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WARNING! Grossly coarse language.

PART SIXTY-EIGHT

Caleb slowed his van as he approached Hot Mama and the two riders. “Gotta get this right,” he said to himself. “Don’t wanna spook little Miz Jezebel there.

“Question is, are them two other riders with ole H.M. or are they just ships passing in the night? Cuz if they’re there with her, I gotta be ready for fast talking and swift action.”

Hot Mama blocked Caleb’s view of the other riders as his headlights flashed over them. With his window rolled down he could hear Hot Mama shrieking at the two riders and he wondered what they had done to get the woman so angry. “Or maybe you’re always angry,” he said with a single cough of a laugh. “Maybe what you need is an injection from good ole Doc Caleb,” he said, rubbing the swelling between his legs. “Either way, I got the prescription for what ails you right here, you kike cunt, you.”

In the lowering darkness Caleb slapped his left turn signal down and gently tapped his horn. Hot Mama and the other riders stood in the bus depot’s driveway and whatever had upset Hot Mama she was laying into the two riders hard and fast.

“And what the hell were you two thinking?” he heard her yell before turning to him and screaming, “What the hell do you want?”

Through the van’s window, he called out, “Excuse me? I work here. I need to get into the depot?”

“Damn it to hell,” Hot Mama said to no one in particular, shaking her head hard and fast four times. “Fine!” she added. “Girls!” she commanded, pointing to the east, “Move!”

“Perfect,” Caleb said to himself, pulling into the driveway and parking in front of the locked gate, “now you’re on the sliding door side, Hot Mama. A perfect spot to throw your whoring ass into the van from.”

Exiting the truck, Caleb held his keys in his hand as he opened the van’s sliding door. “Can you believe they got me working so late?” he inquired, shaking his head. “Oh, well. At least it’s O.T.”

“Great,” Hot Mama replied. “Wonderful use of my tax dollars. Girls? Are you ready? Now we have to ride home in the damn dark. What the hell were you thinking?”

“Ma’am?” Caleb said in his thickest homeboy cornpone, “I could proly fit them bikes in the van if you’re in need. Just let me finish-”

“Daddy?” Skylar called. “Daddy! Is that you?!”

For a split-second Caleb froze, his body as unmoving as a catatonic’s. Then, still immobile from the neck down, he turned his head toward the girl who had spoken. “Skylar?” he asked, still witless. “Is that you, honey? Oh, praise Jesus!” he cried thrusting a triumphant fist in the air. “It’s a miracle! I found you and you’re alive! You’re alive!” he repeated, rushing to his daughter and plucking her from the ground to the clatter of a bicycle falling to earth.