Finding characters where you least expect them

“The coach only liked one thing better than me,” she said. “A cheerleader.”

She was seated behind the counter when I walked into the grill.

She looked thirty-five.

She was probably ten years older.

Hair cinnamon brown hair was a little too long, piling itself on her shoulders.

Her lipstick was a little too red.

She didn’t mind.

She smiled.

I didn’t mind the red either.

On her, it worked.

She was pretty in the glow of the overhead light.

She was beautiful when the shadows touched her face.

She stayed in the shadows.

She was wise that way.

Her name was Mary Beth, she said.

“Got a last name?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

She smiled again.

She was right.

It didn’t matter.

Mary Beth had been reading a True Confession magazine when I walked in and sat down at the counter.

“Coffee,” I said.

“Just a minute,” she said.

She kept reading.

“Must be good,” I said.

She nodded.

“Woman’s in love with the wrong man,” she said.

“Most women are.”

“She’s cheating on the good guy.”

“It happens.”

“She’s bored with the good guy.” Mary Beth Shrugged. “He works hard. He makes a good paycheck every week. He comes home on time. She fixes dinner. And they watch sitcoms on TeeVee together.”

“That’s what life’s all about,” I said.

“She wants more.”

“Most women do.”

“She wants adventure.” Mary Beth laughs. “The wrong man wants to take her out of town on a trip, and she wants to go.”

“Think she will?”

“She’s wrestling with her conscience.”

“The conscience never wins,” I said.

“Mine didn’t,” Mary Beth told me. “I had a good man once upon a time.” She folded the magazine up and placed it under the counter. “Married six years. He loved me. Problem was, he was an accountant.”

“What’s wrong with an accountant?”

“He never thought my figure was as exciting as the numbers he figured in his head.”

“He must have really loved his numbers.”

“I ran off with the football coach,” she said. “He was hot stuff. Big. Tall. Lots of muscles. He was drafted once by the Chicago Bears.”

“He make the big time?”

Mary Beth laughed.

“He did with me,” she said.

“What happened?” I wanted to know.

“We lost the coach.”

“Coaches have a habit of getting fired,” I said. “All it takes is one bad team.”

“He didn’t have a bad team,” she said. “Never had a losing record.”

Mary Beth poured my coffee.

“He got himself killed,” she said.



“Your husband?”

“He wasn’t the jealous kind.”

I sipped my coffee in silence. Finally I had to ask her the question that needed to be asked.

“You shoot him?”

Mary Beth smiled.

“The coach only liked one thing better than me,” she said.

“What’s that?”

“A cheerleader.”

“Did they arrest you?”

“They didn’t convict me.”

“Were you guilty?”

“Judge said I wasn’t.”

“What convinced him?”

“I had an alibi,” she said. “I was with his daughter the night coach died.”

“Where was his daughter?

Mary Beth laughed out loud.

“She was a cheerleader,” Mary Beth said.

I finished my coffee.

“I only have one question,” I asked.

“What’s that?”

“You want to be in my next novel?”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Just be yourself.”

“Are there any cheerleaders in it?”

“There are.”

“Anybody die?”

“Somebody does.”

“Am I guilty?”

“Not in my eyes.”

“I want my own love scene,” she said. “Don’t worry about it none. I can write it myself.”

She poured me a second cup of coffee and went back to True Confessions.

Please click HERE to find Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever on Amazon.

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