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Chapter 5: Girls Night Out

Chapter 5: Girls Night Out

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Usually, Mae and Kristel meet at Denny’s on a Saturday morning for breakfast where they cuss and discuss the world and all its antics. This weekend, though, they decided to wait until Saturday night, that a movie would be nice, then go claim their favorite table after. They agreed that they needed a girls’ night out, and settled on the late showing of “The Wedding Ringer” at the Owensboro Cinema, then supper at the Denny’s just down from the theater on Frederica Street.

“I’m here, girl!” Kristel knocked on the door then let herself in. “Let’s go see Kevin Hart and Josh Gad dance the tango.”

Kristel gave Trenton a kiss on the cheak, “Hey bubba! I’ve missed you! “

Trenton loved when Mae and Kristel hung out, he knew a marathon of Pawn Stars was in clear sight. Also, Kristel was like a sister to Trenton. They had played in orchestra at Owensboro Middle School until they were Seniors at Owensboro High school.

Mae kissed Trent goodbye. “I’ll be home before dawn,” she laughed.

“I’ll be sure to warn the rest of the world,” Trent quipped back.

“Hey. We’re mostly harmless,” Mae kissed him again on the cheek then she and Kristel climbed down the steps.

“I’ll drive. I can drop you off here on the way home,” Kristel waved Mae to her car.

“Sounds good.”

At the cinema, they purchased their tickets and a couple of Cokes and a tub of popcorn to share. They had to dodge families and kids on their way to their theater.

Kristel watched on decidedly hyperactive rug rat brushed past her leg. The bump jiggled her arm, and spilled some popcorn on the carpet. “That kid needs his meds.” She and Mae shared a laugh. “I don’t understand why they show kids’ movies this late at night. This should be the time for us big kids.”

“Maybe we could go in to see Strange Magic with them, and bump their arms when they take a drink, and not even say we’re sorry.”

“Oh hell, no.” Kristel pointed to a family going into a theater. “They’re taking those little kids to see “American Sniper.” No wonder we’ve got a bunch of juvenile delinquents running around acting like fools. They get trained from an early age.”

“Those parents’ll pay for it later, what do you want to bet?” Mae nodded. She pointed to their doors. “Let’s go see granny catch on fire.”

Mae and Kristel left the Hall of Sticky Carpets and entered the Stadium of Sticky Floors. Mae and Kristel walked up the stairs to the very top. Mae always loved watching the people’s reaction to the movie as was were watching it -probably more than the movie itself.

Half way through the movie they saw something tiny scurry into the people’s aisle in front of them. There seemed to be three of whatever it was.

“Kristel…did you jus see-“

“Yep.”

The next thing you know people were screaming and running from the movie theatre! “Mice! There’s an infestation! They’re everywhere!” Kristel and Mae looked at each other and kick up their feet up.

Mae belts out a large laugh, “Well, at least we cleared the movie theatre of all those bratty kids!”

***

It was midnight when they pulled up to Denny’s. The parking lot was about half full, and they parked around the side from the front door.

“The trailer is always better than the movie.” Mae said, and opened the door to the brightly lit foyer.

“I know that’s right! I laughed here and there at the one liners and some of the gags, but they could have just made a silent movie, and I probably would have laughed just as much.” Kristel shook her head. “But Kevin Hart can shake it. Even Josh Gad managed to look a little sexy when they were dancing.”

“It was okay, though.” Mae turned to the hostess. “Two. And can we get a half-and-half tabletop? The one that’s half booth and half table?”

“Sure,” the hostess smiled and grabbed a couple of menus. “Right this way.” She led them to their table. It sat near a corner of the dining room where they had a clear view of everything and everyone.

“Thanks,” Mae said and crawled into the booth seat against the wall.

Kristel sat across from her. “All I’m saying is I’d still buy a ticket to see a sexy many in a tuxedo grind it on the dance floor.”

“So let’s go to a male strip club, already!”

Kristel looked as if she might consider it. “We’ll do that next week,” she laughed.

The friends looked over their menus, and their waitress suddenly appeared and placed glasses of iced water in front of them. “Hi, I’m Jennifer, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Would you like anything to drink?”

