J.T. answered the knock on his door and said, “You look like a butler, Frankie.” He offered this odd greeting to the tall dark man in a tuxedo and when he looked from Frankie to his date he emitted a long whistle and added, “So that must make you Miss Scarlet, Chantelle?”
“Good job, J.T.!” Chantelle answered, returning his kiss. “Where’s my drink, hunkie?”
“Well hello to you too,” he laughed. “Coffin cooler is in the kitchen. Joe and Misty are in there with Thelma.”
J.T. manned the front door of the condominium he shared with Thelma and welcomed the descending horde while Frankie and Chantelle made their way to the kitchen and the Halloween coffin cooler. J.T. hadn’t even shut the door when more Challenge Cyclery employees appeared in clothing appropriate for a costume party. “Oh my Lord!” J.T. hollered and then added, “Thelma! Thelma, come look at what Brad’s wearing. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy.”
Thelma rolled her eyes to the two couples in the kitchen, kissed Frankie and Chantelle’s cheeks and said, “Keep one cold for me. I’ll be back in a minute,” and then seeing Brad in his get up exclaimed, “Oh no! Not in my house! I don’t think that thing is even house broken!”
When Wadsworth and Miss Scarlet entered the kitchen Joe’s eyes bulged at the sight of Chantelle in her skintight dress. The gown accented two of her most prominent physical assets and Misty whispered to him, “Easy, tiger” and then added a gentle elbow poke to the ribs. “You forgot your drool bib,” she said with a big smile.
Frankie greeted Joe and then made introductions. “Joe. Good to see you. Misty, have you met Chantelle? Misty, Chantelle, Chantelle, Misty.”
“Hi, Misty,” the voluptuous woman said as she extended her hand, “I’ve heard a lot about you from Joe.”
“Nice to meet you, Chantelle. Frankie, looking dapper.”
“Yes,” Frankie responded, “thank you. Sometimes I have a clue.”
“Oh, Lord!” Misty exclaimed in response to his word play. “Not you too!” she lamented.
Joe said, “Chantelle is the gal I told you about that likes how I reply to requests to speak to someone. She’ll call and say. ‘May I speak to Frankie, please,’ and I’ll answer with, ‘Who may I say is calling,’ and then she’ll say something like-”
“‘The Pope.’ Or, ‘Frank Sinatra.’ It’s our routine, isn’t it, Joey?”
“Yep. That’s the way my mama told me to ask so that’s the way I do it. I had a guy I used to work with named Frank Dauphin who always thought it was funny when I said, ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that.’ He’d say something like, ‘Afraid! Afraid? What do you mean afraid?” He was born in Haiti and some of my speech patterns confused him.
“I love your costume by the way,” he added, speaking to Chantelle.
“Oh! Why thank you! Frankie and I figured boobs or gore are the best way to win a costume contest and we went with boobs.”
“You certainly did,” he replied, doing his best to keep his eyes on hers.
“You’re funny! I like the tin-man and Dorothy! Simple but imaginative,” she added. “Anything new? Any job news?”
As the apartment filled with revelers the kitchen became more crowded and Joe had to raise his voice to be heard over the other party goers. “Not really. I filled out a lot of paperwork and got on the list of substitute teachers for some of the local schools. J.T. said that now that it’s as a good as November it wouldn’t be a problem if I missed some days of work so I figured substitute teaching might be a perfect way to get my foot in the door.”
“Can’t hurt, can it? What grades?”
“I was telling Misty earlier that I can substitute for anything but I just put down the elementary schools within biking range. We’ll see.”
“Well, good luck. Hey! You know what? I have an old friend, Nick Hayes who teaches special ed at a school over by the Challenge Cyclery East location and he has a devil of a time getting subs. Do you want me to give him your number?”
“Uhm, sure? What school? I may not be signed up for it.”
“I’ll have to ask. I know it’s in Cobb County. Can’t be half a mile from Rick’s shop.”
“Oh. Then I probably did list that one. I remember seeing one that was just west of there. That’d be great! Special ed though, huh? I guess anything’s better than nothing.”
“It’s for kids with behavior problems. I think he calls it BD teaching? I know he has a ton of teacher’s aides because he swears some of them should be on the meds the kids are on.”
“Wow, you make this sound better all the time.”
“I don’t have to give him your name if you don’t want.”
“Hmmm. No, please do. Foot in the door, right?”
“Right,” Chantelle replied. “Hey, look! Jell-O shots! Want one?”
Frankie’s head turned from his tête-à-tête with Misty when the words “Jell-O shots” were spoken. “Jell-O shots? Really? Nice. Excuse me a second would you, Misty? Suddenly I feel like Jell-O would be a perfect dessert.”
“Jell-O what?” Joe asked.
“You are kidding, right?” Frankie replied. “You have got to try these! Amazing!”
Misty looked at Joe and shook her head, “We really need to get out more, don’t we? Try a Jell-O shot, they’re delicious. Just remember though, each of those is a drink, hotshot and you said you’d drive home tonight.”