Friday, September 3, 2010

Oak Cliff Confidential: Chapter 29

  Alejandro clattered back through the screen door. “Um, Sharon, would you mind stepping outside with me?”

  She glanced up at him, heart still pounding. “Why do you want me to do that? Panic attack here. Don’t really feel like going for a stroll.”

  Alejandro nodded. “Understood. But I have something to tell you, and you’ll probably want some air.”

  “I don’t want air!” snapped Sharon. “I want my pills. Did you get them or not?”

  Alejandro sighed (we’re not counting his). “I can’t get the pills because I can’t get to the car. It’s gone.”

  Sharon bolted out of her chair. “What do you mean it’s gone?” Then she thundered out the screen door, across the porch, and down the steps. There were sounds of some obstruction being kicked out of the way, and therefore no longer an issue.

  Alejandro looked at the rest of the room. “And that’s why I wanted her to come outside before I told her. So I could grab her and keep her from running off all wild-eyed like that.”

  “She sure moves fast for an old lady,” commented April, finally locating her blouse on top of a bookshelf and slipping back into it. “Anybody seen my pants?”

  Theresa hopped up, went to the fridge in the kitchen, opened the freezer section, and pulled out the clothing in question. She handed them to April. “You said you wanted them to feel really good when you put them back on. We didn’t question you.”

  “Oh, that’s right. I like to feel the cold zipper.” April pulled on the pants and shivered slightly. “Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.”

  “Well,” said Alejandro from the door. “Guess I better go make sure Her Highness isn’t on the phone with the President, ordering a military strike.” He made his way out of the house, down the sidewalk and around the corner, where he found Sharon sitting on the stretch of curb where the car had been parked. “Told you,” he muttered, joining her on the curb.

  Apparently Sharon had stopped off at a bar on the hike around the corner, because she still had her glass and it looked suspiciously full. She took a sip. “Well, not sure what to do now. Can’t go to the police. Or can we? See, still don’t know the rules.”

  Alejandro took her glass and rewarded himself with a healthy gulp. “It depends on who took it. If some jerk just took it for the parts, that’s one thing. But if your little friend on the phone had someone grab it, then yeah, we just gotta sit here until they bring it back. Assuming that’s the plan.”

  Sharon pulled out her pack of cigarettes and selected one. “So we just wait a little bit. Fine, I can do that. Until I get bored. You know what happens when I get bored.”

  “I would imagine,” said Alejandro dryly, “that most of the county is aware of your entertainment requirements.” He pulled out a lighter and lit Sharon’s waving cigarette. “How did you manage to bring both your drink and your cigs with you on this little spree. I didn’t see you grab either one.”

  “I’m a professional,” shrugged Sharon. “You of all people should know how many times I’ve had to grab my crap and run when a party gets raided. It’s instinct after a while.” She blew out a plume of smoke. “Speaking of you knowing, how long have we been together, Alejandro? Ten years, at least, if my alcohol-soaked brain is still functioning.”

  He nodded. “Yep. Something like that. Of course, we should probably subtract a few years for all those times that you got pissed off and sent me away.”

  Sharon took another sip. “I always ask you back, Alejandro, you know that. Momma just gets in a mood and needs to be alone. Or dry out. Or get out of the court case. Or figure out who I married and why. It gets complicated when you can basically do whatever you want.”

  Alejandro chuckled. “Are you complaining about having more money than you know what to do with? I can’t imagine you being poor. Or actually having to work for a living. People would die.”

  Sharon agreed. “I can’t stand not getting what I want. I don’t know how these other people do it. Which is why this whole “game” thing is completely on my nerves. I’m not in control, and it makes me cranky.” She stabbed out her cigarette on the concrete as if to prove her peevishness, and then immediately pulled out another. “So anyway, Alejandro,” she said, leaning in to accept his light, “are you being totally honest with me, not knowing anything about this Game?”

  “Completely,” he confirmed. “I had no idea such a thing was going on. And since we’re being honest, I don’t really understand why you’re putting up with it. You can walk away, you know. In the end, this has nothing to do with you.”

  Sharon contemplated as she blew out more smoke. “You’re right. This isn’t like me. But for some reason I-” Sharon suddenly realized there was something lying next to her on the curb. She snatched it up and studied it. It was the plastic bottle with her prescription for Lorazepam. She turned and shoved it in Alejandro’s face. “THIS is what I’m talking about. How do these people, Alistair or whoever, how do they know so much about me? They take my car, but they leave my meds because they know I’m going to freak out. It’s insane!”

  Alejandro studied her. “By ‘insane’, do you mean this is fascinating enough to you that you’re going to put up with the loss of control? Have they sucked you in?”

  Sharon made a disgusted noise. “Hexom was right. They knew it would get to me. I want to figure this out. I have to figure this out. Just to prove… I don’t know. To prove I can do it, I guess.”

  Alejandro took another drink from Sharon’s lemonade. “Figured so. And that means I’m in it, too. You want my advice?”

  “Sure,” said Sharon. “I completely trust you. You’ve always looked out for me, even when I was being a total nutcase and not listening to reason.”

  Alejandro gently nodded. “So listen to me now. Don’t trust Hexom.”

  Sharon was surprised by this. “Why would you say that?”

  “Because there’s something not right there. He has a different agenda. And I don’t think that agenda has your best interests in mind. Just a feeling.”

  Sharon considered this. “I can’t say that I haven’t felt that. He’s fun, and on some level, I really like him. But…”

  “He lies,” finished Alejandro. “I’m just not sure about what. Or why.”

  There was a commotion behind them and suddenly April strolled up. “What are you bitches doing out here? Sitting on a curb? That’s not right.” But it was right enough that she didn’t have any problem plopping down beside them. “The lesbians are boring when Alejandro is not there. I’m not sure what the connection is. So why are we sitting out here?”

  “Thinking of ways to kill you,” said Sharon. “We’re up to 142. Nervous?”

  “Not at all,” said April. “Do you not understand how many people plot my death every day?  I’m not scared.” She took a slug from her own drink. “No, really. Why are we just sitting here? How is this helping get the car back? Because eventually my ass needs to go home.”

  “Well,” muttered Alejandro. “Your wish has been granted.” He was gazing down the street.

  Sharon and April turned to look in the same direction.

  Sharon’s car was rolling this way.

  It pulled up to the curb.

  The driver rolled the window down.

  Sharon gasped. “Hexom?

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