Audrey saw legs sticking out from under the Volkswagen bus. “Joe?” No response. She kicked his foot. “Joe!”
Joe shimmied into view on the concrete garage floor. His hands greased black, he carefully pulled the earphones from his ears. “Hey, mom.”
“Have you seen Evan?”
“Not since he skidded out of here on his bike.”
Audrey smirked at him. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” He scrunched back under the bus.
Audrey started to leave but circled back. Her feet wanted to go but her curiosity was unwilling. “Did he say anything? Would he tell you if something was wrong?”
Joe shimmied back out. He held a sturdy don’t-ask-me look.
“Never mind,” she said, sure now that something was wrong. “You know, it’d be a lot easier to talk to you if you got one of those rolling things for under the car.”
“A creeper? Good idea, mom.”
“What are you doing under there, anyway?”
“Changing the oil.”
“You’ve been out here all day. Doesn’t take all day to change the oil.”
“Nope. Put on new brake pads and changed the spark plugs.”
Audrey stepped back to see the van in full, blue and white and recently washed. “Wow. Putting some TLC into the old hippie mobile, huh? You know, these are worth something now. Kind of funny—the people’s bus is a collector’s item. Like a Model T.”
“Not this people’s,” Joe said. He stood up, wiped his hands on a rag.
“No! I mean, it’s great you’re taking care of it. Then when you want to sell it, you know, it won’t have lost any value. It might even gain value. It’s an investment. You could keep this bus forever. Retire on it. Or even in it.”
Joe rolled his eyes. “It’s just my wheels, mom. Gets me from one place to another… though I probably wouldn’t take it to Alaska.” He spotted rust on a wheel rim and rubbed it with the rag.
“Alaska? Joe—oh, forget it. I have to start dinner.” She headed back to the house, her thoughts now looping far from Evan.
• • • • •
Evan locked his bike to Danni’s wheelchair. He lifted her out of it, climbed the steps to the swinging car and placed her on the seat. This was a small Ferris wheel in a small park near the river, less imposing than the contraption which had inspired his mother’s Ferris phobia. He sat beside Danni and drew her near. They’d bought the All-You-Can-Spin tickets on the theory that many small revolutions could change the world, or at least keep her from moving to Tacoma.
©2010 Pam Wells