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Greyhound BusAfter thanking the driver John and Loki made their way off of the bus and headed for Jackson’s Greyhound/ Union Station terminal. They darted inside to escape the cool weather and for Loki to determine her next bus’s parking slot. “John, it’s been real nice riding with you,” Loki said as she checked her connection’s departure time. “I got a little more’n an hour before I need to get on my bus. You want to grab a quick bite? My treat?”

“You don’t have to buy me-“ John began but Loki cut him off.

“I know I don’t have to; I want to. You really saved me from a long and boring ride with all that O. Henry book of yours. Consider it fair value for the entertainment you provided?”

“I don’t know that I’d call it ‘fair value’ but that’s awfully nice of you. Let me slip into the bathroom and I’ll meet you out here in a minute?”

“Sounds like a plan. I could use the little girl’s room myself: Be right out.”

John’s ‘right out’ was quicker than Loki’s and he leaned against a wall as he looked around the terminal. He could see Gli’s restaurant from where he leaned and while it didn’t seem particularly enticing it had the extra value of being convenient. John scooted over to check out the menu which he discovered consisted of Mexican items like tacos and burritos as well as hamburgers, all at fairly low prices

When he started walking back toward the restrooms he saw that Loki had exited the women’s room and was looking around the immediate vicinity, presumably for him. He waved his left arm in the air and called out, “Loki!”  soto voce.

Loki’s head turned first one way and then the other. When she spotted John she smiled, waved and walked toward him. “I was wondering if you were in there laying a deuce.”

“Uhmmm, no. I was just checking out Gli’s. Looks like they have fast food; Mexican, burgers, fries: That work?”

“Oh, I’m not picky,” Loki answered. “If it works for you, it works for me.”

They walked up to the counter and after looking at the wall board that listed Gil’s offerings Loki ordered a beef and bean burrito and a sweet ice tea. “Uhm, I’d like the same,” John said, “except make my tea unsweetened please.”

Loki turned her head and looked at him with squinty eyes. “Unsweetened tea? You should just wear a big ole sign that shouts Yankee on your back,” she said, shoving him gently with her shoulder.

“Oh, I’ll add sugar, I just don’t need my spoon to stand up all by itself.”

“That’s the best part!” Loki insisted. “Besides, adding sugar after the tea’s been brewed is a sorry way to sweeten your tea. Yankee,” she added with a wink.

They took the burritos and drinks to a booth against a wall that was located adjacent to an electric wall plug and shoved their two bags to the inside of their respective benches. “Here,” Loki said pulling out her phone, “let me plug this in and then we can eat.” She used her charging adapter to get juice flowing into her battery while John put the food and drinks in front of them and grabbed napkins. “Thanks,” Loki said as he handed her napkins, straw and plastic ware. “I’m a little peaked.”

“Yeah, no problem,” John produced a small snort that was intended as a laugh. He then hung his head briefly, quickly crossed himself and silently asked the Lord’s blessing, moving his lips to, ‘Bless us, Oh, Lord, and these thy gifts…,’ and again made The Sign of the Cross before looking back up to Loki and saying, “Thank you for dinner.”

Loki looked at him with her eyebrows drawn together and a smirk on her face. Rather than asking him what he’d just done she instead said, “You’re welcome. Now, tell me, what exactly are you going to do when you get to Chicago and see Joni?”