"Sheila needs $60 to be able to see her cardiologist," said Sabrina, turning to me, having muted the microphone that was sending her words to Sheila via Skype. "There's no way they can get that money. Is there any way you--"
I thought for a minute, sipping at the remnants of the large Pepsi I'd brought home from Subway. "Don't we have to go out and look at Walmart for your books? What day do they come out?"
"Well, it's the 29th. Tell Sheila we'll be coming by on our way up to Westminster, to pick up that computer from her that I'm going to be working on." The machine had lost its video twice already, and probably needed a new motherboard at this point. Which meant long, tedious hours to reinstall the operating system, but not for a couple days yet at least. "And then you might want to get dressed."
"I'll wear my new dress," Sabrina said, referring to the dress that she had literally just received from HolyClothing.com, after I'd placed the order over two weeks ago. It had to be shipped in from Germany, which accounted for the delay. "Sheila wants to see it."
She got ready as I slipped into the computer room, raised the lid on the Cr-48, and set up a transaction or two. Not long after I finished, we were off.
I pulled in at the Creekside King Soopers on Leetsdale, because I knew there they had a FirstBank ATM where I could score the needful. While I was there, I decided to toss in another wrinkle. I rushed over to the aisle with the greeting cards and flipped through the "Get Well Soon" cards until I found a good, funny one, which I paid for at the self-scan registers. Back in the car, Sabrina inscribed the card, then we tucked the three crisp $20s inside it before she sealed it up and wrote "Sheila" on the envelope, underlining it several times.
Of course, I went through downtown to get to the express lanes north, then carefully merged right to exit at Thornton Parkway and the drive to Sheila's place. To say she was surprised with the card would be an understatement.
. . .
The computer tower in the trunk was accompanied by several bags from the Westminster Walmart. We were taking it easy on the way back, driving down Sheridan Boulevard because we'd seen something going on on I-25 on the way up there, with only one lane getting by in the southbound direction. (Accident? Construction? No way to tell.) I had stopped at another Walmart further south, almost at US-36, to look for something I couldn't find at the first one. As I returned to the car empty-handed, I heard Sabrina talking on the phone. Whatever it was, it sounded serious.
"Sweetheart," she said, pulling the iPhone away from her face for a moment. "Jasmine is stuck over at the Walgreen's on Leetsdale. You know, the one where we get our meds? You think we can go get her and bring her back up to Sheila's place?"
She quickly explained. Jasmine was a friend of Sheila's who was eight months pregnant and had recently been kicked out of her apartment; she'd be staying with Sheila for a few days, then going home to her parents for a time. Somehow, she was stranded down there, and no one else Sheila knew could get there to give her a ride.
"All right," I said. "I'm headed that way double-time." As I said so, I cut south on Sheridan to pick up the US-36 East onramp, headed for I-25 and a quick trip towards home.
En route, Sabrina got a phone call which, confusingly, said "Portland, ME" on the caller ID display. The call turned out to be from Jasmine herself, who had made her way to a nearby friend's place. She gave us the apartment complex name and unit number, and I had Sabrina Google it to get a definitive address and get a proper fix on it with the map. In the meantime, the route there was much like the route home, so it was no trick to get there quickly.
At the destination apartment complex, we were met by Jasmine and her friend, and we loaded Jasmine's possessions into the trunk and back seat. Seeing how crowded she was, I made a quick stop by our home first, offloading the computer and Walmart bags and adjusting the rest of the load so she could have a more comfortable ride. Then off we went to Sheila's again.
Once we got there, I helped offload Jasmine's belongings, helped get enough of her bedding inside to sleep (Sheila's son had graciously offered Jasmine the use of his room), and even got her charger plugged in to provide some power to her nearly-dead smartphone. She was certainly in the best of hands when Sabrina and I left once more to head for home.
. . .
The way I look at it, I've accumulated a good amount of good karma this evening, first by helping Sheila, then by helping Jasmine. That's good. I have a feeling that, one day, I'm going to need all the good karma I can get, and then some.