Ada MacKenzie stared up at the sky. She traced the outline of Cassiopeia with her bony finger, and waited for the angels to carry her home.
Surely she was dead. No one ninety-nine years old, and barely one-hundred pounds soaking wet, could survive plunging into a freshly-dug hole, and wasn't the plunge alone a message from God?
"Get in the hole, I'm coming," Ada imagined God saying.
Ada chuckled, and suddenly the glow of Cassiopeia was interrupted by the head of one, Reeve Stockwell.
"Are you dead, too?" Ada asked.
"No," Stockwell replied.
"Am I dead?" Ada asked.
"Nope," Stockwell said.
"Son of a gun. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride," Ada whined. "This must just be a dress rehearsal. I'm older than this dirt here. Gotta die some time," Ada said.
"Not tonight," Reeve Stockwell said charismatically. "Give me your hand, sweetheart. Let's get you out of the hole."
"Let's. I'd imagine my Miley Cyrus jogging suit is just about ruined here," Ada said.
"Tragic," Kitty mumbled from beside Stockwell. "Grandma, what the heck are you doing? You know it's almost one o'clock in the morning. What is mom gonna think? You scared the crap out of me." Kitty rambled, as Stockwell hauled her geriatric grandmother out of the hole.
"I could ask you the same thing," Ada said, brushing dirt from her sweatsuit, which sadly, seemed to have survived the debacle.
Kitty blew off the question. Ada's memory was declining daily, and Kitty hoped beyond reason that her grandmother would forget everything about the last hour. And fast.
"Are you all right?" Kitty asked, taking her grandmother's hands.
"I'll be darned. I rolled right into that hole, and I've still got my teeth. It's like a miracle!" Ada said, sounding a bit garbled. The teeth obviously didn't fit right, but by some act of God, they were still in the woman's mouth. "One more thing. I'm missing Criminal Minds, but I suppose I'll get over it," Ada said, checking her watch, and frowning.
"Let's get this thing done and get home before somebody else gets hurt," Miles Longworth suggested.
"Jeez. I almost forgot you were here," Stockwell said.
"How could you? I dug three quarters of the hole," Longworth complained.
"Did not," Stockwell whined. "I did at least half if not more."
"Guys, could you bang your Tonka trucks together some other time? My grandma is cold and tired, and I should get her home," Kitty said.
"Kitty, go home. You've done more than enough. Ada, always nice to see you," Stockwell said, and Kitty frowned.
"Don't encourage her," Kitty chastised.
Kitty half dragged her exhausted grandmother to the old Chevy, and Ada was asleep in the passenger seat almost immediately.
A gentle smile pulled at the corners of Kitty's mouth. It was impossible to be angry with Ada. She had always lived life to the fullest, and she wasn't planning to stop until somebody threw the dirt over her for real.
Ada MacKenzie emerging injury-free from the deep hole wasn't the only miracle to happen that night. Two blocks from Tommy's, a sixty-three year old widow was walking her miserable ankle biter. Suddenly, a women flew by on a bicycle, sobbing and wailing to the high heaven. The dog walker, a bit tipsy from post-dinner libations, had heard of a banshee but had never seen one, and had no idea the spirits rode bicycles. A banshee on a Schwin? Now that was something you didn't see every day.
The woman grabbed her dog, tucked it under her arm, and swore to God and all the saints that she'd never touch the scotch again.
She never did.
Seventy miles away, Tommy's Tool Town's Regional Manager, Mick Daniels sat in front of Morty McBride's Blue Ribbon Prize Pig Farm in his nearly new BMW.
Company "fixer," Lauren Dale - known to his fellow comrades as Leisure Suit Larry and heralded for his incredible taste in mid-quality suits - sat in the passenger seat.
"You sure you put the hotel's address into the Tom Tom correctly?" Lauren Dale asked, and Mick Daniels threw him a seething look.
"This isn't my first rodeo," Daniels growled. "I'm gonna call the hotel." Mick waved his phone around like a newly crowned Miss USA, and swore under his breath.
"Now what's wrong, boss?" Dale asked.
"No friggin' service," Mick Daniels whined.
"And this surprises you?" Dale asked, seemingly surveying his rural surroundings.
"I'm getting out," Daniels announced.
"Don't step in pig crap," Lauren Dale said thoughtfully.
"Shut up," Mick Daniels said before slamming the door.
Lauren Dale sat quietly and fiddled with the radio, while Mick Daniels paced along the dirt road. Suddenly the phone flashed, and Daniels screamed.
