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“A tin can isn’t a proper home for a spider princess,” Lenore muttered.  It was her third bourbon so the words sounded like “I’nt a propah hooome.”

“You referrin' to your single-wide?”  I was two barstools away, so there was what they call “artistic distance” between us.  Lenore tends to get vicious when she’s cranked.  Her red hair goes flying and her fists get pumpin’.  True fact.  I seen her take out a boyfriend who had a hundred pounds on her and was a foot taller.  That’s how she got the nickname Spider Princess — a good looker who eats her mates.

“Callin’ me trailer park trash?”  At that point she slid off the stool.  Stickley was working the door, so he carried her outside and dumped her in her Plymouth Voyager to recover.

So sad.  Lenore was a hoochie, but I kinda thought she was meant for me.  It’s all about inner goodness, which I know she possessed.  Just cause we never got a thing goin’ don’t mean I’m down on her.  We’ve known each other since fifth grade.

Half an hour later I finished my nightcap.  Work tomorrow — maybe, unless I called in sick.  It was already Thursday so the week was shot.  Shook my head, sittin’ there in my Mustang tryin’ to get my keys in the ignition.  That’s when I seen a guy in a leather jacket open Lenore’s door and mess around inside.  Minute later, the headlights came on and he spit gravel getting’ out of the lot.

“Shit!” I said to define the issue.  “He’s got Lenore!”  Puttin’ my ‘Stang in gear, I followed the Plymouth’s taillights.

Mr. Slick in his five hundred dollar jacket took the road out of town and up past the golf course.  That’s where the rich bastards live.  Course they don’t call themselves rich.  Rich is for food that makes you fat.  They call themselves “wealthy” or “well off.”  Banker who owns my mortgage lives up there.  So do the car dealers, bunch of doctors, you know what I’m sayin’?

I pulled over in front of a big place with columns on the porch and watched Mr. Slick carry Lenore inside like a bag of fertilizer from Agway.

Lights went on in the front room and then clicked on upstairs.  What next?  What the hell you think is next?

I got out and did my ninja walk up to the house.  The hipster douche hadn’t even locked the front door when I burst through shoutin’, “Lenore!”  Took the stairs two at a time, just as Slick came to a doorway holding his pants up with both hands.

My right fist caught him on the nose, blood came out his head like a punctured soda can, and his pants fell down.  Would you believe he had boxer shorts with ducks on them?  Fuckin’ duck pattern on his underwear!

“Josh, what the hell are you doin’ here!” Lenore screamed, lookin’ at the creep on the floor and then at me.

“I’m savin’ your sweet ass from this Red Riding Hood crap is what I’m doing.  This wolf man was goin’ to do the nasty….”

“You dummy!  He was my meal ticket out of the trailer park.  Kidnappin’ me, then tryin’ to rape me.  I’d threaten to call the cops, then he’d pay off and I could finally afford a real apartment.  Simple shake down.”

“Ah, shit, Lenore.”

“Didn’t you ever hear the fairy tale?  How the prince hits on the girl and she gets the keys to the castle?  Castle, not a damn trailer.  Are you stupid?”

“Nah, I was worried.  That he’d hurt you.”

“You ever seen a guy get the best of me?  You ever seen me down?”

“That’s the problem, Lenore.  Guys are scared of you.”

“Not this one.”  Lenore kicked him in the stomach.  “Kidnap and rape.  I’m gonna call the cops.”

“I wasn’t…” the jerk whined.  “I thought you were asking to be picked up.”

“And car theft,” she said, hauling back to give him another boot.  “I’m calling the cops.”

“Look,” he said, rolling over and yanking out his wallet.  “Five hundred and something.  It’s all I have.  Just take your car and get the hell out.  Forget it ever happened.”

I felt like kicking the jerk for good measure.

“You scared of me too?” she asked, taking the money and turning on me.

“Nah, we’re friends.  Get your car and I’ll follow you home.”

She smiled and pulled her red hair back from her eyes.  Then she gave me a look I’d never seen, like a preacher shakin’ hands with Jesus.  “You really came to save me?”

“So,” I shrugged, “I can’t be worried?”

“Whyn’t I follow you to your place, you clown.”


#  #  #


Bio: Walt Giersbach’s fiction has appeared in Bewildering Stories, Big Pulp, Corner Club Press, Every Day Fiction,Gumshoe Review, Mystery Authors, OG Short Fiction, Over My Dead Body, Paradigm Journal, Pif Magazine, Pill Hill Press, Pulp Modern, r.kv.r.y, Short Fiction World, Southern Fried Weirdness, The World of Myth and, of course, Short-Story.Me. Two volumes of short stories, Cruising the Green of Second Avenue, are available at Barnes & Noble and other retailers.



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