This should be my next novel; last years White Trash and the Crime Fiction Genre it was written for seemed a good fit. This years novel was Fig Street, another crime book, but wrapped in scifi and fantasy. Hurricane will be another like White Trash…
This is copyright protected material. You may not display, edit, change or use this text in any type of work. The copyright owner is Wendell G. Sweet, the Publisher is independAntwriters. All rights are reserved. This is a preview of on-going work licensed only to https://www.dellsweet.com/ and https://www.wendellsweet.com/ it may not be used or displayed anywhere else for any reason.
This material is a first draft, unedited, uncorrected, if you enjoy the writers craft from this angle, then enjoy it. If you are looking for finished you’ll have to wait until next year. These first two chapters are ten thousand words, so you are going to be reading for awhile, better get that cup of coffee, cocktail, make a trip to the bathroom before you settle in, Dell…
Mobile Alabama: Monday
“It’s bad luck to skip school on a Monday,” Amy Knowles said to her best friend Deidre Blevins.
“I know,” Deidre said, “But I hate it. I just can’t be there. I can’t deal with those Goddamn Nuns today. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, Aim… I didn’t even tell Jimmy.”
“I know that.. Obviously I want to go… I mean,” Amy fell silent.
“What,” Deidre asked?
“We’re friends,” Amy said. “It’s been me and you way before Jimmy or Mike came along… It’s just that, sometimes we get too far away from that.” Her face colored.
Deidre nodded. “We do… So, where do you and me go today…. With no car… No way to get nowhere. I hate being on foot…. It’s just about all I keep Jimmy around for. That and the pot,” Deidre said.
“Really,” Amy asked?
She thought about it. “I could think of something better… For right now he’s okay. I like him well enough.”
Amy wondered what the something better might be. Deidre had colored a little bit when she said it. She didn’t ask though. It was good enough just being together. She didn’t want to complicate it with feelings.
“I smell rubber burning,” Deidre said and smiled. “A penny for your thoughts. That’s what my dad always says to me,” She said.
“They’re worth more than a penny,” Amy said as they reached the parking lot. She slipped her hand through Deidre’s arm. “Lead on,” She said.
Deidre was surprised by the arm, but pleasantly surprised. She liked the feel of it, she decided. She looked up at the sky then back down at the parking lot. “We could hitch out to your place or we could walk around downtown.”
“We could get picked up by some psycho too,” Amy said.
“Never have,” Deidre countered.
“Okay, but if some Psycho picks us up and kills us I am going to be so pissed at you,” Amy said. She tried a little smile on her face. Deidre answered it with one of her own.
“Never happen,” Deidre said as they started across the parking lot.
“I’d probably follow you anywhere,” Amy said softly. So softly that Deidre was not sure she had even heard her.
“Yeah.. I wish that were true,” Deidre said every bit as softly.
Amy looked up at her. She had heard the words, but she was looking away. She was about to speak when Jimmy’s voice interrupted her. She looked up and there he was. His blonde hair hanging in his eyes, head half out the window of his truck. When no one answered he spoke again.
“I said, I thought you was staying at school today?” He said again looking a Deidre.
“Well, you said you might be here, so Amy and I thought we would try,” Deidre said quickly and smiled.
Amy nodded and smiled.
The car behind Jimmy’s truck blew its horn and Jimmy twisted around and glared back at the driver. He popped up his middle finger and showed it to the driver and then looked back at Deidre. “So, where we gonna go?. I didn’t make no plans and I ain’t got no money,” Jimmy said.
Deidre had about forty dollars on her, two tens in her pocket and the rest in her sneaker. She pulled out the two tens. “This will get us a little way, right,” She asked?
Jimmy took the two tens and slipped them in his pocket. “We can go out to Mike’s,” he looked at Amy. “He’s working on the Nissan today… I can help him… We can hang out… We have enough for beer now and gas to get there too.” Jimmy said.
The car behind him tapped its horn once more. Jimmy levered open the door jumped out and started to turn back to the car but Deidre caught his arm.
“Baby, you’ll get us in trouble. We’ll get caught,” she said as she pulled him away.
The guy in the car rolled his window up quickly. Jimmy smiled at him, flipped him off again and then turned back to Deidre and Amy. “Luck for that little fuck,” he said. “Come on.” He held the driver’s door open as first Amy and then Deidre crawled across to the passenger’s side and then turned and looked back at the car. The young guy behind the wheel refused to look back. Jimmy flipped him off again and then climbed back into his truck.
“What does it look like,” Bob Travers asked? He was at his own desk but he called up a view of the latest National Weather Service radar on his monitor.
Rebecca Monet leaned closer to the monitor, her breasts brushing against his shoulder as she did. “It could be the big one. It’s building fast and they are already predicting a path that will bring it right to us,” She told him. “I want to be the one that gets it if it does. I mean, I know I’ll have it at first but if it goes big I want to keep it instead of it going to Bethany,” she said in a low voice, nearly a whisper.
Bethany Jacobs was the anchor woman for Channel Eight News. She sat next to Bob during the newscasts. He had his pick of the big stories and left the rest to Bethany.
“Becca, you know I can’t do that,” Bob said in an equally low voice.
“Bullshit,” she said sweetly and smiled. “I know what your contract says. You schedule. You appoint. It’s your call.” Her breasts pressed more firmly against his shoulder. “Come on, Bob. I’m good. I can do it. You know I can,” Rebecca pleaded. Her hand came up and rested lightly on his upper arm. Her perfume was subtle but intoxicating.
“Bethany will go ballistic,” Bob whispered.
“So what,” Rebecca said.
“We have a …. A sort of,” Bob started.
“I know. It’s not like it’s a secret.” Her hand stroked his bicep. “I would do anything you want, Bob,” she said. The weight of her breasts against his shoulder suddenly seemed to increase ten fold. “I mean anything,” she said leaning closer and whispering in his ear. Her lips brushed his ear.
“Are we talking about the same thing,” Bob asked, his voice low. His eyes scanned the room looking to make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.
“I’ve got a few minutes… I’m sure your dressing room is empty. Let me show you what I’m talking about. I think we’re on the same page,” Rebecca whispered. And this time her lips not only brushed against his ear they seemed planted there.
