UNITED STATES—Since Denny wasn’t so bright, he had thought he could get the cash for Danielle’s fender-bender pay-off at the ATM. It exceeded his daily limit. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) they were in luck (or unlucky) depending if you were in Danielle’s Ferragamo’s or Denny’s Dan Post boots.
“One-thousand five-hundred d-d-d-dollars,” Denny stammered.
The bank teller did her thing, and out the bills came and quickly passed into Danielle’s tapered fingers. Bye bye, Danny thought, he was cleaned out. What kind of gift was the actor-musician going to resort to get through the holidays.
Wouldn’t you know, he got a call from Myra. Myra had had an accident in a parking garage, tooling along toward the exit, not knowing a driver was about to back out and plow into the passenger side of her new car. She was afraid she had a spinal injury and had to have x-rays taken. And Ben and Angelina needed a new clothes, therapy and tai kwondo lessons.
She needed help. Gee, Denny didn’t have five dollars, but his recklessly agreeable nature agreed to a meeting at the parking of the Korea Town Ralfs. Behind the wheel of his Mustang, Denny was full of fury unbecoming to the holiday season, Myra had taken away from the good feeling that welled up when anticipating presents he was going to give. All spoiled by being asked before he could act. And when he saw her waiting, back facing him, a little fat but still pretty in a coral-pink dress that was surely new, Denny revved up the engine. He decided it was time for a hit and run. The Mustang barreled around the corner and clipped a grocery cart; the horsepower behind it was enough to send the cart racing toward Myra, talking on a cellphone. She was oblivious to the cart that was sure to send her to an emergency room. The grocery cart completely avoided her and crashed, instead, into a pot of Salvation Army loot. The eyes of the volunteer bulged out at coins exploded all over the place.
Denny did what any brave man would do. Tires squealing, he had escaped the parking before seeing thew full trajectory of the wild grocery cart.
It was night. He drove straight to his body shop, now closed. Not a soul was there. Nor at the synagogue next door. He felt awful, having slayed or injured the person he once loved. There was the last payphone on the corner. Here he could exercise that last drop of goodwill in his putrid soul, while still enjoyed that endangered species of comfort: anonymity.
“Hello 911, there is a person on the parking lot at Ralfs who was injured send an ambulance.”
“What Ralfs location?”
“There where the one big street crosses the other wide boulevard.”
“What are the street names?”
“Well, it’s near Olympic. And it’s Ralphs in Korea town, I’m sure you can find it.”
Denny hung up. He had done his good deed… That was as much of a hero as Denny could be. He turned to leave, and there was Danielle.
“What are you doing here?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Don’t worry, I’m a lot dumber than I look… Oh you know what I’m trying to say.”
“Shut up,” Danielle said. “I have to make a call first… Hello, 911, I want to report a Pomeranian with a smashed toe on Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills. Send an ambulance. Bootsy need your immediate attention… Don’t get smart with me… Of course I know the name for dog’s paw…”
Danielle later explained, she was aiming for Alfonso on his constitutional dog walk. She felt terrible that the dog got in the way. Poor thing. It would have been a perfect hit and run… Somehow, Denny felt that it was kismet. Cupid works in funny ways.
Grady Miller is the Wizard of Fiction