“Sweet tea with three lemons,” said Mae.

“Me too,” said Kristel. “Mae, we’ve been coming here every Saturday now for five years. For five years you ask for three lemons with your tea. Why not one? Why not four?

Mae laughs, “I got it down to a science. Three is too many…and one and two is not enough!” She fake crosses her eye at Kristel and they both bust out laughing.

“Are you ready to order?” Jennifer, who looked young enough to still be in school, pulled out her order pad and pen. “The special is, um, just a minute. I’ll go look at the board again.”

“That’s okay. We’re ready,” Mae said. “I’ll have the Bourbon Bacon Burger. She’s in the mood for some ultimate meat.”

“Oh, I know you did not just say that,” Kristel laughed.

The waitress stood there with a blank face, oblivious to the double meaning humor.

Mae and Kristel looked at the her, waiting for any kind of response.

“Girl, you need to get out more and have some fun,” Kristel turned her eyes back to the menu. “I’m going to have… the Meat Lover’s Omelet.”

Mae and Kristel burst out laughing, but the waitress gave a weak attempt at a smile, and wrote their orders down. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She vanished behind a partition.

“She’s about as loose as a rusty wind-up doll,” Kristel shook her head.

“Well, after waiting on us, ‘the Jennifer’ will either be wound down or loosened up good.” Mae sipped her water.

While they waited for their food, the bar crowd started to trickle in. An especially inebriated woman with disheveled blonde hair staggered up to the hostess, and when she opened her mouth to tell her how many would be joining her, the hostess turned her head and leaned away.

Kristel watched with a grin and became more amused at the drunken display. “I bet if you squeeze her, you’ll get another quart of 151.”

“I could probably run my car on her breath alone,” Mae agreed.

“There’s three more.” The woman shouted and held up her whole hand.

The hostess smiled her practiced, plastic smile and grabbed a handful of menus and led the woman to a table near Mae and Kristel.

“Did you see that? The hostess chick didn’t even bat an eye,” Kristel said. “And that smile? She’s so fake, I bet if you look on the back of her neck, it says, ‘made in China’.”

Mae laughed with water in her mouth which almost decided to fly across the table, but she made an epic save with her napkin. “Don’t say stuff like that when I’ve got water in my mouth!”

Kristel nodded her head to the door. “There they are.”

Two people, a man and a woman, walked up to the door. The man grabbed at the door handle and missed.

Mae laughed. “Oh, this is going to be good.”

The man tried again and missed. He also leaned forward when he made the try, and fell against the door.

“That’s probably the only thing keeping him up at the moment,” Kristel chuckled under her breath.

The woman, dressed in outdated leopard print spandex pants and an oversized shirt, pulled him back, and he swayed a step back. She said something to him and he waved her to the door. She successfully grabbed the door handle and pulled. It must have opened easier than she thought it would because she staggered back with the motion of the door. The man walked in and stopped at the claw game. He pulled out his wallet while the woman walked past him, mouthing some really bad scolding words. She saw her friend at the table and made her way through the dining room, holding to a chair here, and a waitress there.

Mae watched, hypnotized by the show. “I can’t even read lips, and I know what she said.”

“You know it. He’s going to be in trouble when he sobers up, I bet.”

“Not if she doesn’t remember it,” Mae replied, and they both laughed.

The Jennifer brought their drinks. “Your food will be out shortly.” The Jennifer then turned to the table where the two sloshed women sat. “Hi, I’m Jennifer, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Would you like something to drink?”

The blonde shouted, “Whiskey sour, no cherry,” and guffawed loudly. She slapped her friend’s arm, and her friend wobbled sideways.

The Jennifer stood with her pad and pen at the ready. She put the pen to the paper then put her head up again. “I don’t think we have that. I’ll go check. Be right back.”

The drunk women leaned in toward each other and bumped heads, loudly. They held their foreheads in pain, but continued to laugh louder.

The Jennifer returned and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have that on our drink list. We have, um, coffee, tea, juice, and, um…”

“Give’m coffee!” Kristel said loudly enough for The Jennifer to hear.

The Jennifer looked at Kristel, and her eyes widened a little as if she understood what was going on, nodded and started writing on her pad.

