keeps my intrest
|New Jersey Installment 2
“I’ll call Alex,” Lisa said. “He’s at the mall with the kids. Maybe he can keep an eye out.”
Even as she said it, she knew her chances were nil of an easy resolution. And now, she had to help.
“Sit down, Harold. Just let me call him.”
She went to the mantle, where she always left her cell phone. Her family thought she was hopeless for leaving her cell phone at home, but she did anyway. Matronly ladies did not have to have a phone hanging off their ear. But she needed it now; that cell phone was the only one that held her husband’s cell number. Of course, it wasn’t there. Fifteen minutes later, after a prolonged search, successful call, and the removal of the slightly burned cookies from the oven, Lisa sat down across the table from Harold. The oven was turned off, the cookie batter back in the fridge, the rolling pin sitting forlornly in a pile of flour on the countertop. But what’s more important, a friend or a batch of cookies?
“They said they would look at the mall. Did she call you from there?”
“When were you guys going to eat?”
“We didn’t know. We were both shopping, and I called her to find out if she was going to just grab something, or if I should order take out. I hadn’t finished my shopping yet. But she didn’t pick up. I drove home, but she wasn’t home. I tried again, no answer.”
“You didn’t see her at the mall?”
“I was looking for a present for her, so I didn’t want to see her -- I mean, not while I was shopping.”
Harold and Amy had married two years ago, and had moved in shortly thereafter. It hadn’t taken long for us to become fast friends. Though they were newlyweds, they were both in their early forties and shared many of our interests. Amy tutored lagging students at one of the tutoring firms. She was quite good at it. Many times they’d asked her to manage an office, but she refused. She would rather be with the kids. She and Harold didn’t have any; this way, she said, they didn’t need to. Harold adored her. Adored her. Adored her. Amy was clearly the love of his life. Lisa wondered what he had been planning to get her for Christmas, but didn’t ask.
Looking for someone at the NJBEST Mall during the Christmas season is almost a lost cause. It is one thing if you agree to meet at the Starbucks sign outside the indoor entrance to the Starbucks on the South side of the mall at 1:15. Barring that, forget about it.
Worse yet, Harold and I didn’t even have a person to look for. We were looking for a silver SUV with Jersey plates in a New Jersey mall parking lot. Do you know how many of those there are? Too many.
“What entrance does she usually park at?”
He looked at me oddly.
“I always park near the Penny’s. I shop there and it’s the easiest place to access the stores I like, and I don’t have to worry about the movie theater crowds.”
“Think, Harold,” I continued. “Doesn’t she usually park near a certain store?”
Light dawned. “Yes,” he said. “Near the Best Buy.”
“Was she shopping for you?”
“Did you want something from Best Buy?”
He looked sheepish. “I told her to get me a tool chest from Sears. Hoped it would keep her away from where I was shopping.”
“That’s why she couldn’t find her car. She usually parks at this end, but ended up parking at the other. She forgot. I bet her car is there.”
Lisa realized belatedly, that if her car was there, that would only mean one thing, and that one thing was not that Amy had slept at the mall.
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