So engrossed was she, scrolling through page after page of the squiggly little glass makers’ marks, that Lucy at first missed the phone lighting up at her elbow; she caught it just before it vibrated itself right off the table. The name ‘Susanna’ glowed on the little glass screen, positioned above a positively radiant photo of her longtime friend, who wore a clover wreath around her head.
“Hey,” she said, putting her friend on speaker before she placed the phone back on the table and continued to scroll down, down, down, watching the little symbols go by on her laptop screen. “When did you get back?”
“Late last night, and I hear you took that little ragamuffin off my hands. How’s she doing?”
“She has a whopping case of sarcoptic mange, and she needs to put on a little weight, but other than that….” Lucy stared across the room at Charley, snoring contentedly on the linoleum with a chew toy still wedged somewhat between her paws; the one erect ear twitched a little, but she didn’t stir from her sleep.
“What are you calling her?”
“Charley. Spelled with an E Y, not an I E. It suits her.” Charley lazily opened one eye at the mention of her name, but then resumed her nap. “Did you get my check? I left it on your desk.”
“Yes, and you’re too generous. But thanks: We can always use it. How are things going at the house? Still sleeping under a leaky roof?
“I am—we are—but a guy’s coming out in a couple of days to give me a quote to replace the whole thing; friend of a friend, supposed to give me a deal.”
“When can I come and see the place? And give my little friend a belly rub?”
“Soon; I need to pick up and clean a little more before I do any proper entertaining, but I’m happy to give you the nickel tour any time. I’ve started working some outside, too; made enough progress to walk in the yard wearing sneakers instead of boots. And I’ve started working on the daffodils in the field. You won’t believe them—there’s a solid couple of acres planted in them, lots of varieties. I’m trying to create a little path so I can get to them and do some clearing. You should see them, Sues, they’re incredible! I swear, when there’s a full moon, you could read the pages of a book by the reflected light.”
“That sounds like big work for one gal and a scraggly dog, darlin’.”
“I know. But you won’t believe this. Yesterday when I was weeding my trowel hit something hard in the ground—turns out it’s some kind of little medicine bottle. At least, I think it is. I’m researching it now.”
“Of course you are. Leaky roofs, overgrown lawns, empty bottles, mangy dogs—some girls have all the luck.”
Lucy waved away her friend’s sarcasm. “It gets better. Right after that, I dug up an entire pair of glasses—spectacles. Little gold wire spectacles, and the lenses aren’t even broken. Can you believe that? They were standing on end, good as new except for the clay packed in all around them.”
Lucy could hear Susanna giggle. “I’ll let you get back to your bottles; some of us have real work to do. Holler at me, okay?” She clicked off the call; it was the silence now that awakened Charley, who stood and yawned and stretched her long body, fore and then aft. She shook herself vigorously, and then sat on her rump and began to scratch behind one ear. Lucy could see the loose hair flying everywhere in the kitchen light spilling through the doorway behind the dog.
“Come on, Charley: Let’s go for a walk.” She grabbed the leash and pushed open the screen, with Charley following enthusiastically on her heels.