Winslow wriggled gingerly into the couch as if it was composed of invisible porcupine quills and over onto its faded brocade cushions into the corner nearest the bedroom to peer self-consciously around the walnut bookcase. Stretching long arms awkwardly between his legs to rest his hands on the bare wood floor where it met the coarse fringes of Bethany's handhooked scrap rug, Win queried,"Hey, doll, did Bo Dreadly show up?" Win resented his own thinning curls stretched cantankerously over balding spots that reminded him with a grimace of his recently deceased older brother Jim. An oddly-shaped opaque projectile skittered over the waxed wood and bumped against his left shoe.
"There you go," Beth announced in her low-pitched tone of firm satisfaction.
Winslow pulled an argyle-clad foot out and nudged the packet with his toes toward the rug, flipping it into the airspace between his knees and catching it with a jubilant flair to bring the bounty still wrapped toward his nose. Inhaling with obvious content, Win pulled out a small tan brickette with his right thumb and forefinger and fiddled into a breast pocket with his left hand to pull out a diminutively carved onyx pipe.
"Need a light, bro?" Danny offered, curious and cross-legged against the outer wall.
Win balanced the pipe on the invisible porcupine quills to his left to extract an embossed butane lighter from deep in his pants' pocket and flicked it toward the center of the room. "Naw, I'm good, bud."
As smoke rose from the pipe, Dan opined," Smells the same."
"Deal break," Bethany called, still from the back room. "Calcutta prime. Last over the line."
Beth slouched in thread-worn oversized fatigues and stretched pinkrose muscle-strap tee between the cardtable and couch to settle on the edge of a cushion and unwind the pipe from Win's thick fingers. Lifting it to strangely mottled and blotched lips, she directed sharply brown eyes toward the bedroom in response for Win's muffled, "And the rest?" as he accordianed federal notes into her nearest pocket.
In the bedroom Bethany stacked the notes same-side-up neatly as she did every evening for the bar's till and then counted them top to bottom and, again, bottom to top for the wraparound cardboard case she kept in the antique desk's hidden safe. Under the band that secured today's stack she pushed the card on which she'd penned, as usual, the total bounded cash amount.
Detecting the hall floorboards' crack, Beth hurried to the wall mirror, grabbing a hairbush off the bed-table on her way, to pose with relaxed disinterest before the full image reflected in all its contiguously mismatched parts: boney feet and coiled toes, hair-splotched thick arms, uneven shoulders that, neckless, nearly met her waffled chin and close-cropped ears, thinly straight to angrily fuzzed brunette hair grown now to the tip of her back brace, cracked and uneven teeth the heritage of her mixed ethnicities.
Winslow unbuckled the Indianweave linen belt threaded through loops of his dress shorts and pushed them down below his knees.
"I'm ready," he informed Beth's tensed fist wrapped around the hunting knife.
Eyes nearly closed, she turned to bend over him stretched face- down on the twin bed.
The line reddened and bubbled as he gasped and grabbed the pillows ever harder.
"Better?" she asked.
"Oh yes. Oh yes," Win moaned. "More!" he demanded before Bethany rubbed the rainbow salts in.
"More. ah. Ah! AH," Win crescendoed in fervor and fevered illusion.
The new potion owned him, Bethany knew, as Winslow rolled in post-point stupor to the floor.
When he'd crawled toward his shorts, she bundled the muckily-drenched sheet into a ball and threw it into the corner with the others toppling onto the rug.
Beth fitted the distortions of her colorless body back into the maroon leather-and-suede muumuu he'd brought for her a few months earlier when they'd ridden his street bike into Catesville for a rough afternoon "in the buff" at his private park, an abandoned dry lot near the boundary of downtown Pebsecot City.
"Time?" Danny called from the living room. In answer, Bethany ran broken fingernails on strings of the uke hanging over her desk. "All right," Dan replied as he waved out the window toward the suited figure resting against a jeep stalled on the lawn.