“Got the trifecta,” Mary said to Bill.
“What do you mean?”
They were downstairs changing early Tuesday morning the week after Bill and Alfreda had driven back together from Suburban West.
Mary was in her bra and slip. Bea was in her bra and slip. Bill was stripped down to his skivvies.
“You don’t think she wasn’t gonna tell us, did you?” Bea said. She let out her throaty chuckle. “Gotta love them white boys, don’t you?” she said to Mary.
“Lord have Mercy,” Mary said. “Only a matter of time till Henry Lee finds out. Bill Wynn, I hope you can fight.”
“I didn’t have a choice,” Bill said.
Bea laughed even louder. She sat down on the chair they all stood around. “Come here boy.” She motioned for Bill to come close to her. “Me and Mary been talking about it. Don’t know how we’re gonna stop him from finding out.”
“Basically, she blackmailed me,” Bill said. “She said if I didn’t get with her she’d tell him I did stuff to her.”
“So you didn’t want to?” Mary said.
“I didn’t say that. I said I tried not to. I told her I didn’t want to. She said it was payback for all the stuff he does.”
“Don’t blame her for that,” Bea said.
“Me neither,” Mary said. “Meanwhile what we gonna do about this?”
“Nothing,” Bea said. “Not for now. Me, I’m just gonna keep having fun with the vanilla ice cream. What about you Mary?”
“I’m done with all this. I’m taking myself out of it. I don’t want to be part of what’s coming.”
“How about a uniform?” Bill said.
“How about you give me some?” Bea said.
“Goddamn it, Bea,” Mary said. “Give him a uniform.”
“I like it in the morning,” Bea said.
“I do too,” Mary said. “But you don’t see me making it worse.”
“Now that Eleanor gone, the boy must be lonely. You lonely, boy?” Bea spread her legs and pulled off her panties. She lifted one foot to the edge of the chair so everyone had a clear view of what there was to see. “Well, boy? You lonely.”
“I just want to go to work,” Bill said.
Bea started rubbing herself. “Well, go to work,” she said.
“I’m out of here,” Mary said. She took her own kitchen dress from the uniform closet, put it on quickly then threw Bill a pair of uniform pants. Finished dressing, she headed to the stairs. “You two gonna rot in hell,” she said on her way up.
“You believe that?” Bea asked.
“No,” Bill said. “Not at all.”
“Good. Me neither.”
“You know we can’t keep this up,” Bill said.
“Sooner or later we’ll get caught.”
“You think they don’t know? You think Tommy don’t stay away from us down here on purpose?”
“You telling me he knows?”
“Boy,” Bea said, ”you young and fun and pretty, but you sure are stupid.”
Bill flushed full red in the face. “I have a college degree,” he finally managed.
“That don’t mean nothing,” Bea said.
Bill thought about it a moment. She was right, he decided. Here, in the kitchen world, college degrees didn’t mean anything. What you could do with your hands and how you could handle the orders during a rush meant everything. Being smart was different from being educated. Bill knew he was educated. He also knew that compared to Mary, Bea and Henry Lee he wasn’t so smart. Maybe he could get smart, he thought to himself. But it sure wasn’t gonna happen while he and Bea were getting in on in the downstairs bathroom.
Due to several personal commitments, Coming Now In About Another Month:
The Ghost Writer, Rose’s Story: A Look At The Worlds We Hide