“I… I can’t right now,” Bob said.
“Can’t stand up,” she asked with a musical little laugh.
“Something like that,” Bob agreed.
“I’ll meet you there… I’ll let myself in,” She asked?
Bob nodded. The weight of her breasts were instantly gone, but the sound of her voice and the scent of her perfume were in his head. ‘Boy was Bethany going to be pissed off,’ he thought. But Tad Edwards, the station manager, had already dropped hints to him about seeing Rebecca work more, and a few other hints about how he thought Bethany was not aging well, meaning to Tad she was past her prime at twenty seven and he thought it was time for a fresh face. A younger face. Rebecca was all of twenty, and she was… He made himself stop thinking about her. He had to, or else, he told himself, he’d never be able to get up.
‘Man oh Man was Bethany ever going to be pissed off,’ he told himself again.
Paul lay in Jane’s bed. He had left early this morning on the pretext of having to go over the paper work for the year end audit, and that was partly true, but the real truth was that they had been getting less and less time together and he had simply needed to be with her.
“We have got to go,” Jane said from beside him.
“I know,” Paul told her. Her body was pressed to his own, one of his arms holding her to him. He didn’t let go. She felt so good. She reached over and bit his chest softly.
“Ow,” Paul said… “Okay… Oh all right… Maybe tonight? I could say I’m working late.”
“I can’t… You know I’ve got classes… Tomorrow?” She countered.
He smiled “That will work.” His hand slipped down and rubbed across her buttocks, squeezing gently and then, reluctantly, he let her go.
She held him a second longer and then kissed him before she rolled away. “I love you,” she said.
“I love you to,” he said automatically. “I’ll go first?” He headed for the shower and a few minuets later he was merging into traffic on I 65 and heading towards the Airport Road exit.
He and Janey had been an item for about a year. Paul Blevins didn’t really think about it as cheating on his wife Peggy any longer. He was pretty sure she was pursuing her own interests anyway. It just was.
He didn’t think too hard about the love aspect of the relationship either. Sure, he told her he loved her, and he did. She had a perfect body, and he loved it. And her attitude was great, he loved that too. And, she was completely devoted to him, how could he not love that? But the other kind of love? The kind that made you cry? Made your heart ache? No. He had loved Peggy like that at one time. He loved his daughter Deidre like that. She could probably get anything at all out of him. But she didn’t abuse it. She was a pretty good kid most of the time. Not out running around getting involved in all of the bad stuff that kids her age got involved in. He had no real concerns or worries about her. All of his real love. The kind that could hurt him anyway was reserved for her. She had never abused it and Paul didn’t think she ever would, or could for that matter.
He and Peggy had fallen apart a few years before and there seemed to be no way to fix it. Janey was pushing lately for them to be together. Her little boy, Lincoln, who was just two years old, already thought of Paul as his father. And Paul supposed that eventually he and Janey would probably be together.
Deidre had about six months of school left and then she would be off to college. Local if he had his way, New York if Peggy’s father had his way. And there was not too much that Peggy’s father did not get his way on. Money did talk and he had a lot of it.
Either way there was no reason to stay after Deidre was gone. There would be nothing there. It would feel too weird sleeping in the same bed, keeping up the charade. For what? For who? They really only kept up the pretense now for Deidre’s sake. If she was gone, what would be the point?
There would be no point, he told himself. Janey would most likely get her way… Sooner rather than later.
The radio played low as he drove and he listened as he watched traffic. Nothing much new. A tropical depression building off the coast of Africa. A big One. One that bore watching the weatherman said. Maybe it would be something, Paul thought, but he doubted it. They almost always slipped off and shot up the coast, or veered off and hit Louisiana or Texas. Most likely this one would too.
He came to a near dead stop in a long line of cars making their way onto Airport Road. Janey would be along in another thirty minutes or so. With Peggy’s fathers money it wasn’t a good idea to make themselves an easy target. On the surface Peggy might not seem to care, but Paul suspected she had to be thinking about the future too. Six months from now was the future. Or the end of their future. Six months from now, divorce most likely, and he didn’t mean to make it easy for her. So they were careful. Never leaving at the same times. Not being seen together.
The only reason he had stuck it out these last few years was Deidre. He wanted no custody dispute that she would be dragged into. No loss of seeing her. Peggy and her father’s money could make him look bad. Take her away. That would kill him. And, he knew it. She knew how much it would hurt him, which is exactly why she would do it. For Spite. For payback. Women were like that. Women whose fathers had deep pockets were even more like that, he thought. He had no doubt that had he pulled the plug a few years ago she would have made sure he never saw Deidre again until she was old enough to make her own decisions. But then Peggy may have poisoned her mind completely.
He could do without Peggy, Jane too, but not Deidre. So here he was, day after day. Six months to go and it would all be over. He inched forward through the traffic trying to clear his mind as he went.
The audit. Now there was a sobering thought. Janey really was helping with the audit. He had bought her in. It was a mess. There were real problems there. Problems that would take Janey to fix if he could convince her to do it for him. She was helping. Going through the mounds of paperwork. She was smart, she would see it. He would let it be her own idea. He hoped it would be her own idea. He pushed the thoughts away.
The line of cars suddenly poured onto Airport Road and he sped up just making it out and merging into the middle lane at the expense of a blaring horn and a pissed off driver of a beverage delivery truck who had not wanted to let him in. He made the left lane finally, signaled at the light and cut across the feeder road and then into the restaurant parking lot.
A few cars, and, for the second time in as many weeks a moving van was parked in the lot. Companies did that all of the time, but he could not remember if there was a moving company nearby with that name. Peggy was what he was thinking of. Peggy and her fathers deep pockets. Her fathers money that could hire a private detective to follow him. To poke around. Six months, he reminded himself as he parked, got out and walked to the restaurant. She could do as she pleased with Daddies money after that.
He whistled as he walked to the door, unlocked it, and stepped inside the restaurant.
Dave Plasko shot the ball under his knee and across to Steve Minor. They had tried letting Darren Reed, who was part of their little group, play but he was too slow mentally to keep up. It confused him and then it panicked him, and once he was panicked he might do anything. Best to let him watch from the sidelines as he was now.
