Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright May 2003
Rated as adult material for some violence, language, and because anything can happen in my stories. If you are easily offended please read something else. This story is Uber/Alt Fiction. If any of this is illegal where you live you may wish to take the following three immediate actions. First, stop reading. Second, move. Third resume reading.
Constructive comments and criticisms or just plain chats good or bad are most welcome. No flames please.
Phyllis yawned as she pushed back into the seat of the late model silver Accord, stretching her arms and legs. The pretty redhead shook her head to clear the cobwebs, her luxuriant shoulder length curls swirling around her face; the narrow, winding road, and her headlights - forever showing her only what it was too late to avoid - were making her groggy. She glanced to her right at her little blonde passenger, who was staring straight ahead into the endlessly oncoming road, her face partially hidden by short blond hair.
"You still awake Sam?"
Her passenger turned troubled colorless eyes to her, their normal mist-green beauty hidden by the darkness. "Still here," she sighed.
"Thought you were going to try to sleep?"
"Yeah well, that didn't work."
"You okay," Phyllis asked softly, glancing at her friend.
"Just peachy," Samantha answered, her soft voice edged with a touch of bitterness.
The redhead gave her a concerned look. Maybe now she'll talk. "Sam, we can talk about this, anytime."
Samantha smiled at her friend. "I know, Phil, and I will eventually, but not now. It's still…." She sighed. "I'm okay, but I just don't want to talk about it yet."
"It's been two months, Sam."
"And four days."
Phyllis groaned. "It's not like the two of you were exactly the perfect couple you know. You've been talking divorce ever since…."
"I know," Sam answered softly, her eyes brightening with unshed tears. "But I tried so hard, Phil."
"Samantha, the guy was an asshole and you've got the battle scars prove it."
Samantha's head came up, her pretty face clouding in anger, even now seeking to hide the embarrassing truth. "What are you talking about?"
Phyllis colored a little in embarrassment. Oops, way to go Phil. She turned apologetic eyes to her friend.
"You should be, Phil, why would you say such a thing?"
Phil's eyes rolled to the heavens then back to the road. She was getting tired of this crap.
"I'm waiting," Sam remarked huffily and Phyllis giggled, picturing her tapping her foot in impatience, something she was prone to do when angry. Anger flared even higher in the little blonde. "It's not funny, Phil."
Phyllis sighed. "Sorry, you're right, it isn't."
"Then why were you giggling?"
"It was nothing, Sam, really. Just a random thought. Nothing to do with you and David. I'm sorry, okay."
"You should be. What makes you think David hit me?"
"Sam, leave it. I said I'm sorry."
"No. I want to know. Why would you think that?"
"You don't want to know?
"Yes I do."
Phyllis gave her the 'leave it the hell alone' look, but it didn't work very well in the darkness inside the speeding car. Sam just crossed her arms over her chest, frowned, and began tapping her foot, the sound barely audible against the carpet. Phyllis nearly laughed again.
"All right. Jesus, Sam, just because I moved to California doesn't mean I'm stupid. I've known about David's penchant for using you for a punching bag since a couple months after the wedding."
"Oh," the blonde said, deflating.
"Can we just drop it now?" Phyllis asked contritely.
"How did you find out?"
"Samantha," Phyllis warned.
"I want to know, who told you?"
Phyllis groaned in frustration. "You are just as stubborn as ever!"
"Then tell me."
Phyllis glanced at her friend, back to the road, then to her friend again, before looking back at the road, a resigned look on her face. She sighed in defeat.
"Janice keeps me posted, Sam, but no one had to tell me. I saw the bastard hit you."
Samantha gasped, "When?"
"Can we just not do this? Please," she pleaded.
"I want to know, Phil. When? Tell me when. I want the whole story."
"Yes I do."
"Okay, okay. Just promise you won't do something stupid, like jump out of the car or something."
"Don't be silly. Now tell me." Samantha turned sideways in her seat, leaning against the door and crossing her arms again.
"All right. If you remember, I came home for spring break about, um… two months before you were married."
"I remember. How could I forget? That was a great time."
"Yeah, it was," Phyllis mumbled softly, then ground to a halt.
"Phyllis." Sam growled, in frustration.
"I'm getting there. If you remember, Chuck and I seemed to hit it off whenever we got the gang together." She glanced at the blonde and got a nod.
"You guys were always good friends, even in grade school."
"We were… we had plans."
"Oh, Phil, I'm sorry."
"How could you know. I never told anyone. Daddy hated him. Thought he wasn't good enough for me, but then no one was ever good enough for me," she remarked, trailing off as she remembered her fathers fury when he found out she was still friends with Chuck."
"You should have told me."
"I… well, I was going to. Then I got your card, for the wedding. I, uhm… well, there was never the right time, Sam. I flew home for the wedding and left the very next day because I had finals coming up. After that we just never talked. When I came home for summer, there was just too much going on and we never got any time together, alone."
"I'm so sorry, Phil."
Phil wiped at her bright eyes. "Thanks." She hesitated. "I flew back for the funeral. I never told anyone."
"Oh, Phil," Sam said, tears springing to her eyes for her friend. "You should have called me. I would have been there for you."
Phyllis sniffled; grabbing a tissue from the console then tried a smile for her friend. "I know, but… I wasn't thinking then, besides you'd only been married a short time, Sam. I just couldn't burden you with that." She was silent for a moment, staring out the windshield at the winding road speeding out of the darkness, remembering her surprise when none of the friends she and Chuck had had in common were there or her hurt when Samantha had not been there. "I got off the plane and drove directly to the funeral. It was… awkward. His parents glared at me like I caused the accident. After I paid my respects to his grandmother and… said my good-byes to him, I… I started to leave and," she glanced at her best friend and sighed. "I ran into David."
"David was there?" Samantha asked, shocked. "He told me he wasn't going and he didn't want me going. He was supposed to be in Greenville. He never told me he met you."
"Well he did. Anyway, a friendly face, right? And I was pretty broken up. I… well, he held me until I could stop crying then we went to a bar for a drink. God, did I need a drink."
"I can imagine," Sam sympathized.
"I had five or six that afternoon." She glanced hesitantly at Samantha then continued. "Around five thirty, he called you."
