Georgia dresses herself to kill, or at least knock a man dead, although she fears she hadn’t been out on a date since Jeremiah passed on. She thinks, by the end of the night, she may feel guilty for possibly leading a man on. But this thought is quickly countered by a realization she deserves to have a good time.
The man before her looks into her eyes with a genuine sense of peace, as if he can alter the complexity of her lost soul.
“I really like your smile, Georgia.”
She blushes, before returning, “You’re sweet!”
A child inside the woman’s belly curtsies in fetal animation. Georgia thinks it is merely an errant kick. The arrival of their waiter breaks up the pleasantries with an armload of food he balances, like a culinary Globetrotter. In her dreams…Georgia will remember the man’s weird goatee, and she will swim in her date’s longing eyes.
“So…How come you’re not married?”
Something strikes deep within Georgia’s heart, and tears flow as if her date physically struck her; the blow sends her pin-wheeling through a previous life. Sorrow and anguish fill up the young woman’s soft features, like play worms inside of a clear plastic ball.
“I’m so… sorry.” The man grasps to salvage any of the night that went great up until the moment he opened his big mouth.
“I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s just…. My fiancée died, practically in my arms!”
Georgia cuts him off in mid sniffle.
“It’s no…t your fault.”
“Here…Take my handkerchief.” The man forges into lines which form on the woman’s sullen face.
“How horrible that must have been!”
Pity re-drives a knife of intense loss deep inside Georgia’s gut. A bright light brands her memory. Georgia blows her nose, and dabs at her eyes with a clean edge of Kleenex. Something about the moment causes her to reach into the pocket of her overcoat and re-discover the card, long forgotten in four months of heartache and blind-sided fury.
Georgia looks down at the faded print. It appears to be some sort of childlike memento. A promo card for the long absent television show The Rifleman rests in the palm of her hand. She flips the card over and notices information she can only see as part of a human code—completely meaningless—or as a part of everything. She knows time will help illuminate the missing pieces. She can’t help but wonder if the card came from or belongs to the bible? If the card does belong to the book in question, Georgia can’t help but ask herself. What books did the advertisement rest in-between? Why did I find this card resting on the reedy bank?
As she sits alone in the dark, Georgia thinks about a code:
Rufus meets the hangman.
Lucky skips out.
A rough hand.
3 times a lady.
Duel at Quincy Gulch.
So blinding is the light.
“Whose light?” She asks herself.
There appears to be many double meanings. A rough hand could mean a human hand or a hand of cards. The only lead definite to follow is the Duel at Quincy Gulch. Georgia would like to find out who the participants were, who got shot, and what significance the duel in Quincy held? She thinks the name Rufus certainly sounds familiar. Georgia Alexandre pulls out her library card, confident something in Nevada history will bring his name to the surface. “Well…Something to work with is better than nothing,” the pregnant woman urges, as she tries to jump-start her resolve to find out what truly happened to her lover.
A tech gadget offers a pulsating ring which slices through the silent, dark confines of Georgia’s apartment. She flicks on a light and reaches for an expensive cell phone.
“Hello,” she offers to whomever is on the other end of the line.
Old whiskey giggles answer from the other end of echoing phone space. Then, a deep seeded cough resounds. Followed by unsolicited silence.
“Who’s there?” Georgia asks, nervously.
“It’s Lucky…Ignore my cutting a few shines. Don’t get huffed If I skedaddle.”
“Why are you calling me, Lucky?”
“Shut pan and set store te ask no odds of me.”
Georgia chews at her fingernails. She thinks she should turn to God for answers.
The distinct voice returns. “I’ve been sent fur the bad egg and help ease yur grum fix. Jeremiah was de biggest toad in de puddle!”
“Why? What do I do now?”
The phone connection goes completely dead, as if somebody cut the line. Georgia knows it is Lucky. And he skipped out again. Where has the old geezer skipped out to? ‘The other side’ is the only answer satisfying the young woman’s curiosity. She knows that a surefire way to test the real from the unreal is to change her number to an unlisted number. In fear, Georgia puts off changing the number for days; she puts off changing her number because she really doesn’t want to know the truth. The widow really doesn’t want to know that some guy named Lucky has a wacked out phone line connection spanning time, space, and cell towers. Or that some jolly spirit has been sent to ease her abhorrent loss. Georgia’s imagination shifts into overdrive, like a road-hugging Ferrari. She finds the sort of imagination teachers and adults once cherished in childhood was now labeled as crazy by adult contemporaries in well-established fields of employment. Georgia’s imagination proves quite meaningless in an adult world of ‘follow the highest ranking leader’. When her once stable world flips upside down, the woman comes to find a life contradicting itself in a strange, dreadful, and self-deprecating way.