“What really happened at that boat ramp?” Wilma asked suspiciously.
Royce looked at me. It appeared he wanted to know, if I was behind the questions. “I can’t help you Royce, I don’t remember,” was my answer and My excuse.
“Wilma I have told that story so many time, I really don’t want to tell it again.” he said.
“Listen Royce, Lucy is my friend, if she is your friend, then tell me so we can all be friends. Otherwise you and I are never going to be more than people who are very cautious about the other one and their interest in our mutual friend.” Wilma was not a happy camper, and she was making Royce’s evening a lot worse than anyone had expected.
I certainly had no idea that she could get up in anyone’s face like that. She was all over Royce. I had hoped that it would die down after the initial confrontation, but it just got worse.
“From the way the TV played it everyone thinks Lucy saved your ass, not the other way around,” Wilma said.
“Yeah she did distract them so that Ansel and I had a chance,” he said.
“Didn’t She also take one of the bad guys out for you?” Wilma asked all defensive.
“Yeah she did that. Took him into the river plastered to the front of her car. Her passenger Jane bailed, so Lucy went into the water with a dead cop across the hood of her car. Before you attack me again, she took a shot to the head, as well a serious case of oxygen deprivation, so her brain was compromised. She got this way saving my ass, so there is nothing I won’t do for her, nothing,” he said.
“Fair enough, now don’t you feel better?” Wilma asked.
“I don’t feel one fucking bit better. You are really a bitch,” Royce said.
“And that’s my best quality,” Wilma answered. I knew Wilma enough to know that it was not her playful joking mood. She had been dead serious, when she went after Royce.
“So the SBI came in and took over the police force for a while,” she commented for me.
“Ah and how many policemen left the force?” I asked.
“Over twenty five percent, I’m told,” she said.
“Yes it was over a quarter, and the ones who stayed are under a cloud and not at all pleased with me or your friend Lucy. I drive very carefully, so as not to get noticed and Lucy should do the same.
“I suppose you did the best you could,” Wilma said.
“I was doing exactly as Lucy wanted,” Royce replied. “I didn’t really want to be involved, but I did what I had to do. I killed a cop, so it wasn’t my proudest moment.
“Okay, you sound like you are telling the truth. So what are you two doing together now?” Wilma asked.
“Lucy bankrolled a delivery service and I do the day to day thing,”
“And he is doing a damn fine job of it, so back off and leave him alone.” I said.
“No Lucy, she needs to know. When I pulled her ass from the river, I didn’t even know she had been shot. I thought she had just drowned. I kept doing CPR till the Paramedics arrived. I went into that river after her only because if I hadn’t, her father would have would have arranged a very slow and painful death for me. I am no hero, and I know that. They found the bullet fragments in her brain sometime later in the ER.
She went from the Lucy, who rode a moped from here to California, to Lucy who hovered between life and death, That was just the first month. Then she was somewhere between life and something almost like life, but not quite. Then she was awake, but had no idea who she was. Then she was able to remember things till she fell asleep, While she slept they all got lost again.
All that time I sat outside her door. I sat outside her door, because someone arranged for me to be paid. I also did it because her father got word to me. Either I kept her alive or there would be a reunion in hell shortly after she died. He also had a talk with her doctors and nurses, I’m sure convincing them to go that extra mile for her.
The computer for a memory was her ex husband’s idea. Once she learned how to make it work, she adapted to it quickly. She knows that our present concerns are about how little she eats.”
Wilma was finished with her attack just yet “You are on parole how were you going to defend her?” Wilma asked. She was more curious than angry at least.
“Plastic box opener with a razor blade. It is actually a trick I learned from Lucy back when she was Lucy. It is just an improved version of a prison shank. Not the ideal weapon, but it will get the job done.”
“So you knew her before the boat ramp thing as well, was she always this thin?” Wilma asked.
“Not at all, when she went into the river she had maybe ten pounds of extra ass. But after six months on IVs she was down to this cadaver look. Now she won’t eat. She orders real food, then tastes it, but nothing more.” Royce answered.
“Yes, I noticed that as well,” Wilma agreed.
“Hey guys, I’m sitting right here. Please don’t talk about me like I was home watching TV.” I suggested.
Wilma ignored me, ”So did you and Lucy ever do it?” she asked. I noticed something close to jealousy in her voice.
“No of course not, but I would have for sure. It just never seemed to be the right time.” Royce said.