"He was with you when he called me?" Sam asked, her face coloring even in the dim light.
"Yeah. When he came back he was mad."
"We… had an argument. He said he would be home by four because we were supposed to go to my folks. He told me he had car trouble and was waiting for it to be fixed. I told him I'd come get him because daddy was waiting for his help."
"Well, that explains why he was mad. He had just offered to get me to the airport, because I had had too much to drink."
"He must have known we could have still taken you to the airport, Phil," Sam said.
Phil snorted. "Oh, I'm sure he did, Sam."
"What do you mean?"
"When he came back he told me you were coming and we needed to leave, so we could get some time together."
"He what?" Sam practically shouted.
"He hit on me, Sam."
"Oh, god, Phil."
"Yeah. Anyway, it finally dawned on dumb old me what he was up to and I said I was going to stay to see you. He got really mad and told me to get the hell out. I told him I was waiting for you and he got nasty. He backhanded me."
"I… god, Phil, I'm so sorry."
Phyllis shrugged. "Why should you be sorry for something he did?"
"Because you're my friend and he was my husband."
She smiled at the little blonde. "Thanks, but you really don’t have to apologize for David."
Sam smiled back at her and placed her hand on Phyllis's arm. "Hey, I'm the one that should be thanking you for putting up with me. I've been a real jerk since you picked me up… and over a major asshole."
Phyllis laughed. "No problem. Just to hear you admit the guy was a prick is worth it."
They rode in silence for several minutes while Phyllis maneuvered the Honda through some seriously winding curves in the two-lane road.
"So why weren't you there when I got there, Phil?"
Damn, she thought she'd got by with that one. "I was, Sam."
"Huh? Well… uhm… oh." Samantha said swallowing hard. "You saw."
Phyllis nodded. "The manager came over when David got nasty and they got into it. I was upset again. Gods, first Chuck is killed, then David tries to take advantage…."
"The slime," Samantha said, bitterly.
"Yeah. Anyway, I took off for the bathroom and just hid out in one of the stalls. When I got myself under control I splashed my face and came out to confront him and wait for you."
"And you saw him knock me down."
"Yes. I was shocked. My first reaction was to come help you, but then the manager and the barmaid came over. Everyone started shouting and I… I just couldn't take it, Sam, not that day. I fled out the back door. I really don't remember the trip and I'm not even sure how I got back to the airport without hitting something, but all the tension had sobered me up. I… I guess I cried all the way to the airport, because I had to park and get myself under control before I could turn the car in."
Samantha reached over and lay a tender touch on Phil's arm. "And you never said anything."
"No. Sammy, you were into this denial thing. Janice kept me posted, so I found out about Sarah and Carla but you kept sending those rosy emails. I just didn't know what to do. Being a million miles away didn't exactly make it easy to talk to you about it you know, and I had to rely on your sister to learn what was really going on." She looked over at the little blonde. "I'm sorry."
Samantha smiled. "Don't be. You're right, I was in the denial thing. I mean I'm the one that caught him with Sarah and that was just four months after we were married."
"Yeah." She sighed. "I mean, how dumb am I, huh?"
"I don't think you're dumb, Sam. David was to die for. Who knew he was such a slime underneath."
"Yeah. I just… I wanted my marriage to work so much, Phil."
They rode in silence for a while; both thinking about the mess their lives had been in then.
"Thanks for telling me Phil. I was kind of having a giant pity party. Knowing what he did to you really just said it all. David was never serious about us. I thought he had started chasing around after daddy and him had a row. David figured he'd get into the family business and started talking like it was a sure thing, but daddy cut him off at the knees. Daddy never really liked him much, though he only mentioned it once, early in our relationship. I wish I had been smart enough to listen to him." She sighed. "Now you tell me he hit on you shortly after we were married. There never was a chance for our marriage to work. All this time I've been beating myself up, taking the blame," Her voice suddenly rose in anger, "And that son-of-a-bitch tried to fuck my best friend two weeks after our wedding, at a funeral for gods sake!"
Phyllis prudently remained silent while her friend ranted. She needed to get it out. Samantha was just too, gullible, believing people were honest and never thinking that anyone she knew and liked could be deceiving, but David had been a snake in the garden, playing her for all she was worth. Phyllis hated him for what he had done to Sam.
"I'll tell you this for sure, Phil."
"That bastard better never find himself in the same city as me again, because next time I see him, I'm taking his nuts home in a jar."
Phyllis nearly choked then burst out laughing. "I'd pay good money to see that, Sam. Promise me I get a ringside…."
Samantha grabbed her arm in a vice like grip and screamed.
"Shit!" Phyllis screamed as she jammed on the breaks and swerved the car. The last of the three deer leapt high into the air; its rear hooves striking the windshield on Samantha's side, spidering the glass. Then it was gone.
The Honda swerved wildly then came back into line. Phyllis's heart was pounding out of her chest and she was shaking so badly she could hardly hang on to the steering wheel. The Honda was coasting, returning to the right side of the road after their close call and a near miss to a long drop down the side of the mountain. Phyllis continued to slow and pulled off the road. She jammed the car into park and opened her door, just as she heard the other door open, then she heard Samantha throwing up.
Phyllis staggered out of the car, leaning over the hood, her roiling stomach and the taste of bile added to the sound of her friend's retching was almost too much for her, but with a great effort she got herself under control. Finally her heart slowed and her trembling eased enough she thought she might be able to walk. She made her way around the car to find Samantha lying on the grass.
"You okay, Sam?"
"Hell no I'm not okay!" the blonde moaned. "I was just scared out of ten lives by some damned jaywalking deer!"
Phyllis chuckled. "I don't think that rule applies to deer, Sam."
"Yeah well, they should still have to obey the traffic laws just like everyone else," she groused, getting another chuckle from Phyllis.
"Come on, I'll give you a hand up," Phyllis said, extending her hand. Samantha took the hand and allowed her friend to pull her up.
"Okay, I'm up. I have a request though."
"Can we stop somewhere? I uhm, I think I wet myself."
Phyllis laughed. "Good. I was afraid you'd make fun of me."
"I don't know about this, Phil," Samantha remarked dubiously.
