“Hi~i! Ja~ane!! How’s it go~oin’!”
Jane hadn’t seen Karina this week.
“Good. You? Haven’t seen ya lately.”
“Yes! Tha~ank ya~a~ou!”
Jane and Jim had a furniture pick-up at the same location, a humble retirement home in a forested area outside of Eville, just as Karina and “Ruckus” had a drop-off.
“Oh, hi, Karina. I heard what happened, from Jane and Abe. Is everything alright?”
“Yes, tha~anks for the s~support, Jim. I~I~ w~was~ss in r~rough shape.”
Karina carelessly dropped the liftgate while holding onto a cart.
“Have you been to any meetings yet?” The liftgate reached the bottom. “Yeah, my sister joined me for a few~w! I haven’t d-drank since!” The clear-shrink-wrapped cart was full of cardboard boxes advertising brands of alcoholic beverages. “I’m glad to hear! We were worried!” Karina’s eyes lingered on the designs for just a second longer than she might have, had they been advertising, say, sports clothing. “Doing OK?” She snapped out of a momentary daze. “Hmm~m… yeah… everything’s just fine~. I was just thinking abou~ut-” Her eyes darted to one of the boxes.
The design had a cute cartoon dog.
“I’ve always hated this brand. Not only does it taste terrible, but they put a design on there they could sell to kids… so of course, that was my daughter’s favorite brand.” A burly man with a beard covering most of his chest barreled his way into view. “Hey, guys, why so glum?” Jane patted Karina on the shoulder. “We were just reminiscing about… a childhood friend’s dog that recently passed…” The man’s arms were tanned and tattooed with assorted dog faces. “Oh, sorry to hear! I love each and every one of my little furry buddies.” All of the dog tattoos had names, and some had dates, underneath.
“Eye~mmm– it’s all good… R~Ruckus.”
Karina smiled as she, and Jane, moved the cart off the liftgate, with the boxes facing away from her. “OK, good! If you ever want to talk about your dogs, just let me know.” His voice boomed throughout the quiet parking lot. “I really appreciate that! Really, I do! Thank you~u so~o much!” Jim took off his faded red cap, revealing a full head of white hair. “Me too, Karina. If the passing of your doggie pup gets to be too sad, just reach out.” Jane nodded. “Oh, thanks, everyone! Yeah… I’ll miss –t~the o~o~o~ol’ pupper~r!” Jim put his cap back on and readjusted the fit just right.
The four movers proceeded to go into the main foyer.
They split up in two different directions. “See~e y~ya later!” “Peace.” Jim asked Jane after they wheeled their empty cart, including a roll of black-shrink-wrap, out of view. “Do you think she’s gonna be OK? I mean, she was really messed up last week.” Jane shrugged. “Hard to say. I stick with my sobriety because… I have a good friend for support.” Jim stopped pushing the cart. “Can you be that support?”
“I’ve already offered it… and besides… …I think she’s drunk, unfortunately.”
|Sources: My imagination, mainly.|
|Inspirations: Written as a direct sequel. Part three may happen eventually…|
|Related: Somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”|
|Photo: The same spot as “A Club’s Retirement” but looking toward the sky.|
|Written On: August 7th [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: September 11th [30 minutes] – The previous draft was ambiguous and more hopeful. Considering it’s been a month, and Karina hasn’t popped up again in my writing or into my subconscious since August 7th, I dug deeper to find that she had been lying in the previous draft. She was likely drinking before work again.|