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• Chapter Four The C & C on Saturday Night July 12 Saturday, Sissy helped her mom with the laundry and cleaning while her dad piddled around with his Ford Falcon pickup, changing the oil and so on. She wished he would trade it in for a better car, but he said it got good gas mileage. It also had a sticky clutch that wouldn’t pop back up after you pushed it down, so he wired it up with a bedspring, which made it hard to push down. If you didn’t take your foot off just right, it would pop back fast and the metal edge of the pedal would take all the hide off your shin. Whilehermothermadethechili,Sissygotashowerandputonclean jeans and a white ruffled blouse and her good black boots and matching belt. She was finishing her makeup with the bathroom door open to let out the steam when her dad came by. “You going out to the C & C?” he asked. He knew she was going out; he could see that, and he knew that the only three places in town to go on a Saturday night were the movie theater that showed third-run B movies, or the Legion Club where the big shots went and Sissy didn’t, or the C & C, which served 3.2 beer and had the latest country songs on the jukebox. He didn’t want her to go out drinking, but he never said so. He just asked the obvious. “Yeah. I’m meeting Speedy there for a little while.” Speedy had graduated a year behind Sissy but they were the same age because Speedy had flunked a year. Sissy didn’t know why because Speedy was smart as a whip, always had a wisecrack or a one-liner ready, so she was usually fun to be around. She never had any big plans for the future, except to get married and have kids, so they didn’t have much in common except a shared childhood history of being neighbors in a small town, waitressing at the café, and a love for music. Too bad Speedy couldn’t carry a tune in a bushel basket. Sissy thought a cow had stepped on her ear. And they weren’t neighbors anymore since Speedy’s parents had moved to a house with cheaper rent out in the country. Two losers, 42 Chapter Four Sissy thought, years out of high school, still living with their parents and waitressing at a greasy spoon restaurant. There was a small crowd of cars in the dirt parking lot at the C & C when Sissy got there in her old ’59 Chevy. Speedy, waiting impatiently on the steps, was spending the night at Sissy’s house so she wouldn’t have to drive to her place out in the country when she’d been drinking. Half the tables and booths inside were occupied. Loretta Lynn’s voice came from the jukebox. A little more modern than the Longhorn up in Scenic, the wooden floors had no sawdust; there were no funny signs anywhere, no notes stuck on the mirrors, no monkey, and the tabletops were plain worn Formica with no Indian blankets stapled on. Spilled drinks got wiped up, not soaked up. They ordered draw beers at the bar, looking around while they waited for something interesting to happen. Howard and Viola sat at the big table near the back with Sonny and Gordon Charbonneau. Sonny waved to them and motioned. They collected their beers and walked across the creaky floor to the table. “What’s going on, Cuz?” Sonny asked. “Time and the rent,” Sissy said. He pointed at her. “Old joke, Sissy. The funny ran out a long time ago. Sit down.” She started to sit, but Speedy pushed her over one chair so she could sit by Sonny. Sissy was in the chair next to Gordon and across the table from Howard and Viola. “I thought you were playing crib tonight at your place,” Sissy said to Gordon. “Nobody seemed interested,” he said. “I’m sorry I told you I couldn’t come,” Sissy said. “I got mixed up on the date we play Interior. That’s next Saturday night.” “Oh, I didn’t mean you.” He nodded at Howard and Viola. “They didn’t want to play cards tonight.” “We’re celebrating,” Viola said, spreading her left hand in front of Sissy’s face. She had a fat diamond on her third finger. “Congratulations,” Sissy said. “When are you doing...


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MARC Record
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