Mother was still talking about the girls for a while after they left, but I eventually excused myself to do some work. After checking what days I already had booked next week, I replied to Evelyn concerning what days we could practice our dance. Then I told her about meeting a guy at the nearest bus stop who seemed to know her name, leaving out the part about the wolves. I simply gave her a description and inquired if she knew anything about him. After answering a multitude of business emails, including one from Chad asking if I could babysit Aaliyah again, I sent a quick email to Jarod to tell him what days I would be working with Evelyn, so we could stage his grand scheme for acquiring photographic evidence of wolves in the city. Several hours had passed all too quickly, and I had just enough time to change clothes, grab some tools, and catch a bus to help Barbara Adams with her leaky faucet. I told mother goodbye, caught the bus, and arrived with my head still full of thoughts about how lunch went.
As I walked up the sidewalk to the white duplex where Barbara lived, I was more grateful than ever for modern technology. Managing my business without the gps and other conveniences modern smart phones allowed would be vastly more challenging. I called Barbara, since she had said she wasn’t able to hear her doorbell very well, and was soon greeted by the elderly, white haired lady. “Are you James?” she asked as she seemed to scrutinize my appearance. I had decided on wearing a navy blue polo and blue jeans, wanting to make an attempt of looking the part of a plumber without buying any sort of uniform. I still had nightmares of the scratchy outfit father had made me wear on various occasions when I did work at one of his hotels. “Yes, ma’am. I heard you could use a friend to check your faucet.” She still seemed dubious when she said, “Check it? I need someone to fix it. The landlord is out of town, and no plumber will come near the place after last time.” I was hired by Barbara’s daughter who simply said she wasn’t able to get a plumber, but Barbara desperately needed to use her sink. There was no mention of plumbers being scared off.
“Don’t worry. I know how to do far more than stare at a pipe. If you allow me the chance, I’m sure that I’ll figure something out.” She looked at me a moment longer, and then maneuvered her walker to head back into the house. “You’re not scared of dogs, are you?” Taking this as acquiescence for me to have my chance, I followed her inside and told her that I walked dogs fairly regularly. Before I had taken even three steps into her home, I was greeted by a deep growl. Not ten feet down the hall from me was the most massive Rottweiler I had ever seen. Beneath the dog’s wide, black nose, I could plainly see gleaming white teeth bared. “Not again,” said Barbara. “Don’t move, boy. The dog’s stone deaf, so I need to get in front of you to get his attention.” I did as she said, though running seemed like a very tempting option to me. The seconds seemed drawn out as Barbara slowly scooted in front of me. Then she made some sort of gesture with her hand that I didn’t quite catch, and the dog sat down, wagging its tail. “Link’s really a softy, you see. He just gets a bit protective, and telling him anything is trickier than it is for most dogs, especially with me not getting around too well anymore.”
Link just laid in the kitchen and watched me the rest of the time I was there. He even let me pet him. Fixing the faucet was, luckily, an easy job. There was a shutoff valve under the sink, and nothing was too corroded for me to get apart. Barbara told me how the last plumber was chased out of the apartment when he ran from Link, and then the guy made a big fuss about the dog attacking him. She apparently didn’t believe in tying the dog up when company was over, but I didn’t care to comment much on the topic, mostly smiling and nodding as seemed appropriate. I had to make a quick run to a hardware store for new o-rings and gaskets, but there was one just four blocks away. Walking that far wasn’t a problem for me, and I managed to get things squared away quickly after I got back. Barbara was overjoyed and acted as if I had performed some form of magic on her sink, thanking me repeatedly. After accepting her thanks, I patted Link’s head and left to find my way back home. On the way, I wondered what the twins and Emma would do if they found out I was done working already. Aaliyah was surely back with her father by now.
Instead of telling them, I arranged to meet Jarod at his father’s shop, since had literally sent me fifty texts while I was working. He was really excited about something, but said that I had to see it with my own eyes. When I arrived, Jarod was quite obviously ecstatic, literally shivering with excitement. “You won’t believe what we got our hands on, James. It’s so beautiful. Close your eyes. I want you to get the full impact of what dad found.” I closed my eyes and was surprised when I felt him stick something over my head as if I would peek. Trusting the guy who loves to suckerpunch me not to pull some prank was normally a risk, but I hadn’t seen him quite this excited since he first got his Mustang. He guided me for what seemed like quite a distance before turning me and taking off the blindfold. His excitement spread to me like a fire spreading over dry grass. I was nearly speechless. “This is…” He nodded. “Uh huh.” Before my eyes sat a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, the same car James Bond drove in numerous movies. This one was up on blocks and looked like it needed considerable work, but I couldn’t believe Jarod’s father had actually found one.
“The thing’s actually in better shape than you’d guess. The paint’s a bit scraped up, and the tires are shot. One of the headlights is broken, and the interior needs reupholstered. The ignition needs replaced, but the engine runs.” I had a feeling that I would be spending any spare time I found helping Jarod and his father fix this car up, just in hopes of earning a chance to drive it. “How did your dad acquire this? Did he have to kill a few people,” I said in jest. Jarod replied, “Actually, some guy inherited it from his father and had no clue what he had. He sent it to the junkyard! One of dad’s friends notified him the moment it showed up.” Jarod and I were laughing, drunk with excitement. “I’m going to beg your father to let me drive it the moment we get this fixed. This is amazing!” I was amazed at how Jarod’s smile managed to get even wider. “Dad says he has to charge you for it, but the car is for you, James. I did a bit of talking with him the past couple weeks about how you needed a better way to get around for your business-thing. He said the next decent fixer-upper he found would go to you, and, well, this is it! He’s just charging you the fee he paid at the junkyard plus parts as we get them.”
Usually, I like to think things through very well before I make any big decision, but I didn’t even hesitate about this car. Mr. Davis, Jarod, and I were looking up parts and making orders online that very night. My bank account was hit for most of its worth by the time we finished, but I felt like I should be joining Peter Pan, flying through the air by the power of happy thoughts. “You two are absolutely the best! I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you for this!” Mr. Davis told me with a smile and a wink “You’ve done enough volunteer work with my boy that you earned a reward years ago, but I’ll agree that you owe me on this one.” We all laughed together and continued talking later than I had planned when I decided to come here, but there was no way to expect a dream car to fall into my lap. This was an opportunity that no sane man could ever pass up. Father was already in bed by the time I got home, but mother caught me and asked why I was so excited. I wasn’t sure how long I rambled to her about how utterly amazing getting that car was. I eventually stopped though when I realized she looked slightly concerned. “What’s wrong, mother?” She smiled and gave me a hug. “James, I am very happy for you. This obviously means a great deal to you, but you know how your father can be.” Breakfast would be interesting in the morning, but nothing could take away my elation.