“Too bad Shawn will be home in an hour or so, this might have been the right time,” Wilma informed us both.
“Well we have had dinner and you pretty much informed me that you don’t want to go back to my place for a drink,” I said.
“Of course I do, but I can’t. I better not find out you two did either,” she said. “There is something about you two that tells me it wouldn’t be just for giggles. If it’s going to be serious, I want to be there. If nothing else, as a friend to keep you two out of trouble.”
“Bullshit you just want to watch,” I said laughing.
“That two,” she agreed.
“I’m not sure I could do it in front of an audience,” Royce suggested.
‘Not to worry Royce, I’m pretty sure we can convince you. Sorry to bring alls this up and then tell you not tonight, but not tonight,” Wilma informed us both.
“I can wait for sure,” I said. “It will not be for love, I assure you. Royce is like my brother, but hey ‘Incest is best,” I said.
Wilma dropped me at home alone. I spent my evening playing games on my computer and watching another full season of Top Chef. It was quite interesting.
When I woke up next, three days had passed with nothing worth mentioning in my journal obviously. I didn’t even have any vague memories, so it was just three days gone that I could not get back.
According to my schedule I was set to make a new batch of mash that day. It certainly wasn’t carved in stone, but I could do it for sure. It was very early in the morning, but I went to the cabinet over the sink and took down the straight corn liquor. I took some into my mouth then spit it out.
I found it to be a bit raw. I don’t think I ever drank liquor straight from the bottle before. Either way it was still okay but a little rough for me.
I tried a taste of the last batch I had made. It had the more buttery taste of rum. It was a little strong still and it had an after taste of liquorice. It was pretty much what my journal let me to believe it would be, Since I hadn’t heard from any of the people to whom I gave it, I assumed it was not all that popular. In my mind when I had read the recipe from the cook book, I thought it sounded a little strange. I suppose the plantation liquor had a medicinal taste that was popular back then. It didn’t seem to have time traveled well at all.
I stopped at the waffle and egg restaurant for breakfast. I had finally thought to write in my journal the two breakfast dishes with which I was consistently pleased. One egg, one piece of toast, and one link of sausage,” I said to the waitress. “No potatoes, I added as she walked away. She seemed to already know what to do, so I must have had her before. Maybe a dozen times for all I knew.
As usual it was delicious. The second meal was corned beef hash with one egg and one biscuit. I ate about two large bites of the hash and egg, but I still enjoyed those two bites.
The mash I made that morning was molasses corn and water with yeast. When I had everything working I checked my messages. I had one from some advertising agency in New York City. I deleted it as I had the other five or six I had over the last few days. I did make a note in my journal that I had deleted another one. It would not have mattered even if I awoke without the journal, I knew I did not want to go to New York City for anything.”
I played a second message after I determined that I knew who Jason was. “Hey Lucy it’s Jason, I am calling to see, if I can get some more of your friends product. I also wanted to invite you to a party this weekend. It would really be nice, if you could bring your other friend along.
“Hello Jason,” I said when I finally got him on the phone. “I only have half a gallon of the first one. I have a gallon of the second, if you want that one,” I said.
“How about half a gallon of each.Marie liked the taste of the second product. I can take it or leave it,” he said.
“Well that’s fine I’ll have it delivered. Remember the delivery guy has no idea what is in the box,” I said.
“Right I will give him what a hundred bucks,” he asked.
“One twenty five this time cause of the plantation stuff,” I suggested.
“Okay, I got a friend who wanted to try that plantation mix. I think he will like it.” he said,
“Jason, just be careful you know this isn’t iced tea,” I said.
“Oh my friends are going to have to come to me for this stuff. You are not tied to it at all. They think I’m buying it from the boot legger,” he informed me. Well just don’t forget loose lips sink ships,” I said with a laugh.
“Hell no, loose lips are not nearly as good as tight lips,” he said with a laugh.
I left the rum mash working, while I went for a ride to the lake. It was afternoon, but I managed to do some fishing. I used the time to thing about the note in my journal about Royce and Wilma meeting three days before and then no note since. It was pretty obvious to me that they were involved. Royce should have called me to report on the delivery business and Wilma seemed to call everyday till she met Royce. I laughed at her thinking I would be jealous, so she had to hide it from me.
I called her more to rattle her cage than to pry. “So,” I said once I got her on the phone. “You were right. I have been getting a couple of calls a day from New York ad agencies.”