At the wobbly age of seventy-five, Horace McMorris decided to get off the Death Express.
He jumped out at 1979th Street and proceeded to walk with a brisker step and a straighter back toward the last known address of Bella Nippleberry.
She came to the door. He doffed his hat. “How are you, Bella?”
She stared at him and blinked. “You?!” is all she said.
”You look good,” he said.
”I thought you were dead,” she said.
”I decided it was a bad idea.”
”You mean we have a choice?”
“If you push your luck.”
She looked at him through the half-open door.
“How long has it been?” she asked. “Twenty, thirty years?”
”Seems like two or three to me,” he said.
”If you think you’re going to con me with bullshit lines like that and screw me over again you’ve got another think coming, you old bastard.”
“I’ve always regretted that, Bella — I was a first-class ass.”
”Is that what you came to tell me?”
”That, and that I want to make it up to you.”
She didn’t say anything, just looked at him, a bittersweet look. ”I loved you, you bastard.” She shook her head, pulled herself together. “But, no, no, I’m too old to start down that road again.”
”Who said anything about starting again? Let’s finish what we already started.”
She wasn’t falling for that line either. ”I’m too old for that, too,” she told him.
”Hey, we’re both old and we’re both young. Time is a killer. Forget time. The years all come together — 1979, 2019, it’s all the same. We’re both on our own again — I heard about Harry.”
She looked at him for five seconds. Five seconds is a long time when you’re dying for a leap backwards.
She opened the door.