Contest deets at the end of the post.
Addie Alger is stuck with her ex-husband’s credit card debts and a failing bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Her brother-in-law, who refuses to wear pants, won’t move out of room 107, even though her sister died four years ago, and her father is constantly `inventing’ stuff that will, this time for sure, make him the next Ron Popeil.
Deciding all men are jerks, she conceives a brilliant solution to her money woes: youralibi.com. For an outlandish fee, she will confirm (although not in a court of law) that a client was, in fact, staying at her bed and breakfast instead of shtupping someone in Atlantic City. Keeping her identity secret becomes increasingly difficult, however, and she learns more than she really wanted to about her friends and neighbors.
Just as she’s ready to swear there are no honest men left in the world, enter Sean Duncan, enraged husband and small-time reporter, whose (soon-to-be-ex) wife utilized Addie’s service more than once. Things are about to get complicated.
Addie crawled out her window, limped behind the house to the garage and started her truck, praying nobody would hear the engine and come to investigate before she got out on the road. This wasn’t a plan that would bear the close scrutiny of concerned menfolk. Her luck held, though, even as the ancient beast backfired.
As soon as she put half a mile between her and the Grail, she got out her cell phone and hit speed dial. Two rings and then, “Lorene, I need a favor.”
“Are you drunk?”
“Then this isn’t going to be interesting,” her friend said with judicious finality. “But shoot. Unless this has to do with Fast Eddie.”
She blinked and pulled the phone away from her ear to stare at it for a few beats. Sometimes she could almost swear Lorene read her mind, the way she anticipated things. Her tone became wheedling. “Please? He’s ruining my life…you have to help me. It’ll be exciting…” She added the last in singsong fashion.
A gusty sigh from the other end of the line preceded a long silence, wherein Addie swerved around a dead thing and felt a little bit sorry for herself. Here she had a hot man cooking dinner for her back at the Grail, one who’d been sweet as honeycomb in taking care of her sore foot, and she was driving 65 in the opposite direction. Manu would keep him out of trouble, though, if he tried to snoop around.
Addie considered more begging, but decided against it. Lorene would cave because she just didn’t have the willpower to resist anything that smelled even vaguely like an adventure. She just needed to be patient.
“You’re not trying to hire my cousin again, are you?” Lorene’s tone turned wary. “Because he’s still in Pelican Bay.”
“No! I was kidding about that. Mostly.” That night was a blur of margaritas and half-naked men, and she’d certainly done her best to prove she didn’t give a shit that Fast Eddie had thrown his pants on every floor in the county before she kicked him out.
“Okay, tell me what’s up.”
“Just get your purse,” Addie said, turning into the Kwik-Stop parking lot. “I’m out front.”
She heard Lorene say, “Oh Christ,” before disconnecting, but maybe a minute later, she came out of the mini-mart looking peeved. “This better be good. I’m leaving Penny Harris in there unattended and you know she likes to eat the inventory.”
“Never mind your Ding-Dongs, this is important.”
“Hey!” Lorene climbed into the truck and shook her head. “You got issues, Addie. Don’t you know nothing’s more important to a woman than a Ding-Dong? Well, unless she’s gay.”
Addie laughed as she pulled back onto the road and headed northwest. “I got Ben Fuller to run Eddie’s sheet for me and I have his last known address.” At Lorene’s look, she said, “Yeah, I know, I’ll probably have to pay him with a hand job, but the important thing is, I think this address is current because he had a parking ticket last week. So we’re going up there. If he’s home, we’re beating the shit out of him, and then we’re robbing him blind because most of that stuff was paid for with my money anyway.”
Lorene’s green eyes went round. “Have you lost your mind? We’ll go to jail for sure. We are not Thelma and Louise!”
“I hope not. Did you ever watch the end of that? They drove off a damn cliff.” One hand on the wheel, she turned on the old radio and looked for a station that didn’t sound like a box of angry snakes. An oldies station came into focus first so she left it there, as the Pointer Sisters belted out I’m So Excited. Lorene, on the other hand, did not look excited, and she was not hiding it.
“Lord knows you’ve had some stupid ideas over the years, but this has got to be the worst,” the other woman said finally. “How in the world do you think we’ll avoid prosecution, assuming we can hurt him like you want to?”
