I sat on quite possibly the ugliest couch I’d ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting on, next to a beaming bearded man I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable with.
“Hello!” A voice sung. The waitress from the diner twirled out of the kitchen of the quaint house at the end of a block the bearded man brought me to, holding a tray of cookies. Setting the plate before us I leaned in and took a whiff. Yup, freshly baked all right.
“I’m sorry,” I began.
“Don’t be!” The old man slapped me on the back. “It’s not your fault you have such lousy taste in women. You can never tell the difference between the normal ones and the ones carrying an AK-47 in their back pocket, if you know what I mean.” He elbowed me roughly.
“Actually,” I said. “I was going to say I’m sorry I don’t know your names.”
The two looked at each other in surprise. “That’s true,” the waitress said. “We don’t know your name either.”
“Santa is the brand,” the old man reached over and gripped my hand, giving it a good manly squeeze.
“I’m Jezebel, but you can call me Bonnie.” The waitress smiled.
“Mike.” I stated lamely. Taking a bite of a cookie I found it to be delicious. I suddenly became painfully aware I’d missed breakfast and grabbed another. “I didn’t expect to see you two still together.” I said between bites.
“Why wouldn’t we be together?” The waitress asked, sitting in a chair across from us.
“Why are you still together?” I looked between the two with that odd feeling growing in my stomach.
They looked at one another with smiles. They went back and forth in hushed tones. No, you tell him sort of lines. Finally a voice, I can’t remember who it came from, spit it out. “We got married!”
“… What?” The waitress held up her left and, sure enough, a small silver ring glinted on her finger. “It’s been a day,” I managed to get out. “It’s literally been a day.”
“Young love,” Santa smiled. “You know how it goes bub,”
“You’re, like, a hundred years old…”
“We thought it was about time.” The waitress nodded.
“It’s been a day!” I exclaimed.
“A lot has happened,” Santa reasoned.
“You got married!”
“We did,” they cooed in unison, sending each other googly-eyes. I gagged. Santa courteously patted me on the back. “We wanted to thank you for introducing us.” Bonnie continued.
“But enough about us,” he said. “What have you done with yourself all this time?” I raise an eyebrow and ate another cookie, not sure what to say. “Come on,” Santa prodded me.
Sighing, I told the whole story from beginning to end. The chase after the diner blowup, wandering around the city, Shorty catching me, the other Mike wanted for bank robbery, the bounty, and Annette. Silence hung in the air.
“Wow,” Bonnie rested her head in her hands. “That’s so… unfortunate.”
“That reminds me of a story,” Santa chimed in.
“Not now dear, can’t you see Mike needs help?” Santa drew back sullen. Bonnie thought hard. “Why don’t you just catching this man yourself? You don’t have a job; you could become a bounty hunter!” She sat back, awful proud of herself. I thought and thought and thought about it, staring at the floor in concentration. Santa and Bonnie slowly leaned forward in anticipation. I blinked and looked up.
The front window to Santa and Bonnie’s house exploded in a shower of glass. Through the hail a figure leapt through the opening. A flash of floral yellow gave way to caramel skin. The woman, Annett, hung midair, suspended in time as I gazed up at her. She drew her arm back and slugged me with brass knuckles, knocking me out cold.