Fiction | June 01, 1990
The Last Brown Deli Bag In the Grand Union
My mother is missing. I left her sitting in the passenger side of my grey ’82 Toyota angle-parked downtown in front of the Quik Cleaners while I ran inside. Five minutes it took me, tops, two dresses, a skirt and one of Harry’s suits. I come back to the car. It’s parked slightly cockeyed, but legal. I look inside and it’s empty. At first I think I’m losing my mind. Maybe I took the other car, the Rabbit, but I never drive the Rabbit because of the brakes and the radio. I know I took the grey Toyota, which I always take, and anyway it’s there in front of the cleaners where I left it and my mother isn’t. She’s eighty-five years old; where could she be? She’s frail. She’s hard of hearing. She sees but not so well. I look around. Maybe she needed to pee or something. I go into the store next to Quik and ask if they have an old lady in the bathroom. They think I’m crazy. This is a dress shop for teenagers they tell me. I see that it is. The lights are flashing. The music is playing. The clothes are not real clothes. What would an old lady be doing in our bathroom? they say. I go back on the street and look again. She’s not there. I go back to the car and see the note. It’s on the front seat. We have your mother. Do not panic, it says. You hear that? Do not panic. Go home and wait for our call.
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