ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 110: The Trophy
I sit at the card table in the Charles Street kitchen looking out a window at Joshua. He’s cleaning the garage windows he glazed yesterday.
In the living room, Christy’s on a yoga mat doing her exercises. Now, mat in hand, she passes me on her way out the back door. She heads toward Joshua. Will she smile as she nears him? Hug him?
Joshua’s wearing safety goggles and a mask. He hears Christy approach, turns to her, uncovers his face, smiles at her. She stands separate and apart from him, her left arm angled out from her waist. He shows her his work.
I haven’t seen them hold hands or kiss, although he calls her honey. Joshua doesn’t like conflict. He tries to please, as Ernie did. Or is it appeasing rather than pleasing?
I head home. Later, Joshua calls me. “Christy’s leaving Sunday morning, and she wants to take back with her the trophy we won at the Mississippi Film Festival for Barracuda. I’ll be over in about an hour to pick it up.”
They won the trophy — the Best Feature award — two months before Ernie died. I don’t remember seeing it since.
We search my cabinets and closets. No trophy. Joshua finds a flashlight, and we head to the basement storage units, checking the bigger one first.
“It’s not in here,” he says.
His Rock Island train, a favorite Christmas present from his childhood, is not in there, either, but he doesn’t notice. The train was stolen from the storage unit, and I haven’t told Joshua this yet.
“Maybe the trophy was stolen,” I say. “You can tell Christy the trophy was stolen. She doesn’t need it to breathe. She can survive without it.”
“It means a lot to her,” he says.
So does Joshua’s Rock Island Line train.
“Are you sure you didn’t take the trophy back to California with you?” I ask.
“It’s in a blue box about this big,” he says, spreading his arms. “And no, I didn’t take it on the plane with me to California. It’s made of glass. I didn’t want it to break in transit.”
We head down a dark passageway to our second storage unit. Joshua goes inside the chain-link cage. Flashing the light, he moves aside chairs and boxes. There it is, the blue box, in the rear behind a bigger box.
“You found it,” I say. “I didn’t think it was here.”
“I knew it was.”
He carries the box to the little red car, puts it in the passenger seat.
Barracuda is Christy’s film. She wrote the script, and together she and Joshua cast the film, found locations for it, and acted in it. Joshua directed it and put up with Christy’s drinking on set with a fellow actor. Joshua and Christy argued on set. She put him down in front of cast and crew. It was a hellish time for him. When it was over, he said: “I never want to work with Christy again.”
Does he want to live with her again?
I recall what Christy said a few days ago, at the restaurant. If you know what you want, you can get it.
She’s leaving town early. Maybe she just came here for the trophy.