This was a pretty good Friday. The day finally turned cold, dipping way down to the high 50s at noon. Most people stayed away from the fair, having had their fun at the dance last night.
“Hey,” she said, “I’m sorry I had to leave last night, but Daddy was in a mood and its best to just let him talk. But wait til I tell you what happened this morning.”
“I… Donna, at what point… Donna how are you Brother Peter Clupper’s daughter?” I said.
Donna put a hand to her chest and backed away from me, “You mean… You know. Everybody knows.”
“No. Somehow that escaped my mind. Mostly on account of your last name being Dixon.”
Her eyes fell, hands smoothing down her already tidy dress, “Well… I, um… After Momma died and I left high school there were some problems. I got in a bad way in New Orleans,” she looked up at me, “I was always good friends with the Cluppers. Momma was, from church. After the police brought me back up here the Clupper’s adopted me. Not the best kid, but they’re real good people.”
I grasped mentally. Must of been when I was in Florida. Having my own little troublesome adventures.
“He’s a little strange now, I know. Dad.. Brother Peter… He means well, he just thinks he… I’m kinda worried about him. He says he’s been seeing things. I don’t know. Since I stopped living with them it seems things changed a bit.”
“Yeah, changed a lot,” I said, remembering Brother Pete condemning me on my own porch.
“Oh,” she said, her face brightening with a smile “but look. Let me tell you what happened-”
“Evan,” Harker’s voice boomed in the old building, “Evan…”
“Yeah,” I said, absently grabbing Donna’s hand and leading her into the office.
Inside Harker and Ken were smiling. Harker held up a piece of paper for me to read.
“Somebody paid it,” Ken said.
“Paid it?” I said.
“Paid the whole thing, cashier’s check came in the mail this morning with a note that it be put to the library’s taxes. We thought it was you until you walked in here.”
I looked over the paperwork and saw the receipt for all clear. The library was fine, $20,000 out of debt.
“Who the hell would do that?” I said.
“Who cares?” Harker said, “Let’s go to the Tonk. First round’s on me. Pick up Bernie on the way.”
Ken looked at me and Donna, down at where my hand still held hers, “You coming, ma’am?”
Donna let go of my hand and it became colder, “I’ll get my coat. Patricia, you’ll be okay if I go out early today?”
Another woman yelled an affirmative from a back office. As we left I looked back at the door to the mayor’s office. It had been cracked, but now was shut tight and the lights were dark.