Steve caught the ball, faked left then nearly walked himself to the right, put the ball up, and it barely kissed the rim as it went through.
“That’s it. You dudes are done,” Dave said.
“Another one?” Light said. “One more?”
“Got to work, Light,” Dave said. “Outside clearance. Can’t fuck that up. We’ll play when I’m back this afternoon.”
“Now, how is it you three white boys got that all sewn up,” Light asked?
“Hmm… We’re white? … It’s Alabama? How the fuck should I know. This is your fucked up state not mine, Light. You know we ain’t on that shit.” Dave told him.
Light bounced the ball across the small basketball court that was just off the main prison yard, and into the Recreation box on the other side.
“Yeah.. If you could only play that fuckin’ good all of the time…” Dave joked.
“I do, New York. You motherfuckers just cheat too Goddamn much,” Light laughed.
The yard gate opened and Jack Johnson, an overweight correction officer stepped in and looked around the yard. “What the fuck, Plasko,” he asked when his eyes fell on him. “You and your girlfriends ready to go to work or not? I ain’t got all goddamned day you know.”
“Later,” Plasko told Light. They touched fists. “On our way, Mister Johnson,” he called out. He looked to Darren and Steve and the three of them headed across the rec yard to the gate.
Peggy Blevins walked up to the young woman who was looking over the computers on display. She was the top seller at Computer Terminal, or at least she had been every month for the last eight months in a row.
“Can I help,” She asked the young woman.
The girl smiled. Petite. Asian. Probably a student, Peggy thought. On a budget. Needing far less than what she would want.. Her nearly black hair was set off by her narrow, dark framed glasses which served to make her appear much more intelligent than she probably was. Maybe, Peggy conceded. She sized her up. The seller in her already calculating.
“I need something for school… A laptop… I’m on a budget though,” The young woman told her.
She was older than she looked, Peggy decided, early twenties. And, she was actually quite beautiful when she smiled. Peggy had thought Asian but now she wasn’t so sure. Maybe Native American… Maybe mixed race… Maybe African too. Beautiful. Her observations were straight forward. She observed people. It made her a great sales associate.
“What do you want to do with it,” Peggy asked? “I mean, what will you need to do with it? I can get you a really good deal on last years model… Probably throw in some software upgrades too,” Peggy told her.
The woman looked at her watch. “Sorry,” she said. “I have to be at work soon. I’m taking accounting and that is what I would be using it for,” she told her.
“Spreadsheets… Databases… Like that,” Peggy asked?
“Exactly,” the woman agreed.
“Like Lotus Suite,” Peggy asked?
“Never tried it… Is it like Office or Access,” The woman asked?
“Better. Databases.. Spreadsheets… Word processing… All work together… In one environment. It’s nice. I have a lap top last years model, but it’s also a return. It has Lotus on it already, and the full version too. I can give it to you for nearly fifty percent off,” Peggy said.
“Really? How can you do that,” The woman asked.
“We write them off,” Peggy said in a near whisper. They could care less what we get after that point as long as it moves… Does it sound good….?” She phrased it so the young woman would give her her name and she held out her hand.
“Jane,” the young woman said. “Jane green.” Her eyes fixed on Peggy’s and held them.
Peggy really looked at her. She knew the name and the young woman had to know who she was. “I’m Peggy,” she said stupidly. “Peggy Blevins.”
“I know,” Jane said.
“Do you really want the laptop,” Peggy asked? “I really can get you a good deal on it.”
“I really do,” Jane said.
“How did you find me… He didn’t…” She started.
“No… Of course not,” Jane said. “He would be so pissed to know I am here… I… I just wanted to talk to you,” She said.
“I can take a break,” Peggy said.
“Let’s take care of the computer then I’ll buy you coffee,” Jane asked.?
“Sure,” Peggy said. “You didn’t seem surprised that I knew your name.” She said.
“There isn’t much place to hide to watch my place. The guy gave himself away a few times. Once I realized he was watching my place I knew what it had to be… I don’t want trouble… Or… Or to argue… I just wanted to talk to you,” Jane Green said.
Peggy nodded and tried to get a smile back on her face. “Cone on, Jane. Let’s get this taken care of.”
They both walked away toward the back of the store.
Deidre sat and sipped at a cold beer with Amy on the wobbly metal steps that rested against the side of Mike’s trailer. The sun was out and hot. Fall or not it seemed like summer had something left to say.
Out on the red dirt that passed for Mike’s front yard, Jimmy and Mike worked on Mike’s Nissan. Alternator and brakes. Every week it was something different. Deidre and Amy were both reluctant to ride in the car because it couldn’t seem to run more than one day at a time without something breaking down.
Mike was a mechanic and he had bought the car for next to nothing after it had broken down of the garage he worked at and the owner had decided to leave it and let it get towed away.
“I can’t really sell it to you,” The guy had told Mike. “It’s got a little lien on it. You know.”
Mike nodded. “Is it on the title you got, Man?” Mike had asked.
“Well, no, but I gave them a different VIN so it wouldn’t show up,” the guy confided. He leaned close and whispered. Paranoid, Mike had told them all while telling the story. Like he thought that there were cops hiding in the scraggly bushes that fronted the garage.
“Then what’s the problem?” Mike had asked.
“I’d take two hundred for her,” The guy had said, pulling the clean Title out of the glove box.
“I got seventy five,” Mike offered. “Hey… You was gonna get it towed anyway.”
“Yeah… But, you know,” The guy said and smiled.
“Yeah,” Mike agreed. He had placed his hand on his wallet waiting to lift it from the chained where it dangled against his leg and pay the guy. He took it away now as he nodded. “I know. Guess it gets towed.” He agreed. He had turned and walked back inside the office leaving the guy standing by the car where it sat. He could just take the car when the guy left. He had friends that worked in junk yards. He would simply cal one of them and get a junk title. Or he could apply for a lost title through the state. Either way he would end up with the car.
He had been under an old Ford truck putting shocks on it when the guy had wandered back in.
