Dally isn’t sure what the ceiling is made of. It’s a tile ceiling, but not the same tiles as the ones on the floor. The ones on the floor are made of… rocks of some sort. Probably. Dally isn’t sure what the floor tiles are made of either, now that he thinks of it. Truth be told, Dally isn’t sure of much today. It’s a stressful day. His freedom hyperbolically hangs in the balance and all he can do is play the waiting game, at least for now. The room is only on the second floor, and the window next to the bed is right above the parking lot. He’ll know when the car rolls in, in fact he’ll be the first to know. So until then… what is the ceiling made of? The tiles are white, and the material has nooks and crannies in it, it’s not flat. Not perfectly solid. Some kind of plaster maybe? Probably couldn’t walk on it. You’d have to be pretty small to even attempt it, the ceilings in this place aren’t thick. One could probably hide stuff up there if one was so tempted. Dally is tempted to hide himself in the ceiling, but he knows that wouldn’t work. The floor would be covered in bits of ceiling tile, it would be a dead giveaway.
No, he has to face this thing head on. The car is on its way, the heist is officially in motion, and the plan is a good plan. There’s really nothing to worry about. But yet…
Laying on the bed isn’t helping, ceiling be damned. Dally swings his legs away from the window and forces himself to stand. He walks into the corner of the room that functions as a kitchen and dips the tip of his pinky finger into the coffee. Cold.
“It’s going to work, it was Sally’s idea and Sally is smart. Otherwise your niece would be a demon, and she’s not a demon. It’s going to wo–”
Tires crunch pebbles into asphalt as the car rolls into the parking lot. Dally peeks through the window – yep, it’s them. He assumes his position on the couch. Not much time left now… so what are those ceiling tiles made of?
Mom’s Coffee Mug
“Whose coffee mug is that?”
Miss Gretta’s sitting on the edge of the bed. Her back is all hunched up. Her jaw is hanging low, swaying ever so slightly in the breeze blowing in through the window. She’s not pointing – the woman needs all her strength to hold herself upright unless she’s sitting in a chair with a back, and even then she slouches down – but there’s only one coffee she could be talking about.
“You don’t recognize the Tigger mug, Mom? Melinda gave it to you last Christmas, you use it every day.” Dally hops up off the couch and picks up the mug. “Yikes, feels like it’s cold. You must have poured this before you and Sally went out this morning.”
“Me and Sally…” Miss Gretta mumbles, then she licks her lips. “Yeah, me and Sally went to pick up Melinda. Sally said they were coming over for visit.”
In a way it really kills him, but Dally still forces himself to smile. “I think you heard it wrong, Mom,” as he pours the cold sludge down the drain. “You and Sally went for breakfast this morning, now she’s dropping you off so she can go pick Melinda up from her piano lesson.”
Miss Gretta looks around. “But what are you doing here?”
This smile hurts less. “Well I heard the girls were coming for a visit, so I thought I’d stop by too.”
“The girls are here??”
“One is,” as Sally walks in. “Dallas, what are you doing with Mom’s coffee mug?”
Dally turns on the sink and fills the mug, then starts swishing the water around. “She made coffee before you two left, it’s cold. I’m’a make her a new cup.” He arbitrarily hits buttons on the coffee maker next to the sink. “Sallas.”
“Oh, all right. Good.” Sally looks to her mom, then back to her brother. “Good. I um, I’m going to go pick up Melinda. I’ll be back soon, and um… we can all have a nice visit.”
“That sounds like a wonderful time,” Dally says, but he’s not smiling anymore. Nor is he facing anybody, just himself in the little mirror hanging over the sink. Coffee falls through the filter and into the pot, drop by drop.
“Well what about me?” Miss Gretta asks. Sally had almost gotten to the door, too. Just a few more steps would have done it.
Dally turns around and the room brightens. “What about you, Mah? I know Sally’s the golden child, but we can hang out just you and me for a few minutes, can’t we?”
Miss Gretta looks about the room. First to Sally’s face, then to Dally’s. Then about the room again. “But… but what are you doing here, Dally?”
Playfully rolling his eyes gives Dally a headache, but he does it nonetheless. It’s a good plan, it’s going to work. “What, am I not allowed to visit my own Mah?” He turns to face Sally. “Hey, can I get a word before you go?”
Sally looks at her mom. Her mom looks blankly about the room. “Sure. Come on.”
Miss Gretta’s sitting on the edge of her bed. Her back is all hunched up, but at least she’s not slouching. Her mouth is hanging open, but not because she can’t close it. She’s just confused, poor old Miss Gretta. She’s in her living room sitting on a bed, but usually she sits in an old rocking chair. And the walls aren’t blue anymore, they’re beige. The area rug is gone, too, and somebody took up her nice hardwood floor and replaced it with tile. The funny thing is, Miss Gretta doesn’t remember any of the work getting done. There are a lot of things Miss Gretta doesn’t remember these days, but Miss Gretta is getting up there. She supposes forgetfulness is just part of the aging process – when her mind feels up to supposing things, that is – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Something starts beeping across the room. It’s the mug, the odd yellow coffee mug with the happy tiger on it, it’s… no, it’s the coffee machine next to the mug. Where did that coffee mug come from?
“Whose coffee mug is that?”
“You don’t recognize the Tigger mug, Mom?” Dally asks as he walks in from the hallway. “Melinda gave it to you last Christmas, you use it every day.”
“Oh, oh that’s… yes, that’s right. Me and Sally went to pick up Melinda. Sally said they were coming over for a visit.”
Dally is smiling, but Miss Gretta doesn’t think the smile is a very happy smile. She starts looking about the room so she doesn’t have to look at it.
Dally says, “I think you heard it wrong, Mom,” then explains where Sally is. Miss Gretta asks Dally what he’s doing here. He looks into the little mirror hung above the sink. “Well I heard the girls were coming for a visit, so I thought I’d stop by too.”