Episode Two – Etta (continued)

Susannah never used to be so dumb. Actually, she used to be smart. Then she went and fell in love with the greasy haired monkey wrench working down at Irvine’s Auto Wreckers and ever since she’d been making a metric shit ton of asinine moves. Things have fallen to shambles. The drunken debauchery I could handle. Hell, I even understood. But running off to Vegas with the degenerate she thinks she loves has me madder than a rabid dog and I set to shoving every article of clothing I have into a duffel bag.

Eddie saunters into the room and his eyes widen at the mess I’ve made. He’s holding a cup of coffee and the last crueler from the box of donuts I took from work.

“I like your outfit,” he says, eyeing the fuck out of my bra and panties.

“Shut up, Eddie.”

“What happened up here?”

“What the hell does it look like?”

“At this point, baby, I don’t have a clue. Clothes bomb?”

Planting my hands on my hips, I give him my world-famous ‘don’t annoy me’ glare. “I’m going after her.”

“The hell you are. I left you alone to take a bath and calm the fuck down, not hatch some hot-headed plan to get yourself in trouble.”

“Susannah is out there and I need to—”

“She’s going to be fine, Etta.” Oh, I hate it when he cuts me off. “Your sister’s a smart cookie, just like you.”

Now he’s gone and done it. “She’s not acting like me,” I snap. “The drugs. Torching all those cars. Stealing from her work. This isn’t my sister.”

“She’s grieving.”

“It’s time that excuse is laid to rest along with Daddy, God rest his soul. It’s time to bounce back and push through. If he knew what she is getting up to these days, he’d die all over again. She’s disgracing the Boyd name. It’s gone too far.”

He watches me pull on a pair of black jeans and white t-shirt. “What exactly are you going to do?”

I sling the duffel bag over my shoulder. “I’m gonna thwart her little joyride, that’s what I’m gonna to do.”

The last thing I need is for Susannah to end up missing, dead or kidnapped and leave me really truly alone in this fucked up world. I intend to drag her back to Arkansas by her hair if I have to. Lock her in the trunk. Bind and gag her. Any means necessary. It’s what Daddy would have done.

I push past Eddie and, as I thump down the stairs, I say, “She’s seventeen and she’s coming home.”

It doesn’t matter how tired I am, how many hours I’ve worked this week, or how much I need sleep. Determination pushes me forward. The garage doors creak in protest as I pull them open. When I flick on the overhead light, Candy gleams in front of me. I’ve kept up with her weekly washing and waxing. She gets better treatment than I do. Shit, I don’t remember the last time I waxed. Poor Eddie.

Opening the driver’s side door, I sink into the bucket seat and feel right at home. Daddy’s favorite red toy is all mine. I check the glove box for the Beretta. She’s there, winking at me cheekily. I’m good to go. The passenger door opens and Eddie slides in. I give him a look as if to say what-the-hell-do-you-think-you’re-doing?

“There’s no way in hell I’m letting you loose on the world without someone to rein you in.”

“Well, I guess we’re taking a road trip then,” I say.

He waves my words away, his brow etched deep with frustration. “Like there’s any way I can stop you.”

Truth. Once I make my mind up, there’s no unmaking it.

Funny how tired you can be one moment and the next you’re so amped up you’re ready to take on the world.

It’s nearing two o’clock and the road is calling.

Page Two

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