“Men. Can’t live with them, can’t live...with them.” Catlin McCall tossed back the last of her beer, and set the empty bottle on the bar.
“That was funny.” Jetta Craft, her friend and co-worker, slurred from the next bar stool. “Did you hear what you said?”
“Of course I heard what I said.” Catlin looked at her. “I may be drunk, but I’m not deaf.”
Jetta finished her beer and lined up the bottle next to the six others they’d polished off that evening. “Well, personally, I’m not ready to give up. I know there’s a man out there somewhere for you. With your looks and charming personality, there just has to be.”
Catlin tossed her long, curly hair over her shoulder and laughed. “Are you being facetious? Because I do have a charming personality. A damn charming one, at that.”
“Who’s charming?” Jetta’s husband, Jim Craft, slipped his arms around his wife from behind.
“Where did you come from?” Catlin blinked at him.
“Originally? Topeka. Just now? I cleaned some dude’s clock playing pool. So, who’s charming?”
“Who do you think?” Catlin replied. “I’m a good catch. Why can’t I get the right man to realize that?”
Jim rocked his wife back and forth in his arms. “You’re being too picky. I’ve introduced you to every cop I work with, and most of the fire department. Honestly, I think we’ve covered them all. You expect too much.”
“That’s, like, ten guys,” Jetta reminded him.
“I know, right?” Catlin picked at the label on her last beer bottle, tearing it into little pieces. “I’m not too picky. This town is just too small. I need to get out of Marshall, Kansas and go somewhere I can meet people.”
Jetta laughed. “If you didn’t want the small town atmosphere, why did you take a job teaching at a tiny Catholic high school?”
Catlin grinned. “Um, money of course. They really wanted me.”
“Yeah, I know.” Jetta shook her head. “They wanted me, too. I guess having one black teacher makes them feel better about the fact that we have two black students.”
Catlin shook her head and waved her hands. “Don’t go there, please. I don’t want to think that hard tonight. I just want another beer.”
Jim put his hand on her shoulder. “You’ve probably had enough. Tomorrow is a school day.”
Catlin looked at him, her vision blurry. “Why did we bring you again?”
Jim smiled. “Designated driver, of course. That’s why we left your car at home, remember?”
Jetta snapped her fingers. “You should have brought your car! I bet you could attract a lot of guys if they saw you drove a Jaguar.”
Catlin shook her head. “I don’t need a guy who wants me for my car. He should want me for me...” She looked around. “Did I say that out loud?”
“Time to go.” Jim grabbed Catlin by the arm. “Come on, princess.”
“Not yet,” she mumbled.
Jetta took her other arm. “Yeah sweetie, let’s get you home.” She whispered in Catlin’s ear, “Besides, I’m ovulating. Jim and I need to turn in early.”
Catlin nodded her agreement and stood. “Okay, time to go.”
Jim tossed some cash on the bar, and led them out. Catlin climbed in the back seat of the Craft’s Celica, and closed her eyes.
She was quiet until they dropped her off, and Jetta made sure she got into her house. “Thank you.” Catlin smiled at her good friend.
“You’ll be okay?”
“I’m fine. Go on. Have fun.” Catlin closed the door behind her, and locked it. She skipped her usual nighttime routine and fell into bed, clothing, makeup and all.