“Hey, Man,” he said to Mike. He stayed a respectable distance from the truck where Mike was working. “Hey. I was only kidding. Seventy five will do okay.” He smiled and pulled the title from his shirt pocket. “I already signed it, Man. Just put your name in there… I’ll write you a receipt,” he finished.
“Yeah,” Mike asked? “Well, you better make it for fifty ’cause you pissed me off on that deal… I was trying to do you a favor. You want fifty I’ll give you fifty.”
The guy started to open his mouth and then closed it. “Hey, Man, you got paper? A pen? We’ll do this and I’ll catch the bus.”
Amy knew the story by heart. Mike told it to anyone who would listen. And, really, she thought it was good thing it only cost fifty bucks for the car because since then it had cost seven or eight hundred dollars in parts. And that was with Mike’s parts discount and he and Jimmy doing the work. To her way of thinking, the car was an absolute piece of shit.
The week before, only the second time that Amy had ever driven it, it had broken down right in front of Deidre’s house and they had been stuck until Jimmy had come with Mike and they had towed it back to Mike’s house. That had made Deidre’s mom tell them that if they needed to go somewhere at night she didn’t want them in that car.. A few minutes later she had added that they could use her car so it had turned out all right.
“A penny for your thoughts,” Deidre asked again.
“I told you… My thoughts are worth a whole lot more than that penny you keep offering,” Amy said.
“Yeah, but I gave up all my money,” she lowered her voice and leaned closer, “Except my shoe stash,” she winked leaned away and finished her statement, “To Jimmy,” she said in her normal voice. “I don’t even have a penny,” Deidre said.
“Yeah,” Amy said. “Okay… I was thinking about you… I was thinking…”
“Hey, Baby, bring me a beer, would you,” Mike asked?
“Hey… Yeah.. Me too,” Jimmy added.
Deidre was looking at her. She smiled. “I guess I better get them their beers,” Amy told her.
Deidre nodded, but she could get the answer out of her head… ‘You… I was thinking of you,’ Amy had said. Deidre wondered if that meant she had been thinking of her the same way she thought of her. Herr face flushed. She took a deep drink from the slowly warming beer and then cleared her throat, staring at the ground. When she looked back up Jimmy was staring at her.
“A penny for your thoughts,” He said.
“Funny… You got all my money, Jimmy,” Deidre told him.
“Well… I could loan you the penny, I guess,” he told her. He smiled. He really was a good looking guy. Half the girls at school wanted him to go out with them. And he didn’t even go to school there. He just hung out with a lot of the guys that did go there. That was how she had met him.
“My mind is blank,” She told him. She certainly couldn’t tell him about Amy.
“Okay,” he said. “Now ask me.” He smiled and then continued. “Now ask me what’s on my mind.”
“Okay, Jimmy… What’s on your mind,” she asked?
“Okay… Okay. What’s on my mind is, Mike says he and Amy are doing it, and you and me been together longer and we’re not doing it. Oh, I told them we are. I don’t want to look like a loser… But, anyways… I’m just wondering why that is,” Jimmy asked. He wore a serious look on his face, Deidre noticed, as though this really was a question he had put a great deal of thought into. Probably he had, Deidre told herself and almost laughed. She caught herself. He would never understand it. And he really did want to get to the bottom of it, she was sure.
That nearly caused her to laugh again. He caught the smile that fled across her lips.
“Hey… It’s a serious thing. I’m having a hard time with this,” Jimmy whined.
Poor choice of words, Deidre thought. But, he probably was having a hard time with it. Probably did want to get to the bottom of it… Her bottom… That caused her to sober up. She slapped his hands away several times a day when they were together. She did let him touch her. After the first time he had taken it for granted. You could not open any door with him or he was in it. And touching was a loot more than she wanted and a lot less than he wanted.
“I know it’s a serious thing to you,” Deidre told him. What he had just said about Amy had sunk in. It was hard news to hear. She hoped it wasn’t true, but with Amy’s home situation she had flat out told Deidre she was looking for a way out. And Deidre really couldn’t blame her. She hadn’t come right out and admitted it but Deidre was certain her Stepfather was doing something to her. She just couldn’t figure out a way to ask her. And now this.
“I’m not Amy, Jimmy. I’m me,” Deidre said.
“Yeah, but you’re a girl just like she is… You guys are best friends… I mean.. Well, how come she is and you’re not?”
Deidre looked over at Mike who had instigated the whole thing and seemed to be listening and enjoying it. They didn’t really get along. He had put his hands on her ass one night when she had been on the way to his bathroom and nearly bumped into him coming out. She had slapped his hands away and then he had put them on her breasts. That had got his face slapped and not lightly either. He had raised his hands and Deidre had told him to go ahead. She’d just let Jimmy know what he had done and a bruise on face would just be the icing on the cake.
Mike had backed off but the war had been on since then.
She got up and hugged Jimmy. Pressing her body against him. He liked that. “Asshole,” she mouthed to Mike.
“Cunt,” he mouthed back. He made a circle with his thumb and index finger and then poked his other finger threw it
“I’ll do it soon,” She whispered in Jimmy’s ear. “Ain’t I worth waiting for?”
“How soon, Dee Dee, ’cause it’s been awhile since they been doing it,” Jimmy said.
“Two weeks,” she whispered.
“One week,” Jimmy said. “I need it. You drive me crazy.”
“Two weeks and I’ll do the other,” She whispered.
“When,” Jimmy asked?
She looked over at Mike whose mean little eyes glared back at her.
“Right now, I guess,” Deidre said reluctantly.
“Yeah?” Jimmy asked breathlessly.
“Yeah,” she said. If Amy hadn’t given in to Mike she might have made Jimmy wait a lot longer for any sex at all.
“Come on,” Jimmy said huskily.
She stopped him. “Don’t you tell anybody about the things we do. I mean it, Jimmy,” she whispered.
“I won’t,” Jimmy agreed.
“You said you do… You said you tell them we do anyway… And, Mike does…You said so… He must have told you or you wouldn’t have come to me.”
“Well, I ain’t Mike,” Jimmy said. He took her hand. “Coming,” he asked?
They met Amy coming out with the beer. Jimmy took his from her.
