Forbidden Love, Sunday: page 5

Installment Three: Where our ladies practice their karate in a karaoke bar.

III. Alive and Kicking
ennie couldn't stop beaming at the two miscreants in the faux-cowboy duds.

The two men obviously enjoyed Hennie's flirting, not to mention her outfit. A chick in leopard leggings was pretty scarce in these parts. Odette's icy stare didn't discourage Mr. Boots from chatting away and ordering a round of Grape Crushes for everyone. Odette listened to the conversation and decided that watching a Jello mold melt would be more interesting.

She began daydreaming about her dead husband. His image floated through her consciousness like a paper doll. She thought about the last time she saw him -- about six months ago at a Jack-in-the-Box off Route 16. They met in the parking lot to talk about a possible reconciliation. Perry's brillantined hair shimmered in the hot sun, and she could smell his sweat underneath the customary vat of Old Spice he slathered all over his body. The meeting started off with a pleasant peck on the cheek and ended with Odette dumping her chocolate milkshake into his lap.

Odette was broken from her reverie by a screeching giggle. She downed her Grape Crush and watched as Hennie batted her eyelashes at Mr. Boots.

"I guess my sister hasn't had this much attention from men in a long time," thought Odette, in a stunning moment of compassion. However, her patience ran out after Mr. Mustache began detailing the elegant decor of his spacious mobile home...his "D-E-N of L-U-V." Odette abruptly stood up and grabbed Hennie by the arm.

"Sister of mine," said Odette with a kitty-kat smile, "Don't forget about the errand we have to run."

"What," said Mr. Boots with an chortle, "Do you have to see a man about a horse?"

That piece of stellar wit threw both men into fits of laughter. Odette wondered if one of them would pop a lung.

"Noooooo," cooed Odette with the utmost patience. "We have a baby whale out in the car that needs to be returned to the sea, where he belongs. You know, free Willie. Come on, Hennie."

"Awww, we were just about to ask you gals if you wanted to go get something to eat," said Mr. Mustache, flashing his pearly-whites.

Hennie pouted at her sister and curtsied to the gentlemen. "I guess we gotta go. It was so nice talking with y'all," she said with a sudden, fake accent.

The sisters navigated themselves between the rickety tables and around the dark bar, Odette pulling her sister like a tugboat. With each step, their high heels sunk into the layer of popcorn and cheap American beer that coated the floor.

"Why do you always do that?" asked Hennie. "They were nice and they liked my singing!"

"They liked your feline spandex," said Odette.

"You know, Odette, all men aren't bad!"

"Just ones that wear shiny silver shirts," she replied.

As they got to the door, Odette spotted an upside-down horseshoe nailed over the threshold. And just at that moment, she heard the opening notes of a haunting melody that froze her blood.

"What's that song?" asked Hennie. "It sounds familiar."

"It's 'Wuthering Heights'," said Odette, as if in a dream. "You know...that song by Kate Bush. It was Lucky's favorite!"

Odette stood at the front door, transfixed by the song she kept in a special closet in her heart. She and her brother Lucky would listen to Kate Bush on a shared Walkman as they watched the starry sky and contemplated infinity. Neither she nor Hennie had heard from Lucky for years. One day he just drifted off down the dusty road.

The singer added an extra fascination to Odette. Thankfully, this particular karoake contestant had a voice that did justice to the song's yearning and hope. She was about 50 years old, with cropped, bleached blond hair. Heavy cigarette smoking left her with a map of wrinkles on her face, and Odette figured her to be about one inch over the official threshold of midgethood. A grape-colored muumuu added to the intrigue.

After the song finished, Odette brushed a lone tear off her cheek. Then the singer looked directly at Odette across the smoky room as her lips formed the words "Remember the Alamo." Although the midget in the muumuu was at least 100 feet away, Odette could have sworn she heard the words whispered in her ear.

"Did you hear that?" Odette hoarsely croaked.

"Hear what?" said Hennie, innocently chewing on a cocktail straw.

"We have to stop in Texas!" said Odette, spinning around and grabbing Hennie's shoulders. "There's something important there..something special..." She was about to explain herself further when she felt a meaty hand around her waist.

"You know, you can free my Willie," Mr. Boots whispered hotly into her ear.

Odette had never been a violent person, so her next actions surprised her even more than they surprised Mr. Boots. Instinctively, she elbowed Mr. Boots in the stomach. He doubled over, gasping for air. Mr. Mustache, sensing danger, made a lunge for the ladies, and Odette swung around and kicked him expertly in the head. He flew across the room, hit the bar and slumped onto the floor. Mr. Boots was too busy sucking air to do anything else.

"Good thing Grandma made us take those karate lessons!" Odette squealed as they ran out of the bar and jumped in the car.

"Since when did you become Jackie Chan?" cried Hennie.

They laughed as they sped down the dark highway. After a few minutes of staring out the window, seeing only the headlights and tailights of other late night travelers, Hennie turned to her dear sister and asked, "So, what the hell's in Texas?"

--Tricia Wilson

[End of Installment Three]

page 4 Installment Four Forbidden Love, Sunday

tension big pile of bones
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