“Oh jeez, she’s writing it down!” Kristel and Mae both turned a little more to get a better view.

“I’m going to stand at the door and charge admission for this,” Mae said.

“Yeah!” Kristel said. “We’d make up for how much we spent at the movies!”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“Nah, but this is better.”

Leopard Spandex grabbed The Jennifer’s hand, the one that was writing on the pad, and the pen made a long, dark line across the page.

“Hey,” The Jennifer pulled her hand away. “I get in trouble if the numbers on the pad don’t match up with what I turn in, and I can’t skip numbers.”

Blondie and Leopard Spandex both blurted out, “Fuck the coffee.”

“Okay, okay,” The Jennifer said, “What would you like to drink? And it needs to be something we have.”

“Strawberry Mango Pucker,” said Blondie.

“Chocolate milk,” said Leopard Spandex.

Kristel turned to Mae. “What kind of odds do you think we’ve got that someone will be puking soon?”

“Ugh, we’re about to eat, and you give me that mental image!”

“I ain’t giving you anything. Those two are giving us everything.”

“Where’s the guy?” Mae craned her neck over the diners and saw him still playing at the claw machine. “Oh dear lord, he’s still at the game. Maybe he fell asleep standing up.”

The Jennifer brought their plates. “Please enjoy your meal.”

“We’re enjoying the floor show more,” Kristel said.

The Jennifer, again, stood still as if trying to figure out what language Kristel was speaking.

“Never mind,” Kristel said. “Thank you,” she said slowly, loudly, and clearly. “We. Will. Be. Fine. It’s. All. O. Kay.”

“Oh, okay,” The Jennifer smiled happily. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

They ate and watched more drunks come in.

“Saturday night at Denny’s,” said Mae.

“Only in Owensboro,” said Kristel.

“Doubt it this time,” said Mae, and she took a huge bite of her burger.

They watched The Jennifer take Blondie’s and Leopard Spandex’s order, and were surprised that they all got it right on the first try.

About the time that they finished their meal, the man at the claw machine finally entered the dining room and joined the women. Blondie high-fived him, but Leopard Spandex slapped him.

“Looks like The Claw ain’t getting any tonight!” Mae laughed.

“Not with what she said to him earlier,” Kristel commented. “He’ll be lucky if he even gets to sleep in the same house.”

The Jennifer brought the bill, and the girls rose to leave. The Jennifer also dropped the bill with Leopard Spandex and Blondie. Spandex handed the bill to The Claw who pulled out his wallet and showed her an empty money slot.

Kristel and Mae sat back down to see the rest of the show.

Leopard Spandex turned to Blondie who had a big bite of eggs and hash browns hanging from her mouth and tried to tell Spandex that no, she didn’t have enough to cover their bill.

Leopard Spandex stood up and began yelling at The Claw who shrank into his chair. He pointed to the claw machine, and began to yell back.

“I just wanted to do something nice for you and get you a nice present, and you’re an ungrateful bitch!”

“You alcoholic, stupid, limp-dick! Can’t even hold a dollar!”

The manager handled it by removing the entire group from the dining room to a vacant semi-private supper room, and calling the cops.

“Ready to go?” Mae asked Kristel.

“Oh yeah. It’s almost time for the puking to begin.” Kristel elbowed Mae, and they headed to the cashier.

They stood at the cashier’s station, waiting for someone to take their money, and Blondie rushed past them into the bathroom. The sound of retching followed.

“Told you,” Kristel said.

Mae said, “You called it!”

“I had my money on Leopard Spandex though. Drinking chocolate milk on top of booze? Not too sure about that.” Kristel handed her cash to the flustered manager behind the counter.

“How was your meal?”

Mae and Kristel looked at each other, then at the manager, and burst out laughing.

***

Mae walked into her home, and found Trenton sleeping on the couch. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

He woke up and asked, “How was your girls’ night out?”

Mae grinned. “It was a great, big heaping plate of an Owensboro Saturday night. Tell you all about it in the morning.”

Mae waved to her friend pulling out of the driveway, and Kristel waved back. “Right now, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you.”

