“I can’t shake your hand because my thumb was in my mouth and there’s gasoline on my fingers” is something I believed no one would ever say to me in my lifetime, but I was wrong.
Adri said to it to me, only I did not know she was Adri when she said it. It’s not that I thought she wasn’t Adri. In fact, I had no formal position on the matter at all.
To me – as well as to my sister, if I may speak for my sister – she was but a freckly red-haired woman who’d walked up pushing a motorcycle while we were standing there talking with Harry.
Harry the Tracker.
She walked up and began rummaging around in Harry’s van as though she owned it (as well she might have for all I knew), finally reemerging with a bit of hose. One end of the hose she stuffed down into the gas tank of Harry’s van, or her van, whosever it was. With the other end of the hose, she performed a complex maneuver I cannot describe precisely.
While holding back her bright red hair with her left hand, she inserted the hose into her mouth with her right, appearing to hook her thumb over the end of the hose while in her mouth.
And all of this? It somehow resulted in gasoline being transferred from the tank of the van into the tank of the motorcycle!
Harry said, “Excuse me! Excuse me, there are ladies present!”
My sister and I were the ladies.
Harry was like a latter-day Jeff Bridges character, I believe, only maybe a bit shiftier and with longer hair.
The redhead said, “LadiEES? Oh, thank God. I thought I was just drunk and seeing double.”
My sister and I stood staring. Wide-eyed. “We’re going on a stakeout,” my sister said, “for a boy in a sequined mask.”
It was true.
That is when the red-haired woman said the bit about not being able to shake our hands and the thumb in the mouth and the gasoline. I knew it was the unlikeliest thing anyone had said to me ever.
Harry said, “This is my boss, Adri,” and then I said, “Harry, I thought you worked for some hotshot lawyer.”
Adri raised her hand.
And just before she left – in that instant before she started up her motorcycle, which was impossibly loud – Adri looked back at my sister and me and said, “Watch out for Harry, girls. He’s got a thing for twins.”
Then she was gone.