“That would be perfect. Thank you.”

As Mr. Tully turned to walk back down the short staircase, the rocking chair began to move, slowly, back and forth. He looked down on it.

“Must be the draft from the open windows,” Carrie said. She stepped over and stilled the chair.

“Sure. A draft,” Mr. Tully said.

“Should we go?”

Carrie followed him toward the stairs. As she reached to turn off the light, she saw Violet rocking in the chair.

Violet smiled and hugged herself, her eyes bright with anticipation. “This just gonna be wonderful, Miss Carrie.”


Five

When they returned downstairs, Carrie looked out the front window and saw a cherry red pickup, jacked nearly three feet off the ground. The chrome bumper and custom hubcaps gleamed in the sunlight. The back windshield was covered with a Confederate flag decal. Standing next to the truck was a young man in a white t-shirt and painted-on jeans. Carrie watched him flick his lit cigarette into the front yard.

“I think we have company, Mr. Tully,” she said.

He looked out and frowned. “Oh, that’s my nephew, Lawrence. He works with me on certain jobs, though I didn’t plan to bring him here.” Mr. Tully stepped out on the front porch. “Lawrence?”

The young man turned and nodded. A pack of Marlboro Reds was rolled up in his left t-shirt sleeve. A toothpick stuck out from his bottom lip, and he wore a straw cowboy hat.

“What are you doing here? I told you to stay at the Johnson’s house and wait for the roofers to arrive,” Mr. Tully said to the younger man.

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