A civilian has a close encounter with a world famous actress. Is it an act of fate or grace? 2,948 words. Illustration by John Mann.
I’d been lucky once before when I got the scholarship. The Hanover prepsters tagged me “Feather.” And they called the kid from Calcutta, “Dot.” As if they had a hard time telling us Indians apart. They had a lot of fun with us. It’s one of the things I liked about her. She was different. She could care less where I come from. Or what I do. And when I think back on how we met it seems like a chance encounter. Random. But lately I wonder if fate played a part.
It’s only 10 AM. I swap out the igniter in a tub at Ten Thousand Waves. The Japanese spa up on the hill. I usually keep some spares in the truck. So it’s a simple fix. And I finish my first job of the day. It’s slushy in the parking lot. When I see her she’s having trouble starting her car. A rented Cayenne, shiny and white, but caked with red road mix from the thawing and re-freezing in the wake of a brutal winter storm. It’s that storm. More chill than snow and ice. A hundred-year hard freeze that leaves a trail of burst pipes from Roswell to Taos. My bread and butter. I can make my year in those two weeks alone. She throws her hands in the air as if to say, “What’s the use of even trying?”
Of course, I’d seen that wild dark mane and those huge eyes staring out at me before on movie screens. Mostly foreign films. But here she is right in front of me. Spewing a stream of curses. En Espanol. So how can I not offer to help? It’s all so easy. I pop the shifter from Drive into Park, turn the key, and the Porsche fires right up. Anyone else in that situation would feel slightly embarrassed. But not her. You can tell she’s privileged like those Texas tourists who waltz into town for the summer. Expect to be waited on hand and foot. Only she’s Euro, not Anglo. When you make that kind of bank isn’t it all the same? She’s more relieved than anything. Asks if I would accept something in return. A tip?
I say no thanks. But if you got a few minutes to sit down over a cup of coffee, I’ll call us even.