The Corona Chronology: Day 35

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Monty, lower: “Thank you for using our Touchless Delivery Service.”

Kate, upper: “As if I had any choice. This wretched caramba-virus has made a mess of things.”

Monty: “It’s corona.”

Kate: “What! I didn’t order any beer. How absurd. I have never stooped to such levels of depravity and coarseness.”

Monty: “No, I meant that the virus is a-”

Kate: “Don’t interrupt me, young man. I’m your elder. This means you must politely listen to everything I have to say until I die. That’s how we do it in the South.”

Monty: “Actually, I’m on a rather tight schedule. So, if we could just complete this transaction, I would really appreciate it.”

Kate: “The nerve! Fine. Just toss the box up here and flee.”

Monty: “I don’t think I that’s a good idea. Can I just leave it on this odd wrought-iron table that looks like something a vampire would buy in an Anne Rice novel?”

Kate: “What, are you worried that I can’t catch it? I may be old, but trust me, I can catch a case of gin in my sleep and never spill a drop.”

Monty: “Oh. Well, there might be some confusion. This isn’t a case of gin.”

Kate: “It’s not gin! Then why are you here? Clearly, you don’t know who I am and that I have a standing order for a case of gin every week. Twice a week during the summer, because it’s so damn hot in New Orleans and there’s only so much jazz one can take. I insist on speaking to your supervisor.”

Monty: “I am the supervisor. I own this company.”

Kate: “No, you don’t. You don’t look like Beauregard.”

Monty: “I don’t know who or what that is.”

Kate: “Beauregard Banger. Owner of Banger’s Booze Barn on Bourbon Street. Granted, I’ve only seen him when I’m a tiny bit lit, but his face isn’t yours.”

Monty: “Let me try another angle. I don’t have booze. Of any kind. You placed an order on my website for a glass flower and I’m here to provide you with that item. That’s why I didn’t want to hurl it up toward your ass because it might break. But now I think I’m just going to leave and call it a loss.”

Kate: “Wait! That rings a faint bell. I might have done that. But I’m not signing anything just yet. What is this flower?”

Monty: “A purple rose.”

Kate, sighing, eyes becoming distant: “Oh no. I’ve opened the cedar chest again. And I thought I had that lid on tight.”

Monty: “I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds personal, and I’ll be going now. You have a good day.”

Kate: “No! Not yet. Why did you deliver this personally? I mean, you own the business. Surely you have staff.”

Monty: “I don’t know. I noticed the order when I was updating the records and it intrigued me. We don’t sell many of those. I’ve loved purple roses since I was a child. I don’t remember why, but I had them added to the inventory.”

Kate, studying Monty with now-focused eyes: “I see. So, tell me, bringer of flowers, where you come from. Tell me about your past.”

Monty: “Ma’am, with all due respect, I really am on a schedule. There are other deliveries and-”

Kate: “Please. Let’s just talk for a minute.”

Monty, pausing, not wanting to, but then, maybe so: “I don’t really have family. I mean, I do now. But not before. Before is… tiny echoes. And purple flowers.”

Kate, almost whispering: “Foster care?”

Monty, whispery as well: “Actually… yes.”

Kate, voice stronger: “In Baton Rouge?”

Monty, still whispery: “How did you know?”

Kate: “Stay right there. I’m coming down. Just as soon as I figure out which button to push on this wretched elevator. I rarely go to the ground floor, so give me a minute.”

Monty: “I don’t understand.”

Kate: “Sons often don’t understand their mothers. Especially when it comes to hard choices.”

Monty, processing, guessing, hoping, but cautious: “I still don’t have any gin.”

Kate: “I don’t think I’m going to need it anymore. Just don’t leave.”

The memories in the gears of the elevator unlocked.

And the purple rose was waiting on the Anne Rice table when Kate arrived.