The Reverend Al Green was singing as Roscoe diced up the vegetables. Onions usually gave him heart burn, but tonight he was not concerned. He shelled the shrimp and set them off to the side. The rice was almost ready, and he did a little side step dance as he moved away from the stove. He put the veggies in the pan and poured the olive oil into the mix in a high exaggerated stroke. A loud sizzling noise erupted from the pan, and Roscoe yelled; "Thank You!" His head was bobbing back and forth as he pointed to an imaginary crowd and sang into the bottle. He spun on his heals and dragged his left foot back to his right and held his hands out like he was stopping traffic. He took the honey and orange juice, and did his patented "chugga choo choo" shuffle over to the pan. He poured in some honey with his left hand and then the orange juice with his right.
"I am so in love with you, whatever you want to do, is alright with me..." Came out of the speakers.
"Sing It Al!" Roscoe shouted as he tossed some fresh garlic into the pan. He did a little James Brown foot work and as he jiggled the saute pan.
"Oh Baby leeeettttttts, lets stay together!" Roscoe sang with the music. He slowed down his pace a little and slid over to the counter. He swayed as he pulled the cork from a bottle of wine and let it breath on the counter.
Gretna crossed St. Augustine and clicked her walking stick with every left step she took. She made her way through a spot she cut out of the old fence and walked down the ancient clay double track. She thought about the happy days she spent out west in her youth, and for the first time considered retracing some of those steps. She was getting in shape for the first time since her twenties. She had lost nearly sixty pounds and had even given up her morning cigarette. She showed her age but she was an attractive woman. A hawk flew by her and landed on a tree sounding out to another across the field. A distant reply came back and the hawk surveyed the field as if he was the lord and master of all he saw. Gretna watched him and didn't move. The bird showed no sign that he feared anything and even in total stillness was more alive than anyone Gretna knew.
Kerry found an application to Nursing School on the passenger seat of the old Toyota her mother and her shared. She assumed Roscoe was making subtle suggestions after a talk they had. She tapped her finger nails on the counter and then typed in the address to the website. Springsteen's song; "Be True" came on Pandora. As the sax solo played, she began filling in the spaces on the lines of the application.
Roscoe finished washing and drying the dishes, and gently returned them to the cabinets. He closed the doors slowly and wiped down the black walnut with the dish towel. He threw the towel over his shoulder and looked out at the sun setting behind the tree line. He grabbed three envelopes addressed to Kerry, Gretna and his lawyer. He walked over to the desk and set the envelopes out separately putting the bus keys on top of the one marked; "Gretna". He looked at himself in the mirror, and straightened his tie. He folded the broken money clip Lilly bought him into a bandanna and placed it in his pocket. He surveyed the house, the yard, and his shop. Everything was as neat as a pin.
The orange morphine pills were curious to him. They looked like candy and they said "M" on one side and "60" on the other. He ground them all into a bowl stopping briefly to get the stereo remote and turn it up a little. When he finished making the powder, he poured it all into a wine glass and dragged his finger around the bowl to get all the dust out. He licked his finger and winced at the bitterness. He washed the bowl and placed it back in the cupboard. He placed two thick towels folded in half, on the seat of his recliner and began to pour the wine. He lit two candles and shut out all the lights. Roscoe took a deep breath and sat down. The powder danced in a swirl and he watched the dust spin in the candle light. He drank it in slow sips as the warmth swept over him like a breeze. He took the last sip from the glass and wiped his mouth on a white linen napkin.
Roscoe, blinked slowly and labored to open his eyes. He could smell rose water in the room as he focused to see Lilly standing there in the kitchen. He couldn't move or speak. She had a patient look on her face he had seen countless times throughout their life together. She was wearing a flowered dress and the patterns of the fabric swayed in soft light of the candles. She smiled at Roscoe as he looked into her eyes. He clutched the white napkin a little harder and the fabric wrinkled in his grip. He started to feel his eyes close and he felt Lilly's hands on his shoulders. He was so tired. As the candles flickered, Roscoe's hand opened softly and the napkin fell to the floor, like a leaf.