Amy raised her eyebrows at Deidre as if to ask what was up, but it was clear when she said nothing and followed Jimmy into the trailer and shut the door. Then she heard the click of the deadbolt as Jimmy ran it home. She looked over at Mike who was smiling.
“You did that?” Amy asked him.
“Hey, I’m getting it… You’re puttin’ out. My buddy should be getting’ it too.” Mike said reasonably.
“You’re an asshole sometimes, Mike.”
“Yeah? … Come here,” Mike told her.
Amy walked over to where he was and handed him the beer she had gone to get for him.
“You watch your mouth, Aim,” he said. He grabbed her wrist and twisted it. “Okay,” he asked?
She cried out even though she had expected it and told herself she wouldn’t. “Okay,” she said. I’m sorry.” Mike could be exactly like her stepfather and sometimes he scared her just as badly. Tears sprang to her eyes, perched on her lids, waiting to fall. Hell, he scared her all the time she admitted to herself.
“Come here and do something for me,” Mike said.
“”We’re outside… People will see,” Amy said as his hands went to her shoulders and pushed her down.
“Who… There’s nobody here, and they’ll be gone for awhile.” He pushed harder on her shoulders. Increasing the pressure on her collar bones until it started to become painful.
“Stop hurting me,” Amy said. “Please!”
“Then do it,” Mike told her.
“Okay.. Okay,” Amy said. “I will.”
Jack Johnson sauntered over to where the three of them were working at the side of the highway painting a long section of guardrail.
“Plasko,” he said.
Dave balanced his paint brush on the top of his can and then walked over.
“You been around. You know how this works. I’m going to slip in out of this heat … Take a little shade over yonder at Dell’s,” he pointed to a bar that featured exotic dancers across the road.
“Go ahead,” Dave said. “We ain’t going nowhere. The three of us only got a couple of years left,” he said.
“That’s why I hired you. What you gonna run for with so little time to do. Hell, boy, you are a hardened con. A couple years ain’t shit to you. Skid bid, as they say,” Jack Johnson said.
“That is the way it is,” Dave agreed.
“I’ll get y’all a couple a boxes a top from the commissary when we get back… That cool,” Johnson asked?
“Cool for me and Steve, but Darren, he don’t smoke. A candy bar will be fine for him.” Dave said.
“We got a deal? And you don’t run your mouths to none of those black boys you been playing ball with. They can’t keep their mouths shut,” Johnson said.
“We got a deal,” Dave agreed.
“Good,” Johnson said. “I’m gonna get my old ass out of this heat,” he said. He crossed the road and went into Dells, and Dave walked over and went back to work.
“What do you figure to do,” Steve asked?
“I figure to paint this guardrail,” Dave told him.
“While that old bastard is over there in the air conditioning drinking beer and fuckin’ around with all the young stuff that’s been going in and out of there all mornin’,” Steve asked?
“Yep,” Dave agreed. “You need to work on your patience. You don’t have much.”
Steve stayed silent a minute. “But, I thought we got this job so we could skate. Before those goddamn warrants catch up to all of us from New York, and we can’t can’t get no outside clearance,” he said.
“And we will,” Dave agreed. “This is the beginning of our second week on the job. He’s just trusted us enough to make a deal. A box of top each for you and me, a candy bar for Darren. That lets him hang out in there and get his drink on, and yeah, maybe some young stuff too. It don’t matter to us. Tonight when he pays us? We’re good. That seals that deal. Put’s him at ease. We’re both dirty then. He ain’t gonna worry about us no more after that. Tomorrow we’ll take off, that’s soon enough,” Dave said.
“You serious,” Steve asked?
“Yeah. I am. I said what I said. It is the only a reason I’m out here in this heat bustin’ my balls. So, pay attention today. Keep your eyes open. So we know which way to go tomorrow… Like, did you notice how that kid over there to the used car lot is spending most of his time at Dell’s too? Leaves that car office wide open. Walk right in, get a set of keys off their board and all like it was nothin’,” Dave said. “That’s what you should be doing. Paying attention. Tomorrow will be the day.” He looked up. Darren had wandered over and listened as they had talked.
“I’m really gonna get a candy bar tonight,” he asked?
“Yeah. You are,” Dave said.
“Did you tell him Snickers,” Darren asked? “’Cause it’s all I like.”
“No,” Dave admitted. “But I will tell him on the way back.”
Darren nodded and then walked back over and began painting again.
“You really gonna bring that retard with us,” Steve asked?
Dave looked at him. “Sometimes I like his company a whole lot more than yours,” Dave told him. “What you got to say to that, Smart ass,” Dave asked?
Steve turned away and began painting again. “I didn’t mean nothing by it,” Steve said. “He’s just a little slow.”
“I see you can be too, Steve, like right now,” Dave said.
“I get you. I get you. I’ll leave off it,” Steve said.
Dave nodded, picked up his own paintbrush and went back to work.
There was a small park outside of the part of the mall that The Computer Terminal was located in. They took their coffees outside to a concrete table near a half dozen skinny trees that might provide some shade in another ten or twenty years.
Peggy sipped at her coffee and looked at Jane Green again.
She really was beautiful. She had seen a few telephoto lens type pictures of her, but looking at them and the actual woman, she would had never made the connection. Jane looked up and caught her looking.
“I appreciate the deal on the computer,” Jane said. “The one I have is so shot.”
Peggy nodded. “I just hope you didn’t buy it just so you could talk to me.”
“Well. I needed the machine. I wanted to talk to you, the two things seem to work together,” Jane said. She took a deep breath. “I know this is crazy. Paul would be so pissed off if he knew I was here.”
” I think you’re right on that count,” Peggy said.
“Yeah… Well… Anyway, I’m not going to lay a bunch of crap on you. I just wanted you to know I didn’t set out to try to take him away from you. I didn’t even realize that he had a family at first,” Jane said.
“He didn’t tell you,” Peggy asked?
Jane shook her head. “But, I didn’t ask either. He doesn’t even wear a ring. Who would now… By the time I did know it was too late.” Jane said.
“Is the little boy… is he Paul’s? Is that what you mean by too late.” Peggy asked?