"Sam, it's the only place we've see open in an hour. I'm stopping. I need gas, and getting the shit scared out of me has made me hungry. The sign says restaurant and bar."
"Looks more like Bubba's booze and biker emporium, Phil. Let's give it a miss."
"Sorry, kid, but my eyes are floating and I'm not sure we can get to the next town on the gas we don't have. If I had filled up before we left, but someone wanted to get the hell out of Dodge."
"Oh all right," Samantha groused reluctantly. "But if I end up laying under some greasy fat biker, you, my ex-friend are dead meat."
Phyllis chuckled. "You are so dramatic, Sam. It's a public place. We'll be okay." She eased the Honda up to the pumps of the beat up old gas station next to the restaurant and shut it off. Samantha made a beeline for the attendant, then went around the side of the building, hauling a key on a chain attached to a hubcap. Phyllis got out and started the pump, glancing over at the lanky attendant. He remained in his chair, leaned back against the old building, a faded Shell emblem on the filthy window the only sign of the original tenants.
He saw her glance his way and touched the tip of his hat. "Evenin' mayum."
"Evening," Phyllis said then chuckled to herself. "Damn, it is Bubba's place," she mumbled under her breath.
Sam came back around the building and returned the key. She didn't look happy as she approached the car. Phyllis raised an eyebrow in question. "That bad, huh?"
Sam gave her an acid smile. "Not bad, if you're a pig. Give you some advice."
"Learn to pee standing up," she said, then got back in the car.
Great. Maybe the bar is better. I think I'll just chance it. She sighed, then stopped the tank at eleven dollars. She wasn't sure Bubba would know how to make change, or for that matter even that he had any, and she wasn't about to get into that problem. She knew she had a ten, and a couple of ones.
She opened her car door and leaned in. "Can you reach my purse?"
Samantha reached between the seats and grabbed the large purse, plunking it on the seat. "Jesus, Phil, this thing weighs a ton. You got camping supplies in here?"
"Ha, ha, very funny," she replied caustically, rummaging around for her wallet. She took the ten and a one and backed out of the car. Bubba was still holding down his chair. His eyes raked over her appreciatively as she approached him, stopping on her breasts. Asshole. "Here ya go," she said sweetly.
His long arm seemed to move in slow motion as he reached for the money. "Obliged."
"Food any good next door?" she asked.
"Cain't say. Never et thar."
She didn't know what to say and his eyes were undressing her again so she returned to the car and slid in, tossing her purse in the back.
"How did you enjoy the unveiling," Sam asked sweetly.
"Bitch," she mumbled, but there was no animosity in the often-used remark. Phyllis started the car and drove the short distance to the bar. There were four pickup trucks, a beat up old Chevy and five bikes parked in front. Close up, the place looked like it was falling down and hadn't seen paint since before the war. The revolutionary war. The only color was the neon sign that flashed in the grimy window, to the right of the door, touting 'BEER/FOOD' in garish orange. She began to have doubts, but she got a whiff of something cooking and her stomach growled so loudly it hurt.
"Jesus, Phil!" Samantha teased, grinning.
Phyllis chuckled when Samantha's stomach growled just as loudly.
"Jesus, Sam," she returned gleefully. "I'm thinking we better see what they have to eat and quick."
"Okay, but I'm not eating grits and greens, no how, no way."
"Quit griping. Let's go." She grabbed her purse and got out.
After locking the doors, Phyllis headed for the entrance, Samantha close on her heels.
"Smells pretty good," Phyllis commented.
"Cyanide smells like almond," Samantha remarked dryly.
Phyllis rolled her eyes then turned the handle and pushed on the heavy door with her shoulder. Immediately the low beat of the music rose in volume. Garth Brooks was rolling thunder from a jukebox somewhere off to the right. Phyllis let Samantha through the door then closed it, turning around to see what she had gotten them into. The building was bigger than it looked from the outside. Along most of the back wall was a dark, well worn bar, mirrors -- the center one cracked and missing a top corner -- lined the back-bar doubling the few bottles and snacks in evidence. To the left the bar stopped suddenly, leaving room for a swinging door, next to the bar, the type used in kitchens, and space for four square tables arranged two in front and two in back. Along the front, on both sides of the entrance, booths lined the front wall, big enough for four, six if they were friendly, eight tables to the right and three and a glass fronted cash counter, containing cigars and cigarettes, to the left. On the right the floor was open enough for a narrow, long dance floor, from the bar to the booths and the lighting was dim. Further back there was a pool table and beyond that a juke box, still filling the air with Garth. Thunder rolled in the background as Garth sang of his infidelity. The four well-lit tables were full of older citizens, all playing cards, and drinking beer, in a haze of smoke, thankfully being sucked towards a large vent at the back of the room. Two guys were playing pool and eight men and four women were standing along the bar. They had all turned to see who the newcomers were.
"Phyllis," Sam muttered under her breath, drawing it into a threat and a plea.
Phyllis was having second thoughts when the woman spoke from her left, making her jump. She turned to see a rather tall, pretty blonde in a pink nylon waitress outfit, standing back up from doing something under the counter. She looked to be in her late thirties. She was slender, with a narrow waist, flaring hips, and large breasts that proudly swelled out of the rather low cut top. She had enough makeup on to last a week, blue eyes under pale brows, a short nose, rounded face, and blood red lipstick that matched her nails. My god, Flo with boobs! This must be Mel's Diner. The old, late night sit-com flashed in her mind, not that she looked like Flo much, but the overall effect reminded her of the sitcom.
"Mayum?" the waitress asked. "You lookin' fer food or friendship?"
"Pick a table, honey. What ya drinkin'?"
"Coors light please, two."
"Honey, we got none of them fancy beers. We got, Bud, Miller, and Busch, take yer pick."
Phyllis looked back at her friend in question.
She turned back to the waitress. "Two."
The woman shook her head and mumbled, "City folk," under her breath, but headed for the bar."
Phyllis went around the cash register counter and picked the center booth of the three, mainly because the seats weren't sporting holes and the table seemed reasonably clean, it's ancient surface mostly intact, though badly scarred. She took the first seat and Samantha took the one facing the door.
"I'm not liking this, Phil," Sam whispered urgently.
