“Stop it. Get in. I need to talk to you.”
A car came up behind him, and the driver leaned hard and long on his horn.
I could see Keefer wasn’t going to move and that might soon create even more trouble, so I got into the truck and he drove on.
“I’m sorry about what happened back there, but I never told you I was a saint, Robin. Did I?”
“And I never thought you were one, either,” he said.
That made me laugh.
“There are a few people who would agree with that,” I said.
“The truth is, I got drunk and she came in, teasing me like she always does. I feel bad about it because I know she did it because she was jealous and just wanted to hurt you, and I let her do it.”
“You didn’t even call to see what happened to me today,” I fired back at him.
“I know. I was thinking of it, but I got drunk.”
“Why did you get so drunk during the day?” I asked. From what I could see, Keefer was usually very reliable when he was working. He was good at what he did and he took pride in the results.
“Izzy gave me some bad news today. He’s selling the shop. The new owner is going to take over in about a month, and I’m out. He said his wife was tired of them livin‘ here, and he was going to work with his brother in Florida.”
“So? You were planning on leaving someday anyway, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, but after I had some money saved. You don’t just pick up and go without enough money. I might not get a job that quick, and you need to put down money for rent or a hotel, and you got to have travel money.”
“What about your sister?”
“I can’t ask her for anything. She’s just getting by as it is. I can tell. Besides, I don’t want to live off someone else. I want to be on my own.”
“I don’t have any money, or I’d give it to you,” I said, and I meant it.
“Thanks. I believe that.”
We were both quiet for a while, both staring ahead at the traffic.
“I’m really sorry about Charlotte Lily. We went together once. I always knew she was toying around with me. She can’t be serious about anyone. Her family is well off and she lives in a nice house and all, but she’s always unhappy and always out to make someone who is happy unhappy.
“Talk about being stupid, that’s me. I let her manipulate me. She’s like a devil or somethin‘, comin’ in just when I’m feelin‘ sorry for myself,” he said. “And then the luck of it all with you poppin’ over just at that time. Damn.”
“I guess I have no right to think I own you or anything, Keefer. We made no promises, and as to finding you with her, well, I’m not one to think she can judge someone else. However,” I added after a short pause, “I will confess it hurt.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Really,” he said. “I ain’t never gonna have anything to do with her again. She might have nice clothes and jewelry and all, but she’s a tramp compared to you.”
“I won’t go that far,” I said, and then shook my head, “but I’ll let you.”
“So, tell me what happened today. You’re out on the street, so I guess they didn’t sentence you to prison.”
“I’m on two years’ probation.”
“Ah, that don’t mean nothin‘,” he said. “Half the city is on probation. You hungry?”
“Starving,” I said.