Oops, I did it again…  Skip on over here to read it at Channillo.com.

Here’s a taste…


“Well, that’s done, at least,” Mason said, sliding into the seat next to Jack.  “Didn’t take as long as I thought it would,” he said, checking the time on his new phone.  “We’ve still got about an hour before we meet Debbie back at her place.  How about we grab something to eat?”

Jack shook his head, “Damn, Mason… is food all you think about?”

“What can I say,” he said, patting his stomach, “I’m a growin’ boy.”

Jack watched his friend with fascination.  He’s able to make anything sound like a trip to the beach.  He couldn’t count the number of times Mason had pulled him out of a blue funk so debilitating Jack hadn’t bothered to eat for days at a time.  The man had become the one true constant in his life, dragging him through the muck that was his existence  If he hadn’t been there after Beth and Riley…  Jack couldn’t think about food, though.  There was a hunger in his belly for something besides meat and potatoes, and he feared feeding one would wake the other.

“So,” Mason said, slapping his thigh, “what’s the news you couldn’t share with Deb?”

Jack nodded to the cabbie, then said to Mason, “Maybe here’s not so good, either.”

“Hey, Sohrab,” Mason said to the cab driver, “how’s about you introduce my friend here to Willie’s?”  He turned to Jack, “You’re gonna love this place!”

“No problem,” the man said over his shoulder.  “Like I said, it’s your dime.”

Jack’s brow furrowed, and he said to Mason, “How much have you paid this guy to hang around?”

“Standard rate,” he said, and then winked.  “Plus a fat tip.”

“I’ve never known you to carry much cash.  You must have hit the ATM like I did.”

“Oh yeah,” Mason said with a wink.  “I figured we wouldn’t have the ability to use our credit cards much longer.”

Jack nodded his approval.  He had been afraid to visit more than one machine, but he had grabbed the limit from his savings, and still had over four hundred left.

“How much did you get?”

Mason leaned closer, and whispered, “Only about five grand.”

“Holy shit, Mace!” he said, leaning away, eyes wide.  “Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack,” Mason said, thumping his chest with a fist.  He laughed, and said, “Sohrab took me on a nice path pointing due North while I hit up about ten ATM’s for cash.  If anyone checks, they’ll think I’m headed to Canada.”

“Son of a bitch,” Jack said, disgusted with himself.  “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?”

“How much did you get?”

“Never mind,” Jack said, now more depressed than ever.  The cab bounced once as it turned off the road and into the parking lot of Willie’s.

“Don’t worry, buddy,” Mason said, patting Jack on the back.  “My treat.”  He said to the driver, “You want anything?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“C’mon, Jack,” Mason said, opening his door, “you’ll love this place.  Almost as good as home.”

Jack sneered.  He shared Mason’s disdain for barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  “I seriously doubt that.”

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