Phyllis didn't have time to answer because the waitress appeared with two cans of Busch. She set them down and pushed them in front of the women.
"Ain't got no light, she remarked. "What'll ya have?"
"Can we see a menu," Samantha asked politely.
"Not here, honey. Ain't got none. You can have steak, pork ribs, chicken fried steak, or fried chicken, with mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and a dinner roll. What's your poison?
Samantha nearly bolted at the remark, looking at Phyllis in alarm.
"Uhm, how big is the steak?" Phyllis asked quickly.
"Big enough to choke a horse, honey. You want that?" the waitress asked, looking at her nails.
"Uhm, no. I think I'll try the chicken."
The waitress looked up and impaled Samantha with her dark blue eyes.
"Yeah, chicken's good," Sam replied, giving the woman a nervous smile.
"Gotcha," she said and was off.
"Wait, miss!" Phyllis called, urgently.
The waitress turned back to her. "Name’s, Evie."
"Where's the ladies room, Evie."
"The woman smiled knowingly. Straight back to the jukebox, then go left."
"Holler before you enter honey. We only got the one." She was off again.
Phyllis groaned. She should have gone at the gas station.
Samantha gave her friend a scathing look. "If I die, Phil, you are so in trouble!" she hissed under her breath.
Phyllis smiled weakly and scooted hurriedly from the seat. "Be right back."
Samantha watched her friend leave like she would never see her again.
Phyllis felt like she was walking the gauntlet, each head swiveled around and followed her movements, as she progressed the length of the bar. She was glad she had worn comfortably loose slacks, but wished she had worn a less form-fitting top. She was proud of her breasts, but right now she wished they were not quite so well displayed.
At the jukebox she turned left and followed a short corridor to a door marked 'Knock or I'll Kill Ya - Evie' in large letters. Phyllis smiled. She was liking Evie already. She knocked and waited. When there was no answer she pulled the door open a crack. "Anyone in here?" Satisfied she was alone, she opened the door and stepped into the room. Her nose wrinkled at the slight smell of stale urine and beer, but she was surprised at how clean the room was. The paint was cracked and fading and the fixtures had seen a lot of wear and time, but everything was well cared for, baring the slight clutter and dirt of the day's use. Evie won another large point. On the right, three long floor length urinals took up the first part of the wall. On the left three sinks were lined up. In the back there were three stalls. Two were faded white and dingy but the one closest to the sinks had been painted pink. There was a sign on the door. 'This one's mine boys. Use it and y'all will be peeing like a girl fer good, 'cause I'll be nailing yer pecker to the wall - Evie' Phyllis giggled as she opened the stall and entered. "Damn, I like this girl," she remarked.
When Phyllis returned, Samantha was surprised to see a big grin on her face. She frowned at her as she slid into the booth. "So I take it it wasn't the bathroom from hell?"
"Nope. It's actually pretty nice considering you have to share."
"I don't share, Phil."
"Not at the same time dummy, just the facilities. Evie has a stall fixed up just for women."
"Uh, huh. She painted it pink, and if that's not enough to keep Bubba out, you should see the sign!"
"What's it…say…." She trailed off as a very large man with a large potbelly, and scraggly week-old whiskers slid in beside Phyllis "Hi, baby, wanna dance?" he asked, all the while looking at her breasts. Before she could speak, another, shorter, thinner man slid in beside Samantha and the look she got from the small blonde promised death at the first opportunity. This one had a beat up old black hat on. He leaned his crossed arms on the table and slouched forward so that he had to look sideways and up at Samantha, his eyes-only inches from her breasts. Hi ya, gorgeous. Ain't we met?"
Samantha was turning bright red, backing away as far as she could but he just leaned after her.
"We're not interested, guys," Phyllis said. "We just stopped to eat."
Big belly leaned towards her, forcing her to lean away to maintain any space at all, his stale breath like a physical blow. "We was thinkin' party."
"Jason Ewber, Josh, Makon, get yer lardy asses out of them there seats!" the waitress yelled. She grabbed big belly by the collar and hauled him out of the seat. "You leave my customers alone!" She grabbed the other one and hauled him up as well. "Y'all git, or I'll call Paul."
"Aw, Evie, we was just…."
"I know damn well what you was up to Josh, now git!"
"Yes, um," he said and the two of them hurried off.
The waitress smiled apologetically. "Don't pay them no mind, they didn't mean nothin'. They won't bother you no more."
"Thank you," Samantha said a little breathless from her pounding heart.
"Y'all just enjoy your beer and I'll go hurry old Paul along." She was off again, yelling at some guy at the bar.
"I owe you, Phil," Samantha said scowling. "You are so dead." She then lifted her beer and took a large swallow.
"Sorry," Phyllis said sheepishly. She lifted her own beer and gulped it down. At least it's cold. A girl should at least get a cold beer before she dies.
No one else bothered them, though Samantha could see several men staring at her and making her very nervous. The waitress brought their food, and surprisingly it was very good. Phyllis had resigned herself to the food being as bad as the patrons. Samantha groaned as she sat back, her plate still more than half full, lifting her second beer.
"I have to admit, that chicken was better than any old colonels. I wonder what Paul's secret is."
"Sam, lets not go there, okay. We probably don't want to know."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." She lifted her beer to her lips and it froze there, then slowly began to drop towards the table. Her mouth had fallen open slightly and she was staring, her green eyes widening as if in awe.
"What?" Phyllis asked, then turned when Samantha continued to stare.
The door was just closing. A woman was pulling it closed, her head down, looking towards the door. She wore black Levis, a black long sleeved shirt, and black leather vest, held by a gold chain. Her waist was slender, her hips narrow and her breasts just the right size for her long slender frame. Long black hair flowed down over her shoulders. Her complexion, when she looked back up, was evenly tanned and flawless. When she looked up, Phyllis heard Samantha gasp. She herself felt a jolt. The woman had the most gorgeous blue eyes she had ever seen, under perfectly tapered eyebrows and long thick black lashes, framed in a beautiful face with a straight regal nose and generous lips. Her eyes raked over Phyllis, seemed to hesitate for a second on Samantha, then her eyes wavered hesitantly, and she turned away. She walked to the bar, her long legs seeming to glide over the distance, her black boots making almost no noise though her stride was firm and confident. The room had gone completely silent when she entered. Everyone was staring at her.
