The Ambivalent House Sitter

I glance back at the screen with a blank expression, as if Murphy’s profile had just randomly appeared. Then I remember Angelina sitting with us and watching one of our recent chess matches, and the pithy comeback writes itself — “Scouting the enemy, looking for a weakness.”

“Need to talk to him, before that meeting at 3.” She raises an eyebrow, scoffs. “And find out if he’s serious about this house-sitting thing he wants.”

 I lean forward, catch myself before falling off my chair. “You live near him?”

She blinks, frowns. “Not really, but he goes to the health club near me. Saw me there the other day, told me he and his wife — ”

I completely don’t care about their conversation. “You’ve met her?”

Angelina begins twirling a lock of her shoulder-length hair. “Huh.” She looks up at the ceiling. “No, I guess not, come to think of it. Murph told me she was at the gym that night, told me to meet them at the juice bar where I was done, but when I got there at the time he suggested, they weren’t there.”

“Really?”

She nods, releases the lock from her fingers. “So anyway, he tells me he’s going to Colorado for the holidays, visit his wife’s family. Wanted to know if I could stop by their house every evening, take in the mail and put the trash out Monday evenings. Told me they wanted their house looking lived in.”

“Really.” I lean back in my chair, think about the ambivalence I hear in Angelina’s voice as she describes Murhp’s request, then look back up at her. “Sounds like you’d rather not do it.”

 Her eyebrows raise, and she begins walking away. “What the hell. I mean, it’s not a big deal. Why not?”

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