Steele Drivin' Man
by Anne Rose

Special thanks to my beta readers Lauryn and Linda, my medical advisor Robyn, and my Australian historian Jax.

Steele Drivin' Man 11/?
Date: 1/5/84
Mileage: 13,290
Maintenance: who knows?

I've been out of pocket for quite awhile, ever since that Wednesday afternoon four weeks ago when I doubled over in the parking garage. My gut had been bothering me on and off for a couple of days and I didn't have much of an appetite, but I didn't really worry about it until after lunchtime, when I started getting hot. When we parked the car and I got out I felt like I'd been stabbed with a hot knife in my right side. I went down to my knees and Mr. Steele and Miss Holt were next to me in a flash. I tried to help myself up, but it hurt so bad.don't think I've ever hurt that much. They got me into the backseat and then Mr. Steele drove us to UCLA Medical Center. I didn't know he could corner that hard.

In the emergency room the doctor poked me and I hollered and he ran some tests and then sent me to surgery. By the time they had me ready to roll in, Miss Krebs had arrived, and they made a pretty grim looking group. The last thing I thought before they put me under was that I was way too old to have appendicitis.

After my surgery I was kinda out of it at first, and it didn't help my getting better to have my obnoxious brother visit me. When I needed to get up to use the bathroom, he had to make a rude comment about the view that he got of me in my hospital gown. He wanted to know if he should run down to his car and get the package of diapers he just bought for his kid, in case I wanted to cover up. Very funny.

After a couple of days they kicked me out of the hospital before I was really ready and sent me home to recover. Mr. Steele and Miss Krebs got me all settled in, and I was glad to have their help. I felt like I'd been run over by the limo. While I was gone Mr. Steele had cable installed at my house, so I didn't have to be subjected to the proliferation of inane programming that filled the daytime airwaves, or something like that. Later in the day Miss Holt came to check on me, and I told her I was sorry for all the trouble I had caused. She told me there was nothing to apologize for. She said she didn't know how they'd get along without me, but they'd manage somehow. That made me feel better, but it worried me, too.

So I stayed home and laid low. Miss Krebs came by every day and helped me with stuff like the dishes and laundry. She even took care of paying my phone bill and my car payment.

After about 10 days I started feeling a lot better, and when I wasn't outside walking trying to get my strength back, that cable really saved my life.had just never gotten around to getting it installed, but now I know what I've been missing. One night when I couldn't sleep I caught a Green Hornet marathon. I watched some interesting documentaries, and some basketball, and caught a few of the old movies I've heard Mr. Steele go on about.

After the doctor released me and I got back to work, I thought I was going to be sick all over again. The limo was a mess. Whoever Miss Holt had hired to fill in was a slacker, no doubt about it. I thought that maybe now that Mr. Steele had the Auburn (and don't get me started on that subject right now) that they'd just leave the limo in the garage, but apparently they'd found a temp of some sort while I was out. But man! The tires were low, the oil change that was due on the 30th hadn't been taken care of, and the car wash hadn't been visited. I spent the better part of a day on and off cleaning it up.

The inside hadn't been vacuumed, and the trash bag up front was overflowing. Under the seats I found all sorts of stuff - bags and wrappers, rubber bands, paper clips....I even found a couple of red paper stubs with fortunes printed on them, like from one of those old fashioned fortune telling machines. I remember when Aunt Margaret took us to Coney Island when we visited her in New York and we took turns putting nickels in the machine. One of these fortunes said, "When there is trust, no proof is necessary. Without trust, no proof is enough".  Heavy. The other one said, "Things do not usually happen overnight. It takes time and hard work." I had to laugh at that one because it reminded me of what George at the garage told me one day when the limo was on the rack and we were eating Chinese in his office. If you put "in bed" at the end of a fortune, it makes it even funnier. Works on this one!

I had to brace myself to look in the trunk, after what I'd seen in the passenger compartment. I guess it wasn't so bad, because everything was in boxes, but obviously SOMEONE had not taken these where they needed to be dropped off. They all had Miss Holt's handwriting on them. There were a bunch of what must of been clothes that were marked "Goodwill", but another box marked "Laubach Literacy Center" caught my attention.  The box was full of that Charlotte Knight trash. I'll be glad to drop those off. Maybe Miss Holt doesn't need to read about romance anymore, if you know what I mean. I got eyes, and ears.

While I was working I couldn't help but think about this guy named DeGroot. I had watched a really interesting show on PBS about the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while I was laid up. It seems this DeGroot was really angry about the way the head of the government had handled the financial problems in Australia during the Depression. He was so mad he got on his uniform, mounted his horse and used his sword to cut the ribbon to open the bridge before the officials could. I could relate to that. I got the uniform, and I got horsepower, but not the horse. Sure wish I had the sword I know who I'd use it on, if only I knew who he was. I asked Miss Holt about that joker but she clammed up tight. Probably didn't want to have to bail me out after I went looking for him. She probably could tell by the look on my face I wanted to strangle him.

I finished cleaning up just in time for Miss Krebs to call and tell me Mr. Steele was on his way down. I had the door open and waiting for him. He started to get in, stuck his head in there, and then pulled back again. He gave me a big smile, and I felt three inches taller.

It's good to be back.

To Be Continued---

To Part 12

ELEMENTS: Sydney Harbour Bridge, a package of diapers, phone bill, romance novels by the same author, fortune from an automated fortune teller.