“Yeah. She’s a bitch like that.”
“And your best friend.”
I smirked. “The best friend I’ve ever had.”
The rest of the way into town, Sam pointed out everyone we saw, telling me anything and everything he knew about them. He told me since most people thought he was weird, they ignored him, but that made it easy for him to eavesdrop on all the gossip around the town. “That right there is Lucy,” Sam said, pointing toward a girl on her cell phone. “She’s the best speller in town. Even won the annual spelling bee contest every year for the past five years. And over there is Monica. Her pops is a recovering alcoholic, but between you and me I know he drinks out by Bonnie Deen’s house on Friday nights. And over there is Jason. He kicked my ass a few months ago because he thought I called him somethin’ I didn’t call him. He apologized, though, saying he was on some bad drugs.”
“Wow, you really do know everything about everyone.”
He nodded. “You’ll have to let me take you out some time to a town meeting or something. Then I can show you the craziness that happens around this place.”
I smiled. “That would be awesome.” As we pulled up to the café, my gut tightened as I stared across the street. “What about him?” I asked, seeing Tristan running down the street with his headphones on. When he reached Mr. Henson’s store, he took off his headphones and stepped inside. “What’s his story?”
“You mean Tristan? He’s an asshole. And a bit crazy too.”
“Well, he works for Mr. Henson. You have to be a bit of a nut job to deal with him. Mr. Henson practices voodoo and stuff in his back room. It’s freaky. It’s a good thing Tanner has been trying to get the shop shut down.”
“You didn’t hear? Tanner wants to expand his auto shop, and Mr. Henson’s store is the only thing keeping him from doing so. He’s been trying to start protests to get Mr. Henson to give up his store. He says it’s a waste of space since nobody ever goes into the place.”
I couldn’t help but wonder what the story behind Mr. Henson’s store truly was, and I couldn’t help but wonder why Tristan found himself working there.
During my shift, every now and then I would glance across the street at Mr. Henson’s shop where Tristan would be moving things around. The store was packed with all kinds of magical things. Crystals, tarot cards, wands…
“Do you have a vibrator?”
As the words left my best friend’s mouth, I was snapped from my mental wandering. I almost dropped the three plates of burgers and fries I was trying to balance. “Faye!” I whisper-shouted, my cheeks turning red instantly.
She glanced around the café, shocked by my response to her not-so-appropriate question. “What? You act as if I just asked if you had herpes. Vibrators are a normal thing nowadays, Liz, and I was just thinking the other day about your poor, dry, grandma vagina.”
My face was on fire. “How thoughtful of you.” I laughed, setting the plates in front of three elderly ladies who were giving me the rudest looks of distaste. “Anything else I can get you?” I asked.
“Maybe your friend could use a filter.”
“Trust me, I’ve tried.” I smiled and walked over to Faye, begging her to keep the vagina talk on the quiet side.
“Listen, Liz, all I’m saying is it’s been a long time since you had any action. What is it like down there? Is it kind of like George of the Jungle meets The Golden Girls? Is there more hair down below than up here?” she asked, tapping my head.
“I’m not answering that.” She reached into her apron pocket and pulled out her little black book, which had always brought about trouble in the past. “What are you doing?” I asked warily.
“I’m finding a penis to help you tonight.”
“Faye. I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of emotional connection with someone.”
“What the hell does sex have to do with emotions?” she wondered, completely serious. I didn’t even know how to tackle that question. “Anyway, I know this guy who can help you clean up your garden of weeds. His name is Edward. He’s a creative genius when it comes to that stuff. Once, he drew hearts down there on me for Valentine’s.”
“You’re so disturbing.”
She smiled. “I know. But I can set up an appointment with Edward Scissorhands for you, and then you can pick any guy in my book to have a nice, easy, one-night stand with.”
“I don’t do one-night stands.”
“Okay. You can lie down to do it, if you want.” She smirked. “But seriously, Liz. Have you thought about dating? Just getting out there around a few guys. It doesn’t have to be anything serious, but I think it could be good for you. I don’t want you to stay stuck in neutral.”
“I’m not stuck in neutral,” I argued, slightly offended. “It’s just—I have a daughter. And it’s only been a year since Steven’s death.”
I was somewhat impressed by how it had rolled off my tongue without any backlash of emotion.
“I didn’t mean it in a harsh way. You know I love you, and you know how much Steven meant to me.”
“Look, I’m a womanwhore, but even womanwhores get their hearts broken sometimes, and for me, when things are hard to move on from, sex always helps.”
I laughed. “I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet, but I’ll keep it in mind.”