Laramie last night, a honky-tonk full of cowboys, their sour-mouthed women. She gave them their money's worth and then some. The whole first set, she could feel the men's eyes on her, hot as spotlights, scalding dime-sized holes in her dress.
Thank you kindly, she said, dipping her front to them in a little curtsy, flashing the dark star of her cleavage. First break she hid out in the ladies room, drinking from a glass of warm gin. She smoked a cigarette and watched a cowgirl powder her bruised right eye.
Second set she opened with "Crazy," sliding up to grab the high notes, holding on for the long, slow ride down. Sang it good as Patsy ever had, to the kid sitting alone, hand curved around the long neck of a beer bottle. She imagined his palm, its hard pad of callus, against the silk of her stomach. She imagined pressing her tongue against his front teeth, tasting the glaze of sugar on hard candy.
She imagined all of it down to when he sat up to pull his pants on. His bare back was a wall to her, and she cried. She put her hand on his thigh while he threaded his belt through the loops of his jeans. Stay, she said.
He stood and tucked his shirt in his pants, smoothing the wrinkles out of the shiny red cotton.
See you around, he said.
She smoked a cigarette and another, and then it was morning.