“No… My first relationship… It was a bad idea. He was gone before Lincoln was even born. I know… Seems I don’t pick them well. He’s never been back. He’s never seen him… I meant I had already fallen in love with him… Paul. I know I shouldn’t say that to you, but it’s true.” Jane said.
“It’s okay. It’s not like I haven’t known. That’s why I got the private detective. Apparently not such a good or very private detective. But he came highly recommended… You must realize we’ll divorce,” Peggy said.
Jane nodded. “Yeah. I know, but, does it have to be nasty.” She asked?
Patty looked at her wide eyes. “I don’t know what he’s told you. I’m not geared toward nasty. I really don’t care about the grounds. I just want it to be over. I mean, it’s gone on for so long that it really is all over. Has been for awhile… I think we’re still together for Deidre… It’s just the official part that has to happen. And I want to protect myself in case he tries to say something about me,” she colored a little.
“What could he say,” Jane asked? “That you have moved on too?”
Peggy’s eyes lifted to Jane’s own, but she said nothing.
“I won’t let him be mean. But, I don’t think he wants to be either. We just want to be together… I’m pregnant,” Jane said.
“Does Paul know,” Peggy asked?
“No,” Jane admitted. “I have to find a way to tell him.”
“Well, you better. One thing I do know for sure, Paul doesn’t like surprises.” Peggy said.
They both fell silent for a few moments.
“I have to go to work,” Jane said at last. “… I’m sorry.”
Peggy flapped one hand. “You know I hated you before I met you. I guess I’m sorry for that. It’s not anything you did. It’s been over for a long time… Before you… I’m not a Bitch. If he treats me decent when the time comes I’ll be decent,” she said.
Jane looked at her. “You won’t tell him,” Jane asked?
“About you coming to see me? About the baby?… No, but you should tell him, Jane,” she told her. “I have to get back to work too,” she said. She stood.
“Thanks again for the deal on the computer,” Jane said. She stood awkwardly for a second and then turned and walked away. The laptop in a bag in one hand.
Peggy walked back into the store and Marshall Worthington, the store manager, met her at the door.
“Oh, there you are, Peggy,” he said. His eyes all over her breasts as usual. “Who was that lovely creature I saw you with? Made a sale?” He asked?
“Yes, I did,” Patty said. “Just a the woman…” She looked around and then lowered her voice. “ A cop I think. Needed the laptop for surveillance on creeps.. You know… Perverts…” she lied.
“Oh,” Marshall said. “I see.” He turned and walked away quickly.
Patty smiled. She hated that old pervert. He was afraid of cops, probably because he really was a pervert. Everybody that worked in the store thought he was. And there were rumors too. Never anything substantiated, but still.
She looked out at the sales floor and saw two possibles. She slipped her computer terminal smock on over her blouse and walked across the sales floor to the first one, a young guy, checking out gaming machines.
“Hi,” she said, with her best smile, “Can I help you?”
“So, what’s up with your climb to the top,” Cindy Webster the lead tech. for Channel Eight asked. She was a chubby woman, and the way her eyes liked to travel across Rebecca’s body, Rebecca was pretty sure she was gay. She had the look, she held her body a certain way, like a man. The few times she had seen her with anyone it had been another woman. She was definitely gay. Lesbian, whatever the proper term was these days. In fact the political correctness was exactly what she needed Cindy for. If she was on her job she would never let any dumb shit come out of Rebecca’s mouth. She would never let her go on camera before she was ready. Cindy was good.
Cindy had known right away that Rebecca was a climber and she had thrown in with her. It had been Cindy who had delivered the news that Bob had refused to re-sign two years before until they gave him the right to assign stories to who ever he wanted too if he didn’t want them himself.
“Bob is on our side,” Rebecca said. “The hurricane is ours all the way. Provided that it turns into one. If I see something better I can get that too. I know I can,” Rebecca said.
Cindy high-fived her. “Does Bethany know yet,” she asked?
“Nope. But she will soon,” Rebecca said.
” She will be twisted, that’s for sure,” Cindy said.
“No doubt… Well, too bad,” Rebecca said.
Cindy hesitated… “So.. How’d you get ‘im… Bob I mean,” she asked?
“Easy,” Rebecca said. “I saw a famous actress on TV once. She was talking about how she had slept her way to the top. She said most executives are going to fuck you if you don’t play the game. And, in the end, they’re gonna fuck you anyway. One way or the other. She said the best thing to do is learn how to give head. If you’re good at it, its fast. Painless. He gets what he wants, you get what you want… She was right,” Rebecca said.
Cindy nodded. Rebecca was so much hotter than Bethany. So much. She had no doubt that inside of the year she would be the anchor. And, maybe not just the female anchor, maybe the main anchor.
“You’re with me, right,” Rebecca asked?
“All the way,” Cindy said.
“That’s my, baby,” Rebecca said. ” Don’t let me screw up, Cindy,” she said
“Never,” Cindy said.
Rebecca looked back and locked eyes with her.
“I have two hours off tonight, Seven to Nine PM. I have to run home, take a shower, change, since I’m not important enough to get my own dressing room yet… Maybe you could stop over… We could spend a little time together… Time to get to know each other…” Rebecca said.
” I would really like that,” Cindy said in a low husky voice.
“I hope so,” Rebecca said, “I think I would really like it too… You and me,” she said and turned back to her computer.
“You and me,” Cindy agreed. “You and me.”
“I’m sorry,” Amy said, “Mike is such a asshole.”
Deidre said nothing. She had called and said she was having dinner at Amy’s house and that she would ride home from school with Amy’s mother, and then catch a ride back from Eight Mile later on. It was all a lie of course. Amy had called to tell her mother she would be at Deidre’s house. Someday it was all going to catch up to them, Deidre thought. But for now it hadn’t.
“Aim, earlier, before all the crap with Mike and Jimmy, we were talking,” Deidre said.
“Yeah,” Amy said. ” that is probably why he did it. Mike doesn’t like you and I to be together… To talk.” She said. They were both sitting on the running boards of Jimmy’s truck sipping beers. Dinner had been a bag of nachos. Split. And the beer, which Amy claimed had both calories and sugar, and so accounted for most of their dinner requirement.
“Between the two, we’re good,” Amy said half seriously.
