Death in the Saddle, Ch 12

At a booth next to a window, a waitress approached Frank. “Mornin’, Mr. Parma. Black coffee and cinnamon toast? Gotcha. Comin’ right up.” The waitress at John’s Place, a popular restaurant in the Yucca Valley Town Center, shouted the order to the cook behind the counter.

“Frankie, ol’ buddy, mind if I join you?” Scooter, almost unrecognizable in his open-collared button-down shirt, tailored narrow-legged Levis and polished Italian snake-skinned boots, slid in opposite Frank on the long seat. He looked at his watch. “Should be ready for make-up in about an hour. We’ll be shootin’ action scenes again. Same ol’ roof jumpin’, fallin’ off horses and pretendin’ to get kilt—ya know the drill. Acourse, you won’t have to be on the set fer a while—your stunt man is probably there already. They ain’t gonna risk having their star bust his ass.”

Scooter motioned to the waitress, “Honey, bring me a cuppa joe an a piece a apple pie, and shoo the flies off’n it. Get it? Shoo fly pie? Heh-heh-heh.”

The waitress rolled her eyes, “That’s cute and so-oo original.”

Scooter leaned forward. “Tell me about the rich gal in the lower valley. Ya gonna make any perminint arrangements fer squirin’ her? Is she a pretty filly—kinda soft and cuddly?” He put up his hand in anticipation of Frank’s objection. “I know, ya told me she’s hitched, but heck that don’t pervent ya from getten a little on the side, does it? I done it a few times. Yessir, it’s a mite more excitin’ knowin’ you’re knoodlin’ some married gal. Besides they’re better, they got experience.”

“I think I’ve really fallen for her, Scooter.”

“Yer soundin’ kinda sappy, like a young un jes discoverin’ what his pecker’s fer. C’mon, Frankie; how many times ya been hitched?”

Frank put up two fingers. “Twice—two disastrous encounters—five years the first time and six months the second. But this time it’s real. I knew she was the one the minute I saw her.” He became reflective as he sipped the coffee and absently tore a piece of toast.

Scooter watched him. “Aside from your new doll, what bothers ya, Frankie?”

“I’ve been thinking: how old are you Scooter?”

“Sixty-four, why?”

“Got any money set aside?”

“A few thou. If ya need cash, I c’n scrape some up…”

“No, no, thanks. I’ve been thinking; here you are at the end of your career in this goddamn business that caters to young pissers—you never know when the next gig is coming or whether you’ve had your last, and you’re being turned out to pasture, like a worn out hay-burner….”

“Hold on pardner! I’ve got me a nice little home in Studio City, all paid fer, seventy years ol’ but the plumbin’s good and the lectricity’s workin’. I got me a sweet little divorcee, works as a waitress, keeps my bed warm on cold nights. Next year, I’m on Social Security. Git residuals that don’t amount to much, but they help. If I need long term care, I’ve got the retirement home fer actors in Woodland Hills. Hell, I’m all set….”

“With all due respect, Scooter, I don’t want that for me. I’m pushing fifty-seven and aside from this oater and a few TV cameo appearances on the Sopranos and the CSI series, I’m not sure what the hell the next year or two will bring. Not every senior actor gets a starring role like Harrison Ford who’s still playing that old fart, Indiana Jones. Frankly, I’m concerned about my future.”

Scooter raised his brow and leaned across the table. “Ya thinkin’ ya oughta settle down with that rich gal who could let ya play house and give ya a few toys?” He pushed back and said, “That’d be nice work, Frankie, if ya can get it. How d’ya propose to git rid a her ol’ man? If he’s got any gumption he’s not gonna let some fancy Dan diddle his wife while he’s pickin’ up the tab. No, sir! You and your sweet patootie gotta shake him off, but first, she’s gotta come away with a lotta loot. Yes sir, a lotta loot.” Scooter held the fork with his fist and placed a large morsel into his mouth. “He’s gonna claim infidel—whatever the heck one calls it when a missus is cheatin’.”

“That’s no longer a point of legal contention.”

“Zat so? What the heck ever happened to the sank-titty of marriage?”

Frank shrugged. “I’m certain she’s going to start divorce proceedings soon.”

Scooter continued, “This bein’ a community property state and the old man richer’n Rockefeller with money tied up in developments and such—hoo whee! Frankie, she’s gonna have a real mess on her hands.”

Come back to next week to read more!

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