By Ron Mexico
LA CHULA, Texas - "Had the love been real?" Rachel was asking as she fought back a king-sized desire to pull the trigger. It was almost dark and the silver-blue reflection of her pistol coming off the motel mirror threw a rather lovely light on Patrick's head. He wanted no part of dying, but now believed he'd likely go quickly, some brightened, blooming cloud of smoke being the last thing he'd ever see. Rachel pushed her arm forward and ran a hand through his tussled hair. It was an ending, Patrick was driven to say. This drew a snicker of sorts from Rachel, who then said, "I'm gonna hate not seeing that hair ever again." Her fingers worked his scalp and Patrick could only nod in agreement. It wasn't confirmation of her loss, no. He thought of the saddle he'd ordered for his horse, and how now who'd pick it up?
"Was it something I did?" he asked, moving his neck a bit to loosen the rope she'd tied around it and then to a chair where she had thrown their clothing. Naked and tied and having a gun to his head felt too-Cuban, he thought. But, then, Rachel had walked out of her jeans and panties and now sat at the end of the saggy motel bed wearing only a yellow halter top, her legs crossed but not so that he couldn't see her luxuriant patch of auburned pubic hair. She cleared her throat and he waited on her reply. Had anyone else been in the room and asked Patrick why he would ask such a thing, Patrick would have said, "I take it she's had me followed..."
"Nope," Rachel threw out.
"Then, what's this all about?"
"Just," she told him.
He wanted to ask, but he knew her well-enough to know that dancing around the Mulberry bush was Rachel's specialty, the one thing everyone in town would have said about her anyway. Instead of chasing a losing angle to a falling conversation, he chose to say: "Why don't you sing me a song?"
"You're naked!" she shot back, frowning.
There was little to make of that, and so he decided that perhaps silence would bring something telling, something he'd be able to assess and hash-out with her. Dying seemed a waste. Dying naked was crazy, not that he'd never thought of it, except that when he had it had been about perhaps dying while making hard love to some energetic young thing unable to satisfy herself before dawn.
"Do you love me, Patrick?" Rachel asked next.
He laughed softly and then said, "I love trick questions..."
Rachel cocked the gun and stared at him. Patrick smiled.
"No, don't smile," she growled. "Stop it! Frown! Stop smiling at me. It makes me want you..."
Patrick raised his head and back as high as they would go. Rachel stiffened her arm and kept the pistol inches from his head. Would she fire, he asked himself. There was little else to say here two hours into his capture. Patrick reached back far into the recesses of his brain for something from their past to maybe bring Rachel to her senses. She was a sucker for memories and, of course, he knew she could recall every little lovely thing he'd ever whispered in her ear.
"May I see your breasts?" he said and, at hearing that, Rachel lowered the gun...
- 30 -