The Adventures of Chartan: An Option

            (Last Sunday: Chartan and Gina begin discussing a name for their baby-to-come. Two of the six teens Chartan drove to the prom are still missing.)

            Chartan eased the limo onto I-80 with Mrs. Minerva on the back chatting on the phone. It was the usual roundtrip from Sacramento to her therapist, Dr. Kodor,  in San Francisco. In a few minutes he expected her to begin peppering him with questions about Gina’s pregnancy and his perspectives on fatherhood, a far departure from the early days when she called him “driver” and not much else. Of course, Chartan had become a minor legend, apprehending the car window bandit, disarming Elise at a Sacramento coffee house, calling in a forest fire by his apartment complex and, most recently, his role in driving two missing teens to the high school prom.  His only comment on the missing teens was “they were strangely quiet in the limo.” The local TV stations used his words to hype the mystery about where the teens might be.

            “My dear, Chartan.” Minerva’s voice eschoed in the front seat.

            “Yes, Madam?”

            “Is that son of yours kicking up a storm?”

            “Gina reports we have a soccer star on our hands.”

            “And a name? Do you have one yet?”

            “We discussed a name last night and I hope to have one in a day or two.”

            “Let me know as soon as you do—I want to set up a trust fund for him.

            Chartan replayed Minerva’s unexpected words before he smiled. “That is most generous of you.”

            “You are a friend, not just a driver.”

            “Starbucks today?”

            “No, thank you. I want to be as calm as possible for Dr. Kodor.”

            “I understand.”

            The intercom clicked off and they did not speak again until he held the door open for her in the reserved space in front of the Knob Hill Victorian that served as the famed therapist’s office.

            “You know, Chartan, I come here out of habit, one I can afford but one of questionable worth. I’d like to discuss an option with you on the way back.”

            She stared at him briefly as she passed—he was still holding the chrome door handle when she opened the ornate front door. Option?

            (Continued next Sunday)

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