TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
At the counter, Zach said, "We don't know the date, but do you have records that go back two or three years? We know the car, and who owned it."
The clerk brought up the files on his computer. "Let's see, here's a list of makes and models of the cars we took in, as far back as five years," the clerk said. "You said it was an older T-bird...what color?"
"It was blue and white," Ghost said.
"Ok," the clerk said, and he scrolled through the list. In a few minutes he said, "Oh, maybe this is it. Here's the information on it. It was two and a half years ago, a classic, blue and white T-bird...owner, Steve Finn. Does that sound right?"
"That's it," Ghost said.
"Looks like it was totaled out, but wasn't so bad it couldn't be fixed up. I guess this Steve couldn't get it done."
"But, Steve was in the hospital for awhile and he didn't even know what happened to his car, until a long time later," Ghost said.
"What we want to know, is do you still have it?" Zach asked.
The clerk looked back at the screen. "I'll check," he said. "Oh, yeah, we do actually have it. It's in the way back of the lot."
"I want it...I want to buy it," Ghost said.
"Well, ok, let me do some figuring," the clerk said. He tapped in some numbers, then stated a price. "Seeing as it's going to need a lot of work, I can let you have it for $1,000." He looked up at Ghost, doubtful he had the money.
Ghost didn't hesitate. He pulled out his money, and had Zach count out the amount for him. He then proudly handed it over to the clerk.
The clerk was surprised, as it was all in cash. "This will do it," he said, writing out a receipt.
"What now, Ghost?" Zach asked. "How do we get it fixed?"
"We can call a tow truck, and have it taken to a repair place," Ghost said.
"That's right. I can call one right now, if you want...and I do know a place that could do the repairs. They do a fair amount of business with us, and I never heard of any complaints," the clerk said.
"Yes, yes, call them," Ghost said.
While the clerk was making his calls, Ghost and Zach waited outside. "I'm kinda nervous about seeing it," Ghost said. "I mean, it's still smashed up, I guess...and...well, Steve was in it, and he was hurt real bad." He looked down, frowning. "Oh, no...what if Steve don't even want it. Maybe it has bad karma on it now?" He grabbed Zach's arm, and looked in his eyes. "What if this is all wrong?"
"Calm down, Ghost," Zach said. "I'm sure Steve will love it. You said it was his favorite car ever...does he still mention it sometimes?"
Ghost thought a minute. "Yeah, sometimes...sometimes he says he'd rather be driving the T-bird than the one he has now. So, ya think it'll be ok?"
Zach nodded. "Look, I think he'll be so surprised you did this for him, that he will love it. Y'all had some good times in that car, too...didn't you?"
"Yeah, a lot."
"Well, there ya go...good trumps over bad, all the time." Zach smiled and hugged Ghost, getting excited for the project.
The tow truck pulled into the lot, and the driver talked to the clerk. They went deep into the maze of junked cars. Then, when they came out, the old blue and white T-bird was loaded onto the back. Zach didn't think it looked too bad. He looked over at Ghost, and didn't know what was going through his mind, but could tell there were some powerful emotions being relived, by the look on Ghost's face.
Ghost was gripping Zach's arm so hard, he would later find bruises. Tears were falling down Ghost's face, and a look of extreme pain was in his eyes.
"Ghost? You gonna be ok?"
Ghost sobbed, and managed to say, "Steve was hurt so bad in there, and I didn't even know about it. And, he was in the hospital...and I didn't come, and he thought I didn't care. I just didn't know, or I would have."
Zach put his arm around Ghost, pulling him close, and could feel the waves of pain, as Ghost broke down, crying until he was weak. Zach supported him, until he gained some control. He began, at that moment, to understand why Steve loved Ghost so very much. It was because Ghost cared...cared deeply about everything, and about everyone, and wasn't afraid to show his empathy for other's pain. He marveled at this person he held in his arms...the likes of which he'd never encountered before. Never mind the voo-doo shops, and psychic readers, down in New Orleans...this was the real thing...right here.
"Ghost, it'll be ok. Don't worry about it," he said, after a few minutes. "Listen, these guys need to take it to the repair shop, and get paid, and get your ok...all that kind of stuff. So, we need to follow them over there. C'mon, let's go to the car." He led the way, and they followed the tow truck down the road.
At the shop, Ghost was doing much better, and could concentrate on the business that had to be taken care of. He paid the truck driver, and got a detailed list of repairs to be done, to restore the car to drivable condition. He even told them to repaint it so it looked like new again.
"How soon will it be finished?" Zach asked. "He needs it before Christmas."
They told him it would be ready in plenty of time. Ghost even paid for them to deliver it on Christmas Eve. As they left, Zach said, "That was a good idea to have it delivered, seeing as how you don't like to drive. I was wondering how you'd get it home."
"I know, right?" Ghost said. "I just thought of it." He breathed a sigh of relief, now that they were back in Zach's car, and the Christmas present for Steve had been taken care of.
Now that business was done, Ghost could relax a bit. He was hungry, now, so asked Zach if they could go somewhere to eat.
"Sure, we can," Zach said. "There's a lot of choices, here in the big city...what'cha got in mind?"
"Well, do they have any New Orleans food here? You probably miss the real thing. I know Missing Mile don't have anything like that, and when Steve and I were down there, we sure did like the food," Ghost said.
Zach laughed. "You're right about that. I do miss me some gumbo and shrimp...well all that stuff. I try to make it myself, but it's not the same. I'll try to find a place like that, ok?" He drove around town for awhile, and did finally find a small restaurant that advertised, Cajun Cuisine. This struck them as funny, but they went in, anyway.
The place was decorated in what was supposed to be authentic New Orleans style, but Zach and Ghost couldn't help laughing at the absurdity of it. "I could tell them a thing or two about how to decorate this place," Zach said.
"Yeah, me too," Ghost said, "and I only went there that one time, with Steve."
They ordered way more than they could eat, just to try everything on the menu. The waiter kept bringing out plates of boiled crawfish, gumbo, fried shrimp, blackened catfish, red beans and rice, and ended with beginets, and coffee with chicory.
"I'm dying...my stomach hurts," Ghost said, as he pushed away his plate.
"Me, too, but man it was good," Zach said. "This was almost the same as the real thing. I'm glad you suggested it."
"Yeah, I wanted to give you something you'd like, for helping me today," Ghost said.
Zach nodded, and smiled. "Well, you sure did...thanks."
They practically waddled out of the restaurant, still laughing about the hokey decorations. "Guess we can head home now, unless there's something else you want to do," Zach said. "You know this town better than I do."
"Well, there is that shop I got the demon fighting stuff at," Ghost said. "It's pretty cool in there, if you want to go see."
"Ok, tell me which way to go," Zach said, as he pulled out of the parking lot.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love & Writing