Please accept my story the Weekly Writing Challenge, Find A Muse In The Masters.
Rachael listened, waiting. There was always because. Guys always had because. But, Bill kept wiping coffee cups. Like he was hypnotized, or something. Guys did screwy things at 3 AM.
“Get your friend, here, Rachael,” Jack said. He rolled his eyes. “No big last night out, sonny?” Jack just wouldn’t leave him alone. “No big blow out? Just work your shift and show up?”
“That’s about it, Mister.” He checked my coffee, but never met my eyes. Then he started wiping everything down. “What can I do? Just a little wheel in their big machine, brother.”
“Last night before you go in, and you’re working?” Jack’s laugh sounded more like barking. “You should’ve taken your girl to the movies or something. Me and Rachael went to Sergeant York. Pretty good, wasn’t it, Rachael? Lot of laughs. What do you think Rachael? Is this kid nutty, or what?”
“Nothing makes any sense, Jack,” she sad. “Can you just leave him alone?” She couldn’t look at Bill. Instead, she put her hand on his, and traced along his fingers. She had wanted to see Dumbo. Instead, she did what Jack wanted, just like always. She sat there, feeling bad for Gracie, while Gary Cooper went left her. “It’s not like you’re staying. Going to Mexico and all.”
“New Mexico, baby,” he said. He let her play with his left hand, and didn’t seem to notice when she brushed his ring. “Gallup.”
“I guess I forgot,” she said. When she first saw him, she knew. He whistled. She came. “Why Indians?”
“How do I know?” he said. He pulled his hand away. “Know anything about New Mexico, Rich?”
“Nothing, Captain, just like last time you asked,” he said. She still didn’t understand why he sat so far away. “Got my orders and my train ticket to Gallop. Civilian clothes. Meet Mr. Johnston. Deliver his Indians to Pendleton.”
“I don’t get it,” Jack said. He grunted and turned to her. “What kind of nutty deal is that?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” she said. She had stopped trying to make sense out of anything. And Marines never made sense, not any that girls could understand. She put her hand in his. “How about we go up to my place?”
“Thought you said Jean was home.” Jack glanced up and winked. Rich smiled. Bill edged away. “Wouldn’t want to wake her—”
“She’s…out,” Rachael said. She squeezed his hand. She felt her face heating. Why did Jack make her do this? Why did she always give in? “Please?”
“Sure, baby, why not?” Jack said. He dropped several coins. They rang as they danced in little circles over scars and cigarette burns. Finally, they fell over and stopped. Taking her arm, he tugged her out of her chair, his breathing was faster. “See you around, sonny. Got to see my little filly home.”
When he slipped his arm around her, she leaned in, feeling his eagerness. She wished she could share it. Wished it could last forever.
Instead, she felt sad. Sad for the whole lousy world. For Bill. For Jack. For her. Why did everyone get such stinking, crummy deals. Maybe, just for tonight, she could forget. She just couldn’t stand to be alone, not since Harry went missing after Manila fell.