Friday, July 4, 2008

Clear As Chocolate Pudding

Any other time, if my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) went to all the trouble to dress for town, she'd stay there long enough to get her whole backlog of errands taken care of. Any other time, it'd get so late I'd start to wonder if everything was okay. Well, the morning Starr Ann and Jodie went to meet with Jodie's publisher and left me alone with Destiny Jane didn't turn out like usual.

Right about the time Destiny Jane made that nice comment where she kinda compared me to a piece of fruitcake made with bourbon whiskey, which gives it a little bite, just the way she likes it, here comes Starr Ann and Jodie riding back up, big as anything. So, instead of progressing back inside for a little while, just Destiny Jane and me, the four of us ended up taking a trail ride. All afternoon. Until suppertime.

I was feeling real smug though, thinking to myself the whole way that Destiny Jane was bound to take me up on the offer to sleep in my room. The farther out we got on that ride, the more I told myself a little anticipation never hurt anybody.

We were all half starved by the time we finally got home and got the horses squared away. Once we hit the kitchen, everybody jumped in on fixing supper like we'd been working together forever. Eventually, talk got around to Starr Ann's bunkers, and Destiny Jane seemed to be real innerested.

Then Starr Ann said, all casual, as if she wasn't doing the prurient equivalent of sliding a knife between my ribs, "Since the moon's fairly new, tonight'll be a good dark one for testing some equipment in my bunkers. Be happy to have your company and show them to you, Destiny, if that sounds inviting."

"Sounds about as inviting as flute music noodling down a holler in the green lighting right before a downpour."

Starr Ann slapped her leg and sealed the fate of my evening. "Then we'll head out soon as supper dishes are done."

Not long after they left, I filled up a bunch of water jugs and carried them down to where that truck of Destiny Jane's sits stuck in mud that was drying way too quick. Lucky for me, that bad tire was in a little dip that held moisture real well. It only took me two trips to soak things up bad enough to make it impossible to get a jack stable underneath there. Heh. Someday, Destiny Jane and I are gonna laugh about all this.

They didn't get back from the bunker run until way after it got light. And, of course, they were both so tired all they could do was fall dead asleep after I fed them breakfast.

Later on, Starr Ann was the first one up. She looked like a little cleaned-up kid walking into the barn all sharp and fresh, with her hair still slightly damp.

I said, "So did Destiny Jane like the shelters?"

Starr Ann smiled and said, "Does a ruby-throat like a trumpet vine?"

I had to shake my head. "You're starting to talk like Destiny Jane, you know that Starr Ann?"

Starr Ann tilted her head sideways. "I'm getting an Indiana accent?"

"No, silly. I mean all the analogical language."

Starr Ann tilted her head to the other side. "Margo, sometimes you make about as much sense as clothes on a cartoon character."

"You're telling me you haven't noticed anything about how Destiny Jane talks?"

"Well, sure. I hear a trace of Indiana accent, but it's not that much different from ours."

When she gets like that, there's just no place to go with Starr Ann, so I dropped the whole subject. "Okay, Starr Ann, then let me ask you this. Did Destiny Jane mention anything about how long she can afford to be stuck here?"

"Not a thing. Why?"

"Because, Starr Ann, I'd like nothing better than for it to rain real hard for about a week, to keep that truck right where it is, if you get my drift."

Starr Ann started nodding her head all of a sudden and she gave out a low whistle. "Dang, guess I've been as dense as an oil executive testifying before Congress about record profits." She kissed my cheek. "I'm real sorry."

By the time Destiny Jane woke up, Starr Ann had a real romantic dinner ready, and as she put it on the table, she made her excuses about leaving us alone. Said she was spending the night over at Jodie's and not to expect her home until late the next day.

As Destiny Jane and I started eating, I heard Starr Ann turn on the outside water spigot before she rode off. And when I checked later, all those jugs were missing.