Outside, the limo was waiting. The five of them entered, and the driver jumped in his seat and turned the key. It was then that they heard a rapping sound at the door. “Oh, God. Don’t go yet, I forgot that we have one more guest.” Gloria smiled at Mori, and opened the door where Mickey stood as tall as ever.
He bent his head down and stepped into their comfort zone, a comfort that was gone in an instant with his presence. As always, Mickey tipped his hat and said how nice it was to see them again. The driver began taking them on their journey, and Gloria suggested that Mickey had been the one that Mother Nature really spared.
“I do apologize for the shock, you two. I really do have a perfectly logical answer for the questions you probably have for me. But may I first say that this is a reunion that I’ve been looking very forward to. You two have always been some of my favorites, and I was very pleased in the way that you raised this beautiful lady here.” He gave Emma a nod of approval.
“Mickey, if I may, it might be better if I just tell them about you, that is if you’re fine with that.” Gloria smiled sweetly at him.
Mickey responded, “Oh, that would be nice of you. But I don’t know, I think I’d better speak for myself on this one. First of all, we know they won’t believe me, just as you don’t. Ben didn’t either all those years ago.”
Mori interrupted him, “Stop this an’ tell us how you can be in this car, a man that was the same kind of old when Emma was born. Mickey was our friend, an’ I know this isn’t him.” She was now talking to Emma. And then back to Mickey. “An’ how do ya know about Ben?” She turned to Gloria. “Are you in on this? Is this your trick, hire an actor to scare us? Why, you are still the same witch you always were. I can’t believe I fell for your fakiness. Jimmy, I can’t go to dinner with this witch. Why did we even think this would work? Driver, stop this rig an’ let my family out. Now!”
Gloria warned him to keep going. “Remember who you work for, and take us to the restaurant. Mori, you’ve got it all wrong. But you won’t understand until you listen to him. Mickey, tell them.”
Emma was shrinking in her seat, Jeremy was working at hiding his amused state, and the driver was worried for his job.
“Miss Mori, I will answer any questions you have of me, anything to prove to you that it’s me. Ask me something Gloria doesn’t know the answer to, and I’ll provide your answer. I have a very good memory.” Mickey stared at her and waited for his test.
Mori thought for a minute before slowly beginning her question, “Ok, I’ll play this game. The real Mickey attended a small gathering for Christmas just before Emma was born. There was a few of us friends an’ we exchanged gifts. Who were the people there, an’ who gave you a gift, an’ what was it?” She looked at Jimmy, her eyes telling him that it’d be entertaining to hear the answer.
With a wide grin spread across his big face, he began. “That was indeed a special night. It was an especially good time for Katie, but not such a good one for Cue.”
Emma looked confused, “Who was Cue, Mickey?”
“Sorry Miss Emma. He was Katie’s partner in the business. You see, Sticks became your mom’s business that night when Ben forced him to sign Cue’s share over to her. He was a terrible man.” Mickey looked at Jimmy, Mori, and then to Gloria. “I think we can all agree on that. Anyway, the whole idea behind the Sticks family Christmas was to get rid of him, and I am proud to say that I’m the one who thought of it. But, of course, Ben is the one who executed it.”
“You can’t answer the question, can you, Mickey. Sounds to me like you’re dancin’ round it.”
“No, Mori. I am remembering that night, this is how I think. Now, bear with me. I don’t remember who opened their gift first or that kind of thing, but when I opened mine, it was a new hat, and it was from Cue. I guess most people would consider it a nice hat, but me? I knew it was his way of telling me how he hated this one.” He took off his hat and explained how it had scars on it that had become memories of his favorite times with people he cared about. Mickey pointed to a small hole in the hat, and grinned at the wonderful memory. “You, see? Ben was casting in the wind. He was good enough to do this perfectly, but he wasn’t used to a big guy like me who didn’t know enough to stay away from him at times like that. I waded right into the river next to him, and when the wind caught his line, it sent his fly into this sweet little spot right here.” He looked at Emma with sad eyes, “Ben was a grump with me sometimes, especially at the beginning. He didn’t believe that I was there to do some business that had something to do with him. Sorry, Mori. I can’t talk about my business, but the other thing he didn’t believe about me, and sadly died not believing, was that I am an angel.”
The silence and fear in the limo was staggering. Finally, Jeremy bent over toward Mickey, and calmly said, “Mickey, I’m here for you if you want to talk. I’m trained and may be able to help you.”
“Ok, you want to be called Mickey? So be it, but as I think of it, my question wasn’t a good test. The witch here was carryin’ on with Cue at that time, so he probably told her what happened.” Mori was thinking and then remembered a time that only her and Katie would have known about. “Why did Katie know about Sara bein’ pregnant before Ben knew about it?”
No sooner than the words left her mouth, did Mori realize the harm she’d done. Jimmy was shocked, and seemed angrier than she could remember, but Mickey answered the question as if it had been part of their ongoing conversation.
“Because I told her. She’d been upset that night, and I thought it was because she already knew. As it turned out, Ben didn’t even know until a few hours after I told Katie. Ben and I let her know the truth some weeks later, that I had goofed that night because I had thought she already knew. It all got straightened out. I remember she lived with you for a while after my goof up, Mori, so it sounds like she told you this story.”
Mori was crying, not only for mentioning Sara’s name in front of Emma, but for his answer. It had to be her friend, Mickey. Who else could have answered such a personal question? But what was worrying her most was her slip about Sara. “My God. Jimmy, I’m so sorry.” And to Emma, “Honey, we all love you so much. You know how much we love you, don’t you?”
The limo was parked in front of Topolos, and the driver had opened the door for the odd collection of people inside. Gloria looked at them all and shaking her head, stepped out into the night. “These people have been kind enough to stay open just for us. I don’t normally ask for such big favors in this town, and then snub them. I demand that you all get out, and order something even if you don’t want it. We’re going to make their effort worth it tonight.” She put her hand out for Mori, guiding her to step out of the limo and down onto the sidewalk.
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