Samantha couldn't take her eyes off the stranger. She was without doubt the most gorgeous woman she had ever seen.
"Bud," the woman said in a deep silky voice that made Sam shiver. She dropped a bill on the bar.
"The bartender handed her the beer and she pulled the top then took a long drink."
Samantha turned her face to her friend but her eyes stayed glued on the stranger. "By the gods," she whispered reverently.
"What? What gods? Samantha… hello?" Phyllis said, leaning forward and grabbing her hand. "Earth to Samantha."
Samantha seemed to come out of a trance, reluctantly looking away from the brunette. "What?"
"You were drooling, Sam," she remarked.
The blonde sat up suddenly, the back of her hand going to her lips. "I was not."
"Yes, my friend, you were." Phyllis answered smiling.
Samantha looked up; her eyes drifting back to the bar as three men descended on the brunette.
Samantha's eyes went wide. "Uh, oh."
"Hi, baby," came the familiar line. The leader rested his arm over her shoulders.
She turned slightly. "Beat it," she said, her silky voice, so cold Sam shivered, hugging herself, this time from dread. Phyllis turned just in time to see the guy slip his hand down to the woman's butt.
"Come no now, baby, we just want to talk to you," he said leaning in closer.
"Get your hands off me and get lost," she responded, the ice in her voice so evident that the other two men stepped back. "Last warning."
"Oh, baby, don't be like that." Obviously not a rocket scientist in the clue department, the man ran his hand from her hip up across her waist, leaning in closer and touching her breast.
His body seemed to leave the floor, his head dropping suddenly forward. He collapsed at her feet and she turned back to her beer.
"Hey, you cain't do that!" one of the guy's two buddies said, lurching toward the woman.
"Sam, let's get out of here!" Phyllis said urgently, grabbing her purse.
"Not right now, Phil," the blonde answered without looking at her friend.
The brunette turned to the new guy, rising and standing with her back to the bar. "Do yourself a favor. Just take your friend and leave me alone. I don't want any trouble."
"Too bad, bitch. Ya shouldn't a hit Bobby."
"Bobby should have kept his hands to himself."
Sam flinched when the second man swung at the brunette, but he just hit air. She didn't. Her fist caught him in the throat and his eyes looked ready to bulge from their sockets as he gagged. The next fist must have hit a glass jaw because he crumpled in a heap. Two more guys moved to join the last man standing.
"Look, boys, I really don't want to play anymore," she said. "I'm tired and thirsty and would like to enjoy my drink in peace. Call this off before someone gets hurt."
They rushed her in a roar. Neither Samantha nor Phyllis could ever tell exactly what happened next. The three men converged on the brunette, but she wasn't there. They stepped back looking for her and found hell on wheels instead. In a matter of seconds three more bodies lay on the floor. The brunette wasn't even breathing hard. Two of the women rushed her, screaming. They never touched her, joining the men on the floor.
The brunette turned back to the bar and froze at the ominous double click.
The bartender lifted his thumb off the double hammers of the shotgun. "Just you stop right there, missy." The brunette's hands slowly came up. Another woman rushed her from behind. Without turning, her right hand just seemed to flinch and the woman fell behind her.
"Just let me finish my beer and I'll leave. I don't want any trouble," she said.
"Too late for that; sheriff's on his way. You just stand right there. From this here range I can pretty much cut you in half."
"Can I finish my beer?"
He hesitated then gave a single quick nod. "You paid fer it. Just you go real slow. I ain't kilt me a woman in a while, but I will."
"No problem I just came in here for a beer and I'd like to finish it." She lifted the beer and drained it, carefully setting the can down. "Thanks."
He nodded once again. "Now we wait for Justus."
"Sheriff," he answered, then grinned slightly. "Bobby Joe's brother," he dipped the barrel of the shotgun towards one of the prone bodies. "Emit's first cousin," The shotgun pointed again. "Tiny's uncle," Again the gun pointed. "Tyler's brother in law. Randy's third cousin," he pointed to the last one then started on the women. "Penny's first cousin, Jena's uncle, Laura's uncle, and my younger brother."
Samantha groaned. Talk about a stacked deck!
"Sam, let's go!" Phyllis whispered urgently.
"You ladies want another beer," the waitress asked.
"No." Phyllis said
"Yes!" Samantha said.
"Make up your mind, ladies." The waitress drawled acting like nothing unusual was happening.
"Yes, two beers." Samantha said before Phyllis could answer.
The waitress winked. "Right, sugar, two beers coming up."
"Sam!" Phyllis growled.
"I have to see this, Phil." She turned back to the conflict at the bar.
"Samantha, I have no desire to see anyone shot tonight. Let's just get out of here, please!"
"No," Samantha said firmly, her attention staying on the drama at the bar.
"Now that I've had my beer, I'd be glad to leave," the brunette remarked.
"Sorry lady, you done tangled with the wrong family. Next stop for you is the chain-gang."
"Shit," Samantha mumbled then her eyes jolted left as the kitchen door opened. Her jaw literally dropped in amazement.
Phyllis groaned as her eyes tracked right. What now?
She gulped as she saw the man literally filling the door. He was huge. He was just barely shorter than the top of the door, but so wide he came through the door sideways. He wore a once white tee shirt and faded jeans that rode low on large hips, covered by a long apron straining over his belly. He made sumo wrestlers look small. He had no neck; heavy jowls covered in a scraggly beard, a pug nose and black beady eyes under heavy black eyebrows. His graying hair was short, less than an inch long all over his head. He held a meat cleaver, looking like a toy, in his huge right hand.
Phyllis felt her stomach rebel as she realized this was the man that made her dinner, then she caught sight of the meat cleaver and she nearly fainted.
They never knew what he was about to say, as he pulled the stub of a cigar from his mouth, because at that very moment the front door burst open and a rather pudgy man of average height entered; his gun held in two hands. The big man just backed into the kitchen and disappeared as all eyes swung to the sheriff.
"This here the one, Larry?" he asked, unsure when he saw it was a woman.
"I got my shotgun on her ain't I, Justus?"
