’t talk about it, but she named this place after him, Rusty’s.”
Rusty stood motionless. It was as if grabbing hold of a bolt of lightening. His body went numb.
“You okay?” the man said. “Maybe you should sit. Can I get you a drink?”
“I think we both need a drink,” Rusty said. “My name is Rusty and my mother’s name was Lucinda. My mother left when I was young.”
“Nah,” the man said. He looked closely at Rusty. “You look like Mom, but how does it happen that you‘re here?”
“It’s a long story,” Rusty said. “But you look like my dad.”
“My name is…”
Rusty interrupted. “Your name is Sam.”
“Yes,” he said.
“That was my father’s name,” Rusty said.
“We are brothers?” Sam said.
“More importantly,” Rusty said. “I may be a match.”