Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I am re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. We’ll get back to our regular posting schedule in a few weeks.
The original “Hottie or Hot Flash” posted back in January 2012. It’s been embellished a little since then.
* * *
“Good lord, Fannie, you’re on fire. Are you sick?” Richard asked, throwing the blankets back.
“At this moment I wish I was sick, then I know it would be over in a few days,” I said, sweat soaking through my nightshirt. “Richard, I’ve reached the age where I’ve got night sweats.”
“One of the joys of middle age you get to share with me as my biological clock winds down.”
“Oh,” Richard said, scratching his head. “How long is it supposed to last?”
“Anywhere from ten to twelve years. Sometimes more, sometimes less.”
“That long huh,” Richard said. “Can I get you anything?”
“How about a bag of ice wrapped in a towel. We may as well treat it like a fever.”
Richard padded out of the bedroom. He ducked under the head of the doorway. He returned with an ice filled ziplock, wrapped in a towel, and handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I said, resting the ice on the back of my neck.
“If this is going to last for ten years, I’m stocking up on freezer gel packs in the morning,” Richard said, crawling back into bed. He threw the blankets to the end of the bed. “Fannie, I’m sorry but you’re so warm, the only way I’m going to sleep is on the sofa.”
Richard left the bedroom, blanket over his right shoulder, pillow tucked under his left arm.
The phone rang in the kitchen. Opening one swollen eye, I scanned the wall for the clock—5:02 a.m.. Rolling over, I swapped the ice pack for a pillow to cover my ears.
The alarm rang at 6:15.
“Richard can you turn off the alarm? I just need 15 more minutes,” I said, through the fog of sleep. “Richard?”
The alarm continued. Running my hand along Richard’s side of the bed, no Richard.
My zombie avatar motored my short legs into the kitchen, the rest of me followed in protest. The voice mail light’s persistent blinking caught my attention. Pressing the play button, Aunt Verla’s voice erupted from the speaker.
“Fannie, Richard, it’s me. Bud called this morning, he’s in from the gulf for a few weeks because of some hurricanes, I want you to mail him a care package while he’s on shore. He mentioned you sent him some sort of cookie last time. Call me back when you get this. I have a list.” She drew a deep breath, “By the way, I hope I didn’t wake you . . . call me.”
An involuntary groan escaped my lips.
“Fannie, are you all right?” Richard asked, from the relative safety of the sofa.
“Sure, no problem here,” I said, pretending to be awake.
“Was that Aunt Verla?”
“Let me guess, they’re going on a trip and they want to spend the night in the guest room?”
“No, Bud’s back on shore, and she wants us to send him a care package,” I said, running my fingers through my short brown hair.
“Does she have a list?”
“Oh yeah,” I said, shaking my head, “I’ll call her after breakfast.”
The fax machine blurted a shrill tone. It reached every corner of the house.
“I’ll get it,” Richard said, “It’s the purchase order I’ve been waiting for.” Richard wandered down to the office. Erratic laughter floated back toward the kitchen.
“Richard, what’s so funny?” I asked, shuffling into the office.
“Your aunt couldn’t wait, she faxed the list along with instructions for you to go to their house this afternoon and fix the computer. She’s available between 2 and 4 p.m..”
“Well that would be nice if I was the cable company,” I said. “I am not calling until after breakfast.”
Yoga, a shower, breakfast, and two cups of tea later, I dialed my aunt.
“Hello,” Uncle Carl said.
“Hi, Uncle Carl, it’s Fannie.”
“Fannie, let me guess, you’re returning Verla’s call to confirm you received the list,” Uncle Carl said, laughing.
“Yes, I got the list. What’s wrong with the computer this time?”
“The same thing as last time.”
“Did you use the instructions I left you?”
“Verla threw them out saying we didn’t need them when you were only two miles down the road.”
“If you promise not to tell Aunt Verla,” I said, twisting the phone cord, “I stashed a back-up copy on your desk taped to the back of the blotter. Are you in your office or the kitchen?”
“Perfect. Get her on the phone with me. Then you can get the computer running while I distract her. Send me an email if you get it to work. If I don’t see anything from you, I’ll stop by after work.”
“Let me get her, hang on a minute,” Uncle Carl said. His voice muffled, “Verla, Fannie’s on the phone for you.”
The email arrived before Aunt Verla and I hung up.
“So how did it go with your aunt?” Richard asked, smirking.
“Uncle Carl fixed the computer. Louisiana is only two hours ahead of us, I’ll be calling Bud this afternoon to find out if he actually wants anything.”
* * *
“Hello,” Bud said, his voice as slow as the summer air was thick in the south.
“Bud this is Fannie,” I said, to my closest cousin. “How long are you in town?”
“Hey, Fannie, good to hear your voice. We may be here up to two weeks the way the storms are lining up in the Atlantic,” Bud said. “I’m guessing my mom called you.”
“Yup. She also faxed over a list of supplies you’d need to weather the storm,” I said, laughing, scanning the 27 item list.
Bud groaned. “Fannie, you don’t have to send me anything,” Bud said, “although those chocolate mint cookies were to die for and I wouldn’t mind having another couple dozen of those if Richard would let them out of the house.”
“I see, a little mint decadence will help you weather the storm.”
“Couldn’t hurt,” Bud said. A knock on the door interrupted the conversation. “Come in,” Bud shouted.
I could hear a male voice drawl, “Hey Bud, brought some beer and steaks, thought we could hang out, and barbecue this evening.”
“Hand me one of those and put the rest in the fridge, I’m on the phone.”
“Who you talking to?” the male voice asked.
“Boy or girl?”
“Is she hot?”
You could feel the ick factor travel faster than the speed of sound two-thousand miles through the phone lines repulsed by the thought.
“Bud, Bud,” I shouted, into the phone. “Tell him I’m not hot, I’m a hot flash.”
Silence. Glass shattered. A gulp of air. Bud burst into laughter. “She’s not . . . ha, ha, ha.” Bud gasped for air before he squealed like a teenage girl. I pulled the phone away from my ear. “She’s a ha,” Bud voice cracked. Laughter filled the phone. Bud drew a deep breath, he blew it out. “She’s not hot, she’s a hot flash.”
I sent him the cookies to help him recover.
* * *
If you want the recipe for the cookies, my friend and fellow blogger, Liz, over at Food for Fun posted the recipe.