"Now what?" Dale asked, exiting the vehicle without a thought.
"It's pitch black out here, and I still can't figure out this damn phone. The camera flashed while I was trying to get a signal, and there's something out there." Mick Daniels pointed in one direction, then another, then another.
"Where?" Dale asked.
"I don't know. There!" Daniels said, flashing the camera again.
Both men howled and jumped several feet into the air. Cows, hundreds of them, lined the fence three feet away from where the men stood.
"Great God almighty. That's a lot of cheeseburgers," Lauren Dale exclaimed.
"Those aren't pigs," Mick Daniels said, brushing the wrinkles from his suit.
"Must have cows, too," Dale suggested.
"Let's get out of here," Daniels said, wasting no time getting back into the BMW. Dale followed.
"Where to?" Lauren Dale asked.
"Let's go back the way we came. We'll just drive until we get service, and then we'll call the hotel," Daniels suggested.
"And what's the name of that hotel again?" Dale asked.
"Three Fellows Inn," Daniels said, wearing a scowl.
"You don't say. That sounds like a super nice place. Think they'll let us in?"
"Why wouldn't they?" Daniels asked, sounding irritated.
"We're only two fellows," Dale said, laughing at his own wit.
"God give me strength," Daniels muttered under his breath.
Three hours and fifteen attempted calls later, Daniels and Dale pulled in front of Three Fellows Inn. Neither knew who the three fellows were, but they obviously weren't terribly handy. The "hotel," looked one strong wind away from being condemned.
"You have got to be kidding me," Daniels said, wearing a stupefied look.
"Wow. I'm about speechless here, and for me that's some kind of miracle," Lauren Dale said.
"Let's just go," Daniels suggested.
Lauren Dale sat for a moment and considered his surroundings. "I'm gonna have to disagree. Our options are fairly limited here. We're been driving around for hours and this is about the first place we've seen, except for the pig farm, that is."
"Dear Lord. All right. Let's check in, take a look, see if there is anyplace to get something to eat, maybe grab a shower and a couple hours sleep and get back on the road," Daniels declared. "Note to self," he mumbled. "Fire whomever booked this hotel."
Both men exited the vehicle. The office consisted of a ten-by-ten room with two chairs, a broken magazine rack and a black and white television with rabbit ears. Daniels rang the bell. "Revised note to self. Kill whomever booked this place."
Two sleepy men, with faces worn by time and hard work, stepped through a door in the rear of the room.
"You the Tommy's fellows?" the taller of the two asked.
"Yeah. I'm Mick Daniels, Regional Manager of Tommy's Tool Town."
"I could do without your resume, but I will need $39.95 for the room, unless you just want to rent it by the hour," the shorter gentleman said with a smirk.
"I don't find that amusing," Mick Daniel's said, pulling his wallet from the rear pocket of his tailored suit pants.
"Is that for both rooms?" Larry Dale asked.
"You only booked one room," the taller man commented.
"And the hits just keep on coming," Daniels mumbled.
Larry Dale, in full "fixer," mode, attempted to smooth things over. "So, you two of the fellows who own this place?"
"We are," the shorter man remarked. "I'm Buster, and this here's Ollie."
"Pleasure to meet you both. Boy, she must've been something in her day," Larry Dale said, taking in his surroundings and appearing impressed by what he saw.
"Sure was," Ollie commented.
"So, who's the third fellow?" Larry said in a friendly tone, while Mick Daniels looked on appearing dumb struck.
"Morty McBride," Buster said.
"I'll be darned," Dale said. "You don't say."
"You know Morty?" Ollie asked.
"We were just out by his place a few hours back. He used to live around here, did he?" Larry Dale asked.
"Used to?" Buster replied. "He still does. His place is only about six miles from here."
"Seriously?" Mick Daniels said, suddenly joining the conversation.
"Sure as the crow flies," Ollie said.
"We drove around for three hours and only went six miles?" Daniels directed his question at Larry Dale who merely shrugged. "We're going to be murdered in our beds tonight," Daniels muttered.
"Nonsense. That kind of shit only happens in the movies," Ollie said, and Buster clapped him on the back enthusiastically.
Daniels scowled and slapped two twenties on the counter. Ollie handed him a key on a plastic key chain. "Room six. Enjoy your stay."
Daniels spun on his heel and stepped outside. The door slammed behind him and he muttered an obscenity, that if played out in charades would go a bit like - two words, first word rhymes with truck.