"All right, lady, hands on the bar, step back and spread 'em."
The brunette looked over her shoulder. "Sheriff, these people attacked me."
"You say. Hands on the bar, now!" he roared, his voice rising in a squeak at the end.
The woman leaned forward and rested her hands on the bar, spreading her legs.
"All right, now you just hold still. Larry, if she moves you shoot her, but don't shoot me."
The sheriff holstered his gun then finally took a look around. "Holy…!" He stood slack jawed staring at the tangled, sleeping bodies, then looked up at Larry. "She done this?" he asked, his voice plainly doubting that anyone could tackle eight of his family and survive.
"Yup." Larry volunteered.
The sheriff shook his head. "Lady if you kilt any of my kin, we'll skin you and hang you on the barn."
"They're not hurt, just taking a little nap," she answered.
"Well you just holt real still like now." Slowly and carefully he searched her, starting with her boots, patting her down very thoroughly. The brunette growled when he slid a hand down her belly and into her crotch and had had enough a moment later.
"Get your damned hands off my breasts!" she growled and he jumped back, pulling his gun again.
Phyllis noticed the weapon seemed to be shaking.
"I had to search you for weapons," he replied gruffly.
"The first touch was for weapons, sheriff. The rest were copping a feel."
"Don't get smart with me, woman," he growled. "Put your left hand behind your back."
He put his gun away and got out a pair of handcuffs, snapping them to her left wrist, then her right. Once she was cuffed he grabbed her arm and spun her around, slapped her, and shoved her against the bar.
"That's fer sassin' me. Now you stay right there while I see if everyone's okay. Larry you keep that shotgun handy. She tries anything, you know what to do."
"Justus, they were harassing her, they asked for it." Evie said.
The sheriff turned to her, pointing at her. "You just shut your mouth and mind you manners, Evie! This ain't none of your concern.
Evie stared right back at him, but then she sighed and turned away. She had to live here.
Samantha turned to Phyllis. "She's a dead duck, Phil."
"Yeah. Can we leave now?" Phyllis had never been so scared in her life, well, except for the deer thing, but that was a different kind of fear.
"No." Samantha got a far away look in her eyes, then began rummaging in her much smaller purse. "Damn!" she grumbled, tossing the purse into the corner.
"What now, Sam?"
Sam looked up and her deep green eyes glowed in excitement. "Phil, dive into that travelling trunk you carry and find me a notepad and pen, quickly!"
"Uhm… all right," she said, totally confused. She brought out the requested items, a steno type pad and a small gold pen.
"Perfect," Samantha enthused, grabbing them and sliding out of the booth.
"Sam!" Phyllis exclaimed in panic.
"You stay here, Phil, no matter what, and, uhm… try to look official." She immediately turned away, leaving Phyllis in total confusion, to watch her as she headed towards the bar.
"Oh, god, Sam. You're gonna get us all killed!" she whispered. She lifted her beer for a quick drink, then pulled the rest of Sam's beer over for reinforcement.
As Samantha approached the scene, pad and pen officiously in hand, the brunette locked ice blue eyes on her, a dark eyebrow raising in question. Samantha felt a fluttering in her stomach and her heart picked up speed. After giving her a quick smile she purposely looked away from the brunette so she could think.
The sheriff was bent over, mildly slapping one of the women on the cheek. Samantha carefully stepped over the sprawled legs of the huge brute Larry had singled out as Tiny, who probably weighted three hundred pounds or more. She stepped up beside the sheriff; pen poised over the pad, and took a deep breath. Make it good Sammy.
"Yaaa!" The sheriff nearly jumped out of his skin. He turned as he reached for his weapon, to find a petite, very pretty blonde smiling up at him. "Jesus, woman! You scared the crap out of me! Don't ever do that. I could a shot ya!"
"Right, sheriff," she drawled, obviously bored and not believing a word he was saying. "Now, What can you tell me about the perps?"
"Mayum?" He looked totally confused.
"Perps, sheriff. The perpetrators of this crime. What can you tell me about them? Are they a local gang? Have they attacked decent women before?"
"What in tarnation are you talking about, little lady?"
"Why, sheriff, I thought that was obvious," she remarked condescendingly. "I'm talking about the vicious crime against the poor woman you took into custody for her own protection. These…," she pointed vaguely at the sprawling bodies with her pen. "These vicious criminals attacked her for no reason. That crime."
"Lady, I don't have time for this and you are dead wrong. That woman did the attacking against these poor people. Now go away and let me do my job, before I have to run you in as an accomplice," he said, fisting his hands against his gun belt.
Samantha furiously scribbled something on her pad, then looked back up. "So, it's your contention that this poor lone woman brutally attacked," she glanced around quickly, "five men, all over two hundred pounds, at the least, and three… large… women, and viciously beat them?" She gave him an intense look, her pen poised.
"Exactly," he paused as she began to scribble. "Hey, just who are you anyway?"
Samantha looked up and flashed him a smile. "Oh, sorry. Samantha, name's Samantha. I work for the Star-Herald." She went back to her writing as if that explained everything.
The sheriff tensed. "A reporter? You're a reporter? Here?"
Samantha glanced up briefly. "Exactly," She glanced back down and resumed scribbling then looked back to the sheriff. "So, it's your contention that these eight," She glanced around again then back up, "citizens, were minding their own business and this," She pointed to the brunette, the smile on the woman's face nearly undoing her, "this woman just came in here and beat them all up, for no reason?" She glanced up, her pen poised.
"Um, hey, wait a minute, no reporters. You'll have to leave ma'am. I can't have just anyone wandering around the crime scene." He grabbed her arm and turned her towards the door.
"Sheriff, I'd advise you to unhand me, sir. You are interfering with my constitutional rights to perform my job. I'm afraid my paper will take a very dim view of you molesting me."
He pulled his hand away from her arm as if he had been burned. "Now wait just a damn minute!" he said, backing away from her. "This is a crime scene and as the law in this area I'm ordering you to leave immediately or I will place you under arrest for interfering in my investigation." He fisted his hands on his gun belt again, his head jutting forward, glaring at her sternly; his most dynamic look, he thought.
