Elouise lifted her teacup to her thin pruned lips and blew slightly. The scent of vanilla chai now filling air, erasing the scent of fish and french fries that hung around them like a cloud and she took a tiny sip. Ouch, too hot, she yipped almost dropping the cup before she set it clattering into its not quite matching plate. She grabbed the spoon and dropped it in with a splash, decorating the paper that Gert was doodling on with the crayons that sat in a grimy metal pail on the table.
Be careful Elouise, I’m trying to make a drawing here. She began sketching out large hulking creatures on the spare space around their drinks. See, they’re elephants Elouise, aren’t they something. I’ve always loved elephants. As a child, I went to the circus to see them. Now clowns, don’t like the clowns at all. Something not right about adults in paint, as if they’re trying to hide something, bet they were all child molesters and convicts. Nope, never did like those folk. But the elephants, you had to love the way their eyes looked at you, like they could see something in you that you never could see for yourself. Wise, yep wise eyes. Loved those things. She grabbed a grey crayon and starting coloring in the trunk. Elouise looked down at her tea and then over at the childlike image Gert was forming.
I think those look more like clouds with legs there Gert, don’t see nothing elephant about ‘em. Since when did you take an interest in drawing by the way? She picked up her tea and absently stirred the spoon trying to cool it down a bit. I do like that ring by the way, did they have any more like it by any chance?
Gert let out a beaming smile as she looked up from her doodle. Nope, think it’s one of a kind, just like me. Reaching into the bucket she grabbed the red crayon to draw a circle below the raised leg of one of the beasts. Elephants gotta have a ball, don’tcha think? They like to perform, do tricks. Just like dogs but better I think, do you think they shed? Had a dog once when I was little, darn thing got hair all over the place, Mama said it was a no good pup, got rid of it when it got the chickens in the coop. No more dog after that. Elephants though, don’t think they eat chicken but they gotta have a purpose none the less.
Gert put the red crayon back in the bucket and looked around at the interior of the restaurant. The fish camp was popular with the locals but this was the first time she’d ventured past the door. The place was cheap which she liked, but not too cheap. Paintings hung on the walls around them, local art work for sale and she shivered as she stared into the eyes of the egret watercolor that hung right next to her. Don’t like those birds, nope, not at all, gives me the willies, darting their heads about, waiting for you to drop them a crumb. Bet they’d peck your eyes out if you fell down on the street. Vile things just give me the shudders. I throw sticks at ‘em when I see ‘em in the yard. Don’t want no bird droppings giving me no disease. Nope, don’t want no bird flues or nothing.
She reached over and grabbed the big red worn plastic cup of sweet tea from the table, unwrapped the straw, and after careful examination, stuck it in to the bank of half melted ice. She stirred the shriveled lemon around that floated like a shipwrecked boat on the cubes, taking a long sip, left her trademark hot pink lipstick smudge on the straw and gazed at Elouise.
Her friend was gazing at the ring on her finger. She twirled it around in the light smiling as they both admired the sparkle.
It really is a nice ring Gert, can I try it on do you think? Gert looked at her best friend and pondered the possibility, and tried to ease it over her knuckle to let Elouise try it on.
I think its stuck on me Elouise, can’t seem to get it off. Must be swollen fingers since I put it on, too much fluids on this hotter than Hades day. Maybe later when the swelling goes down, I’ll let you try it then. Elouise looked disappointed but nodded and took another sip of her now cooled tea. Gert was a bit dismayed to realize her knuckles were not swollen but the ring wouldn’t come off, she turned it this way and that but couldn’t get it off.
I love this chai tea, have you tried it yet? I know you like your sweet tea but you really should give it a try, change up the habits, try something new don’t you think? Hints of cinnamon and creamy too, I like the creaminess.
Elouise looked up at Gert who was staring at the ring, a look of fear filling her friends face. The ring was glowing a shade of mustard yellow and now seemed to be moving, vibrating and Gerts hand was shaking like a leaf.
Make it stop Elouise, I don’t like this, make it stop, please. Gert looked into her friends eyes and saw the panic….
(to be continued)