A Betsy screech is alarming, but at six am it’s downright diabolical. I wait for my nerve endings to settle before I give her my best trust me smile. “I thought I’d clean the hall closet because …”
“My closets are clean and …”
“I thought I saw a spider.” I trot out her biggest fear and hide a feral grin as she backs into her room.
“Good idea,” she says, “I’ll help you after I’ve taken a shower.”
By help she means supervise.
On borrowed time I scan the junk and sigh. How will I ever get through an entire house of crap, on the sly, let alone this closet? By the time the water shuts off in her bathroom, I have run up and down the stairs, and out to the garbage cans in the alley and back no less than fourteen times. My legs are numb and the muscles in my right arm quiver when I lift the old 1940’s Singer. Portable my ass.
“What are you doing with my sewing machine?”
Betsy’s hands are planted on her hips as water drips off her shower cap and onto her blue paisley robe. “Shit.” I drop the machine and slap a hand over my heart. “You scared the crap out of me.”
“Watch your language young lady.”
“Yes ma’am.” For a minute I think she’s going to get all hot and bothered with the call-me-Betsy routine but she tightens her robe and flicks a glance to the sewing machine, then back to me.”
“Tensions off,” I duck my chin and head for the stairs, “I thought I’d have it fixed.”
“You always were a good girl.” She says to my retreating back and I wonder if Hell ever has a good season.