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aryn slammed down the receiver of the old pay phone still bolted to the wall outside the men’s room at The Exquisite A Go Go, and then slammed it down again, and then banged it against the wall a few times for good measure.

Fuck George! George was a class-A motherfucker. He was a first-class asshole, was what he was. Man says call him if she was ever in trouble. Man says don’t worry, he would always be there for her, of course he would be, she was the mother of his child, and he would always love her.

So this was what he called love? She phoned him in need, sick, and he said he was sorry, but he had to go take care of someone who was genuinely sick? Genuinely: She understood what that meant. It meant Fuck off, you druggy bitch.

Wade Perkins, another first-class asshole on her endless list, pushed out of the men’s room just as she was about to see if she could tear the phone out by its roots.

“Whoa, little girl!” he said. “Calm down there. Somebody do you wrong?”

Wade, with his flowing silver locks, big belly straining against pearl-buttoned black cowboy shirt, and Margarita breath, was the only dentist that Taryn had ever been to. George had sent her to Wade when they were first together, and she remembered Wade leaning over her, breathing through his mouth, clucking as he poked at her many cavities and exclaimed that she had the gums of an 80-year-old, a comment for which she would never fucking forgive him.

“It’s just George,” she told the dentist now. “He owes me my support money, you know, and he won’t pay me.”

Wade drew his head back, looked surprised. Yeah, nobody would believe such a thing of St. George, the Eagle Scout and Biggest Ass Good-Doer of central Arkansas. But it was her word against George’s, and she had the advantage of standing right here in front of Wade Perkins, batting her eyelashes and wearing nothing more than a rhinestone-studded patent leather mini-dress.

“Wade,” she said, stepping closer and laying a hand on his chest. “Do you think you could spot me some cash, just till tomorrow?”