A Secret Grave 107: No Deal

 

Back in the house, Joe’s driver, Lloyd Peterson, was drinking coffee with Ramona at the kitchen table. There was nothing remarkable about this except in all the years I’d known Ramona, I’d never seen her drink coffee, only Diet Pepsi. I didn’t say anything and we started our goodbyes to Mercer, who’d been with us for the past five days. “Don’t be a stranger now,” Ramona said, hugging the boy. To Lloyd she said, “It was a real pleasure talking to you,” and – did I imagine this? – her cheeks flamed a hot shade of pink as they shook hands goodbye.

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diet pepsi addict

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I pointed this out to her after the men left, Lloyd guiding Joe by the arm, Mercer following with a happy smile on his face. “My cheeks can’t possibly turn pink, Mama. I’m Mexican, remember? That’d be brown.” Since the advent of Trump, we often riffed on the subject of color and ethnicity, but underneath we knew it was no joke – the color of your skin or the tribe you belonged to could get you in trouble if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. “So what’s the deal with you and that driver or bodyguard or whatever he is?” I asked.

“Nothing, no deal,” Ramona said firmly, tossing the remains of her coffee down the sink. But a few days later he called her, asking her out on a date.

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hired driver austin tx

Lloyd Peterson

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Ramona had been single a long time and she liked it that way. She’d divorced her husband in 2007 after twenty years of marriage and hadn’t looked back since, though men – including her divorced husband – were always after her, seeking advice, love, words of wisdom. She had certain prerequisites for any man who wanted to go out with her: they had to be smart with a good sense of humor; they had to be divorced or single, no small children (in fact, better if they had no children at all); they had be earning a decent living or retired with a good income; they had to be Marlboro man handsome and a nice bushy mustache would add beaucoup to the attraction.

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Marlboro man

Marlboro Man Logo – Back Door of Riegels, kristinafh,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Lloyd Peterson was divorced, no kids, probably smart, definitely handsome, not wanting for money, but the sense of humor – that was questionable. “Go out with him anyway,” I urged Ramona. “You have nothing to lose.”

Of course, I had an ulterior motive. I wanted her to find out if Lloyd’s boss, Joe, was as blind as he said he was and what he’d been doing incommunicado in Virginia for ten days.

“I don’t know, Mama. Maybe I’ll just talk to him on the phone awhile, see how he shapes up. I don’t want to waste time on someone who turns out to be a creep.”

Ramona had at least five guys who called her regularly whom she never saw in the flesh. But that was fine; she didn’t have to be with Lloyd in person to get information.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ https://w-dog.net/wallpaper/coffee-cappuccino-foam-heart-cup-spoon-sugar/id/348682/

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