The Adventures of Helen and Daniel
Chapter 2 – The Broken Arrow Bar and Grill
Helen pulled into the gravel driveway under the sign for Br ken rrow. The w was flickering like a firefly over the rotting wooden door.
She recognized the beat-up white Corolla with the peeling WILDCATS bumper sticker. The parking lot smelled like rented beer or worse.
Even a Denny’s would have been a better choice, Helen thought, but she also knew there was no arguing with her old college roommate.
The Prius chirped at her, as she crunched to the entrance. At least it wouldn’t be filled with smoke, but loud country music seeped out.
The music crescendoed as she pulled the metal and leather door handle toward her and peered into the dim, seedy interior.
Pammi still had long, thin, dirty dish blonde hair which she wore loose and disheveled. The back of her T-shirt read “love bites”.
Helen appreciated the double meaning of the phrase. Pammi spotted her in the mirror over the bar and turned on the worn-out stool.
“Wanna beer, too?” Helen wanted to order her usual Rob Roy, but doubted the barkeep would know what that was. “Scotch and soda. Rocks.”
The life-worn, over-cleavaged, sad-eyed gal behind the bar hardly glanced up as she slung the drink. “$4”. Helen put a pic of Lincoln down.
“How was the drive?” “19 caches.” ” Haven’t you found enough of those yet?” Helen laughed and sipped. “Lemme show you how fun it is!”
“OK, OK, I’ll let you show me this geo… thing, but I gotta eat first. I’m starved.” They grabbed the drinks and moved to a wooden booth.
They chitchatted about jobs and weather and family until a burger and an order of fish and chips arrived. “Now tell me about this guy.”
“He divides his time between L.A. and N.M., orchestrating and conducting film scores and teaching at the Desert View Arts Retreat.”
“… and you met at a geocache??” Helen giggled. “Yep. I always wanted to find a man in an ammo can, and there he was!”
She went on, “I was two caches from an event in Thousand Oaks, and has just pulled it out of the manzanita when he walked up, GPS in hand.”
Salad bar at the Broken Arrow
“Is he cute?” Helen whipped out her iPhone. “This is us at another event a month ago.” “He’s kinda skinny.” “He has nice shoulders.”
“His hair’s kinda long.” “It’s conductor hair – it flows and flies when he really gets into a tempo.” “Well… that’s your taste, not mine.”
“I know – you like the fully tattoed burly biker guy.” “Well, duh. That’s a REAL man.” Pammi smirked. She liked pushing Helen’s buttons.
Helen just rolled her eyes and gave up. Pammi took another bite of her drippy burger. “How’s Benji? Still in your band?”
“Yeah, my brother’s a dork, a flake, but he’s an excellent drummer. We’ve been playing out a lot lately, & got a regular gig at Spazio’s.”
Helen saw Pammi’s eyes widen with hormonal interest at something behind her. “Oooh, who’s THAT?” Helen turned and tried not to gape.
The weird guy from the gem store! What was his name…. Wolf? Was he following her? He slithered on to a bar stool, eyeing the barkeep.
Helen noticed that the man had the attention of every woman in the room. Pammi said she needed another beer, & went up to sit next to him.
Helen looked toward her friend and saw Wolf gazing right at her via the bar mirror. She drained her scotch, as he turned his eyes to Pammi.
Horrified, she watched as he slipped his arm around Pammi, whispered in her ear, and started to nuzzle her neck. Helen got very nervous.
‘I was done with the hickey thing in college’, Helen thought as she tried not to watch Wolf practically chewing on Pammi’s neck.
Pammi’s “love bites” T-shirt now made Helen roll her eyes. Thankfully, she was distracted by the waitress and settled the bill.
Wolf and Pammi approached her as she stood up, and the odd-eyed man drew Helen to him with his free arm. Pammi looked kinda stoned.
“Come on,” he crooned in Helen’s ear, “I can do you both.” Helen felt him lick her neck and could not believe she actually felt tempted.
Helen drew back, but found it almost impossible to break his gaze…his…eyes…were…deeper…and….then…her iPhone played a fanfare.
Helen’s trance was broken, as was Wolf’s grip on her. She grabbed her phone from her purse to see an incoming txt from Daniel.
“Pammi, we gotta go!” Helen grabbed her friend and dragged her toward the door. Wolf just leered and wiped something from his mouth.
Helen’s heart was pounding as she got Pammi outside and leaned her on the Corolla. Pammi’s goofy grin faded. “Whaaa… ? Errr….”
“I can’t believe you let that guy give you that doozy of a bruise on your neck!” “He did?” Pammi winced as her hand felt the wound.
Helen made sure Pammi could drive OK, then headed off to meet Daniel. What if he’d not texted when he did? She wondered.
Outside the Broken Arrow