You choose your characters where you find them.

ontheway-counter

SHE WAS SEATED behind the counter when I walked into the truck stop grill on the edge of town.

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 Ruth, she said.

“Got a last name?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

She smiled again.

She was right.

It didn’t matter.

Mary Ruth 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 Ruth 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 Ruth laughs. “The wrong man wants to take her out of town for a little trip to Atlanta, and she wants to go.”

“Think she will?”

“She’s wrestling with her conscience.”

“The conscience never wins,” I said.

“Mine didn’t,” Mary Ruth 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 Ruth 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 Ruth poured my coffee.

“He got himself killed,” she said.

“Wreck?”

“Gunshot.”

“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 Ruth 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 Ruth laughed out loud.

“She was a cheerleader,” Mary Ruth said.

I finished my coffee.

“I only have one other 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.

“I don’t write romance,” I said.

“Don’t worry about it none,” Mary Ruth said.  “I can write it myself.”

“Experienced?”

“I know my way around a dark bedroom,” she said.

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

Please click the book cover image to read more about Caleb Pirtle’s Little Lies.

Little Lies Final Cover LL Mar 13

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