“I’ve got it all planned out,” Addie answered. “We just knock. If he answers we shove him back and mace him, then shut the door. It’ll be too fast for anybody to see. Then we bind and gag him while he’s blind. Administering a beating will be easy then, and we warn him it’ll be worse if he ever uses my credit again. Afterward, we haul the loot down to the truck. If any of the neighbors seem curious, we say we’re helping him move. Then we get the hell out of there.”
“What’s stopping him from accusing us of assault and robbery?” But Lorene didn’t look horrified anymore—Addie recognized that look of old. The idea had shifted from unthinkable to irresistible.
“Pride,” she said simply. “There’s no way in hell Fast Eddie will admit two women kicked the shit out of him. He might report a burglary if he’s got renter’s insurance, but knowing him like I do, I doubt he does. He’ll be furious, but what can he do? He comes around the Grail and Manu will snap his neck, and I’m pretty sure local law enforcement won’t look too hard at his death.”
Lorene grinned. “Gonna bribe ‘em all with hand jobs? Seriously, Addie, I…think this could work. Then again, maybe I’ve just gone so long without Ding-Dongs that I wouldn’t know crazy if it sat on my lap and called me mama. One question, though…”
“Can I mace him? Please? You can beat the shit out of him afterward.”
There was a reason this woman was her best friend in the whole world. “Deal.”
“So where we going anyway?” Her friend rolled down her window too and wind came whipping through the cab.
Addie pitched her voice louder. “LA. He’s got a place on Ventura.”
“Almost three hours in your truck.” Lorene turned her face skyward, peering at the ceiling of the truck. “Why, Lord, why? This woman will give me piles.” She glared and shifted on the badly sprung seat. “We couldn’t have taken my car?”
A giggle escaped her as she sped up, taking the highway toward San Diego. They’d drive up along the coast. “You sounded just like your mama, Lorene. Anyway, your car won’t hold enough loot. We’re taking that son of a bitch for everything he’s got. Plus, I was afraid you wouldn’t volunteer if I didn’t…persuade you en route.”
Lorene daintily gave her the finger. “Persuade this. So what if he’s not home?”
She’d been thinking about that too. “Then we look for a way in. He probably has one of those stupid plastic rocks in a flower bed outside.”
Just then, Duran Duran came on and advised them both that they were Hungry Like the Wolf. Addie rubbed her stomach and tried not to remember that she had run away from a nice spaghetti dinner with homemade sauce. On purpose.
“Sounds like you’ve got everything figured out,” Lorene said with a sigh. “But I want a Ding-Dong out of this, dammit.”
“You can’t have Sean’s.” The response popped out before she could stop it.
“So it’s like that, huh?”
Addie sighed and fiddled with the radio because it was starting to fade. “It’s not even halfway to like that.”
“But you haven’t told me everything.” She felt her friend studying her as she drove. The old truck rattled alarmingly as the needle on the speedometer nosed toward 70. Bugs splattered yellow and juicy on the windshield, the cab roaring with hot wind. “Did you touch his penis? Dish!”
“No,” she said, hesitating. “Not yet. But I’m pretty sure he’s married.”
“That no-good rat bastard! Can I mace him next?”
She shook her head. “There’s a lot more to the story and I’ve been keeping stuff from him too. However it plays out, I doubt we wind up friends afterward.”
“Oh.” With the sharpness that often surprised people who took her for nothing but a ditzy champagne blonde, Lorene said, “This has to do with your online business, doesn’t it?”
Addie glanced at her sharply, as she got into the right lane, intending to stay there. “Yeah, it does.”
“You ever going to tell me what that’s all about?”
“That depends. You ever going to tell me whether you slept with Ronnie Bean?”
Lorene thought about it. “Probably not. So that’s my answer, huh?”
They drove in silence for a while, listening to the Spanish station on the radio. When the cheerful strains of La Camisa Negra filled the cab, she reflected that the words really didn’t match the music. Somewhere past San Diego, they stopped for gas, Lorene went pee, and Addie bought a box of Ding-Dongs.
“You do love me!” Her friend pounced on the carton like it contained diamonds instead of frosted cakes.
Who else would accompany me on a mission like this?
Sound good to me!
Usual rules. Comment to enter, but you’ll have to come back on Sunday to find out whether you’ve won. ;)