Fate brought them together that night; an inevitable force of attraction that could not have been prevented no matter what steps one might have taken. Both had been severely wronged. A lascivious lothario was on the loose. They, more than anyone, knew exactly how to stop him. They simply needed each other’s help.
Patti came in first. She was new to the Horse’s Tail Inn & Pub, but was quickly becoming a regular. Her red corset defied her conservative, tight-laced day-job. She came here to relax and unwind, looking for friends, but not a mate. She’d had enough of guys for a while, she’d told Sarah, the bar maid. Patti would come in for a couple glasses of whiskey, toss a game of darts or two (she always won), then walk home. Alone.
Kat was a different matter. The daughter of Russian immigrants fleeing from Soviet persecution, Kat actually had five names on her drivers license, and two more that wouldn’t fit. Only her mother dared call her Katarina, though. For anyone else, doing so was a way to guarantee a quick trip to the emergency room. Kat was beautiful, to be sure, but everyone in the bar knew to not mess with her, especially after she’d had a couple of drinks.
Kat normally limited her drinking to Thursday through Saturday nights. She might stop in for an order of wings during the week, if she were rushed, but those nights she rarely drank. This night was an exception. Tuesday. When Sarah voiced her surprise, Kat simply answered, “Vodka, double.” The day had obviously not been kind to her.
The women met when a loud-mouthed redneck walked up to the bar and yelled to Sarah, “Give me a PBR and serve it to me between your boobs, bitch!”
Neither woman said a word. Patti had him by the neck, Kat had him by the balls. Ten seconds later, he was rolling toward the curb.
The girls walked back through the door laughing. Sarah rewarded them each with another drink and the two sat down to confirm what seemed to at least be a most cooperative friendship. Their backgrounds were really not that similar. Patti had survived a drug-addicted mother, pulled herself out of the projects and was struggling to make it on her own. Kat had come from privilege and was fighting her own battle to assert some independence from parents who worried about her constantly. What they had in common, they discovered, was him: Arthur Lee Gibbons.
Artie, as he was known, was a con man. He led women to believe that he was the most sincere, most caring, most genuine man on earth. He wined. He dined. He bought fancy presents for no reason at all. He was kind. He was complimentary. He even stayed in and watched chic flicks when they weren’t feeling well. He wormed his way into a girl’s heart to the point she trusted him with her check book. Then, he would leave, taking everything including the contents of her check book with him. He’d move to a different part of town, change his hair color, and start again.
Kat and Pattie figured he was too smooth for either of them to have been his first hit, and he certainly had others between them. By now, he had undoubtedly amassed quite a fortune from what he stole. Artie was the kind of criminal who would never stop on his own. Artie had to be stopped. Permanently.
The plan came together quickly. They didn’t even bother with coats as they stole into the night. They knew where to find him, where he would go on a night like this. There were no street lights where he parked his car. He wouldn’t be expecting them; he wouldn’t see them coming. They sat at a nearby table and waited. Artie only saw their faces for a second.
The empty barrel burned with lumber scraps, ostensibly to give the homeless a way to keep warm. No one was around when Patti and Kat added their fuel to the fire. Sufficiently doused in kerosene, the fire burned bright and the girls danced together. They may not have saved the whole world, but they had saved a part of it.
As they looked at each other in the fire light, each knew they had found a friendship that would last forever.
MODELS: Rebekkah Peregrin and Kristina Kessinger
MAKE-UP: Samantha Caster