Deputy Lloyd: Miss Lake, I just need to know if you and Miss Lambert spoke about the victim during the phone call you two had right before he was murdered.

Bettie Lake: Well, she told me about what he’d been doing to his wife all these years. And about how Sheriff Hudson was being all sweet and making googly eyes with the wife that night when he stopped over to have her fill out the restraining order. Payton was really jealous about that. She wouldn’t admit it, but I could tell. I know my friend. I told her to apologize to him for being a snob. Did you know he was a total dork in high school? I’m talking Dungeons and Dragons meetings every Wednesday night.

Deputy Lloyd: Miss Lake, I can’t discuss personal things during an official interview. So Miss Lambert told you about the alleged abuse?

Bettie Lake: Alleged? Really? Does everyone in this town smoke crack? I’m pretty sure Emma Jo didn’t punch herself in the face, dislocate her own shoulder, or crack two of her ribs.

Deputy Lloyd: According to her medical records, Mrs. Jackson was prone to accidents.

Bettie Lake: Yes, sure, accidents. She accidentally fell into her husband’s fist. Five times.

Deputy Lloyd: Miss Lake, I’m not here to make any judgments about what happened before the murder. I’m just trying to get the facts straight so we can solve this and let the people of Bald Knob sleep a little easier at night.

Bettie Lake: I hope all you morons stay awake for the rest of your lives. Honestly, you elected a wife abuser as your mayor for how many years in a row? It’s a good thing my family doesn’t live here. They’re in the sanitation business, if you catch my drift. They would have killed that guy years ago if he was my husband.

Deputy Lloyd: Ma’am, I’m going to need you to make me a list of all your relatives and their contact information.

Bettie Lake: That was a joke! I swear, I’m just kidding. I mean, Uncle Stewart is technically the manager of Chicago Streets and Sanitation, and there was that one time he accidentally threw a cat into the back of his garbage truck, but he didn’t know the thing was still alive and he bought the family a new kitten to make up for it. He wouldn’t kill anyone, even if I asked.

Deputy Lloyd: When we went through your phone records, we found a text from you to your Uncle Stewart, asking him how easy it would be to dispose of a body.

Bettie Lake: Why isn’t there a sarcasm font for text messages? Honesty, how has no one invented this? Do I need a lawyer yet?


I’m not really a bitch without coffee. Just kidding! Go fuck yourself.

—Coffee Mug

“Tell me again about his muscles.”

I hear Bettie sigh through the speaker of my phone and roll my eyes as I unwind the towel from my head and toss it onto the bed.

“Did you hear anything I said? I’m in a crisis here,” I complain in irritation, scooping up the phone from next to my discarded towel and pacing at the foot of the bed.

“Sorry, I stopped listening after you said this guy has a chest carved from marble.”

“One of my oldest friends has been abused by her husband pretty much since the day they got married, and you can’t stop thinking about Leo the jerk,” I mutter.

“You know your voice gets all breathy when you say his name? You kind of sound like a phone sex operator. Does he have dimples? What about his hair? Tell me he has a man-bun…” Bettie trails off with another lustful sigh.

I came upstairs to take a shower and hide in the spare bedroom until Leo left and I still can’t escape him. It’s bad enough Emma Jo has knocked on the door to check on me twice, having her own fun at my expense by telling me through the closed door that it was so cute how flustered I got around the man. I don’t need this shit from Bettie, too.

“You’re annoying. I called to check on the shop and get some advice, and now I’m regretting it. You suck at this,” I scold, stopping in front of the mirror hanging above the dresser to stare at my reflection.

Even make-up free with wet hair draping over my shoulders, it’s a much better improvement than earlier. I no longer look like a hooker in a gang bang with mascara smudged halfway down my cheeks, my stained and dirty clothes have been thrown in the trash and replaced with a tank top and shorts, and I don’t smell like the piss of Bo Jangles, the dog from hell. Why couldn’t Leo show up now when I actually look halfway decent?

“You didn’t call for advice. You called so I’d agree with you about how annoying Hot Guy was and make you feel like less of an asshole because it was totally fine for you to drool over some random Chesty McChesterson, but now that you know he’s the nerd you knew from high school, you think it’s appalling to be hot for him,” Bettie informs me.

“That’s not it at all!” I argue. “I don’t care if he was a complete weirdo in high school. I care that he’s a now cocky jerk of an adult who most likely has the hots for my best friend. You should have seen the way he looked at her and spoke to her, all sweet and gentle. I mean, she’s a married woman! Sure, she’s married to an abusive tool, but still.”

Bettie laughs through the line.

“And you should hear the way you’re talking right now. You’re jealous!”

“I am NOT jealous! I just think it’s indecent for the town sheriff to be mooning over a married woman,” I reply indignantly, wishing I would have Facetimed her so she’d see the stink-eye I’m currently aiming at my phone.

“You’re totally jealous, nice try. From what you told me, it sounds like he was all sweet and gentle with you too, until you didn’t recognize him. Talk about a blow to a man’s ego. You’re lucky Bo Jangles is the only one who pissed on your leg. If I was a dude and some woman I had a crush on in high school came back to town, I would have lifted my leg and pissed all over you myself for not knowing who I was,” Bettie says with another laugh. Copyright 2016 - 2024