“What’s all that about?”

“Let’s just say that I’m glad your nickname isn’t ‘The Claw’.” She laughed and led Trenton to the bedroom and yawned. “Love you, baby.” They crawled into bed and cuddled.

“Love you too.” Trenton kissed Mae’s forehead and she was asleep before his lips even left her. He sighed. “See you in the morning, then.” He chuckled and turned out the light.

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MaeHem At The Mall

Chapter 4: MayHem At The Mall

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“Meet me at Towne Square for lunch. There are some great sales, and I don’t want to miss them, but I haven’t seen you in so long. We can do some shopping together. I’m bringing the kids. You bring yours.” Dana laughed.

“I’ll see if I can get Trent to get dressed.” Mae laughed back.

“Well, tell that giant teenager of yours to get going!”

“Yeah, but I don’t know that we’re in the mood for Show Me’s.”

“It’ll be quick. It’s a little early for lunch, so it won’t be crowded or anything.”

“Okay. We’ll see you there in a while.”

“Mwuah! Love ya!”

“You too!”

They hung up, and Mae shuffled into the living room. “Lunch and shopping with Dana and the girls, let’s go.”

Trent wiggled his toes high up on his recliner. “Do I have to?”

“Dana was right.”

“Dana? About what?”

“That you’re a great, big teenager.”

Trenton jumped up from his chair and chased Mae into the bedroom.. “You got that right! And you know what they say about teenage boys!” He tackled her to the bed, and they wrestled and laughed.

“Come on, it’ll be a good time. We haven’t seen Aisha and Alaya for a while, either.” Mae put on her puppy dog eyes and batted her lashes.

“Aw, don’t do that.” Trent grinned. “I can’t say no when you do that. Okay, let’s go.” He got up and changed from his comfy shorts and t-shirt into jeans and a sweat shirt that said ,’roadkill on the grill’. “There. Let’s go hug our girls.”

Traffic was light, and they rode to the mall in good time. Parking was a different story, though, and Trent circled the same four lanes several times, waiting for a good spot.

“We could’ve walked in, had lunch and shopped four stores by now,” Mae said.

“It’s my day off. I deserve to park close to the door.”

“There’s one!” Mae pointed.

Trent pressed on the accelerator a bit and hurried around to the next lane and pulled into a spot just before a teenager in a beater tried to grab it.

“Ha. Beat him,” Trent said, and put the shift in park, pulled out the keys and got out. He patted his tummy and said, “Hungry man. Let’s go.”

Mae rolled her eyes.

“Well, I can’t really say hungry teenager.”

Mae sidled up to him and they walked hand in hand into the mall. They had barely taken two steps in when they heard a voice call out to them, and two other voices squeal.

“Mae, Trent, over here!”

“Uncle Trent! Aunt Mae!”

The passersby stole glances to see who answered the call. Aisha and Alaya ran up to them and locked them in tight hugs. The glued-together group waddled to where Dana stood, smiling.

“Come here, you!”

Trent walked like a robot, arms out in front of him toward Dana.

“Not you, but okay,” she laughed and gave him a light hug. She let Trent go, and the girls swarmed him.

“I meant you!” She did a sort of stuttered, excited shuffle to Mae, and threw her arms around her.

They parted, and Dana said, “What do you think?” She did a little twirl and showed off her new outfit. Her mini skirt had a pleated section that flew up when she twirled.

“Nice. Been here long?”

The group joined together and walked into the restaurant. They were seated quickly. Aisha and Alaya were busy talking over each other, telling Trent about their week at school while Dana and Mae caught up with each other.

“I’m going with the chicken Philly,” said Trent.

The girls sat on either side of him. Aisha ordered a grilled cheese and a dinner salad, and Alaya ordered a cheeseburger.

“Y’all ready?” Their waitress smiled, beaming at the group around the table.

Mae gave a gentle kick to Trent’s shin. “Behave,” she said.

“Yup, we’re ready!”

The group ordered, and chatted while waiting for their meals.

“So then, Jamie, she said…. Dana, what are you looking at?” Mae followed Dana’s eyes to a set of broad shoulders and a trim waist sitting at the bar.

