Some Day Suck
Gone! A fourteen-foot truck packed to the tits with geegaws, gowns, and glamour—spirited away. I had parked it right here, less than thirty minutes before, obvious as a zit on a first date, across the street from Hoosier Daddy, the town’s only gay bar. Close, so when I got stuck carrying everything TiaRa del Fuego chose into the dressing rooms backstage, I’d have less of a struggle. I had already been far too butch for a day off. I had planned for a day full of napping, occasional attempts at cleaning, some light reading, and more napping. Then Beau showed up far too early and ever since, I had been far too active for someone of my tender years and with my lack of motivation.
All that splendor had not just walked itself into the van. No, these arms, these legs, and this back had been repeatedly besmirched by physical effort and all were letting their displeasure be known. When I’d pulled up to the bar a few minutes earlier, I wanted, needed, and deserved a drink, possibly two—while I described the glories that awaited in the truck to TiaRa and Suave. Timmy had laid the groundwork and my ebullience had sealed the deal. TiaRa had said she positively hungered for the gowns and baubles. Suave KitTan had declared she already had a plan to sneak a quantity of the lovely things into her store, Suave Delights, while evading the watchful eye of her devoted husband Foxy, who had once again decreed no new stock was allowed until there were sales to match. Suave was always much more interested in acquisition than disposition. All that remained between me and a lovely lie down was the actual hand over. So, we went out to complete the exchange. Simple. But there the truck wasn’t.
“Are you sure you parked it here?” asked TiaRa in much the same tone a mother uses when asking, “Where did you see it last?”
Swallowing my frustration, I managed to contain my impulse to point out that my age and mental abilities had not declined to such an extent that I would have forgotten where I had parked the truck in such a short time. TiaRa, a delicate being, did not deserve snippy replies, despite my rising alarm.
The truck had been either towed or stolen. One possibility was expensive, and the other horrifying. I had just promised the contents to TiaRa and Suave and I hated to disappoint them. Far worse, the truck was actually the property of my latest job. I had only recently been given keys to the shop and knew where the keys to the truck were kept. No one had been at work when Beau’s moving emergency arose. The truck wasn’t scheduled to be used, so I had borrowed it without asking. I just left a note for Brian, the owner. I knew this was generally acceptable. Others had done it, but I was new and hadn’t taken the liberty before. If the truck was in any way damaged, I would be looking for a new job. If it had been stolen, I might be looking for a lawyer. I do not handle stress well. My mouth tends to make talking motions without actually forming words. Tia and Suave looked at me with growing concern.
Maybe the churchies, I thought.
Several adherents of the storefront charismatic church down the block from Hoosier Daddy were always out proving their intolerance by shouting at anyone approaching the bar. Reverend Harry Felcher had moved his congregation of hate mongers from a bankrupt auto-parts store in nearby Martinsville a couple of months ago, to be closer to the sin and cameras of a larger, more tolerant city. Never one to turn down an opportunity to get his picture in the paper or on the news, he and his sycophants had taken to marching a picket line in front of their church, protesting the immoral decadancing and other horrors they were sure went on inside the bar. On Sundays, when the old hobby store that lay between the church and the bar was closed, they tried to extend their picket all the way to Daddy’s front door, but the owners quickly got an injunction.
A red line, painted on the sidewalk clearly announced how far Felcher and his followers could come without being charged with trespass. They were always an irritant, but perhaps they had branched out into car theft. I looked across the street at the odd collection of Southern Indiana inbreds who had nothing better to do on a Thursday afternoon than parade their prejudices, while they worshiped a young man who had spent his short time on the earth mixing it up with twelve other men out in the hot, sweaty sands. They were shuffling in a circle like zombies waiting for the brain buffet to open. None looked devious enough to be hiding a recent felonious act. While a good thief should be able to act innocent, I just could not stretch my view of any one of them to have the ingenuity to break into a truck in broad daylight, hot-wire said truck, and finally drive off with a pile of gowns and homo couture, hide the booty, and hurry back to resume their march to nowhere.
“Perhaps we should return to Daddy’s,” suggested Suave. “Nacho is cooking on the patio and will know what to do.”
Nacho Mama was the proprietor of the café, located inside Hoosier Daddy. A gruff restaurateur of uncertain gender with a penchant for muumuus and cigars, Nacho had mysterious interests, talents, and associations that extended far beyond making the best nachos this side of heaven. Nacho was one of those people you turn to in a crisis.
My mind had overextended itself. Too much had happened too quickly and I could only nod. Suave performed an elegant swivel and headed back to the bar. TiaRa glided after her. I stumbled in their wake.