"Very well, sheriff. I already have my headline. I can see it now." She raised her hands as if bannering a headline. "Lone woman viciously beats up eight bar patrons just to have a beer, or maybe, local sheriff single handedly arrests woman drinking a beer. No, wait, how about this; eight ruffians attack a woman for drinking a beer, sheriff arrests women for littering." She heard a snicker from the brunette but ignored it.
"All right, that's it, you've had your fun," the sheriff said, pulling out another set of handcuffs. "You, Miss smartie, are under arrest for interfering with an officer of the law."
Samantha turned around and let him handcuff her. He grabbed the notepad. I'll just keep this as evidence.
"Ooh, even better. Reporter arrested for witnessing brutality against a lone woman, in sheriff's cover-up. Thanks sheriff." She remarked as he marched her over and stood her next to the brunette.
"Tell it to the judge," he said then returned to what he had been doing.
"Oh, let me guess, a great uncle, or maybe your grandfather?" Samantha continued.
He turned around and gave her a smug look "Keep it up blondie, Daddy's gonna love you." He turned back to trying to wake his relatives. As he patted and jostled them his relatives began to come around.
"There's a surprise," Sam observed sarcastically.
The brunette leaned slightly towards her. "Nice going, short stuff," she remarked, adding her own little bit of sarcasm.
Samantha leaned back towards the brunette and whispered. "Keep your shirt on, stretch, I'm not done yet."
The brunette rolled her eyes. "I can hardly wait." She started to tell the blonde to go away because she was in enough trouble without her help, but something stopped her, as she looked into those intense green eyes. The blonde turned back to the sheriff.
"Hey, sheriff. When do I get my phone call? I need to call my editor."
He glanced up and gave her a cold smile. "No long distance; local call only. You can call a lawyer."
"He your cousin too?" she asked.
He just gave her a big smile and returned to slapping another man awake.
The brunette groaned. "You're getting us in deeper, shorty."
"Hush, stretch." She glanced up, smiling at a very worried Phyllis. "Phyllis, darling. Would you be a dear and call our editor for me? I'll need a couple of lawyers for me and," she turned to the brunette in question.
"Stretch is good," she answered.
Samantha gave her a strange look. Uh, oh, she either hates her name or she's in trouble, or both. She turned back to Phyllis. "For me and our client. She's got the juiciest story to tell."
The sheriff looked up, scowling at the blonde, then stood, staring over at the pretty redhead he really hadn't noticed in the confusion. Phyllis looked ready to throw up. "You a reporter too?"
Please say yes, Phil, Sam tried to send to her, nodding her head slightly and giving her pleading eyes. Phyllis gave her the pleading eyes back but Sam was insistent. She sighed and stood, nodding her head.
"Yes I am. Names Phyllis, I work for the same paper," she answered since she couldn't for the life of her remember which paper Sam had picked.
The sheriff sighed. "Then you are under arrest too," he said sternly.
"For what? I was just having dinner?"
The sheriff pointed at Sam. "For being her accomplice. Get over here."
"Oh, good. John will so pissed," Samantha remarked laughing in delight.
The sheriff's eyes rolled to the ceiling. "Who the hell is John?"
Samantha grinned enthusiastically. "He's our editor. He's really a great guy but he so hates missing a deadline. He's gonna freak and send the state troopers out pounding on every door until he finds us."
The sheriff gulped audibly. "Why would he do that?"
"Oh, well Phil and I, I mean Phyllis and I, were covering this sensational murder trial for the paper. We were on our way back to write it up for the morning edition and, well, obviously we won't make it now." She shrugged. "I'm glad we'll have such a cool story to tell him or he'd skin us alive." She grinned. "He's gonna love this one."
The sheriff paused in thought, then pointed at Phyllis, who had been walking slowly towards them but had stopped when Samantha launched into yet another incredible lie. "You. Go back and sit down. I need to think about this."
Phyllis returned to the table on shaky legs. She was gonna kill Samantha later. She sat, slid into the seat then, spotting Evie at the end of the bar, motioned her over.
"What 'cha need, honey?"
"Can I get another beer?" Phyllis asked, her voice a little shaky.
"Sure, no problem," Evie answered, picking up the cans the redhead had emptied. "Your friend's quite a talker. She's got poor old Justus running in circles. I hope she gets out of this mess, and her friend too."
Phyllis just nodded, then grabbed Eve's arm as she started to turn away. The woman turned back and looked at her curiously."
"You, uhm. Do you have any Jack Daniel's?"
"Couldn't run the place without it."
"Can I have a shot, too?"
The woman patted her hand. "Sure thing."
The sheriff stood in thought for several minutes then helped up one of the women who was having problems getting oriented. He went back to waking his relatives. They all clustered a short distance away glaring at the brunette and grumbling. The sheriff turned back to the two women. He sighed, stepped forward, and after turning her around, removed the cuffs from Samantha then turned her back around.
"You are a big pain in my ass, young lady. You're just lucky the judge is out of town. You take your friend and get out of here. If I find you in my county after sunup I'll lock you so far away you'll never see daylight again, you got me?"
"Absolutely, sheriff." Samantha said, smiling. "Take the cuffs off of her."
"The cuffs. Take them off my friend and we'll leave."
His arm pointed slightly behind him, at Phyllis, as he leaned in until his nose was almost touching Samantha's. "That friend. You take that friend and get out of here."
Samantha turned around and put her hands behind her back. "Put the cuffs back on, sheriff. I'm not leaving without my friend." She nodded towards the brunette. "This friend."
He growled and whipped Samantha around. He was livid, so mad he was shaking. This time his nose was touching hers. "You got fifteen minutes to be gone, you got me, woman?"
Samantha smiled sweetly. "Yes, sir."
He angrily grabbed the brunette and turned her around. It took him a moment to get the cuffs off because he was shaking with anger. His relatives were all protesting his release of the brunette. When the cuffs were off he turned on them, pointing his still shaking finger at them. "Y'all shut up! If I hear another word y'all will be spending the night in my jail! Now, I'm gonna leave. I suggest you leave these people alone, because if you get in trouble again I won't be here to pull you out. Got me?"
"Yes, Justus," they mumbled looking away from his anger. Without a word he stomped from the room, slamming the door so hard the windows rattled.
