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Her or She
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Merrill was prepared this time. James had done what he’d asked. Given a warning. Merrill was warned and ready. Not that his brother was such a bad guy, but Merrill told his group about being vulnerable right now. He was damn shaky and his brother didn’t in any way help that. So he’d set up his day to keep things even. Go to the job. Had his plan for dinner. He’d started making casseroles like a 1950s housewife. Tonight shepherds pie with lots of creamy mash pots on top. Leftovers enough for a few days. He’d ration his brother, who always came empty handed.

But he’d made a new rule on that too. Bring toilet paper and enough snacks for however long you plan on staying. No alcohol, no drugs, etc. James had always respected that but not much else.

An hour later, on time, James burst through the door, big smile on his face. What a clown. “Hey, I’m following the rules, bro. Exactly.” He held a big bag in his arms. “More than just TP in here. Snacks and they had hamburger on sale. I got us that too. Plus Cheez Its.”

Merrill loved Cheez Its and was touched. “Thanks. Put the stuff away—in the right place, please.”

“Please. Wow, who is this new person. I like it.”

“You might try it as well. Please, thank you.”

James laughed. “What that phrase. Slam, damn, thank you ma’am.”

Merrill groaned. “I don’t think that’s it but speaking of which that girl from California somehow tracked you down to me. Which pisses me off. Don’t be using my number or address..”

“She did? What she say?’

“I just got a message asking if I was your brother.”

“Well, did you call her back?”

“Hell no. I’m not stepping in your shit, speaking of that.”

James banged around in the kitchen putting things away like he’d been told. He’d bought some of the fancy soda water and offered some to Merrill. Wow, she found me. He felt a little rush inside, A little thing between his legs. “Hmmm. Think I should call her. Sound like I should call her?”

His brother laughed. “How the hell would I know? I’m learning to leave other people’s stuff to them. I’m not touching this one. She’s your problem.”

But she might not be, thought James. The smell of her hair. Her artificially white teeth. Her hips. “Yeah, I just might.”

“She’s not coming here. Ever.”

“She’d like it here in the desert.”

“Get your own piece of desert. This is mine.”


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