The heat was rising in Mary. The Black Beauty had perked her up some and along with Mr. Jim she’d started in on the afternoon’s work. But on one trip to the storeroom she’d stopped into the meat room for a drink of the bourbon. That had brought her down several octaves and she was thinking another Quaalude would do wonders. Or at least that’s what Bill found out when he sat next to her in their lunch booth.

Normally one of them would do orders, usually Mary, if any came in while they were eating. Sometimes Bill ran off to the liquor store while they ate too. Today, Mr. Jim stayed in the kitchen and worked ahead for Mary. Bill sat next to her and Bea and Henry Lee were across the table. Henry Lee and Bea were fooling around, kind of like kids did. They ate and then they slapped at each other. Henry Lee, in a fun mood, took a good feel of Bea’s hefty tits, but it wasn’t sexual at all, just a “so there.” But Bea reciprocated. She reached under the table and took a feel of him. He slapped her hand away. She persisted until she had copped a good feel. Then they took bites of their food and just slapped at each other.

Mary, very quietly, reached under the table and settled her hand in Bill’s lap. As she did so, she asked him if he had any more Quaaludes. Bill said yes, but he wasn’t giving her any. If anything, he told her, she could have another upper.

Mary got huffy. She nibbled on her sandwich, one Bill had made for her. She liked her roast beef well done on a hamburger bun with tomato and mayonnaise. Bill had piled the meat on and made what he thought was a grand sandwich.

“I ain’t too hungry,” she said as she quietly fondled him under the table.

“It’s the uppers,” Bill said. “Drink a beer and we’ll take some bourbon after we eat. But you got to eat. It’s time for you to be coming down off the stuff.”

“You shouldn’t be giving her nothing,” Henry Lee said.

“Just worked out this way,” Bill answered.

“We old school,” said Bea. “We drink, and maybe we smoke some weed. But them drugs you white boys do…”

“What you mean you white boys?” Bill asked.

“Well,” Bea said, “you white boys got money and you do all them drugs.”

“I look like I got money?” Bill moved Mary’s hand away from his lap and slid slightly away from her. “What you think? You think we all got money and shit? You think cause we white we can’t be poor?”

“Ain’t the same,” Bea said. “Even if you poor white, you still got opportunity. Blacks ain’t’ got no opportunity.”

“That’s bull shit,” Bill said. “I saw plenty of blacks at the university and they had plenty of opportunity, same opportunity as me.”

“That ain’t real,” Bea said. “Anyways your white pushers sell us cheap heroin and keep us messed up. We stay high, we don’t get uppity.”

“Ain’t nothing worse than an uppity nigger,” Henry Lee said. He laughed. “That’s what I was when I stabbed that white bastard. He started the shit, drew his knife thinking he was going to kill me. Didn’t work out that way. Didn’t matter though. They didn’t charge him. Only me. Only me and only I went to jail for it, for protecting myself. It was self-defense. And I lost my damn leg too.”

“You should have killed him,” Bea said.

“Damn right I should have.”

“Listen to you two,” Mary said. “Yeah, you should have killed him. And you’d have been in jail for life. Your kids wouldn’t know their daddy. You wouldn’t be getting no pussy from Marie.”

“Oh, you gotta go there, huh?”

“Look where you two going,” Mary said.

“Where we going?” Bea said.

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