After four takes of doing it for the camera, the girl who was on the edge of too perfect from her teeth to her tan, and wasn’t a parts delivery girl but played one on Monterrey Mick’s Mad Mods, dropped a sponsor’s logo covered box full of nothing on a tool cart next to Bobby.
“Houma. You be de long way ‘round from down de bayou, Boudreaux.”
Bobby looked up in mock shock. “Marie! You be gone so long dey drain de swamp lookin’ for your bones, girl.”
She stuck out her hand. “Bernie. Cajun for Bernadette. Port Barre. Not quite, but close enough to claim it.” Bobby checked his hand for grease, gave her hand a finger and thumb squeeze.
“Bobby. Never been a Robert. Port Barre’s not a very wide place on a skinny road. Fished Little Darbonne with my daddy one time.”
“Damn. That’s as big a why as your Vega rescue mission.”
“Nothin’ to it. Daddy stopped in a bar there off 190, left me in the truck. He came out so drunk he couldn’t find his ass, said it was time to fish. Drove across the road, followed some ruts till they stopped. I had to walk behind the truck to back us out. Surprised I’m still here to tell that one.”
“Lucky you. Darbonne is a chemistry set. Anything you caught would’ve been cancer tomorrow on your hook today. I thought you were going to tell me a Boudreaux or Ellen remix, just to prove you know where my people are.” They looked at each other for a few, tried to gauge how much truth either of them had told.
Bobby pulled a grease rag out of his pocket, went to work on his hands, tried not to look her over. At least not be obvious about it, went for nonchalance.
“Can you make a Trinity?”
“Ask a bayou girl does she breathe to stay alive, Boudreax. Tellin’ me you can cook something to throw it in if I do?”
“Thinking about throwing a long-on-vegetables California-ized boil for these people when they finish polishing this week’s turd.”
“The paisley Sixties mail truck? Why? ‘These people’ won’t eat mud bugs.”
“Paisley was my idea and I thought they’d find a stencil, or a projector, not do it by hand. And I know they’ll eat the shit out of shrimp ‘cause they took me to a place for lunch last week that served it raw and expensive like it tasted good that way. I can have jumbo the size of lobster tails, here, same day fresh. If you can do a bucket of chunky Trinity with more than one kind of pepper and a spice on the tolerable hot side that doesn’t come in a jar, we’re on.”
“Are you making a run at spending quality time with me by working down-home food together?”
“No. I was —”
“Well start, fool. Does all the water run so slow down bayou?”