Showing off to impress a girl has no age limit!
Jenni winced when she saw the pothole. The front tire of the private transport bus went into said hole, causing one corner of the vehicle to dip and then pop back up.
Cries of protest flew from the senior citizens.
“Every heard of dodging, buddy?”
“I think they’re trying to crash the bus!”
“I think the government is still trying to kill me.”
“Who got killed?”
“Give it a rest, Bill. The government doesn’t care about you. Probably one of my loyal fans trying to rescue me from this bus.”
Jenni exchanged an amused expression with Martha, her coworker sitting across the aisle. She stood and pat the air with her hands. “Just a pot hole, nothing to worry about. We’re almost there.”
A familiar face, sporting her favorite stern expression, glared at Jenni. “Where exactly are you talking us, young lady?”
Jenni sighed. “We’re going to the park to have a picnic, Claudia.”
“What about Nick?” someone from the back asked.
“Nick died last week,” someone else said.
Jenni shook her head and sat. Good thing they were almost there.
By the time the bus driver parked—only a couple of minutes later—a small scuffle had broken out behind Martha over a cane, and someone was asking if it was Rick that had died.
At least her job was never dull. Jenni stood and smiled. “We’re here. Everyone off!”
That drew a round of grumbles. The driver moved to help Martha with the three people in wheelchairs while Jenni made sure everyone got down the stairs in one piece.
This part was like herding cats. The first woman off the bus decided she wanted to get back on. The man behind her threatened to kick her in the face—he watched way too many Kung Fu movies—and the rest of the senior citizens asked what was going on in loud voices.
Jenni smiled through it all, making notes about the most entertaining comments so she could write them down later, and finally got everyone off the bus. She rolled her eyes when she saw
Alan tottering toward the gutter with one hand on his cane and his other holding a grabber claw that his granddaughter had given him for his birthday.
Claudia was the last one off, and she kept a hold of Jenni’s arm. There were bright yellow balloons along the path to the pavilion for everyone to follow, and Martha was already wheeling the first resident in the right direction.
Alan surveyed the gutter, pushing the dirt and rocks around with the rubber tip of his cane. He wore a t-shirt of his own rock band—he had been rather famous back in the day—under a leather jacket. He wore what hair he had left long and stringy.
“That man is disgusting,” Claudia said.
Jenni watched as Alan’s wrinkled face lit up and he used the grabber to pluck a gray rock about the size of a walnut out of the gutter. It only took him three tries. It took him another minute to get the rock into his hand. Then, in typical Alan fashion, he licked it.
Claudia strangled a cry of shock.
Alan smiled and sped toward them.
Of course sped was a relative term.
“Did you find a good one?” Jenni asked.
“Don’t encourage him,” Claudia whispered like a three-year-old. Lucky for her no one else could hear either.
Alan stopped in front of Claudia and held out his prize as he flashed his perfectly white dentures. “Granite. From the mountains.” He jerked his head toward the west.
“Really?” Jenni asked.
“Yup.” Alan’s face held both pride and hope. His eyes moved to Claudia.
Claudia sniffed. “You and your silly rocks.”
Jenni held out the hand for the rock, promising to put it with the rest of his collection. She didn’t miss Alan’s face as it lost a bit of excitement. So she pulled Claudia close as they shuffled along. “I think he’s trying to impress you. He knows you were a geologist, and he’s been reading all about rocks.” Plus, he thought it was hilarious to be a rock star who had a rock collection.
Claudia’s hand tightened on Jenni’s arm. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
The old woman said that, but she straightened her shoulders, as much as she could, and Jenni could have sworn Claudia began to sway her hips as she walked. Good thing they’d both been replaced, or Jenni would have been worried.
When they reached the benches, Claudia waited to pick a seat until Alan sat with a couple of the other guys, as he called them. Claudia then picked a spot where he could see her. As soon as Jenni dropped her off she fished a mirror and her brush out of her giant gold purse a checked her hair.
“Still using a horse brush?” Martha asked as Jenni came to sit with her.
“I can’t convince her it’s not a valuable antique.”
“Did Alan find another rock?”
Jenni held it out. “Granite.”
“It will look great in his guitar case with the other hundred or so he has.”
Jenni watched as Claudia put lipstick on, then practiced her smiles in the mirror.
“Uh-oh,” Martha said.
Jenni turned to see two of the other ladies fighting over a cane. “We never should have let them have the exact same cane.”
“My plan is to toss them both.”
Jenni caught Claudia giving Alan a little wave as she moved to break up the scuffle.
Nope. This job was never dull.