Passing through the dark bar, past the ever-present line of stool-beperched antique queens, each sucking on a never-empty drink, we turned right, through the curtains, onto the patio and into Nacho’s domain. TiaRa went directly to the kitchen door and knocked. I held my breath. No one disturbed Nacho when the kitchen or office doors were closed. I was fond of TiaRa and did not wish to see her hurt.
Tia knocked again, louder.
“Go away! If I wanted to see anyone, I’d tell ’em,” shouted Nacho
I took a step back.
Tia was untroubled and knocked again. Not one of our group would dare do this, but TiaRa raised her voice to be heard through the door. “It is TiaRa del Fuego, Nacho dear. You are needed.”
Almost immediately the door was flung open and there stood Nacho, with ever-present cigar belching foul-smelling smoke. Nacho’s glare softened. TiaRa was the only person who Nacho treated with anything approaching sweetness. “Oh, Miss Tia. I wasn’t expecting …”
TiaRa waved away the words. I had never heard Nacho come close to apologizing for anything. If I hadn’t been so upset about the box truck and its precious cargo, this would have floored me.
“Nacho, dear,” Tia said. “We seem to have a bit of a problem.”
“I’m busy. Spill it quick.”
Nacho glared at me. “How much did you have to drink, BB?”
Nacho’s gaze was, at the best of times intimidating. However, I knew I was on solid ground. “Only one and it wasn’t strong. I specifically asked for more juice than usual, because I was so parched. You see I have been …”
Nacho held up a hand. “I asked a question that required a one-word answer, not your life story. Are you sure where you parked it?”
Before I could explain, Nacho waved the cigar in my face. “One-word answer BB. Like I said, I’m busy.”
I sighed. “Yes. I’m sure.”
Nacho shrugged. “Call the cops. See if they towed it. I’m guessing you don’t know the license plate number.”
I began to explain that I had borrowed the truck from work, but again a cloud of choking smoke cut me off.
“Call your work. Get the number of the plate. Then call the cops. If it ain’t towed, it can’t be that hard to find a box truck in town. Good thing it’s not the beginning of the semester. There’d be too many to count, with the students moving in.” Nacho turned back to the kitchen. “And don’t feel you have to tell me how it turns out. I don’t care.”
I dithered. “I really hate to call Brian. Technically I didn’t ask him. It’s just that Beau said we had to move fast because Opal’s house had been broken into and he was afraid the crooks would return.”
Nacho stopped and turned. “Opal? You talkin’ about Opal Milbank? The old broad who boinked half the rich guys in the state in her time?”
That surprised me. I hadn’t heard of Opal Hungerford Milbank before that morning, when Beau turned up on my doorstep in the midst of a major meltdown, crying she had been found dead by the police responding to a burglar alarm. That Nacho knew of her opened new avenues of inquiry into both Nacho and the lady in question. I opened my mouth to begin to delve, but Nacho shook the cigar in my face.
“Nuh uh. Stuff those questions back up your butt, BB. I can see them bubblin’ out and in case you forgot, I said I’m busy. You ain’t getting more outta me now. But if the stuff that got stolen belonged to the Milbank broad, there may be more going on than just swiping a truck. Is Roger still out front messing with the churchies?”
I shook my head. “His latest trick showed up a bit before me. They were putting on a show for the churchies. Roger had him bent over the chair and was spanking him and they both were moaning very theatrically. The churchies were heading for the safety of the church before their eyes or souls melted. When I went out to get the stuff from the truck, Roger and his friend were gone and the churchies were back.”
Nacho nodded. “Give him a call first. You’ll screw up his plans for the afternoon, but he’ll only yell for a little while. Then call the police. Give Roger a fifteen-minute lead.”
Nacho turned back to the kitchen. “I’ve still got a place to run and don’t have time for this now. Tell Roger to keep me up-to-date.”
Nacho went back into the kitchen and slammed the door.
We looked at each other. “We shall wait here, BB,” said Suave. “Having us out there will only confuse matters and slow the process. I believe in situations like this, speed is of the essence. Should you need us, we are at the ready.”
TiaRa touched my arm. “Be strong BB. We are not abandoning you. We are creating a more efficient picture for investigation. Suave and I have no extra knowledge, but figuring that out will waste valuable time. I shall call Roger now. He will be more compliant in giving up his recreation if the request comes from me. You go out front, wait fifteen minutes, then call the police.”
I nodded and headed through the curtains, into the dark bar, past the row of old queens, who hadn’t moved except to empty a glass or two, and out to the street where the truck I had borrowed without asking, was no longer waiting for me. I sighed and thought about the ruined promise of a lovely day off and the real possibility of a new job hunt. Some days it just wasn’t a good idea to get out of bed and this was turning out to be the mother of all such days. And it was supposed to have been a pleasant, quiet Thursday.