Leo’s cell phone interrupted his meditation on loss. He shifted Precious to the porch so he could dig it out of his pocket. “Hello?”
“Leo, it’s David.” Leo’s heart lurched. Douglas, David’s father, was in the hospital. “David, is everything okay? Is it your dad?”
“No. I mean, yes. Dad’s okay, for now. No change. But I need your help. With something else.”
“Sure, man. I’ll help if I can. What do you need?”
“I’d like to talk in person. Can I walk over? I won’t come inside or anything.” Leo quickly agreed. He put Precious indoors, grabbed another coat, and tied a bandanna around the lower part of his face. Ugh. I’ll never get used to this. But if it makes people feel safer, I guess it’s worth it.
David arrived quickly. He stood at the bottom of the porch steps, in his own warm coat, with his own bandanna.
“Thanks, Leo. Here’s my idea, and you are the first person I thought of to help.” David outlined his plan. “I’m one of the only people I know right now who has money saved up, more than I need. Dad has some extra set by, too. I’ve talked with Louise, and she’s all in.”
“Sounds great, David. I don’t have much, but I’ll contribute what I can.” Leo mentally counted his financial assets. It didn’t take long.
“No, I don’t want your money. What I need is your skill.” I could be wrong, but I think he’s smiling under that mask, Leo thought. Can you hear a smile? Just in case, I’ll smile back.
“Your black market sourcing, Franny always calls it.” There might have been a flinch, a brief dropping of the hidden smile, at the mention of Franny. The woman Leo adored beyond belief, and the woman David had pursued with schemes and even violence. “We’ll need stuff, and you’re the person to find it for us.”
Maybe I will be called upon to shed my beliefs about people, Leo considered. If David becomes a good guy, then anyone can defy expectations.