“Sorry, what?” Dana said without looking away from the eye candy on the bar stool.

“Do you know him?” Mae asked.

“No, but I don’t think I’d mind getting to know him,” Dana said and raised her eyebrows.

“You…” Mae said with a little laugh.

“Can’t blame a girl for window shopping. He’s as fine as Ghirardelli Chocolate. I, uh, have to go to the ladies room. No need to come with me, though,” Dana rose and winked at Mae. “I can take care of this on my own.”

Mae shook her head and watched Dana walk away.

As Dana passed the bar, she made eye contact with the man. He had a draft beer glass in his hand, and had just pursed his lips on the rim to take a sip when he saw her. Dana paused ever so slightly, did a little twirl and walked to the ladies’ room with her miniskirt swaying with her stride.

When she came out, the man waved her over. “Hey, good-lookin’. Can I buy you a drink or something?”

“Oh, I’ve already ordered, but thanks. I’m Dana.” She held out her hand.

“Jerome.” He took her hand in his. “You here by yourself?”

She shook her head. “We’re on a family shopping spree.” She nodded in the direction of her table.

“Ah. Well, how about you give me your number, and we’ll see about getting you here sometime by yourself. Or somewhere else. You like to dance?”

“Oh, yeah. Here.” Dana pulled out her phone.

“Jerome Elias Watson!” A harsh voice pierced through the restaurant, right into Jerome’s eardrum.

“Sasha?” He winced and pulled away. Dana turned to see a rather large, very angry woman stomping their way. Her fury shone through the dark skin of her cheeks like the glow of embers at dusk. Jerome’s face reddened, and he turned to the bar and picked up his glass. “Shit.”

“Missy, you can just keep going.” She pointed a finger in Dana’s face.

“Oh no, you don’t. You need to talk to this sorry excuse for a man, not me. He came on to me.” She turned to Jerome. “Tell her.”

“You can’t talk about my man that way!” The woman took a step closer to Dana.

Unintimidated, Dana stepped inward, too. “He’s the one picking up women right under your nose. How would I know he had an old lady?”

Jerome swung around on his barstool and stepped between the two women. In any other situation, he would have been safe, but even a six-foot-two bundle of muscles is no match for women who are riled up.

“Old lady? Go look in the mirror!” Sasha reached an arm around Jerome to slap at Dana.

Jerome swung his arm out to block Sasha, but when her hand hit his arm, he bounced back and smacked Dana’s shoulder.

By that time, Trenton was walking calmly toward them with a stern look on his face. “Hey, be careful with my sister. Let’s just be cool, okay?” he said.

Alaya yelled from the table, “Yeah, leave my mom alone!”

Mae put a hand on the table.

“She’s okay. Uncle Trent is there, and we’re going to just stay here and not make it worse, okay?” Mae saw the girls as they nodded but watched closely, ready to defend their mom, and she felt kind of proud, the way the family stuck together.

Jerome’s temper flared. “Keep out of this, kid!”

Trenton put a hand on Jerome’s arm and led him and Sasha away from Dana. “That kid, as you called her, can run you down and put you on the floor before you can say ‘outside linebacker’. Just cool this off. Okay?”

Sasha folder her arms and huffed heavily. She shot a dirty look toward Dana, but then looked up at Jerome. “Yeah, what the hell? Get your ass home, motherfucker.”

He dropped a bill on the bar and left with his head low, and his woman behind him scolding him the whole way.

Dana held her head high and sat down at the table and watched the leave with daggers in her eyes.

“Should have stuck to window shopping,” Mae said, trying to inject some humor into the situation.

“I just wanted to try, not buy,” Dana said.

She and Mae laughed at the same time.

“Hey, look at it this way. You didn’t end up as ‘the other woman’. I think that Sasha would have drawn blood.”

“Yeah, but dammit. I just can’t get a break.”

The waitress arrived with their food, and they dug in.

“Uncle Trent, will you take us to Scoops & Smoothies for dessert?” Aisha asked.

“You gonna have room?” he teased.

“Let’s all go. Then we’re going to look at shoes,” Dana said, and raised a glass. “To family.”

They all raised their glasses and said, “To Family!”

