Nalda's past is one filled with tragedy.
Nalda was so angry that Barret had been careless with the cigarette lighter. She had found it when she had taken the trash out to the garbage can. She looked twice and then picked it up. She knew that they did not have any visitors who went through the back yard. The people, who were scheduled to do the yard, were not on time.
She put the lighter into her apron’s pocket. As she walked back inside the house, the wind gently blew her hair. Normally she enjoyed nature but when she finally put on her wig, make-up and old woman’s clothes, she would have to play the part in full. She hated the dresses. She felt that the shoes would make her stumble. She also felt that the glasses were on the border of being noxious. But to play her part as Barret’s lone granny, she had to follow orders. When she became Mrs. Dorothy Marie Long, the identity of Nalda would have to remain in closet with her lovely clothes and stylish shoes that she was so fond of.
She closed the kitchen door and walked into the living room to check to see if the lighter had been tampered with. She slowly opened it and saw the little paper that she expected to see. It was wound up and sitting inside the empty area, waiting for her to receive the next news.
As she tried to retrieve the paper, she noticed the news that there had been an accident on the freeway. Her whole system seemed to freeze. She put the top back on the lighter and sat down to see what happened. She strained to see what delivery vehicle was affected as well as how many other cars were involved. When the explosion occurred, she thought that the project had been destroyed along with the vehicles.
She knew that she could not talk to her contact until he called her. The time for their next exchange of information was not until early in the next morning. Her orders were explicit. Do not try to contact him. She did not know who her contact was. He did not use his real name. He did not even say where he was, so a face to face meeting was out of the question. She had friends in ‘the business’ but she was told that she had only one superior, her contact. She had done this kind of job for a few years and had learned to not question anything. She felt that if this job was successful, then she would be promoted.
Nalda sat on the couch to view the accident on the television. But as she tried to observe the scene, her mind raced back to ten years ago when she and her new husband were driving on a freeway in her homeland. They sat silently listening to the music when out of nowhere, a car sideswiped them and their car flipped and went over a guardrail. She screamed and tried to grab her husband who was still holding on to the steering wheel. His face was blank. There was a sound of glass breaking and things flying inside the car.
Over the sound of the car hitting the ground, she tried to call his name. He did not answer. A smell of gasoline started to fill the air. When the car stopped, it landed on the roof. She unfastened her seatbelt and fell to the inside part of the car’s roof. Then she tried to unfasten Rolle’s seatbelt. But he was laying on it. Blood was all over his face. More gasoline smell filled the car and then there was that flash that indicated a fire was imminent.
Nalda felt his neck for a pulse and found none. She gave him a shake. She turned his head and opened an eyelid. The eyes were fixed and dilated. Her guess was that he was dead. She noticed a small fire and smelled the smoke mixed with all of the other smells. She broke her window and crawled out just in time before the fire became bigger. As she slowly got to her feet and ran a couple of steps, she felt the force of the explosion and was thrown further down the gully. That was her last memory until she saw the inside of an ambulance, which lasted for about ten seconds. A man was leaning over her and seemed to be talking to her.
The next memory after that was from a hospital bed. She could not talk because of the drugs that were coursing through her body. Her tongue felt thick and dry. Her head hurt badly. It was covered with a bandage. She also had some bruised ribs from the explosion and the fall. Finally, she had intense pain in her back. She would later learn that some of her vertebrae were cracked in her lower back area.
From that day on, she was determined to recover and find out who was responsible for the accident. She would honor her husband by never caring for another man. The simple little woman who had the best plans for a future, knew that she would leave nothing to chance.
Nalda’s focus returned to the present when she heard the phone ring. She disliked the interruption but she needed to have the heater fixed. She had called to have a man come by to inspect the unit that could be about ten years old. The company promised to call when the repair man he was on his way.
“Hello, Mrs. Long?” came a nasal male voice on the other end.
Nalda quickly converted her young voice to one of an older lady. “Yes?”
“This is the repairman from 4U Repair service. And I am sorry to tell you that it might be three to four hours before I can come by.” He paused to see if there was a statement.
“Oh?” Nelda thought if she could suggest some option.
“But you promised young man. And…”
“I will be there today as promised, or can make you first tomorrow morning.” The man coughed. “Excuse me.”
“If you can’t make it by four o’clock, then I would prefer 9:00 tomorrow.” She said as she looked at her calendar.
“It is your choice since we had an emergency and one of our men got very sick with some virus.”
“Oh my goodness.” Nalda tried to sound like a little old concerned lady. “I guess 9:00 is my first choice.”
There came a sound of a shuffle of papers. In the background was the voice of an intercom message.
“We promise you that we will be there at 9:00 and since you were inconvenience today, we will give you a 25% discount on the whole bill.” He paused.
“Why, I guess tomorrow will be my lucky day.” She replied. “See you then.” She hung up and smiled. Anything to save money was right up her alley. She returned to the living room to see the rest of the report on the accident.