“You said you were thinking of me,” Deidre said.
It seemed as though Amy was not going to answer her. “Uh huh… I know,” she said at last looking at her as she spoke.
“Hey!” Mike said, stepping around the corner of the truck. “I gotta piss, so, what are you gonna do just sit there and watch?” He tugged at his zipper, leering as he did, and Amy and Deidre both got up and walked away.
“Hey! What are you, a couple a fuckin’ lesbos? You only hang out with each other… People are gonna think things.
Deidre’s face turned red. She turned back around and looked at him. “Why don’t you go fuck yourself with that little dick of yours,” She said quietly.
“What did you say,:” Mike asked. He took a step towards her, still holding his dick in his hand.
“I think you heard me, or are your ears that small too,” she asked?
“You think you’re so fuckin’ smart, Bitch, but some day…”Mike said. Barely catching and hanging onto his temper.
“Dee, please,” Amy said. “Let it go.”
Deidre turned and walked away with Amy. Mike said nothing more.
Mike went back to pissing. His face red. His temples pulsing. Jimmy stepped up behind him. Mike finished, zipped himself up and turned around.
“Some day what?” Jimmy asked. His words were a little thick. They had been drinking most of the afternoon.
“What,” Mike asked?
Jimmy just stared at him. Jimmy was slow to anger, but Mike and he had known each other all of their lives and Jimmy was no one to fuck with once he did actually get angry. Especially when he was drinking.
“Okay,” Mike said. “She pissed me off… Did you hear what she said? I just got pissed is all.”
“I heard what both of you said. You started it with her. What’s the deal with the lesbian remark and coming over here to piss like that? Just expecting them to go? Did you whip it right out in front of them,” Jimmy asked?
“No… Of course not, Jimmy,” Mike said. “Look, I didn’t mean nothin’ by it. I just don’t like being talked to like that by any body let alone a girl. I’m not used to it. No man is,” Mike finished.
Jimmy stood for a moment and then tension just ran out of him. “Fuck… She’s got a smart mouth… I know that. I’ll talk to her.. But you watch your mouth too… We’re friends.. I wouldn’t ever talk to Amy that way.. See?”
“Yeah.. Yeah, I see,” Mike agreed. Jimmy clapped one hand on his back and they walked away together back to the front of the Nissan.
Paul backed down the driveway and parked next to Peggy’s car. The day hadn’t been too bad. He’d kept busy all day anyway, and let Jane work on the paperwork. She’d bought in a new laptop and that had given him a scare. Peggy worked at one of the largest computer outlets in Mobile. But when he had asked her she told him she had bought hers some place else. He chastised himself for thinking she might have gone to Computer Terminal to buy it. She knew Peggy worked there after all. Just his own insecurity working at him.
He locked the car and let himself in through the side door. T-Rex, Deidre’s dog, but really the family dog, since nearly the first day, teenagers were just not all that good at responsibility, Paul told himself, met him at the door, tail wagging and little woofs of Hello coming from his throat. Paul ruffed up his fur and then gave him a good chest scratching too. They both wandered into the kitchen.
Peggy was sitting in the living room. A glass of wine in one hand, her nightly habit for the last few years, the TV remote in the other, and completely ignored him as he passed through. That told him Deidre was either in her room or not at home at all. When she was home,they were both all smiles. Not that it fooled her. She was pretty smart after all. But they kept up the pretense anyway. When she was gone the temperature dropped at least fifty degrees and all communication ceased.
If Deidre was home there would be dinner on the stove, if she wasn’t probably not. Tonight the stove top was empty and the oven was off.
He sat down the briefcase he had been using lately and went to the refrigerator A six pack: His. He drank rarely but it was a comfort to have it there. Some sliced ham… Cheese. He opened up the freezer and dug out a box of frozen beef patties. He pried two of them away from the frozen clump, plopped them down onto a plate and then stuck them in the Microwave on low power.
He had tried defrost, but defrost was too hard to figure out and it took too long. Low power thawed them right out in about three minutes. He took off his jacket and tie, snapped on the little TV that sat on the small serve through counter and turned it to channel eight.
He listened to the main stories, nothing much, while he kicked the microwave up to normal and set it for two minutes to finish cooking the beef patties. He fished out four slices of white bread from the loaf on the counter, the mayonnaise from the refrigerator and two slices of cheese. T-Rex squatted right next to his chair hoping for handouts.
The weather came on just as he had decided to change the channel. Rebecca Monet. New. Good looking to say the least.
“How’s the weather looking tonight, Becca,” Bob Travers asked her.
Since when was she Becca, Paul asked himself.
“Well, it is a beautiful night in Mobile, Bob. Beautiful fall weather. Mid Seventies. Clear skies. Low humidity. The kind of weather we wish that we could have all of the time.”
“Right now it’s Seventy Six degrees, five mile an hour winds of the Gulf…” She launched herself into the five day forecast and Paul tuned her out for a moment. Just when it seemed she was finished she clicked up a national weather may, her face turned serious as she turned to the camera. Speaking to Bob but also to her viewers.
“This is something, Bob, that we just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention. This tropical depression that is just ramping up into storm status. It’s a little too early to predict where it might go with any degree of certainty but several of the major models predict a path that will bring it right into the Gulf and possibly Mobile.”
“That’s not good,” Bob said. A quick shot of his nodding head and then right back to Rebecca.
“No, it isn’t, but,” Rebecca told him with a huge smile, “We’ll be on top of it and we will let everyone know if it becomes a concern.” She blinked, all youth and innocence, it even made Paul’s heart skip a beat, then she finished up, “Back to you, Bob.”
“That’s Rebecca Monet there with the weather,” Bob said with a smile. “He turned to his co-anchor. “Bethany,” Bob asked?
Bethany Jacobs, Bob Traver’s co-anchor, looked more than a little rattled to Paul. But, she launched into the sports anyway.
Paul turned the channel, found an old comedy series he hadn’t seen in awhile, and watched while he ate his burgers.. He fed most of the second one to T-Rex. He was still sitting at the kitchen counter watching TV a few hours later when Deidre came home. Everything changed.
