The guy shambled in slow and choppy. Walked slightly sideways, dragging one foot behind. Not a limp. He was stoned to near paralysis.
Trina intercepted him while The Boss worked in the Office. Had he seen this kid, the kid he had tossed out two days earlier, The Boss would have thrown him out again. Then yelled at a fool underling.
"Hi," Trina grinned. That Hi could have been a question in itself.
"Oh ... I'm looking ... I'm looking ... I ... "
Brain = wet toast, heavy with syrup. He had forgotten why he was in the store, whom he had come to see.
"She's back there in Video. Back where she always is. Hello. Anybody home upstairs?"
Trina laughed aloud and walked away. The kid drug his feet and snailed towards Video.
Where Thérèse worked.
Thérèse's relationship status had blurred murky.
Separated, sliding into divorce. Her behavior charted an all too predictable pattern. Where once she hurried home after work, now she went for drinks with coworkers. They were a decade younger, and she downshifted to make up for lost time. Dance in the club while she could still nab the free chick pass. Ventured to parties. Sampled the platter - alcohol, smoke, candy colored treats. Controlled substances, which she was unaccustomed to, left Thérèse a "deer in headlights" zombie.
Also dulled her rusty dating skills, which translated into rookie blunders.
Such as telling driftwood where she worked.
Which was how we figured out she had jumped in the pool.
And that she preferred her males on "the young side."
Early twenties, late teens.
Maybe that's what she dated last. Maybe she assumed younger males would be easier to manage. That they were trainable.
Only thing ... those puppies ... weren't housebroken yet.
The kid moseyed towards Video. Thérèse, hands on hips, glared at him. She understood her workmates would gab about her for the rest of the day. She was mortified.
Worst of all, because she had selected a complete loser. He was parade on display. Her love bunny.
Baseball cap, wife beater t-shirt, pants that kept falling off his ass, stripy boxers. Stood tall, in five years he would be handsome. Today, he looked fourteen.
He got down to business. Finance.
"C'mon, girlfriend, need twenty. Food, maybe beer, this and that."
She was very quiet, very animated. An experienced man would have recognized the NO - LEAVE warning scowl.
Yet, she hadn't selected experience. She chose Boy Toy.
"C'mon, girl. How bout ten? You want me lunchtime? I'll wait."
Customers began staring. Free entertainment! Plus, any second now, The Boss would stroll out. Then fireworks would ignite.
"Love what you got. My lady. Even five. No gotta be ten! C'mon, baby. Gimme ten."
Thérèse dug into her purse, eyes raked the Floor. Everyone studied the stacks with deep intensity. Then she thrust some greenbacks at him. Mouthed something we couldn't catch.
Boy Toy wadded the bills down his back pocket. Pants dropped to his knees before he caught them. Reached over and pulled Thérèse into his face. Slipped his hand against her chest, pressed. She flinched away and whispered angrily. He responded with a shrug, and reached again, lower.
Doubtless, he possessed redeeming qualities. Younger males boasted legendary recovery powers. Best appreciated in private. In public, however, house breaking lessons were invaluable.
Boy Toy strolled out the front door.
Thérèse exhaled loudly, feigned nonchalance.
We pretended nothing happened.
Later that night, after a few drinks, coworkers forgot their diplomacy.
Asked Thérèse where Boy Toy was. She shrugged she didn't know.
Dan, as always, spotlit the obvious. "I guess he's still at Mommy's house. Studying for some high school test tomorrow."
Thérèse told everyone to fuck off and stormed out.