Evelyn sat back in an old bentwood chair, guzzled a Tecate and ogled legs sticking out from under her sink.
A hand attached to an arm wiggled out from under, fingers searching for a pipe wrench on the floor.
Evelyn turned to the Boys, sitting at her feet. Nodding to Sundance, Evelyn watched the Dobie amble over to the wrench, pick it up in his mouth and drop it into the searching hand.
“Thanks,” mumbled from under the sink. Sundance slunk back to Evelyn and sprawled on the floor exhausted from the heavy lifting.
“Forget it, Jerry. I’ll call a plumber.”
“No. Almost got it. You forget I redid the kitchen in my Carmel place.”
“Right. And then you called a plumber. I remember.” The memory brought a smile to her face. “I think this is worse. I’ve got better plumbing than this old barn.”
Hardly a barn, the house and Evelyn were classic structures, full of character and both requiring ever more maintenance. Built of wood, stucco and stone, the California Craftsman home would withstand all the ferocity Mother Nature could throw at it half a block from the ocean. The kitchen was a mashup of new and old, the contemporary stainless refrigerator like some gizmo from outer space next to the rough pine cabinets, ancient kitchen table and old oak hutch filled with antique tea cups and saucers.
A deep slug of beer brought a satisfying burp out of Evelyn.
“You know, Abby sold me this place. Warned me about all the deficiencies. Very honest. And successful. Married one of her big shot Pebble Beach clients. Heart surgeon.”
Jerry scooted out from under the sink, hair and face decorated with p-trap sludge. “So, what’s the story with Derek?”
“None of my business.”
Jerry gave her the look: Since when has that stopped you.
“Neighbor’s dog was chained up. No water, no food. Abby climbed their fence to help the animal. Woman got back from vacation. Abby confronted her. Bitch filed charges for trespassing. Derek arrested her. Complicated after that.”
Evelyn tossed Jerry a beer. “Abby still had the house in Pebble Beach. Was on the rebound from Lucas.”
“The heart surgeon.”
“Golf pro. Heart surgeon was numero uno. Richard. Brilliant in the O.R… Sonuvabitch at home.” Evelyn guzzled beer. “Then Lucas…”
“Didn’t he use to teach out at Quail Lodge?”
“How Abby met him. Richard wanted her to take lessons so she wouldn’t embarrass him at the club. Big mistake… One time she actually beat him. Glad he wasn’t cutting on me the next day. The man was a real Jekyll and Hyde.”
“Abby doesn’t seem like the kind who would put up with that.”
“You never know, till it happens to you. Ask Doris Day.”
Jerry was surprised.
“First husband. Horrific. Thank God, I never had to… Well, I may have slapped Melvin a couple of times. But he never laid a hand on me.”
“I believe that.”
“Anyway, Abby finally bailed on the scumbag. And the real estate. Took up with sweet, young Lucas. Abby financed him on tour. Big bust. Went back to giving lessons at the Quail. Scored better with the ladies than on the course. Abby gave him the boot, moved to the valley and settled down with four-legged companions. Far more trustworthy than the two-legged variety… present company accepted. Amazing, but canines seem to be blessed with far more of the assets of mankind… and less of the ass holes.”
Evelyn raised her beer in a toast. “You figured out where you’re going?”
“Not sure. Maybe down to Baja. All the way to Cabo. Supposed to be great fishing.”
“I didn’t know you liked to fish.”
“I don’t.” Jerry raised his beer to Evelyn.
A plain white sedan slid into a parking space across the street from the veterinary clinic. Behind the wheel big dark glasses masked a face of heavy rouge and lipstick topped with a hurricane of towering blond hair. Growing impatient, Big Hair checked notes on the passenger seat when Abby emerged from the clinic, Winifred in her arms sporting a fresh bandage around her injured paw.
Abby got to her Subaru, secured Winifred in a travel crate in the back, leaned against the door and made a call on her cell.
“I’m at the vets. Got a copy of the injury report. Remember the drawing I showed you… Yeah… I’ll be there in five minutes.” Abby jumped in the car, tossed the phone on the passenger seat and took off.
Big Hair let a few other cars pass before pulling out and following.
Winifred’s anxious whine from the travel crate was unmistakable. Potty time.
“Almost there. Hang on girl.”
Abby picked up speed as they passed Highway 1 and headed up Rio Road towards Carmel Mission. Just past the Mission, a pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 4-door turned off Santa Lucia and headed down Rio Road past Abby.
Abby smiled at the car, then saw the driver, did a double take.
Jerry continued down Rio Road as Abby caught sight of the pink Cadillac’s back bumper and the license plate: ELVS LVZ.
~ ~ ~