Bastian poured himself some coffee, using one of the
overturned mugs. Adding a liberal dose of sugar and cream,
he stirred it until the liquid appeared properly mixed.
Not exactly the welcome I would have expected from my own
grandfather after fifteen years of absence. Perhaps a hug or
a pat on the shoulder, but no, true to form he’s ornery and
sharp as a razor. Friendly as one too.
He took a drink and swallowed. “You said you needed my help.
I’m here. What with?”
“I promise friend you help.”
An itch between his shoulder blades was born and grew as
quickly as a fire could turn. “Doing what?”
He shrugged, and Bastian groaned.
“Very well. Where is your friend?”
His grandfather pointed, and Bastian turned in the seat to
see. The same woman he’d held the door for was on her way
Facing his Pops again, he lifted one eyebrow. “Really? You
befriended a young black woman?”
“Why shocked? I no racist.”
“Because you’re an old crotchety ass.”
His lips thinned below his mustache. “Go talk. Her name,
Bastian finished his drink and pushed to his feet.
Suspicious? Definitely. His Pops used to speak English well.
I’m going to regret this. He slowed on his way to the
door, pausing once to glance over his shoulder. The old man
shooed him along with an impatient gesture. Back outside,
Bastian maneuvered behind her. The phone was back to her
“Because I’m not happy, Regina. I’m not even sure what his
grandson looks like. I’m surrounded by hillbillies.”
He cleared his throat. She turned slowly before her eyes
widened as she gazed him over.
“I have to go,” she muttered, then returned the phone to her
pocket. “Can I help you?”
Her voice was husky with an accent that was familiar, but he
couldn’t quite place, at the moment.
He almost smiled. “I believe I’m the hillbilly
supposed to help you.”