Sinbad Rotter turned to face the perky teenager as she walked up to him with a stupid grin on her. She figured he was about the same age as Goodwin, a few years older than Lolly, but his appearance was shockingly different. He was clad in all black and wore a spiked collar around his neck. The band was red, Lolly’s favorite color. His hair was a fiery orange color, like the setting sun, and that made her happy, though she wasn’t sure why.
“Get lost, kid,” he grunted.
She stood there, dumbly, struggling to process what he said.
“What are you dumb or somethin’?” he frowned.
“I’m Loyola Racket…” she said, enunciating each syllable, and wondering why her own voice was hurting her head.
“Yeah… okay..” he started to walk away.
She blocked his path, leaning forward as she tried to stay on her feet.
“Oh geez kid!” he grabbed her arm to steady her as she leaned over his arm and puked.
Thankfully, she missed his person. As she stood back up, she still had a stupid grin on her face.
“You’re really drunk right now,” he stated, as she wiped her mouth.
“No I’m not,” she protested. “You’re just…” she looked at him bewildered. “…blurry.”
“You’re drunk,” he repeated. “You should go home, kid.”
“Do you know who I am?” she snipped.
He narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, the whole place does. You said your name kind-of loudly.”
“I’m Loyola Antonia Racket…” she giggled, and stumbled backward.
“Now that’s a mouthful,” he grimaced.
“I know who I am…” she pointed to herself. “But I don’t know who you are. What’s your… uh… name… cutie?” she asked, tilting her head to her side in an annoyingly cute way, the way that aggravated her mother.
“I’m Sinbad Rotter… though I doubt you’ll remember my name,” he sighed.
“Sinbad?” she hiccuped. “Sounds dangerous.”
“Yeah, that’s right, kid, dangerous,” he grunted. “Now why don’t I drive you home or somethin’?”
“Thattttsssaaah niiiiicccce nnnname, Ssssssinbaaaaadd…” she began slurring as she swayed.
“Oh boy,” he tried to grab her flailing arms so as to not draw anymore attention.
“Rotter, you ssssaidddd? That’s fffffuuuunnnnnyyyy…. Rrrracketttt and Rotttterrrr… hey! they bbbboth start with rrr’s” she gave him a punch in the shoulder, this time harder than she meant.
“Ow!” he lifted his arm to defend himself and she caught his hand.
“Why’do’ya have a tattoooooo of a bbbbbarcode on your wristttttt?” she asked.
He frowned. “Uh… it’s not a barcode. It’s just a bar.”
“Well that’s sstuuuppiddd,” she shrieked and clapped her hands as if she was playing a game.
“Ooookkkkay,” he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and tried to steer her toward a bench to sit down. “I think we should get some coffee in you.”
“It’s stupid,” she repeated.
“Yeah, and so a teen getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon… what happened to you, anyway, Loyola?” he asked.
“Uh…” she hiccuped. “It’s Lolly.”
“Right… I like Loyola better…” he smirked.
Hot tears pricked her eyelashes and flooded her cheeks. She stood motionless, crying in silence, wondering where the sound had gone. What’s happening to me? she thought in bewilderment.
“Oh, kid…” Sinbad’s harsh features softened. “Hey, hey! Don’t cry… seriously… damn!” He raked his fingers through his shock of red hair. “Dammit… seriously… kiddo… you don’t need to cry.”
This just made Lolly cry harder. She pressed her face forward and soaked his black tee with her tears. She was a failure and she knew it. Everyone did. She had flaked on school for the first time in her life after getting a bad grade for the first time in her life and had gotten drunk for the first time in her life. He was right. She was stupid. She was lucky she was here with this man… whoever he was… in the middle of the afternoon instead of lying face down in a ditch or something. Her daddy was going to kill her anyone. She would’ve just beaten him in a preemptive measure.
“Hey don’t talk like that…” Sinbad was saying.
“Like what?” she frowned as she pulled back, suddenly feeling embarrassed.
“Like…” he locked eyes with her for a moment, and she bit her lower lip feeling overwhelmed.
He frowned. “Shit. Never mind. Uh… hey… listen… I’m guessing you don’t want to go home right now and well, my place isn’t too far away…”
She took a step back, and looked at him skeptically.
“Uh… don’t worry, kid… I’m not going to take ‘vantage of you or nothin’… my shithead roommate and his whiny bitch of a woman will be home for sure,” he tried to reassure her. “You just need a place to chill out and sober up, right?”
“I can’t offer ya much, but I do have some of those coffee packs, you know, the kind you get in a hotel room or somethin’… I swiped ’em from the Windfall Motel ‘cross town. Thought I might drink ’em someday when my head’s gotta get screwed back on.”
She tilted her head to the side, puzzled by his expression.
“Like when I’m effing plastered like you are,” he clarified. “They ain’t fancy or nothin’ like yer used to probably, but they’ll be strong… the cups of coffee… it’ll put hair on your chest.”
She grimaced and absently touched her upper breast. “I don’t want hair on my chest.”
He grinned sheepishly. “No, I guess you wouldn’t, now would ya?”
She seemed to ponder his offer for a moment. “Ohhh…” she hiccuped. “…kay.”
“Okay?” he said, disbelievingly.
“Yeah… I said… okkaaaaay…” Lolly waved her arms around for effect.
He smiled. “Okay, then. Uh… my bike’s ’round the corner.”
“Let’s go,” Lolly said enthusiastically.
“Uh… wrong way, kid…” he laughed awkwardly, and gently dragged her behind him in the direction of his motorcycle.
“That’s pretty much it,” Lolly finished with a heavy sigh. “I know… I was incredibly stupid. I know that now. I also have to pay the consequences, I know, and Mom found out since the school called the house and she came to pick me up from Sinbad’s.”
