With my groin aching as my heedless legs repeatedly slid outward from below my shoulders, I stood on the sidewalk ice beside Greta in front of the body oils shop across the way from Elliot Montello’s personal hell. Our precautions seemed cartoonishly overdone from my view, but since kids weren’t allowed in Pringle’s Bakery on Sundays, Greta felt nothing less than buoyant in her conclusion that the items stuffed into her jeans and jacket were essential to the blueprint; the white package stamped with a Pringle’s P, the switchblade, the rusted five-shot, all perfunctory accessories according to my auburn-haired, pocket-sized partner.
I tailed her as she stomped her way through Pringle’s double doors, and with her hands plopped on her hips, she scanned the small eatery for Sam Pringle’s long neck and endless, single-braided, brown hair. We found her at the register where a middle-aged woman and her husband were paying off arrears for buttered biscuits, sausage sandwiches and tiny, stupor-inducing, cinnamon-gorged, rum cakes.
Sam stepped back from the counter and had a taste of the fake-ass Hoyo De Monterrey resting behind her while a roomful of empty-eyed patrons dragged their gazes from their plates to the front counter in anticipation of yet another rascally bunch of kids getting tossed out on their asses by rugged-faced Dr. Pringle. Usually, the father of a blooming sadist and seller of unquestionably delicious, toxic sponges could be found leaning over the rail of the super-secret upper level where no one had permission to so much as drop by and take a quick shit. He must not have fancied his spot that day.
“No kids on…no kids on Sundays, guys,” Sam said.
Greta reached down into her burgundy jeans wrist deep and stared ominously at the girl.
“I’m not intherested in niceties so let’s be real thirect.” She said. “Mary and me thon’t allow fur small-town gals like yourthelf to seep intho cities flanked by your expenthive book-learnedness and your father’s fancy silk-suit-wearing pals to justh go on kneeing your shitty server girls like Elliot Monthello in the uterus, get it?”
As it turned out, Sam cared far less about Greta’s reasoning than the bulge in her pants, which Sam could only assume didn’t enclose a penis, but a 6inch head-splitter used for self-pleasure only when the bad days so obscure the sparse good ones that solace hides itself within the unrelenting finality of death.
‘What the hell is this nutty bitch doing in my diner?’ is what I fancy she’d said to herself as she scrambled for the phone pasted to the wall behind her. We covered our faces and scurried off before Sam could get her father down from the upper floor. After galloping around the block we reconvened back at the benches across from the bakery.
I reached my hands into the warm pouch on Greta’s sweater as she curled her hands into ocular enhancers and peered between frosty bench planks at town sheriff Grant Giggs, and square-headed Dr. Pringle.
She started to stink a little from intensity-driven perspiration, and had produced the switchblade from her ass pocket to help cultivate her next brainchild.
“Elliot’s a shit waiter, without question,” she said, “and that fur coat she’s got going all over her armths and legs could use a good scrape. But hell, she’s…she’s not going to drive a poor clerkth’s life into the ground with an onthslaught of work-related tumors, or make a living selling mutated, rubber, sugar pucks to plebs like me who’ve never been anywhere but upsthate New York.”
Greta mopped her cheeks for spit with her palms and slipped her skeletal fingers into her waistline to cuff the five-shot. She closed my hands inside of her’s while sliding the steal in between them, leaning down and warmly smacking her slips against my knuckles.
“Let a few go intho the air when I liftht up my shirt and sthart rubbing my sthomach like a lunathic,” she said.
I watched on as Greta surged through the body oils shop and dashed up the towering, central staircase that finished at the roof where little girls would often hang around and throw things at the slovenly beer-bellies slumping along the sidewalks.
Greta pulled the white package from her sweatshirt and started to stab at it with the switchblade, and when the perfect laceration had been achieved, she bathed herself in each bundle of cinnamon and sugar raining down from the plastic’s makeshift mouth. She began to moan and groan like a ghoul as everyone within earshot shaded their eyes and tilted their heads up at an unknown loon. But I knew she wasn’t a loon.
Bitterly, she belted out,
“Pringle’s thurns people intho ghosths! Pringle’s thurns people intho ghosths!”
I unwound myself and got up from the bench as Greta lifted up her sweatshirt, and putting my eyes on the sky, I delivered two booming salvos that put a cringe in the whole town, and a few good clefts in my wrists.
The Pringle’s P-stamped white package fluttered to the ground as we ran, the block sprinkled with golden-brown dust, my eyes blowing gobs of water from the throbbing in my shattered hands.