Miracles - The Ghost - Installment 4
As cross-country road racing blares, each man displays far different modes of relaxation. Alva is completely absorbed by the action on the tele. (Funny, I never figured Alva for a TV guy) Paul seems oblivious to the program. Hey, if it's not NASCAR Busch series or Nextel Cup, why bother....a man must set priorities in life after all. Instead Paul sits on the side of his bed, slips off his shoes, and enjoys the splendor of his socky feet. Paul sits wiggling his little piggies when Alva's bag rings. Alva roots out his cell phone and flips it open to receive. It's Jian Wei !!
Paul meticulously works a spot off the toe of his hush puppies while Alva rambles on to his friend in some Chinese dialect. Is there no end to this man's language skills?
Paul seems both fascinated and amused by the conversation until Alva turns to engage him. "That young girl at the agency needs to be questioned thoroughly about her sexual history. Find out if she's a virgin............" What??????? Paul looks at Alva in total disbelief. Did he just say what I think he said?
As Paul sits dumbstruck, Alva continues his Chinese exchange. Suddenly he senses Paul's presence and turns to find out why Paul remains. His hand gestures convey a "Times a wastin' boy - get a move on" sense of urgency.
While Alva no doubt languishes in a bubblebath back at the motel, Paul dutifully pounds the pavement, tracking down Tanya Sherwood as she lunches at the local diner. Paul has her spotted and scoots past an elderly waitress. The old gal still has some life in her as she grabs Paul's buns as he zips by. The wait staff exchanges high fives as Paul slips into Tanya's booth.
Paul notes that she is a beautiful young girl about 18 years old - cute figure, long blonde hair with a peaches & cream complexion and enormous blue eyes. He asks permission to sit and she nods, gently sliding her triple patty bacon cheeseburger with a side of chili cheese home fries to the side. (OK, maybe it was a small salad)
Paul cautiously begins his interrogation and Tanya explains that the ghost activity already existed before she started work there. In fact Frannie had warned her on her first day there. Tanya is very grateful to Mr. Kittridge for the position as she "super needed" the job. This makes Paul "super curious" and he prods her for more details. Turns out that she knows the family because she "sort of dated" the Kittridge boy, Kevin, their senior year in high school. Unfortunately, Kevin died of meningitis.
Although his "Miracle" wheels are already spinning with possibilities, Paul feels compelled to complete his immediate mission. Obviously not understanding the subtlety of the expression "sort of dated" Paul inquires as to whether she was.............well...........er..............gulp................ummm................."close" with Kevin. Tanya can't believe what just came out of this guys mouth. (She should consider herself very lucky because this conversation went a whole lot smoother than Paul's role-play on the stroll over from the real estate office. "So Tanya, if a volcano were erupting, would you qualify to be the human sacrifice?" ) Tanya twirls her fork as she decides just how much personal information she's willing to divulge to this guy. Finally, in the interest of science, Tanya acknowledges that she and Kevin were in fact "close - yeah, that's it.......close". This seems to satisfy Paul and he sighs in relief that this "really super uncomfortable" discussion is over.
Questions to Ponder:
Does his rental of the Lexus and fascination with road racing suggest a wild side to our bookish Alva?
What would Paul have said and done if Tanya didn't understand "close"?