Tonight was the first ever (annual?) Friends of the Library town dance to raise money to pay for the library building’s taxes. I am not good at dancing. I guess. Not really a big fan of it, or them really. I like crowds and I like music in a way, just something about adding it all together… I had a bad experience once. It was bad. Girl running away crying bad.
This dance… Ended better?
I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
I picked up Donna from her house at six o’clock just like we agreed. She lives well, better than I thought she would on a salary from the Mayor’s office. Again, ahead of myself.
She looked gorgeous. Her short brown hair was pulled back and up, ringlets dropping to frame her face. The cream colored sundress had little flowers, bluebells scattered about it. She smiled when she opened the door and I smiled back.
The entire town came out to the town square. A small paparazzi of mothers lined the side of the ticket booth to get pictures of their teenagers, many of whom this was their first dance. A warm up prom, if you can call it that. Less formal and more dancing, but with grownups.
We found Ocean and Daryl near the grills, hot dogs and hamburgers filling trays while customers waited with cash in their hands.
“Donna, you look lovely,” Ocean said, giving me a side glance, “he told you that, right?”
Matter of fact I had not, but in my defense I had not said much on account of being dumb. I believe that is still a valid defense for a male dating in this country.
“Thank you,” Donna said, “You leave Evan alone, he’s being nice just taking me.”
I stood with a grin on my face because I had no other discourse.
“Well, I’m sure it’s his pleasure and he’s very glad to be in this country. Ain’t that right, Evan?,” Ocean raised her voice and started flailing her hands around toward Donna, “Bueno?”
“Okay, okay. Made your point. Donna was nice enough to invite me and I am lucky enough to have her on my arm this evening,” I said, feeling a flush on my cheeks.
“Now,” Ocean said, shaking my elbow, “Was that so hard? Now tell her she’s pretty or I’m not giving you a hot dog.”
“This is getting embarrassing, Kel,” Daryl said, “Y’all have to excuse my wife. She’s just twitterpated by proxy. Also got a babe in’er.”
I looked at Ocean. She looked down, away from my gaze, those deep blue eyes falling away from me.
“Oce?” I said with a grin, “You pregnant?”
Donna clapped and Ocean looked up at me with a grin. We hugged and congratulations and all that.
“Didn’t want to tell you, cause you know about the last time,” she said, wiping a tear, “but yeah, bout two months along.”
We laughed and enjoyed ourselves the rest of the night. When the crowd began to thin, the Harkers, Ocean, Daryl, Donna and I gathered the money boxes and started counting in the library where Ken Harris and the seniors had set up an impromptu haunted house. Total count after all was said and done, five dollars per person plus money for food and drinks and a dollar per for the haunted house totalled to around ten thousand. After paying off food and decorations, there was no way it would be enough to pay the library’s taxes.
“Well, we still got time, right?” Ken said, “We can file for extensions. Put this down for some interest payments.”
“Oh, I think you can put off the judgement,” a voice said from the doorway, “Judgement is forever those who deny The Lord’s people his home, his rightful home.”
Brother Peter Clupper walked into the library, hands out and raised up, “You sinners tried and failed to defy his will, as was expected. Now give Rome its dues and allow me and mine this temple.”
“You are one messed up preacher, you know that Clupper?” Daryl said.
“We don’t need you gloating, Brother Clupper,” I said, “Please if you can go now. Just walk right out before we don’t ask so nicely.”
“You would not dare strike a man of The Lord,” Clupper said, leveling his gaze at me.
“I won’t strike you,” Harker said, “Just throw your crazy ass out. Evan, you want me to throw this crazy assed man out?”
“Clupper, leave,” I said, voice a little lower than before.
“He shouldn’t have to leave if he doesn’t want to,” Mayor William Bilbo said, “Isn’t this a public library?” The man waved his arm to the empty shelves, a politician's smile on his face.
“You, too, mayor. Get out. This is a private party and a closed library.”
“We can tell when we’re not wanted. Right, Pete? And don’t worry, we’ll have you in this place in no time.”
“True enough, William. Donna, come along,” Brother Peter said.
“Yes, daddy. I had a good time, Evan,” Donna said and followed the two men out the door.
Everyone was quiet, staring at the door.
“Did your lady friend just leave with the crazy preacher and the suddenly sinister mayor, who also appear to be working together?”
“Seems that way, Daryl,” I said.
“Life is a mystery,” Daryl said.