Rachel quirked a brow.
“Yeah, I called the house and asked for Grammaw to pick me up… she must’ve told Mom.”
“And rightly so. Lolly, you need to be careful.”
“I know. I know. I know. Okay, spare me the lecture. I already got it from Mom.”
“I don’t understand,” Rachel frowned. “How does your dad not know about your job at the police station?”
“Well… I…” Lolly trailed off and cleared her throat. “When I was sober, I told Sinbad about my predicament and all. He apparently was a chem major for one semester before dropping out of college. He offered to tutor me.”
“Yes?” Rachel prompted.
“Well, I have to pay him somehow. And Mom yanked my allowance cuz of my stupidity so now I don’t have any money,” Lolly laughed bitterly. “And you want to know what? The stupid bitch didn’t even tell Daddy so she could keep my allowance money all for herself.”
“Lolly, don’t say such things about your mom,” Rachel chided, although she knew, as well as anyone else, just what a bitch Silver could be.
“Yeah, and you wanna know how I know?” Lolly stuck her chin in the air. “Because I got a guilty conscience and finally told Daddy about everything and he knew nothing about the situation. I heard him and Mom screaming at each other because…” she stopped and changed her tone to mimic her father’s. “…Silver, you bought what with our daughter’s allowance money?” Lolly gave an aggravated sigh. “Yeah, that’s right. My mother went and bought a new wardrobe and went for a dye and cut job. Hell… she might’ve even gotten a tattoo.”
“Uh… okay…” Rachel wasn’t sure what to say so she stayed silent as Lolly continued her rant.
“Daddy’s furious with her right now and I am too, and well, I still don’t have my allowance since Daddy said it was a sufficient punishment, although he’s controlling the money now,” Lolly crossed her arms.
“It’s so not fair. She gets to spend money on something frivolous and I can’t pay for tutoring? Daddy said I need to use the school’s free services instead, but you know who’s the head of the tutoring club? Nik Wade… and gawd! everyone knows the kid picks his nose… hell… he wears a pocket protector,” she was whining now. “It’s the twenty-fifth century. Who the hell wears a pocket protector?”
“Lolly… if you explain things to your dad, I’m sure he’ll understand,” Rachel said calmly.
“Yeah, I guess,” Lolly slumped in the chair. “But I want Sinbad to do the tutoring. He was nice to me and all.”
“Have you spoken with him?”
Lolly turned as red as her dress. “No… I mean, I was pretty stupid and all.”
“Then how do you know he’ll tutor you?” Rachel asked.
“Well, cuz he said so… that night…” Lolly straightened up in her seat and laid her arms on the table. “He was the one who suggested going to the police station too.”
“Oh really?” Rachel’s pitch rose a notch.
“Yeah… he said he’d a run-in with my uncle Dudley ‘while back, and Dudley let him off for good measure and all… said he could do some community service instead of paying a fine cuz he couldn’t afford it…”
“What did he get in trouble for?”
“Oh… nothin’… just a little vandalism…”
“Vandalism isn’t little.”
“Yeah, Aunt Rae, I know, but that’s beside the point…” Lolly rolled her eyes. “So Uncle Dudley fixed him up and all as a neighborhood patrol…”
The irony! Rachel resisted the urge to mimic her teenage niece’s eye-roll.
“Sinbad said it wasn’t so bad and most of it was paperwork at the station and the pay was decent if you weren’t donatin’ your time so I went down there and asked for my Uncle Dudley and he got me the job,” Lolly explained. “And that’s why you can’t tell my daddy.”
“Because he isn’t on speakin’ terms with Dudley… no one is in my whole big damn family, except me, and well, it should probably stay that way cuz Dudley doesn’t like ’em and they don’t like him,” Lolly said. “Grampaw blames Dudley for doing time, you know?”
Max did time? No, Rachel didn’t know.
“And Daddy’s not one to hold a grudge or nothin’ but he does with Dudley… says a man shouldn’t turn his back on his family for any reason, even if that means protecting people that should be in jail,” Lolly continued.
Rachel frowned. She had never heard about any of this. She had briefly heard about Dudley and his law enforcement career, of course, but she didn’t realize there was bad blood between him and the rest of the Rackets because of Max’s stint in prison.
“So please… pretty please… Aunt Rae… don’t tell my dad. He’s already mad about the whole drunken business and I don’t want him to be mad about this. He wouldn’t understand, but it’s important to me to get my grades up and Sinbad can help me.”
Rachel studied her niece’s face. Lolly looked so young and earnest. Rachel had no qualms with the girl wanting to make some extra money to pay for tutoring. In fact, it was commendable. She did think Dennis should know, but she decided to leave that ball in Lolly’s court.
“I won’t say anything, but you really should try to tell your dad,” Rachel suggested. “You might be surprised by what he says.”
“Yeah, okay, whatever,” Lolly said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “I should have enough money by this Friday to pay Sinbad for the tutoring. Thanks Aunt Rae, you’re the best.”
“Yeah, the best…” Rachel repeated, wondering just how many secrets she would bear for the Racket family.
Author’s Note: Lo and behold! Thanks to a mod… Lolly initiated some flirting with Sinbad and he kinda rolled with it. Yes, I know. Weird. But I decided to be authentic and keep it in the story. And yes, the irony is not lost to me that Sinbad helped out Lolly and Goodwin passed her by. Also it seemed as good an explanation as any to have Lolly working at the police station since her uncle does too. She’s a good kid, albeit whiny at times and maybe a bit bratty, but overall, she’s got the right intentions. The lines about “You’re really drunk… No I’m not…” were inspired by this writing prompt.
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