Chapter 41

Jim stood abruptly. “As if I didn’t have enough to think about, there’s a meeting this morning about the fire at the foundry.  Wish you were going to be there, Mike. They have a lot more respect for your words than they do mine. Rawley, that horse’s ass, has been gone for over a week now. No one knows where he is or what he’s up to.” He didn’t notice the sigh that Jenny made when she heard the news. “He’s supposed to report in on the work situation.  I sure wish you had never hired him, or set up the stock holders. This would be much easier if you were sole owner. People are not as loyal as I might have expected when it comes to putting the place up for sale.”

“The only thing that commands loyalty is money, Jim. I never expected anything else and neither should you. I’m sorry you have to worry about this now with all your other problems.”

Emma patted his shoulder and gave him another sip of milk. She never could figure out why this sippy diet was so important after a heart attack. It didn’t make sense. She picked some fringes off the arm of the sofa and wrapped the blanket tighter to Jenny’s neck. Maybe she had some use after all. Mike was looking more relaxed. She sensed the love in the look they exchanged. The ringing telephone sent her to the kitchen as Jim went out the back door. She hung up and came back to stand beside Mike as his hand reached for hers.

“That was Pete Robinson, Jenny. He was asking about the coat again. Trish is gone and all anyone can think about is the coat. He insinuated that Jim hadn’t looked everywhere for it. Not for Trish, mind you…the coat.” She sat back, realizing Mike’s strength is not what it use to be. Emma imitated Pete’s sing-song voice and twisted her head to emphasize the words. She held the glass of milk out to Mike when she finally remembered it was in her hand.  “The worms are coming out of the woodwork, in the form of friends and neighbors.”

Jenny looked pleadingly to Emma and held up one shaky finger. Emma shook her head and Jenny put her head under the edge of the blanket and shook with sobs.

“It won’t be long, Jenny.  You were not going too deeply into the shakes. Another day or two and you will thank me.”

“Never,” she shouted in muffled vehemence. She stood up on shaky legs. “I’m going to make a call.”

“Carol” she whispered into the kitchen phone.

“Jenny have you heard from Trish?”

“No,” she answered shortly. “I’m calling to ask you to help me.  Moth……I can’t find anything here to drink. She threw my stash out. Can’t find a damn thing. Could you bring me a beer?”

Emma snatched the phone.  “No, Carol, you don’t have any in the house, do you?” The line went dead.

“You witch,” Jenny slid to the floor. “You’re trying to kill me.”

“No, Jenny, I’m trying to get you to think more of Trish than you do of yourself. A few more days, dear,” she walked past her to the living room where Mike closed his eyes and shook his head.