“Good lord, Fannie, you’re on fire. Are you sick?” asked Richard 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 the 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,” said Richard thinking. “How long is it supposed to last?”
“Anywhere from ten to twelve years. Sometimes more, sometimes less.”
“Oh,” said Richard. “That long huh. 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 emptied the ice tray into a ziplock, wrapped it 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,” said Richard crawling back into bed.
“Fannie, I’m sorry but you’re so warm, the only way I’m going to sleep is on the sofa.”
Richard padded out of the bedroom, blanket and pillow in tow.
The phone rang in the kitchen. Opening one eye, the clock read 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. Rolling over, I remembered Richard slept on the sofa.
In a zombie-like state I entered the kitchen. 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 paused for a moment. “By the way, I hope I didn’t wake you…call me.”
An involuntary groan escaped my lips.
“Fannie, are you all right?” asked Richard from the relative safety of the sofa.
“Sure, no problem here,” I said pretending to be awake.
“Was that Aunt Verla?”
“Let me guess, their 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.
“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 which could be heard throughout the house.
“I’ll get it,” said Richard, “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?”
“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,” said Uncle Carl.
“Hi, Uncle Carl, it’s Fannie.”
“Fannie, let me guess, you are returning Verla’s call to confirm you received the list,” said Uncle Carl 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 stashed a back-up copy in 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,” said Uncle Carl putting his hand over the receiver. “Verla, Fannie’s on the phone for you.”
The email arrived before we hung up.
“So how did it go with your aunt?” asked Richard smirking.
“Uncle Carl fixed the computer and I’ll be calling Bud this afternoon to find out if he actually wants anything.”
Warm moisture clung to the thick air as the sun set over Morgan City, Louisiana. Bud sat on the porch sipping iced tea. The telephone rang. Walking into the house Bud grabbed the phone.
“Bud this is Fannie. Welcome home. 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,” said Bud. “I’m guessing my mom called you.”
“Yup, she did. She also faxed over a list of supplies you’d need to weather the storm,” I said laughing.
Bud groaned. “Fannie, you don’t have to send me anything,” said Bud, “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,” said Bud. A knock on the door interrupted the conversation. “Come in,” called Bud across the phone.
Through the phone 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?”
“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, but a hot flash.”
A momentary pause followed as Bud processed the information.
He laughed so hard, it took three tries to tell his friend.
I sent him the cookies to help him recover.