“Fine lookin’ woman in there.” Willie wasn’t really asking, nor was he expecting a response, he just lacked the complex vocabulary to find anything else to say.
Patterson lit his cigarette with a decorative Zippo and mumbled something unintelligible as a reply.
“Damn, if that don’t beat all,” Willie added, admiring the womanly curves now visible from his vantage point behind her.
Through the picture windows the three – really the two, since Patterson Malone didn’t gives two shits about what was going on inside – could see the woman talking to Doc Brown, and they could hear bits of the conversation. That’s when Del noticed a distinct lack of presence at the far the end of the bar.
“Where the hell is Miles?” asked Del.
“He left,” mumbled Patterson, not looking up. “He ran out of there like he heard his house was on fire.”
“Sonuva bitch,” said Del settling into a chair on the porch and lighting a cigarette. Willie allowed himself one more longing glance through the window at the bar before sitting down and lighting a cigarette as well.
“Well, yer choices are a bit limited tonight,” said Doc Brown. “But I’d be happy tah give you the nickel tour.”
“I was here three months ago,” she said, annoyed. “With my family. There was a man here, he… he had a seizure of some kind. You can’t have forgotten him.”
Doc Brown turns away and continues drying dishes. “Sorry, miss, he ain’t been here since. And if’n you ain’t gon’ order nothin’ then I got nothing for ya.”
“Could you tell me where he lives?” she asked. “Where I can find him?”
Doc Brown looked down, unable to meet her gaze. “It ain’t mah place to say,” he replied. “Doctor-patience privilege, ‘n all that.”
Doc shuffled away, focused intently on drying glasses. The few remaining men in the bar refuse to make eye contact. Karen looked around, desperately.
“Please, it’s important,” she said. “I need to find him. Can’t anybody here tell me anything?”
Still outside smoking, Willie and Del could hear the woman’s raised voice.
“Please, anybody! Somebody here knows him! I need to know where he is! I need to know what he knows!”
Doc Brown leaned in and addressed the woman quietly.
“Best just leave that man alone, y’hear? He ain’t right inna head. But if’n you just gonna make a fuss, I’m canna do nothing for ya.”
The woman’s face fell. She turned for the door, deflated and dejected.
“Sorry to bother you. I’m sorry…”
The woman walked outside. Patterson watched her leave, then ground his cigarette butt under his heel and walked back inside. Del and Willie sat and watched her, smoking in silence. Del scowled and Willie shook his head in disbelief.
Karen was halfway to her car when Del shouted to her.
“Lady,” he cried. “Hey, Lady!”
Karen stopped and turned around.
“You looking for that sonuvabitch Miles? Yeah, he was just here. Bolted with his tail between his yellow legs.”
Karen’s eyes grew wide. “Miles?”
“Lives next the abandoned Auto Parts store on Del Ray,” Del continued. “Big goddamn sign.”
Karen bolted for her car as Del continued to shout, his arms flailing wildly.
“You tell him he’s in for a beatin’! That boy’s gonna wish he was never born!”
The wheels on the blue Impala spun in the gravel, spitting rocks and dirt as the woman peeled out of the lot.
“There goes one well-built chassis,” said Del.
“The car was pretty nice-looking, too,” said Willie, and they both chuckled.
The dust settled in the parking lot as they both sat in silence, absorbing the excitement of the evening, cigarettes dangling from their mouths. After a minute, Willie turned to his brother.
“Del, you alright to drive?”
Del shook his head. “Nope. You?”
Willie pondered this a moment. “You wanna git another round?”
A slow smile crossed Del’s face.