I noticed the materials in the back of her car first. Vacuum, mops, buckets, several brooms. Used cleaning supplies in a trunk always catch my eye. Then I saw the fingernails. 3-inch fake nails—maroon with a sheen–attached to white fat old digits, twisted around the steering wheel. Like bejeweled catcher’s mitts. Scan up the arm and fleshy thick forearms covered in liver spots. Those nails on that arm did not make sense.
Her driver’s side left upper arm is huge—suntanned. Spotted. And at the top of the shoulder, a smock that reminds me of Walmart housewife shifts circa 1970. Tiny cotton piping, around a poly/cotton blend, wide tank. Distant print of a darker pink flower. Faded. She looked like a farmer’s wife, with hooker nails.
Her face age-speckled, sagging jowls nearly touching her collarbone. Her hair is short, standard old lady perm—thinning, transparent, tinted pale pink. Did she set it last night? With those spikey black curlers with the pink plastic chopsticks? Does she go for a regular wash at the beauty shop? Unclear.
The disconnect between her blood red false nails and JC Penny attire becomes more confusing when I notice the self-adhesive sign on the car door: “Lynn Stiggler’s Cleaning Services”. How could anyone clean anything with those nails?
Lynn Stiggler pulled ahead of me in her royal blue Toyota fore-runner. I was tickled by the fact that she was driving a stick shift. Probably 70 years old, working the Lee press-on nails and the stick shift. You don’t see that every day…and I loved her for it.
As she downshifted to make the red light at Victory, the thud of a head on the dashboard was audible through the traffic. And the instant recognition of lack of life in a body threw vomit up the back of my throat. Latino male, approximately 25. Lynn grabbed the back of his white t-shirt with her claws and pushed his body down into the space below the dashboard.
Lynn Stiggler had a passenger.