It was late when Cindy got back from chauffeuring everyone to see all
the new real estate listings. She didn’t see Blossom’s car parked in
her usual spot and wondered about what happened. When she got home
around five Blossom’s car wasn’t in her driveway either. The red
painted dirty word on the side of her trailer was gone, though, painted
over so that you couldn’t even tell it now.
Jason was doing his homework when she walked inside.
“Hi, Sweetie. Did you see Blossom today?” she asked Jason.
“No,” he said. “Why?”
“I’m supposed to clean for her today.”
Cindy got a couple cans of soup out of the cabinet and a box of
“I’ll make us some tomato soup and grilled cheese. Okay?”
“Yep. What is this word, Mom? T-H-E-O-R-Y,” he spelled out the
“Theory,” she pronounced. “It’s a speculative idea based on
belief rather than concrete evidence. I have a theory that if we eat
this soup and sandwich, we’ll have enough energy to clean Blossom’s
“Ah, Mom. I want to go to the gym and play basketball,” he said.
“Okay. I’ll take you to the gym after you finish your homework and
after we eat, then I’ll pick you back up after I finish cleaning for
Blossom. Is that a deal?”
“It’s a deal, Mom,” he said.
After they ate she drove Jason to the gym at their school which was left
open for the students during the evening until seven-thirty. It was a
separate building from the school.
“I’ll be back by seven-thirty, that’s an hour and thirty
minutes,” she said. “Don’t leave with anyone and stay inside until
I come in and get you.”
“Okay. Thanks, Mom,” he said and got out of the car and walked into
Cindy went back home and looked over at Blossom’s trailer. Her car
still wasn’t there. She parked and walked to Blossom’s and lifted up
the mat and found the key and let herself in to clean. She saw dirty
dishes in the sink and on the table and started clearing off the table.
She picked up a card. It was red, white and blue with a round coffee cup
stain on it. It was Jack Higgins’ Medicare card. She set it on the
middle of the table under a salt shaker and washed the dishes and wiped
the counters. She found the broom and mop in the corner and swept and
mopped the kitchen floor. She found the vacuum cleaner in the coat
closet and vacuumed the living room. She dusted the coffee table and
picked up magazines and emptied ashtrays. She started up the hallway
vacuuming, then stopped and took some clothes off the washing machine
and sorted through them and put a load inside to wash. She looked, and
the dryer was empty. She went into the bathroom and picked up the dirty
towels and put them into the washing machine. She opened up the cabinet
and found washing powder and a can of scrubbing powder. She then
scrubbed the basin and bathtub and the tile up around the shower. She
found the toilet scrubber and used it to clean the commode. She pulled
the vacuum cleaner up the hallway and into the bedroom at the end of the
trailer. She was startled to see Blossom lying on the bed.
“Blossom,” she said. “Are you asleep?”
Blossom didn’t respond. Cindy thought she may have been crying after
what happened and glanced at her watch. It was seven o’clock. She
didn’t want to wake her and set the vacuum aside. She quietly let
herself out and went back to the gym to pick up Jason.
Excerpted from "Higgins Hotel" by Carla Coffman. Copyright © 2016 by Carla Coffman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.