coincidences do happen

by Susie Applegate

Just as I finished typing up my last entry to Susie’s blog, she showed up on her bicycle looking like she had just completed some kind of marathon. Her face was all red. I don’t mean just a little pink. I mean red. The way only white skin can get. When she took off her helmet, her hair was all flat to the top of her skull and wet with sweat. She was sweating all over. I set the laptop Susie lent me down on the picnic table in her backyard and went for the garden hose. “Hang on, Susie,” I said. “I’ll get you some water.”
    She was sitting on the grass under the elm tree when I gave her the hose. She took a couple of long drinks then closed her eyes and pointed the stream of water right at her face. She didn’t stop using that hose until she was completely soaked. “Thanks, Shaherazade. I really needed that. I must have been some kind of fool thinking I could ride all the way out to the McCoy place and back in this weather without getting heatstroke. Not to mention that I’m not in the shape I thought I was.”
    “I just wrote up an entry. Let me read it to you,” I said cause she was still dripping water and shouldn’t be anywhere near computer equipment. When I finished reading, she was pretty quiet. I thought she might have gone to sleep.
    “Of course it doesn’t mean anything,” Susie said at last. Then after another minute or so she said, “Necessarily.”
    “What are you getting at, Susie?”
    “I don’t know if I should tell you this.”
    “Yeah, you should.” I didn’t know what she was on about, but if it was a secret then I just had to know.
    Susie laughed and then got serious. “I just don’t want to cause anyone harm.”
    I waited her out. Sometimes the best way to get people to talk is not to say anything yourself.
    “Richie Arlington has a brother named Albert. Al and Susannah, that’s his wife, used to own the Restin’ Easy. He took it over from their parents. Richie and Al grew up in that motel.”
    “Oh my gosh, I remember in your blog you said they were in the witness protection program because of some murder or something that happened at the Restin’ Easy. People call it the unfortunate incident. You don’t think that Albert and Tom Wilburman are the same person do you? But they must be. They must be, Susie.”
    “That’s ridiculous,” Susie said. “I mean the coincidence factor alone makes it impossible.”
    “No, Susie, listen. We came here because of the Wilburmans.”
    “I thought you came here because of Uncle Charlie.”
    “Yeah that and the Wilburmans. Listen to me. Everyday in that church up in Jackson, Mama read the noticeboard on the wall and the internet about towns and cities offering to take people in. Lots of the ones on the bulletin board were from other parishes around the country. She told me she wasn’t going anywhere she’d never heard of before. She said we’d lost too much to just drop off into the unknown. When she saw that notice from Immaculate Heart in Germaine she said that’s it, we’re going there. Daddy wasn’t so sure cause he thought it was all about Uncle Charlie, but Mama said it wasn’t. She said Germaine was right there smack in the middle of the State of Oregon and isn’t that what the Wilburmans were always going off about, how beautiful it was and how good the people was and how much they missed it there? And they did, Susie. They did talk about it all the time. I wondered why they left and I asked them one time and they got a little quiet and then Mr. Wilburman said that there had been some trouble, but they couldn’t talk about it.”

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