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• Chapter Ten A real Date August 4–8 Monday was a rough day at work for Sissy. She had less than six hours of sleep—she was one of the unfortunate people that needed not eight, but nine hours—so she was groggy and buzzy-headed when she walked through the doors of the steak house at 6 a.m., then Speedy didn’t show up, which made Martha mad and snappy about everything. The coffeemaker wasn’t clean enough, the side work wasn’t done, and never mind that that was the fault of the crew from the night before. Sissy wrapped setups, filled salt and pepper and sugar shakers, stuffed napkins in the holders and did a quick sweep-up under the bar stools at the counter, wondering whose backseat Speedy had fallen asleep in the night before. She was staying back at her parents’ house in the country again. Sissy was as mad as Martha but didn’t dare show it to the Catholics who piled in for breakfast or just coffee and rolls after the first Mass ended around seven o’clock. Then it was the early Presbyterians eating breakfast before their ten o’clock service and the Catholics eating after the second Mass at that ended at ten. Speedyshowedupateleveno’clock,onlythreehoursbeforehershift was supposed to end, looking crapulous with greasy hair, weepy red eyes, and a complexion the color of curdled milk with a little green stirred in. Sissy took pity on Speedy when she said she thought she had a case of food poisoning, took her home at shift’s end and put her to bed. She had just fallen into bed herself for a nap when the phone rang and rang. She heaved herself out of bed for the trek down the stairs to the phone on the wall in the living room. “What!” she yelled into the receiver. Silence on the other end, then her dad’s voice said, “Sissy? You all right?” “Yeah,” she said sitting down in the worn tweed rocker. “We were­really busy in the café, and I didn’t get much sleep last night.” 106 Chapter Ten Her dad didn’t respond. She took a deep breath, fiddling with a loose string on the edge of the cushion in the rocker. “How’s everything down there? Auntie Iris and Uncle Lee doing okay?” “Oh, yeah. Iris and your mom made a quilt top and now they are putting the back on it and sewing it up, and your Uncle Lee and I put new brakes on his pickup a couple of days ago. He’s every bit as aggravating as he always was. Won’t listen to anyone. It took us four hours to do that brake job because, well, you know how he is. He wants to do it all his way, and that’s almost always the wrong way. Then it has to be redone the right way. We were going to take his truck and go fishing, but by the time we finished the job it was too late to go, and he had to go to work this week.” Her Uncle Lee was a foreman in a feed mill, and not nearly as pigheaded about doing things his own way as her dad was, but she kept the peace and didn’t comment about that. “We heard they’re catching some big catfish out there in Lake McConaughy, so me and your mom are going to stay another week so Lee and I can go fishing there this coming weekend. Hell, I don’t know. We might go on down to the Missouri River and try our luck there.” “Well, I think you ought to,” Sissy said. “Everything is fine; I’m taking care of things here.” She lied easily, looking around at the clothes and magazines flung everywhere in the living room, and through the door to the kitchen counters where dishes were piled up, mail stacked on one end of the counter, cupboard doors agape—her mother’s pet peeve—and the floordirtyfrommudshehadtrackedinafterthelastrain.Sittingontherag rug in front of the kitchen sink, Wooly Booger gave her the stink eye, and shewasgratefulthatcatscouldn’ttalk.Therehadbeenmorethanonetime when she had forgotten to put out fresh food for him. “When are you coming home?” she asked. She needed at least a day to clean up the place before they got home. “Oh, another week or two,” Lawrence said. “I’ll call the day before we start back.” He...


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MARC Record
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