Kenway held up a black card in one tattooed hand. A riot of color and lines ran down his huge arms in sleeves. “We never did find blank, but along the way we sure learned a lot about blank.” His Sasquatch frame was crammed into a black T-shirt and he had a massive beard that made him look like a lumberjack having a mid-life crisis. A piercing in his eyebrow twinkled in the projector’s glow.
Heather smirked and plucked two white cards--the tiniest shred of evidence that God is real, and tripping balls—from her hand, putting them face down on the table next to the others.
Marissa’s cards won the round. “We never did find passable transvestites,” Kenway recited out loud, and a huge grin gleamed through the dark cloud of his beard. “But along the way we sure learned a lot about Grandma.”
The table roared with laughter, and a couple of the people watching the movie glanced at them.
As the evening progressed toward midnight, Heather became more and more glad that she’d agreed to come. Several dozen hands into a Halloween marathon, she looked up from her beer and realized that all the movie-watchers had disappeared. Michael Myers’s blank stare filled the screen.
“I think it’s about time I head home,” said Kenway, and Marissa let him out. Heather was taken aback at how tall he was as he unfolded himself from the booth and stretched six feet of broad muscle.
She polished off her beer. “Got work in the morning?”
Fish stiffened. Heather scrunched her brow at him in confusion.
“I don’t really work,” Kenway said, jamming his fingers into his jeans pockets. “Well, I do—” He gestured with a big craggy hand. “—But it’s not really your usual nine-to-five.”
Marissa smiled. “Kenny is Blackfield’s local artiste.”
“Is that so?” Heather beamed. The smile felt alien and uncomfortable on her face even after laughing at the card game, and as usual it faded quickly. “What kind of art do you do?”
“A little of this, a little of that.” The hulking man folded his arms. It should have looked authoritative, menacing even, but somehow it seemed protective, bashful. “I did the big mural on the wall at the park, and I did the superheroes out there on the windows. I have vinyl equipment too, and I make leather stuff.”
“Maybe I can commission you to paint my van.”
“That skeezy-ass candy van?” asked Joel.
Heather pursed her lips at him. “Yes, my skeezy-ass candy van. It needs a little style, maybe.”
Kenway rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll take a look at it, then.” He started gathering up the cards and shuffling them, sorting them into clean stacks and putting them into boxes. “What did you have in mind?”
“Do you do a lot of vans?”
“A couple. Mostly pick-up trucks and hot-rods from out of town. I do a shit-ton of motorcycles for guys out of Atlanta and Chattanooga. I did a big-ass snake on a dude’s truck a few years ago. It was pretty fuckin’ sick, took forever. Went all the way around the back from one door to the other.”
Heather tried to picture the van with a new paint job. “It’d have to be something black, with stylized artwork. Nothing garish or cheesy.”
“I’m sure I could figure something out.”
“I think you should take the lady back over there and let her show you her skeezy-ass candy van,” suggested Joel, with a devil’s grin. “I live on the other side of town, and it’d be out of my way, but your studio is between here and there.”
A rush of cold heat shot down Heather’s neck in embarrassment. She narrowed her eyes at him. You planned this all along, didn’t you?