“You know what we need?” Jenny eyed Abby across the table.
“To get laid?” Was the retort from Abby.
Both barked a loud laugh, drawing glances from the other Pub patrons. It was not quite noon yet and the morning Bloody Mary crowd had yet to be replaced by the burgers and pints bunch so their laughter carried and bounced around the smallish, intimate drinking establishment..
“Gawd, do you ever stop? No, dear. We need a road trip!”
At this, Abby’s eye’s brightened and she leaned forward. “Are you serious?”
“As a heart attack, darlin’. There’s nothing happening around these parts and I’m in a mood. C’mon. It’ll be fun, I promise.”
Never one to opt out of adventure, Abby smiled and waved the waiter over for the check.
“We’re on a mission, Steve-O. Bring us the check.”
Steve replied with a hearty, “Uh-oh!” and soon returned with the tab and a quip. “Text me if you two need bail. Again.”
Jenny laughed and gave him a quick punch to his arm. “You got it!”
Emerging from the corner door of The Pub, the two stood for a moment letting their eyes adjust to the bright mid-day sun.
“You drivin’, Abracadbra?”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
May is one damned fine month in southern New Mexico and this Sunday with it’s righteous blue sky meant that Abby’s ride was truly the only choice. ’68 Chevelle. Red (of course), white top and a stand-out in any parking lot. Abby got it in the divorce. No regrets. Since the kids were all grown and gone, the divorce was fairly tidy. Vincent loved that car, but apparently loved his lover even more.
The girls opened the doors and slid onto the leather bench seat, each reaching for the latches that would un-encumber the roof.
Jenny immediately yanked at the air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror and tossed it in the glove box.
“Whatcha do that for?”
“I hate the smell of Pina-Coladas and that thing flappin in the wind will drive me bug-shit.”
Abby turned the key and the Chevelle roared to life. She looked over at Jenny over the top of her sunglasses that had slid down her nose.
“Go west, young man!” Jenny laughed and pointed in a direction that was most definitely not west.
Abby said, “West it is. Let’s take SR 170. I’ve got an idea.”
The Chevelle made a left out of The Pub’s back parking lot and off they went. Abby had put her hair in a fairly loose pony, whisps of blondish hair falling which framed her slight face nicely. Jenny had her favorite ball cap with her and used it to contain the riot of chestnut hair that had recently been sprouting a few unwanted gray traitors.
The churchies were still in church so getting out of town was no big deal. Not that peak traffic in Arcane was ever a big deal, really. Barely ten-thousand souls occupied the general area. Farmers, ranchers and a growing art community of all things. Arcane was in danger of becoming hip.
170 was a two lane, well traveled route that traversed the bottom edge of the state, border to border. Well maintained, traffic lines recently re-painted, it was a fairly straight, somewhat hilly stretch which afforded views of barbed wire fences, yucca, cactus and disinterested cattle.
Classic rock boomed from the upgraded speakers. KIXX was the best station around and Bob Seger’s Night Moves fit the mood just fine, Abby and Jenny took it all in, perfectly comfortable to let the miles roll on by in companionable silence.
Abby glanced down and noticed the fuel gauge. In true big-block style, the Chevy’s 396 was sucking down the petrol.
“Jenn we gotta stop and get gas soon,”
“Oh thank God. I gotta pee!”
“Girl you always gotta pee. You and that damned coin-purse of a bladder.”
Un-wounded, Jenny laughed and tipped her cap in Abby’s direction.
“There’s that Gas-n-Go outside Sterling. Let’s aim for that.”
Jenny said, “I think I can make it that far. And besides, they got liquor and beef jerky. What kind of road trip would this be without the basics?”
It was Abby’s turn to laugh. “True dat!”
Early afternoon found the Gas-n-Go with a smattering of locals, mostly. Folks on the 170 usually just passed on by but the attached liquor store kept the whole thing afloat even during the slow times.
Abby nosed the Chevelle into a spot between a couple of pickup trucks. One obviously a work truck replete with a ladder rack and rusted bedsides. The other a more modern affair, lifted but not enough to generate any penis compensation cracks.
Jenny hopped out without even bothering to open the door and bolted straight for the entrance, her eyes already scanning for the Restrooms sign.
Abby chuckled and shook her head. “That girl.”
She got out and leaned back on the acre-sized trunk. Soaked up a few rays.
Jenny emerged a new woman. “Hey, didja get some hooch? I got jerky. Two kinds!”
“Naw, I wanted to wait for you. You can choose what you’ll be puking later.”
Jenn rolled her eyes and shot her the finger.
They emerged a few minutes later to find Mr. Lifted Truck stroking the Chevelle’s fender, a low whistle escaping while his sidekick looked on. Twenty-something boys, really. Ball caps on their heads backwards and both with desperately failing beard attempts.
Abby shot a glance at Jenn and sighed. Not this shit.
“Can I help you fellas?”
Mr. Lifted looked up and seeing the pair, grinned wide. The orthodontist bills his parents are surely still paying on were apparently worth it. His teeth gleamed in the sun yet they did nothing to improve his attractiveness – or lack of, more correctly.
“You little ladies belong to this sweet ride?”
Abby dangled the keys in front of her face. “That’s right. Now if you’ll excuse us, we got places to go.”
“Whoa there, missy. What’s the rush?” He looked over his shoulder at Sidekick who was wearing a thin smile and an attitude.
Calm as can be, Abby looked him in the eye, reached for the door handle and said, “Step aside, son.”
Jenn was headed to the other side of the car when Sidekick blocked her path.”Look, Kyle. This one thinks she’s goin’ somewheres!”
Not the first of his mistakes this afternoon, Kyle reached for Abby’s wrist. Abby beat him to it and before Kyle even knew it she had twisted his arm high up behind his back and had pushed him towards the back of the car hard enough that he fell on his ass, an almost comical, stunned look on his face.
Kyle shot up off the pavement, fury seething from every pore. “ You BITCH!” He started towards Abby, fists balled up.
“Hey!” Jenn had pulled the Ruger out of her purse and was pointing it at Sidekick, who was just starting to understand what was going down. “You want to stop right there, buddy. I got no issues with making your friend here a cripple.”
Kyle froze, weighing his options. Eyes still blazing, he slowly brought up his hands.
“That’s a good boy. Now toss your keys over to my friend.”
Kyle reached into his front pocket and hesitated.
That famous (infamous) grin spread across his face. “C’mon, we didn’t mean nuthin.”
Jenn made a waving motion with the pistol. Now it was Kyle’s turn to sigh. He tossed the keys towards Abby who handily caught them in the air, nodded at Kyle and slid nice-as-you-please into the convertible.
“Now, you boys hop in the bed of your truck and have a seat. Then you can have your keys back.”
Kyle and Sidekick grudgingly obeyed and climbed into the bed of the truck while Jenn hopped back in the car. Abby turned the key and popped it in reverse.
“Hey! What about my keys?!”
“Ohhhh, right.” Abby put it in Park, opened her door and threw the keys as hard as she could on to the roof of the Gas-n-Go.
While the boys sat in stunned disbelief, Abby gave the Chevelle some juice and fishtailed that beautiful hunk of Detroit metal out on to SR170, laughing like a loon while Jenny blew kisses at the would-be punks now yelling at each other in the bed of the truck.
Part 2 to be published soon!