Idea by Tom Austin Written by Tom Austin
The woman behind the counter took a second look at the cloth Milly handed her. “It’s definitely unique.” said the saleswoman. After pausing to think she said “I can’t see this causing any problems. I think it’s safe to say it’ll be ready in a week.”
“Great. I’ll see you in one week.” Milly waved goodbye and exited the store. She walked down the street with her hands in her pockets, her head looking this way and that. When she came to to the curb she came to a full stop out of reflex. On the other side of the road just in front of her was a familiar face. It was her father, Tyler Shine.
“Daddy?” she squealed.
“Milly? Is that really you?” he said slowly.
They ran toward each other, and collided with a force that would have knocked over a building. She didn’t have to worry about cars – The Town didn’t have any. They hugged, kissed, and cried. Milly hadn’t seen her father since she was a little girl.
Tyler Shine said “I’m never going to let you go. I’ve got you back” and rocked her gently from side to side. They hugged so long they started to block foot traffic. “Your mother’s is going to cry so much we’ll be able to water the garden for a week”. Milly kept hugging her father. “You have no idea how much I missed you” she replied.
Tyler brushed a tear from his face, composed himself, and asked “Where is that man of yours?” her father asked.
“Brad said he was going to check out the local hospital, but I suspect he’s doing exactly what I’m doing. Walking and snooping”.
Tyler put his arm around his daughters waist. “Tonight’s roast beef night and I’d like you and Brad stay for dinner and drinks. But first we have to find your man. Let’s see if he’s at the hospital”.
They looked for Brad at the hospital. They looked all over. They even asked Merlin. They finally found him teaching some kids how to play baseball. Milly knew how to get his attention instantly.
“Paging Dr. Peters, Dr. Peters, Dr. Bradley Peters”
Brad, who was leaning forward behind the catcher and playing the role of the umpire heard this rather unique request for his attention. He immediately stood up and looked in the direction the voice came from. He saw Milly and waved to her.
“I’ll be right there. One more batter to play in this inning.”
Tyler was standing right beside his daughter and saw her wave back enthusiastically. “I’m impressed. You have him well trained. I wasn’t that well trained until your mother and I had been married a couple of years”.
The next batter struck out and Brad ran over to Milly.
“Brad, I want you to meet my daddy, Dr.Tyler Shine” said Milly beaming with pride.
Brad stretched out his arm, and offered his hand in friendship.
“Pleasure to me you Dr. Shine. You have a gorgeous daughter”.
Dr. Tyler Shine smiled and shook Brad’s hand.
“I most certainly do. And its indeed a pleasure to meet the fellow who’s made my little girl so very happy. As I was telling Milly tonight is roast beef in the Shine household and I’d like it if you and Milly would join my wife and I for dinner and drinks. Plus it will give us a chance to ask some questions and hopefully answer some questions. Now is it Brad or Bradley?
“I’d appreciate if you just call me Brad sir. Milly is the only person I allow to call me Bradley. To be honest I really dislike the name. If I could change to Brad I would, but the mountain of paperwork involved in changing my name makes me change my mind about the entire matter”.
Tyler clapped his hands together and starting rubbing them together. “I better call Milly’s mother or I’ll be in more trouble than you two can imagine”.
One thing about The Town is there were telephones on every other city block. Tyler picked up the phone nearest him, and started dialing. His wife answered.
“Would it be all right if I brought two guests over for dinner? I met this couple who are down on their luck, and they look like they haven’t eaten in a month.”
There was a pause. Then a distinctly female voice responded.
“I really dislike it when we have unexpected guests, especially strays, and you know how I feel about that. The roast beef is only for three people, but I suppose we could make it stretch. I’m not making any promises, but these people better be very special”. She didn’t say goodbye like she always did, just a loud click at the end of the phone. She was not pleased.
Milly looked at her fathers expression and came to the conclusion that something was wrong.
“What’s going on daddy?. You’ve got a look in your eye that tells me mother isn’t very happy with you”.
“She not happy with me at all, and that “look in my eye” is commonly know as fear. Your mother could get the Almighty to tremble in his boots with a single sentence”.
Brad who had been trying suppress laughing just couldn’t contain himself any longer. He burst out laughing.
“I’m not laughing at you sir, but now I know where Milly got that ability. Milly can sometimes get me quivering in my boots too”.
Milly rolled her eyes, crossed her arms and looked at Brad . “Oh I cannot! You’re exaggerating”
Tyler didn’t want to start any disagreements so he put one arm on his daughters shoulders, and his other arm on Brads shoulders. “Ok kiddies. Lets play nice. Anybody else smell roast beef?”.
Brad and Milly locked hands and began the journey to the Shine household with Tyler leading the way. But it wasn’t long before Milly whispered “You and I are going to talk” to Brad. Brad secretly hoped she would forget.
It wasn’t long before they reached the Shine house. It was on the edge of town, away from the hustle and bustle of The Town proper.
Tyler turned towards Brad. “Now Milly’s mother are expecting a couple of strays. We used to call them hobos or bums when I was your age. So try to look the part”.
Milly whispered that her dad was secretly a frustrated actor.
As they approached the house Tyler had one last bit of stage direction for Brad. “And don’t forget to mumble”.
Tilly was at the kitchen sink with her back to the door. When the front door was opened Tyler announced he was home. Brad followed head down. Tilly still faced away from her guests.
“Howdy ma’am” said Brad with all the enthusiasm of a man walking to the electric chair.
Milly gripped the door frame and stuck her head just inside the door. “Hello there mom”.
Tilly went white as a sheet, a plate slipped from her grasp, and crashed in the sink. Slowly she turned around and saw her daughter.
“Milly, is that really you,” she said quietly.
“In the flesh” said Milly who now stood inside the house, arms out stretched, and tears in her eyes.
Tilly wiped her hands on the apron she was wearing, then ran through the living room and into the arms of her daughter. Tilly cried. Milly cried. Even Brad got a little misty-eyed. Tyler poured himself a Scotch, sat in his favorite chair, and bawled his brains out.
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