The first two parts of this story are here if you need a refresher.
Part three starts at the ***, below.
And before I forget again, for those of you waiting, the SSS CUE of the week is check. I’ll do a better post in the morning, promise.
Driving Ms. Myrna (Part Three – The end)
By now Mr. Therrien was giving Myrna a significant discount in hopes she would soften to his advances. Myrna’s daughter had some worries about a store that would allow her mother to purchase miss-matched pairs of shoes by the dozen, for little more than fifty dollars. Just as when she wanted her mother to consider public transportation, Myrna once again misunderstood what her youngest was trying to convey. She began to assume her daughter was being overly loyal to her father’s memory, and mistakenly thought she didn’t want anyone taking Al’s place in Myrna’s life. So when it was mentioned to her mother that perhaps a run-down warehouse (that by now must have a ridiculous number of unmated shoes on display) may be a front for something else, Myrna gently presented her own theory.
“Honey, Daddy’s been gone a long time now.”
Gentility was not Myrna’s forte. On the rare occasion she decided to try it, it made her appear awkward. Perhaps it was because no one ever expected self-restraint from her. Oddly, the use of the name “Daddy” was Myrna’s attempt to lessen the blow, but it was never something their children called their father. All of his children called him “Dad, Alfred, Al, Alfredo” or “Sam.” He had gotten “Sam” in the 1940s with the popularity of the song “Sam You Made the Pants Too Long.” His friends, in an attempt at comedic irony, coined the name because he consistently wore his pants short enough to see his white sweat socks peeking out between his maroon dress shoes and black work pants.
Myrna could only be temperate for so long. It was no surprise therefore, when she quickly resorted to her usual style of conversation. Her voice raised to a whole new decibel, “I’m not some sort of loose, trampy, gold-digger y’know!”
“Mom, just last month you accused me of, and I quote, ‘throwing’ you at one of the old guys from your church when I only suggested you may like some companionship. Do you even think before stuff falls out of your mouth? I’m just saying, I find it unusual that you can continually purchase screwed up pairs of shoes at this place. Don’t you think that’s kind of suspicious?”
“Oh so Mr. Therrien can’t just like me? I suppose I’m not desirable enough, because I’m old!”
Throughout her life Myrna’s daughter experienced her mother’s ability to make other’s words twist in the wind. She was quick to deflect the onslaught, “That’s not what I said. I’m sure you’re exactly the loose kind of floosy he’s looking for. It’s just that the place is pretty run down, and it must have hundreds of messed up pairs of shoes by now.”
Clutching her hand to her heart while her other went to her forehead in exasperation, Myrna feigned a mock innocence crying, “Oh no! Do you think Mr. Therrien is part of the French Mob?” She recovered her more tainted side rather quickly asking, “Do they even have a mob in France?”
“Look, I think it’s great if you’re interested in someone. I’m just saying be careful because it’s suspicious. And you should probably drop the Mr., I mean if he’s going to be my new daddy and all.”
“He is not going to be anything, and don’t be such a smart ass!”
***Despite her daughter’s reservations, Myrna continued her monthly pilgrimage. She became a better driver maneuvering through the traffic of the much larger city where her favorite store was located. She knew one route and never strayed for fear of getting lost. In the face of road construction, she would forego her quest for shoes and rapidly turn into a driveway to reverse direction before the detour forced her to navigate through an unfamiliar neighborhood. Myrna flirted, but never went out with any of the men from her church, nor was she above promoting a sense of hope in Mr. Therrien. She never accepted his invitations or the idea that he was anything but a nice old man with what she discerned was, “impeccable taste in women.” Each and every month like clockwork, she would enter the store empty handed, and leave with a shoebox tucked under each arm. Mr. Therrien didn’t believe in the overhead cost of bags. This went on for years, and because Myrna had not discussed the situation with her daughter since the day she had accused her of being some sort of a shoe-floozy, her daughter began to think her mother finally gave up on the store.
If her daughter had to think about it, she always knew this day would come. Since Myrna had started to drive, she worried that she would get the dreaded phone call informing her that her elderly mother had been injured or killed in an accident because she was just too damn old to be driving. She imagined the news reports of how she selfishly let her mother endanger herself and the public, to avoid the inconvenience of having to cart her around. So why was she so surprised when the officer on the other end of the line asked if Myrna was her mother? She never really expected to be informed her mother was dead. Now that would be a surprise. No, beyond the initial call, it hadn’t been shocking in the least to hear that her mother had been brought in and arrested for her involvement in a bookie ring at Hexagon Shoes.
Apparently the store had been under surveillance for some time and police officers had watched men come and go at regular weekly intervals, with one exception. It seems there was an older female suspected of placing bets on a monthly basis. It was assumed she was doing pretty well with betting her social security checks, because she never left the store without the tell-tale generic brown shoe box that was used to distribute winnings. When the officer told her as much, Myrna only had one thing to say, “I wish!” After some discussion and looking through Mr. Therrien’s records, it was determined that she had not been contributing to the “vig,” and had been purchasing shoes all along.
By the time her daughter arrived to bring her home, Myrna was in the squad room eating a donut hole and making a new pot of coffee. She was also making suggestions to one officer for an anniversary gift for his wife and wearing a very stylish pair of dissimilarly sized red pumps.