(page 3 of 5)
Then Lola noticed something. She suddenly realized the guy currently standing behind the counter at Henry’s Liquors was not Jimmy (the dirty little bastard who refused to cash Lola’s checks), as they had hoped and expected. No. It was Freddy. It was Freddy Bower who they saw through the windows of the store. It was Freddy who stood behind the counter, staring, apparently, into space. Not Jimmy at all. This was an unfortunate development. Freddy and Lola used to be sweethearts. Before Lola and Eddie. Eddie and Lola still fought about Freddy on a regular basis. Eddie didn’t like the way Freddy looked at Lola when they went into Henry’s Liquors for booze or cigarettes. He didn’t like the way they made eyes at each other at the Sunday barbecues. One time a few months earlier Eddie came home from the pretzel factory to find Freddy’s hat sitting on their kitchen table. Lola said that Freddy had stopped by to borrow something, a flashlight. Eddie only half believed her.
Eddie you shouldn’t have shot Freddy.
I told you not to shoot Freddy.
We cant go on like this. I have to leave.
Lola became upset when she saw that it was Freddie behind the counter instead of Jimmy. “Shit,” she said. “Shit. It’s Freddy...”
“So?” Eddie said. Eddie didn’t care that it was Freddy behind the counter. In fact, he was glad. He imagined the look on Freddy’s dumbass face when Eddie shoved his shotgun into it. Freddy would probably get fired, after letting Eddie and Lola make off with all the money and booze and cigarettes. Eddie imagined Freddy’s boss screaming at him, telling him, once and for all, what a useless fuckup he truly was. Eddie smiled to himself, thinking about it.
“Maybe we better come back tomorrow,” Lola said, “when Freddy isn’t here.”
Eddie quickly pointed out that it was too late for that. They had trashed the trailer, had written “FUCK YOU” on the walls with Lola’s lipstick...there was no turning back. They were on the verge of a grand new chapter of their lives. What did it matter if it was Jimmy or Freddy? They would never see either one of them again.
Lola eventually relented, only after Eddie promised, numerous times, that he wouldn’t hurt Freddy.
“Unless I have to...”
“I won’t hurt him,” Eddie said.
Lola stared at Eddie trying to decide if she believed him. “Shit, let’s just do it,” she finally said, “let’s just do it and get the fuck out of here...”
Eddie looked at the shotgun that sat in his lap. He made sure, for the third time in the last three minutes, that it was loaded.
“Okay,” Eddie said, “okay.”
Eddie stepped out of the passenger side of their yellow Datsun and slowly walked across the street toward the liquor store, the shotgun awkwardly concealed beneath his oversized jacket. Halfway across the street he stopped, turned around, and gave Lola a thumbs-up sign.
“Shit,” Lola said.
Lola watched from the car as Eddie walked into the liquor store. She watched as Freddy eyed him with undisguised mistrust the moment he stepped through the door. Eddie walked up and down the aisles, making sure no on else was in the store, just as Lola had told him to do. He eventually stepped up to the counter where Freddy stood. He set down a 12 Pack of Hamm’s in front of Freddy and then pointed to a bottle of something on the wall behind him. Freddy grudgingly turned around to get the bottle. When he turned to face Eddie once more he found a shotgun pointed at his chest.
“O shit,” Lola said.
Eddie and Freddy stared at each other for what seemed to Lola to be a very long time. They began to argue, both of them gesticulating angrily, Eddie keeping the gun pointed in Freddy’s general direction. The arguing went on for a while, Eddie gesturing to the cash register and Freddy angrily shaking his head. Eventually Freddy apparently gave in, for Lola soon saw him taking bundles of cash and rolls of coins from the register and placing them upon the counter. Eddie managed to hold his gun with one hand and scoop the money into the pockets of this jacket with the other.
The Legend of Eddie and Lola continues...