I finally gain a modicum of control and, trying to keep from stuttering, carefully state, “We were told that your property might be for sale in town. We knocked on your door several times and thought you weren’t home. We drove quite a while to get here so we thought we would just take a look-see to see if we’re interested in your property. Is it for sale?” You sigh with at my lack of originality. The look on your face says that we are now going to die.
For just a second we see look of hesitation on Amos’ face. He blinks, then, lowers the shotgun. When the barrels are pointing toward the ground he shifts his weight from one foot to the other. “Who told you that?” There is suspicion in his voice but it feels to us like the worst might be over.
You chime in quickly, “A waitress at the Godfrey Diner said that she had heard this parcel might be on the market.” My gratitude for your quick thinking is palpable when you continue, “She said she knows you and that you mentioned to her that you were considering selling a few weeks ago. She also said she wasn’t sure but she said it might be worth our time to take a run out here. So, here we are. Sorry if we seemed up to no good. Our fault, completely.”
With that, a smile appeared on Amos’ face. “Shirley?” he asked.
“Pardon?” I blurt out, half expecting him to finish with “Surely, you jest?”
“Shirley, the girl at the diner.”
I come back, “I didn’t ask her name. Blond, short hair, if I remember correctly?”
“That’s her. Well, pretty dark hair for a blond but…I kind of like her, you know? She doesn’t care much for me I think but she’s a nice lady. She knew my mother and father when she was a kid.”
The unpronounced sigh when one realizes they aren’t going to die suddenly ran through my body. I felt like collapsing and barely not peeing my pants. How close was that? In truth, I didn’t know but it seemed for a few slow minutes that blackness was inevitable.
“Well,” you interject with suaveness, “perhaps you can show us around?” Amos thinks about that, screwing his face into an almost comical expression. The manner in which he pursed his lips almost sends me into a chuckling fit until I feel your elbow dig painfully into my ribs. You’re right though. It probably wouldn’t do to laugh at Amos now.