|by Mark Finn|
Chapter Thirty-Four: The Food Fight
Chris Threadgill was rolling the second of three joints he planned on smoking in the next hour when there was a knock on the door. He sighed and got up to answer it; Otto and Stacy, no doubt, wanting to beg for more food. When they arrived, two hours later than originally scheduled, he had divvyed up his looted food with them. "This is to keep you here, do you understand me? I don't want you traveling any further than you can walk."
He leaned against the door. "What now?" he said into the crack.
"Open this door, you son-of-a-bitch!" It was Hillary.
Oh, shit, Threadgill thought. "Hillary. What do you want?" He didn't even try to keep the surprise out of his voice.
"I want my food back, you sneaky motherfucker!" Her voice was so loud, she sounded as if she were in the room with him. "Food thief!"
"Hey, keep your voice down," said Threadgill, very mindful of the drug paraphernalia that was currently strewn across the bed.
"You stole my food!" she wailed. "What kind of a person does that?"
"You used me for sex!" he shouted at her.
"What? After you used me for sex first, you idiot! I used you because you used me! We were even! Now I have to use you again. Or, steal from you," she amended thoughtfully.
Threadgill opened the door to the limit of the steel security bar. "You've got some serious self-esteem issues, you know that?"
"Self-esteem?" She was wide-eyed. "I have no self-esteem anymore, thanks to you!" She backed up a few steps and tilted her head back. "Attention, men of the world," she bellowed. "All of you may now add anal sex to your catalog of abuses to heap on me, thanks to Chris Thread-!" She stopped, because Threadgill had opened the door fully and yanked her inside. Now it all came back to him, and the pieces of his personal jigsaw puzzle entitled "Friday Night in Tempe" fell neatly into place. Anal. They went to the back door. Jesus.
"You are fucking nuts," he said, in quiet tones. "Any other woman in the world, when informed by the man in question that he didn't remember a thing about last night, would have concluded that the incident didn't count."
Hillary was shocked. "You can't regrow a hymen," she said.
"I didn't break your hymen," Threadgill pointed out. "There's no hymen in your ass."
"You broke my spiritual hymen, my symbolic hymen. My mental hymen," she stressed.
Threadgill wanted to say, well, that makes sense, then, because you're fucked in the head. Instead, he said, "Can't you just pretend it never happened?"
"And what's the benefit of that?" she demanded, putting her hand on her hips. "I mean, you can't just selectively decide which horrible experiences you want to remember and which ones you want to forget."
"Yes you can, you moron! Everyone on the planet does it all the time!" Threadgill threw up his hands in exasperation. "And I'm not giving you your food back, either. I only took enough to pay myself back for lunch. Besides, I gave half of it to Otto and Stacy, to keep them in place."
Hillary sat down on the bed and put her face in her hands. "I'm not normal," she sobbed. "I'm not like any other woman you've ever known," she said.
"Don't bet on it," he muttered.
"Nothing, here's a tissue." Threadgill handed her the complimentary box from the sink dispenser.
"Thank you," she said, honking into the tissue.
Threadgill leaned against the low-cut dresser. "Look, Hillary, we need to figure this out."
Sniff. "I agree."
"I'm leaving. I'm not coming back. My whole life is in Washington. This was never supposed to be even mildly permanent."
"I know that," she said, her voice trembling.
Please don't start crying again, Threadgill thought. "Okay, then. So, why are you here, now, bawling on my bed?" Threadgill asked.
"Well," she said, looking around, "I came here for my food, but I'll take one of those joints you were rolling."
In the very next hotel room, Otto and Stacy listened, their ears pressed intently to the wall. The television was playing an old Tom and Jerry cartoon, now muted.
"Wow," said Otto.
"Yeah," said Stacy. "Who knew that Chris liked it up the ass?"
Otto frowned. "What? Getting or giving?"
Stacy stared at Otto. "Giving what?"
Otto shook his head. "Never mind, man." He took his ear from the wall. "Let's smoke."
Chapter One: The Navel Adventures of Larry Croft
Chapter Two: 1123 Miles to Tempe
Chapter Three: Enter the String
Chapter Four: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Chapter Five: Rutlege's Story
Chapter Six: The Plot Thickens
Chapter Seven: The Fifth Man is Revealed
Chapter Eight: It's a DRY Heat
Chapter Nine: Preparing to Lam
Chapter Ten: The Mislaid Plans of Mouse and Man
Chapter Eleven: The Danger of Talking to God
Chapter Twelve: Anchors Aweigh, Let's Go Men
Chapter Thirteen: The End is Near
Chapter Fourteen: Roll to Hit
Chapter Fifteen: Six Feet of Beef Stick for the Soul
Chapter Sixteen: Hello, My Name is Indio, California
Chapter Seventeen: Threadgill Takes Charge
Chapter Eighteen: The Players on the Other Side
Chapter Nineteen: On the Road to Perdition
Chapter Twenty: Welcome to Tempe
Chapter Twenty-One: The Game is Afoot
Chapter Twenty-Two: Should Have Known Better
Chapter Twenty-Three: Test-Run at the Waffle House
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Supply Run
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Backhoe
Chapter Twenty-Six: A Frank Discussion
Chapter Twenty-Seven: A Brief History of Larry's Van
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Go Speed Racer, Go
Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Owner of the Thumbscrews
Chapter Thirty: Brain Teasers
Chapter Thirty-One: Frick and Frack Check In
Chapter Thirty-Two: Scouting
Chapter Thirty-Three: The Stakeout
Chapter Thirty-Four: The Food Fight
Chapter Thirty-Five: Time to Dig
Chapter Thirty-Six: Deep in the Night
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Paydirt
Chapter Thirty-Eight: The Phallus of Ebon Keep
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Otto and Stacy Make Good
Chapter Forty: Thieves in the Night
Chapter Forty-One: Critical Failure
Chapter Forty-Two: Downtown
Chapter Forty-Three: The Hoosegow
Chapter Forty-Four: An Emergency Breakfast
Chapter Forty-Five: Two Early Phone Calls
Chapter Forty-Six: Threadgill Meets the Gang
Chapter Forty-Seven: Back to the Van
Chapter Forty-Eight: Five Days Later
Table of Contents