The old jeep Wagoneer with faded wood paneling flew south down Highway 101 past King City along rolling hills of vineyards.
“Let’s just say he had some creative differences with the producer… my husband.”
Abby laughed, “Which one?”
“Irving the Terrible. Anyway, he fired Jerry. So I fired Irving!” Evelyn shot past the slow pokes in the right lane.
“Best thing for everyone. Jerry was burnt out. So I gave him the keys to my guest house. Told him to take a vacation. Golf in paradise. Jerry said it was the perfect cure for the Hollywood hangover. Eighteen holes a day makes you forget everything you think really matters.”
Abby’s silence made Evelyn take a sidelong glance – the concern on Abby’s face easy to read.
“They’re going to be fine.”
“I know he’s your friend, but… I don’t trust him.”
“Trust me. You have nothing to worry about.”
“I can’t help it. Something about Jerry…”
“Yes… There certainly is.” Evelyn made no attempt to hide her feelings.
“He really wasn’t the best writer on the show. But he made me laugh. Jerry would dive into quicksand when everyone else was for high ground. Always figured out some way to solve the problem. Makes me miss the ride. He left and it wasn’t so much fun anymore.”
“Looks like it’s not much fun for him anymore either.”
“He left LA, moved up here and found the love of his life. Then it’s torn away. And he feels responsible.”
“Sometimes it’s safer to stay in our nightmare, than risk what’s next…which might be worse.”
Evelyn’s eyebrows questioned Abby’s own life.
“I know. I know…”
“I learned a long time ago, there is no such thing as life insurance,” said Evelyn. “Nothing you can buy that’s going to insure against life happening to you. You do the best you can with what happens. Do not seek to have everything that happens, happen as you wish; but wish for everything to happen as it actually does happen, and your life will be serene.”
“Sounds like Montaigne.”
“Seneca, I think. One of those Greeks.”
“Seneca was Roman.”
“Same thing,” Evelyn said.
Abby laughed… “Amor fati!”
“Love of fate!” Evelyn beamed, just as the siren and flashing red lights of a Highway Patrol cruiser assaulted from behind.
“I think someone wants your autograph.”
Evelyn gave Abby a Cheshire cat grin and pulled over to the soft shoulder.
The Highway Patrolman was very young and good looking. The moment he saw the age of the driver, he relaxed.
“Sorry to bother you, but I need to see your registration and driver’s license. Do you have any idea how fast you were going, Ma’am?”
“I am so sorry, Officer. But we have two very sick family members in the back and I need to get them to the clinic in Paso, before it’s… it’s…” Evelyn choked up, tears welling.
The Patrolman looked in the back where the Boys looked out from two travel crates and whimpered as if on cue. Abby looked back, impressed by their performance.
The Patrolman felt bad and was about to send them on their way when the name on Evelyn’s driver’s license connected.
“Miss Brown! I didn’t recognize you. Once Upon a Murder was my mother’s favorite show.”
“I was just a kid. But I’ve seen the reruns and—”
“We really need to go,” Abby cut in. “The dogs… Just give us the ticket and I’ll drive the rest of the way. Okay?” Abby got out of the passenger seat and headed around the car.
“I’m not going to ticket you.” The Patrolman pulled a note pad from his pocket. “But if you could sign this… For Loraine…”
Evelyn signed the paper and gushed through tears, “You are a dear sweet man.”
Autograph tucked away in his breast pocket, the Patrolman headed back to his cruiser.
Abby pushed Evelyn across to the passenger seat, got behind the wheel, threw a wad of tissues at her grinning co-conspirator. “Bad to the bone.”
“Tally ho!” Evelyn chirped.
~ ~ ~