Episode 17

She sat still, eyes averted and looking downward.

He wiped at the sheen appearing on his forehead. He slid a foot closer to Lucy. “What’s your name, Dearie?” He moved another foot closer when Lucy crossed her legs, showing more of the tiger.

He pointed at Lucy’s leg and the tiger. “My, my, what do we have here?”

Lucy looked slightly away from him and tried to disguise her voice. “Everybody calls me Maybelle.” She pulled lightly on the tiger. “The salesman said this is genuine Bengal tiger fur imported from the jungles of India.” She ran her finger over the fur in a slow caress.

He moved closer until they were only a foot apart. He unlocked his briefcase and raised the lid one inch. “I have a surprise for you. Some things you will really want.”

Lucy felt for the nine millimeter Glock in her purse. “What will that be?”

He reached in without lifting the lid completely and pulled out a red bikini. “This was worn by Elizabeth Taylor when she was married to Richard Burton.” He smoothed it against the briefcase lid. “I’ll trade it even up for your tiger.”

Lucy thought, “A real weirdo. A genuine fruitcake. I hope Pine is watching.”

“What do you say?” he asked.

“I don’t think so. These are so smooth, soft on my skin and warm as toast. Plus the fact they are from an endangered species.”

The mayor leaned close to Lucy. “How about just a peek? A cheap feel.” He pointed at the clump of bushes. “We can go in there and be completely out of sight.”

Lucy shook her head. “Just how much are you paying for a cheap feel? No trades. Cash on the tiger.”

He extended his hand to touch the tiger.

“No no. No free feelies. How much are you paying?”

He sat back. “Twenty.”

Lucy shook her head. “No enough.”

(only one more episode)

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