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Chapter Two: Maegan Hagan’s Most Wanted

****Author’s Note** I will be releasing a new chapter every Wednesday and Thursday. Please let me know what you think in the comments section of the blog!

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Chapter Two: Maegan Hagan’s Most Wanted

Mae met Huck on a Thursday. She remembered because Thursdays always seemed to not quite fit in with the rest of her week. Mondays were easy to understand; they consisted of coffee and data entry at work . Tuesdays and Wednesdays were business as usual. Fridays were the light at the end of her workweek tunnel, but Thursdays? Thursdays were too close to Friday and too far from Monday. This particular Thursday, she came home from working all day at the bank and pulled into the driveway, noticing a strange man mowing Steve and Ruth’s yard next door.

Ruth came out of her trailer, drying her hands with a dish towel. “Hey, bestie! How was your day?”

The friends gave each other a quick hug. Mae shrugged and said, “It was Thursday.”

Ruth laughed, “Oh yeah, I forgot about Thursdays.”

“Who’s the guy doing your yard?” Mae nodded at the scruffy-haired, shirtless, skinny man who had to pause every four steps to pull up his sagging jeans.

Ruth rolled her eyes. “That’s Huck. He’s a friend of a friend of my brother’s cousin. They asked if he could stay with us for a while. His old lady kicked him out, and he needed a place to stay until he gets on his feet.”

“Get on his feet? How old is he?”

“Forty” Ruth laughed and said sheepishly. “I know, not a kid. But they said he was a good guy, and I couldn’t stand thinking that I could be responsible for him being homeless if we didn’t help.”

“Ruth, sometimes your heart is way too big,” Mae laughed. “Well, maybe we can have him mow for us too. I have to get in now, though. Trenton is working a little late, so I’m going to start dinner.”

“Oh hey, how about we just grub it together tonight? We’ll bring the meat and a jug of sweet tea. You’ll get to meet Huck, too.”

“That would be awesome. I’ll toss up a salad and whip up some tater salad. I think we have some PBR in the fridge. I’ll bring that too.”

The ladies performed their ritual high five followed by a hip bump and wink. “See you around seven, then?”

“Sounds great.”

***

“Trenton, if you had a pet name for me, what would it be?” Mae rolled over in bed and snuggled up against him.

“Huh?”

“Well, like Ruth’s friend out there tonight. Said his name is Huck. I’m guessing short for Huckleberry or something. Funny name, but anyway, what would you nickname me?”

Trenton rolled over and Mae reached up and scratched his bearded chin. “I would call you… Fluffy.”

“Fluffy?” Mae sat up and put her hands on her hips. “I’m not a dog.!”

Trenton sat up and put his arms around her and pulled her back to bed. “Nope. You’re not. But I like your fluffy, round ass.”

He gave her a light smack on her fluffiness, and she giggled, pulled the covers over their heads, and snuggled her fluffiness against her favorite bearded man.

***

“Did you hear about Ace National? They were robbed just a while ago.”

Mae turned to her coworker, Cheyenne. “No. Like, just today?”

“Yeah. The guy got away, too” Cheyenne said matter-of-factly. She then slammed a stack of files down in her cube. Mae had a nagging feeling in her stomach, and something told her to turn on the news. Mae always had a weird sixth sense that no one, (not even herself,) understood. “This is a camera shot of the man who robbed Ace this morning. As usual, it’s a little fuzzy, but his face is fairly clear. Take a good look and call our anonymous tip line if you have any information regarding this robbery.”

Mae looked at the news footage. She looked at the video on the screen and thought the man looked familiar, but in her position, she’d seen every facial shape hundreds of times. Suddenly it hit her-it was Huck.

***

Mae and Ruth sat at the fire pit, sipping sweet tea and catching up on their day. “All I can say is T.G.I.F.!”

Trenton and Steve left their man-huddle on Steve’s stoop. Trenton grabbed the spikes and horseshoes from the Rubbermaid chest behind his trailer, and Steve and Ruth stood in the places where Trenton could hammer the spikes into the ground.

“You know what’s kind of funny?” Mae asked Trenton while she swung a horseshoe to within half a foot of the spike in front of Ruth.

