From The Ghost Writer

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Rose and Carla came back after five. Murph had left the deck and pool area. He was watching a baseball game in the TV room.

When they were dressed and back to working, Keekah and Keelah had stopped in on Murph to see if he needed anything. He said no and was happy to be alone. Neither of them fussed with him. He was thankful for that.

He’d had a hot tub incident on a cruise once. He’d had a sauna incident at the Hotel St. Martine too, that one when he was a boy of fourteen, that one not a pleasant one, not one he cared to remember, but not one that was too bad in the scope of things. The hardest part of that one was not telling his father about it because he was afraid of what his father would have done.

Peaceful and even serene, he was dozing off when the hurricane hit. They each carried packages and Fred followed behind with more packages. Both of them tossed their stuff on the other sofa and plopped down on either side of Murph. Both of them put their feet up on the coffee table and slumped down into the soft cushions.

“God am I tired,” Rose said.

“Me too,” Carla said. “But we had fun, didn’t we?”

“More than I’ve had in forever. Tell Murph what happened.”

“You tell him.”

“You.”

“Let me watch the game,” Murph said.

“We almost got kicked out of this shi-shi boutique,” Carla said. “We would have too but Rose threatened the manager.”

“Not really,” Rose said. “I just told her I knew the owner and didn’t think she’d be happy if she found out her manager had thrown me out of the store.”

“The manager didn’t buy it so Rose pulled out her phone and started dialing.”

“That didn’t do it though,” Rose said. She thought I was bluffing. I had to actually place the call.”

“You should have seen that manager’s face when Rose called the owner by name,” Carla said. “She had a cow, turned all red. I bet she wet her pants.”

“Why’d you almost get thrown out?” Murph asked.

“I’m too embarrassed to say,” Rose said.

“Carla?” Murph said.

“I have to pee,” Carla said. She quickly got up and left the room.

“I bet her a thousand dollars she wouldn’t…”

“Don’t you dare tell him,” Carla said, peeking her head into the doorway.

“Do something,” Rose said. “Well, she did it and she got busted doing it, and it’s funny now, but I ended up losing a grand.”

“And I got all this great stuff on Rose’s money,” Carla said, returning and sitting back down, “without her having to buy it for me because she’s filthy rich and I’m not.”

“I don’t do that,” Rose said. “Ever.”

“Good,” Carla said. “I’d hate it if you did. But I did win that bet.”

“You sure did, love,” Rose said.

They both laughed, deep belly laughs.

“I’m happy you’re loaded,” Carla said.

“I’m well beyond loaded,” Rose said, correcting her. “And I’m happy you’re crazy, Carla.”

“I’m well beyond crazy,” Carla said.

“I’m counting on it,” Rose said.

They both laughed again, loud happy laughs. Then Rose called out for Keekah.

“Let’s get drunk,” she said to Carla.

“Plastered,” Carla said.

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