Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oak Cliff Confidential: Chapter 18

  Theresa Thomas stood on her front porch, hands on her hips. “I said, what the hell do you people want, standin’ there like morons. You people deaf?”

  Hexom, Alejandro and April looked at Sharon. She looked at them, not really impressed that they were choosing not to speak for once in their lives. She sighed (number 41) and stepped forward. “Theresa? It’s Sharon. From high school.”

  Theresa squinted, because the eyes go after 40. “Sharon? Sharon Horizons? Oh my God, girl! It is SO good to see you!” She pulled out something that had been tucked into the back of her pants and tossed it on a nearby deck chair that had seen better days. It looked like a handgun, but we won’t dwell on that right at the moment. Theresa began to stomp down the steep, rickety stairs leading up to the porch.

  “She seems rather excited,” breathed Hexom. “I thought you hated each other.”

  “We did,” Sharon breathed back. “Or at least I hated her. Maybe I misunderstood something. I was still a virgin, then, you know. It’s a different mindset.”

  Alejandro made a guttural noise indicating that he had thought Sharon must have surrendered the pink in pre-school.

  Theresa clattered down the sidewalk and threw her arms around Sharon. “I have really missed you, you have no idea..” (Sharon’s startled expression confirmed the not knowing.) “So anyway, who are your nice little friends? Do I know them?”

  “No!” said Hexom, Alejandro and April in unison.

  Sharon gave them all a look that clearly indicated she was going to cut them if they didn’t play nice, then made introductions. “The gay one is Hexom, the muscled one is Alejandro, and the slut is April.”

  Theresa nodded her head. “Got it. Would you all like some lemonade? I just made a fresh batch. With real lemon crystals out of a can.”

  “That would be wonderful,” said Sharon, hand poised to slap down any disagreement from the peanut gallery.

  “Great!” trilled Theresa. “Let’s jump on up to the porch, and I’ll run inside for some glasses.”  She turned and scurried forth.

  April looked at Sharon. “I’m not in the mood for white trash.”

  Sharon looked at April. “I don’t care. Get you skinny ass up on the porch and act like Jesus has called you to be here. There is something going on and I intend to find out exactly what it is. She’s being too nice, considering what happened at the Zucchini Festival in 1985, and I need to figure this out.”

  Hexom and Alejandro wisely chose to save their own grievances for another time. The quartet trooped up the stairs and tried to make themselves comfortable in the mismatched array of deck chairs on the expansive porch. They managed to remain calm when odd sounds came from inside the house indicating that perhaps a wrecking ball had just slammed into the kitchen, resulting in broken glass and a realignment of the foundation.

  The screen door slammed open again and Theresa marched forth, lugging a chipped tray containing a pitcher of yellowish water and several glasses. She distributed the wares, pouring and such, then finally dropped into one of the still-vacant chairs. “Sorry about the noise. Damn cats always park in the wrong places. Now,” she shifted around in her chair to face Sharon. “What the hell brings you back around here today? Not that I’m complainin’.”

  Sharon took a deep breath. “Well, I’m glad that you asked that. And to be honest, I don’t really know.” She took a sip of her lemonade, which was amazingly tasty considering the absence of real lemons. “You see, I’m involved in this…game… where I have to follow clues and figure out a mystery that a very creative person has concocted.”

  Sharon’s secret phone rang.

  She whipped it out and hit a button. “Don’t mess with me right now, Roboto. I don’t know the rules. Bite it.” She tucked the phone back into her overstuffed satchel purse, then smiled brightly at her hostess as if nothing untoward had happened.

  Theresa sloshed her drink a bit as she squirmed in her seat. “Roboto? Like the Styx song?”

  “Oh Madonna, help us through the darkness,” muttered Hexom. “She knows lyrics to Styx songs. This has got to be one of the circles of hell.”

  Theresa frowned, then looked at Sharon. “Does the gay one not understand that I can hear everything he’s saying?”

  Sharon shot Hexom a withering glance. “Oh, he understands. He’s just a complete idiot that’s about to die.”

  “Well,” said Theresa. “Then use this.” She snatched up the object she had previously tossed aside, which was indeed a handgun. “There’s not much of a kick. You’ll be fine.”

  Sharon seriously considered the offer, then declined. “He is SO not worth the effort. So tell me, Theresa. What have you been up to since we graduated from high school?”

  Theresa brightened. “Oh. Well, I moved to Odessa and accepted my lesbianism.”

  Crickets chirped. Okay, maybe they didn’t, because it was still daylight and they weren‘t out yet, but you get the idea. Even April, bored out of her skull and eyeing a swarthy mechanic at the auto shop across the street, broke off the lusting and turned to Martina Navratilova Thomas.

  “Really?” asked Sharon. “You had to go to West Texas to figure that out? Was it the dry, dusty heat?”

  “Maybe,” agreed Theresa. “Not a whole lot to do out there, so there’s plenty of time to figure out your sexuality. I finally saw the light one night at Taco Villa, when a woman with pendulous breasts gave me extra fries with my overstuffed burrito.”

  Not only did the crickets stop chirping, they took their own lives.

  Hexom leaned forward. “Are you serious with this?”

  “Oh, yes,” nodded Theresa. “There’s a certain clarity that comes from draft beer and fresh salsa.”

  Well, who could really argue with that?

  Perhaps April, who leaned forward as well. “Okay, I don’t normally talk around country people, because they still have hoods and ropes, but I gotta ask. Why haven’t you changed your hairstyle in 25 years?”

  Theresa smiled. “I haven’t changed it because it works for me. Stick with what you know. And,” she said, her smile broadening, “I was hoping that someone would come back to me, see me for what I am, know that I’m still the same girl, but finally realize what they’ve been missing.”

  Sharon had a foreboding sense that this conversation was not going in a direction that she had anticipated. “What exactly do you mean by that, Theresa?”

  Theresa placed a hand on Sharon’s curvaceous thigh. “You, Sharon. I’ve always wanted you since the day my greased pig Brian ran down Jefferson Boulevard.”

  The crickets would have stopped chirping again, but they were already dead.

  “Oh my,” said Hexom, setting aside his lemonade. “The imagery is delicious. Do tell us more.”

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