“Honey, I’m glad you’re home,” Peggy said. She had come up behind Paul’s chair and laid one hand on his shoulder.
“Baby,” Paul said and kissed her. She seemed a little subdued. “You okay?” They both asked nearly at once.
“Just a little tired… I think I’m going to bed early,” Deidre said.
Peggy rested her wrist against Deidre’s forehead for a few moments. “You’re a little warm,” She said. “You want an aspirin or something?”
“Sure, Mom,” Deidre agreed. She took the aspirins Peggy offered, washed them down with water and then went to her bedroom.
Peggy stood, her hand still on Paul’s shoulder. “She’ll be okay… Too much sun,” She said.
She looked down at her hand, as if just discovering it was there, and removed it.. She walked back to the living room and sat down without another word.
“Huh,” Paul said. He got up, went to the bedroom and got a change of clothes and headed into the shower.
Deidre undressed and got into bed. She wasn’t tired, she was just depressed. She had almost made a complete fool of herself. After the argument with Mike she had gotten Jimmy to bring her home.
Today, she thought, had been a bad day all around. Jimmy had forced the issue, because of Mike. And it had seemed that every time that had seemed to be a good time to talk to Amy had not been a good time at all. Then Mike again. And, Jimmy had overheard the argument with Mike and been pissed at her about the comments she had made too.
She had understood that to a degree, but he hadn’t seemed to be interested in a thing that Mike had said to her. Only what she had said to him.
When she thought of Amy it drove her crazy. Probably there was no hope at all.. After all she was sleeping with Mike, he was a guy, so it stood to reason she must like guys. She herself wasn’t with Jimmy fro the same reasons. She didn’t want sex with him. Jimmy was a means to an end. A way to see Amy.
Maybe, she decided, she should have worked harder on her dad for her own car. Then she would not have had to have Jimmy in the picture at all. She could drive herself wherever she wanted to go when ever she wanted to go. She closed her eyes to think about it and fell asleep.
Jack Johnson had been good to his word. Before they had been back to the cell block, right in the strip frisk room in fact, he had given them the tobacco and Darren’s candy bar. The strip frisk had not happened either. He had simply made them wait there for fifteen minutes to make it look good.
“You look after me, I look after you. Don’t bring no dumb shit in. You get caught with something from outside it’s your ass. You don’t even want me to hear that you suggested that I didn’t do the frisk search.
They had all three gone to the yard and Daren had watched while Steve and Dave had played a few games of Pig with Light and a few of his buddies.
“What’s it like working for the fat white man, New York,” Light asked? Light knew very little about Dave Plasko except he was from New York and he was a leader. He was hoping to build a relationship. Maybe work a connect up in New York. You never knew.
“He’s okay for a cop,” Dave said. They were standing on the sidelines waiting for Steve and Dollar, Light’s man, to take their turns.
Light nodded. “What’s it like to be out there,” he asked?
“Sweet,” Dave said. Light had been down for eighteen years with at least seven more to go, depending on parole,and it was a body he was down for, so parole was not going to happen the first time. You just had to pretend that wasn’t the deal. Shoot for the belief that they would turn you loose when the board came up. “Fuckin’ women wearing shit you would not believe. I mean… Whoa…” Dave shook his head in wonder.
“Tight shorts.. So tight you could count the hairs on their pussies… If they had any,” Dave elaborated. He had actually only seen three women all day, excluding the dancers at Dells, and there was no sense telling Light about them. The three women he had seen had been pretty rough. The first one, a drunken, skinny crackhead that had come wandering by right after noon as the three of them were eating their bag lunches. She had been covered with sores and filthy. She had continued on her weaving way never deigning to notice them. Probably hadn’t, Dave had decided.
The next two had come together. A pair of ladies walking towards them who suddenly spied them in their orange prison jump suits and had hurried across the road, eying them warily as they passed by.
“Man, wish I could’a counted them,” Light said..
“Shit… Women nowadays ain’t got much hair there at all… Seen it in one a those fuck books,” Dave said.
“Yeah.. I seen pitchers too. But pitchers ain’t the same. Ain’t the same as the real thing, “Light said.
“Sure ain’t,” Dave agreed.
“The first thing I’m gonna get is laid, once I’m free,” Light declared.
“Yeah… Just make sure you ask permission this time,” Dave joked.
“Hey. Fuck you, New York,” Light said. “But you know, some of those young bitches is looking a whole lot older than they really is. Gotta be careful. I know a guy did ten years for some shit like that,” Light said.
Dave nodded and Light went to take his turn.
Dollar and Steve wandered over.
“See any bitches today,” Dollar asked?
“Man,” Dave said. “Seen bitches wearing shorts so short you could count the hairs on their pussies… If they had any.”
“No shit,” Dollar asked?
“No shit,” Dave agreed.
“Motherfuck… Wish’t I’d seen that. Ain’t had sex with a woman in… Nine years… Sure wish’t I’d seen that.”
Dave nodded. Light took another letter and dropped to give up fifty pushups. Dave trotted out to make his shots.
When Paul came out of the shower the house was silent. Peggy had gone to bed. He had dressed in sweats and a t-shirt and had intended to go straight to sleep.. He couldn’t go now. No way would she be asleep yet.
He ran hot water over the plate and knife he had used and then loaded them into the dishwasher. Cleaned off the table, set up the automatic coffee maker for the morning and then wandered into the living room.
The deal was, no sleeping apart. It was unspoken, but they both knew it. So as much as he would like to curl up on the couch and go to sleep he could not. He was going to have to go back into the bedroom. Sleep as close to his edge of the bed as was possible, and wait for morning.
There wasn’t much he could do about the sleep. It was tough to relax. Tough to shut down. Twice now, in the past few months, he had fallen asleep and them awakened in the middle of the night, pressed up against Peggy with an erection.
She had said nothing in the morning either time, but she had to have known. She had to. You couldn’t miss something like that. And, Paul wondered, why hadn’t she moved? Why hadn’t she woke him up? Something! Said something to him? But he didn’t know the answer, only that she hadn’t.
He nearly flipped the TV on, changed his mind, got up and walked into the bedroom.
The novel should be out in spring 2021. Hope you enjoyed the preview, Dell…