The brunette gave Samantha a genuine smile. "Thanks, short stuff." She stepped away from the bar only to be brought up short by a firm tug on the back of her vest.
"Just where do you think you're going, stretch?" Samantha asked.
She turned back to Samantha.
"I plan to be far away from here by the time the sheriff comes back. I suggest you do the same." She started off again only to be hauled up short a second time.
"Slow down, stretch. I'll let you know when you can leave." Samantha said. She took the woman's arm and guided her towards Phyllis.
"What are you doing," the woman growled angrily.
"Don't you be growling at me, stretch," Samantha said. She reached the table and pushed the woman into her side of the booth. "Sit," she commanded, then raised her voice. "Evie, we need a bud over here!'
"You got it!" Evie commented. She hurried over to the table and handed the blonde the beer. She was grinning as she handed the beer to her. "You put on a great show, kid, but you better be gone before Justus gets back. Don't think I've ever seen him that mad."
"Thanks, Evie, we'll be gone shortly." Samantha turned back to the brunette and handed her the beer. "Here, have a beer. You two entertain each other. I'll be back." She turned to Phyllis, her features softening. "I need the keys, Phil."
Phyllis eyes widened as she realized what the blonde was going to do. "Sam, this is crazy," she said urgently.
"No, actually it's probably the sanest thing I've ever done."
"The keys, Phil." She held out her hand.
Phyllis shook her head but got the keys out. Samantha turned back to the brunette. "You stay. Don't you dare try to leave; if you do I'll hunt you down, stretch." She turned and hurried out the door.
Phyllis glanced across at this total stranger, unsure what to say. What could she say? The brunette was looking back at her in curiosity.
"You known her long?" she asked.
"Since grade school," Phyllis answered.
"She always been this… "
Phyllis smiled nervously. "Samantha is very easy to get along with and kind of naive, but once she sets her mind on something she is pretty much an unstoppable force."
The brunette nodded as she took a sip of her beer. "I'm learning that." She looked into the worried gray eyes of the redhead. The silence was becoming annoying. "So tell me, what brings you two so far from the main roads.
Phyllis snorted. "Samantha, what else. When she finally decided to leave home, it was, ‘let’s go, right now. We left as soon as she had loaded her stuff. She had the map and purposely took the back roads."
"Why’s that?" she asked.
Phyllis shrugged. "Her ex was harassing her. He expected to take Sam for all she was worth but her daddy brought in some high priced lawyer and David didn’t even get the time of day. He was really pissed. Sam said he threatened her, when no one else was around, of course."
"Where you guys headed?"
"Back to San Diego. That’s my home since college," she hesitated studying the brunette. "She wanted a fresh start."
Sam hurried back into the room, dropping Phyllis’s keys on the table. "Toss me my purse, stretch," she ordered.
She fished around and came out with some money as she walked over to Evie. The two women talked animatedly, Sam offering money and Evie pushing it away, then Samantha hugged her and headed for the table.
"All set. Let's get out of here before Justus decides to return. Come on, stretch." She dropped a ten on the table as a tip for Evie.
Once they were outside Samantha turned to Phyllis, smiling. "I'll be right back."
She picked up a small bag and followed the tall woman to a beautiful black bike. "Wow, pretty bike!" she said. "What is it?"
The brunette turned to her, placing her hands on her hips. "First of all, bikes aren't pretty. They may be powerful, sleek, rugged, graceful, all sorts of things like that, but never pretty. Second it's a Yamaha Star, four cylinder, water cooled, four stroke…."
"Whoa, stretch. That's way more information than I need at this time. Where do I put my stuff."
"Back in your car," she said.
"First of all, it's not my car. Second I'm going with you on this Yama Star whatever."
The brunette smirked in amusement then shook her head. "No, Samantha. Go with your friend. I'm… I'm a loner. Look, I appreciate what you did for me, but you can't come with me."
"That's where you're wrong, stretch. You are not leaving here without me. Now you just stay right here while I say goodbye to Phyllis."
"Look stretch, you're stuck with me. Where you go, I go. If you take off, I will find you. I will track you down wherever you go. If I have to learn to pilot one of these beasts, I will, and I'll come after you, so you just sit and shut up." She turned and walked away, then looked back. "I mean it! You owe me, stretch. You stay right there."
The brunette groaned, but did as Samantha bade her, folding her arms across her chest and watching the little dynamo. She knew she should just jump on her bike and leave, but something…. She shook her head.
Phyllis was standing beside her car.
"Don't Phil. I have to do this."
"You don't even know the woman. She could be some kind of mass killer or something, Samantha."
Samantha laughed. "Now who's being dramatic?"
Phyllis sighed. "I came all the way back here to get you and here you are running off with a complete stranger. Now I have to drive all the way back by myself."
"I'm sorry. It just happened," she answered and pulled Phyllis into her arms. "I'm gonna miss you, red."
"I'm gonna miss you too, shrimp." Phyllis replied then she hugged her tighter. "Oh, Sammy, please be careful. It's a dangerous world out there."
"I know. We'll be careful." Samantha quickly kissed her cheek and hurried away, wiping at her eyes.
Phyllis got in the car and rolled her window down. "Hey, Sam! What do I do with your stuff?"
Samantha grinned back at her as she climbed onto the back of the bike. "I don't care!"
"I'll keep it for you! You better come visit!" Phyllis shouted as the bike roared to life.
"This thing sure is loud!" Samantha shouted at the woman in front of her."
"Throaty is a better word. Music to my ears!"
"Yeah, whatever you said."
"Are you sure about this, Samantha? Your friend is still waiting for you."
"I've never been more sure of anything in my life!" she shouted back.
"Then hang on, short stuff!"
Samantha wrapped her arms around the woman's waist.
"Hey stretch, You got a name, besides stretch."
"You won't believe it!"
"What is it?"
The bike roared and they were suddenly out on the road moving at what seemed an incredible speed to Samantha.
"Oh, yeah!" she screamed.
Phyllis watched the heavy bike disappear into the distance then started her car. "Goodbye, Samantha. Please take care of yourself."
She pulled slowly out onto the dark two-lane and followed the blazing path of the motorcycle at a more sedate pace.
Well, that's it for now. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.