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Brave New Wanda: A Book Review

Why I Love Cheerwine: A Story (Part Seven)

Cheerwine_7[Brigette, J.D., and Squirt.  The story continues.  This Part features a bit of dialog, which is difficult to make sound just right.  I find that reading it aloud helps, and yet still I'm not satisfied.  I begin to wonder if I know enough about these people.  Read the whole story to date, as revised, here.]

"What kinda name is that?"

"It's French," said Brigette. 'That's R-E-N-O-V-A-R-E.  Renovare."  Brigette didn't know why she did that -- lie, that is.  She found that she did it a lot, and about the most trivial of matters.  But, come to think of it, she did like the way it sounded.  Ren-o-vare.  She could just see it on a movie marquee, or in the credits running at the end of the TV series: "BRIGETTE RENOVARE."

"Well now.  I could tell you weren't from these parts, anyway.  Name's J.D.  And that's Squirt," he said, pointing to a scrappy blond-headed fellow still washing the driveway with the hose.  "Now, what's the problem?"

"My car.  It quit on me about two miles down the road.  I walked.  I had to.  I don't know what happened.  It just quit."

"Well, just sit down.  I'll hook it up and bring it in.  We'll check it out."  And with that, J.D stood up, slowly stretched, and walked in a stumbling gait toward the aging tow truck located at the corner of the lot.  Without turning, he yelled "Hey, how will I know the car?"

"It's red, a red convertible."

Again, without turning, J.D. raised his hand to acknowledge her, mumbling under his breath, "Figures."

She sat down, leaning her head back against the shop window, closing her eyes for a few moments just to rest her mind.  But she couldn't.  At this rate, she wouldn't reach Salisbury before dark.  Heck, she wasn't sure when she'd make it.  She'd have to call Francine.  Francine was the only kin she had nearby, as she was an only child.  Francine was always telling her to come for a visit.  Now was as good a time as any, she figured, what with all her troubles it was time to get out of town for awhile.

Francine used to visit her when she was young, and Brigette recalled fighting her, tooth and nail, over the slightest of things.  They were like that -- fast friends one minute, sworn enemies the next.  She remembered her puckish expression and short fat legs, always trailing her when they were running around the farm.  But Francine was smart.  She got the brains.  She went to college.  She got brains, and I got looks, Brigette said to herself, looking down at her wrinkled shirt, wet with sweat.  "Only it ain't doing me much good today," she said out loud.

"What ain't doing you no good?"

"Huh?"  She turned to see Squirt standing in the door of the office, drinking a soda, smiling at her.  "Oh, nothing.  Nothing at all.  I just meant I don't have time for this."  Squirt looked vaguely familiar and was possibly fairly handsome underneath all the grease.

"J.D.'ll fix you up.  He's the best mechanic in Rose Gardens."

"Yeah, the only mechanic in Rose Gardens."

"That too. . . . So, what kind of name is that -- Renovare?"

Brigette just rolled her eyes and put her head in her hands.