Let’s start with the weather. Yesterday, it was bloody boiling. It was August hot, with a dragon’s breath breeze blowing through the budding branches. The violets drooped, looking out of place and greatly out of sorts. As I crossed the street to the bus stop, I saw my neighbor waiting with her granddaughter, who wore a polka-dotted bathing suit, damp from dancing under the sprinkler.
We stood beneath another retired neighbor’s weeping cherry tree dressed in pink flowers beside a bright red, cast-off upright vacuum. That neighbor had left it by the curb, free for the taking. The vacuum sat there as if with a purpose, and I suddenly felt like a character from The Brave Little Toaster.
I turned to my neighbor, a retired grade-school teacher, and said, “How many times in your life have you waited at a bus stop on April 16 in ninety-degree weather with a hot desert wind blowing beside a preschooler in a bathing suit and an upright vacuum?”
Sue burst out laughing and replied, “Never—until today.”
Thus proving to me, yet again, that truth really can be stranger than fiction, so why not pull out all the stops when I sit down to write another chapter of my latest story?
The bus arrived twenty minutes late and we were worried. “You’ll never believe what happened to the bus!” my youngest exclaimed, his cheeks pink with excitement and the heat.
“Try me,” I answered, glancing over my shoulder at the lonely-looking vacuum as we walked toward the house. “But first let’s get a cold drink. It’s flaming hot today!”