Reggie could barely keep his eyes open by the time he pulled into the hotel’s lot. Stella had been fast asleep in the passenger seat for hours, and her soft snores weren’t helping.
Reggie gently nudged her. “Baby, we’re here.”
Her eyelids seemed to only open halfway in protest, but she stretched and got out, trailing behind Reggie as he grabbed their luggage and headed into the lobby.
Once they’d checked in, however, she was wide awake and practically bouncing on the bed. “Let’s go explore the neighborhood.”
“It’s — ” Reggie checked his watch “ — nearly one in the morning. Can’t we do it tomorrow?”
All it took was one little pout and before he knew it, they were back down in the hotel lobby.
“There isn’t really much to do at this time of night,” the desk clerk told them.
“I hear music,” Stella said. “Is there a club nearby?”
“There is a bar next door.” The clerk studied them, obviously trying to choose his words carefully. Reggie knew what he saw: two black twenty-somethings who looked more at home on The Cosby Show than out in the clubs, especially in small-town America. “But I — ”
“Thanks!” Stella cut him off, grabbed Reggie by the hand, and pulled him from the lobby.
Motorcycles covered the sidewalk outside the bar more thickly than flies. Reggie swallowed his apprehension and pushed open the door.
They were met with a wall of silence.
Reggie glanced at Stella, his hand tightening on hers.
“If it ain’t the Huxtables, right here in the flesh! C’mon in and have a round, on me!”
E.D. Martin is a writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Born and raised in Illinois, her past incarnations have included bookstore barista in Indiana, college student in southern France, statistician in North Carolina, economic development analyst in North Dakota, and high school teacher in Iowa. She draws on her experiences to tell the stories of those around her, with a generous heaping of “what if” thrown in.
She currently lives in Illinois where she job hops while attending grad school and working on her novels. Read more of her stories at her website.