“I can think of a few things,” he said.

“I saw the news with the security cameras at Ace. The guy reminded me of Huck a little.” She tossed a ringer, clapped her hands and put them up in the air. “Yes!”

“Lucky shot,” Ruth teased. “Not surprising. Huck looks like every other freeloader.” She chuckled and picked up the shoes.

“No, really. The more I think about it, the more I really think it was him.”

“Mae, you been drinking Mad Dog 20/20 again?” Steve elbowed Mae at the joke and laughed.

“Nooo. And don’t crack about diabetes from the sugar in my tea, either.”

Trenton stood behind their stake. “If you look at anyone long enough, they start to look familiar, hon. That’s all. It’s just a coincidence.”

“Besides,” Ruth said, “I LIVE with the guy and even I think it was someone else.”

“Just toss, will ya?” Mae played the game, but in her mind she was certain of two things-two plus two is four, AND HUCK ROBBED ACE NATIONAL BANK!

“One more round, then I’ve got to eat something,” Steve said.

Just then, a little Honda Civic pulled up, and a driver in a red shirt and a blue cap got out and carried an armful of pizzas over to them.

“Here ya go. Where do you want’em?”

They heard the trailer door slam, and Huck came out sporting a nice haircut. He joined the group and pulled out a shiny, new leather wallet attached by a long silver chain to his brand new jeans. “I got this. How much?”

“Fifty-seven forty-five.”

“Here’s eighty. Keep the change.”

The driver grinned and thanked him then ran back to his car and took off.

“Y’all have been so nice to me, I thought I’d buy dinner tonight. Anybody hungry?” He set the pizzas on the patio table.

Mae shot a knowing look at Trenton as everyone walked over to the table and whispered, “Still think it’s just a coincidence?”

“Mae, he’s been doing odd jobs; probably got paid cash.”

“Mm-hm.”

“Check this out, y’all. He got the one with hot sauce!” Steve piled a paper plate with several pieces.

***

“Mae, if you’re so sure, why don’t you call someone?” Trenton’s words bubbled from his lips and dripped on his beard as he brushed his teeth before bed.

“Didn’t your momma ever teach you not to snitch?” Mae chuckled and said, “Besides, what if I am wrong.” She towel-dried her face and lightly stroked her night cream on – using the ring fingers because they are the weakest fingers and won’t pull at the skin as much as the others – as she’d been taught by her Mary Kay lady.

“There ya go.” Trenton spit into the sink. “By morning, the two faces will look so different, you’ll wonder why you ever had the thought in the first place.” He walked to the bedroom.

Mae followed. “I still think it’s him.”

“Stubborn.”

“Yep.”

“Love you. Good night.”

“Love you too.” Mae turned off the lamp on her nightstand and whispered, “It’s him.”

She heard Trenton laugh under his breath just before she fell asleep.

In the morning, she slapped her hand on the alarm clock to make it stop blaring. Through blurry eyes she looked at the lighted display.

“Five thirty-two?!” She realized that her alarm was not going off, but several sirens were blaring outside her window. “Trenton! Get up!”

He shot up, straight as a board. “What the heck?”

They ran to the window and squished against each other, vying for the best view.

Outside, no less than five police cars had surrounded their area in the trailer park. Armed police officers, weapons drawn, stood at key locations, vigilantly watching for any trouble.

Trenton and Mae went down the hall to the living room window, and looked at Steve and Ruth’s trailer. One officer stood at their open door while another walked out of the trailer holding Huck by the elbow. Huck walked out with his head hung low and his hands cuffed behind his back.

Mae gave Trenton a love slap on his shoulder. “Told you.”

“I shall never doubt you again.” He kissed her on the top of her head. “I don’t think we’re going back to sleep; what would you like for breakfast?”

“I know what you should eat,” Mae said with a coy, teasing voice. She leaned up and brushed her cheek against his beard and whispered in his ear. “Crow soup.” Mae took off back to the bedroom.

“Hey, you!”

Trenton gave chase and caught her with enough momentum to send them flying onto the bed, laughing. “Only in Owensboro,” he said, and pulled the covers over their heads.

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