But before the argument made a dangerous turn, they walked into the tavern. The locals took their eyes off their beers and took the four of them in, shifting a bit on their bar stools, feeling the power of Amanda as she laughed and flipped her purse about in the air.
Amanda could feel the power she had and knew that she commanded the room. Any of these deer-shooting, beer-drinking, snowmobiling good ol’ boys would give anything to be with her. Hell, if it weren’t for Ryan, she might have slept with them all. But he was there and had a power almost as great as her own; between the two of them the world was theirs to do whatever the fuck they liked. Nothing, nothing could stop them. All the things that she was going to do, now, starting tonight, she would begin — that novel that had been flying around her brain, well, she needed to get some money to start that, but once she finished that new dance that everyone loved to see her dance then everything would fall into place, and things wouldn’t be so confusing once she had the money — wait, what the hell was that hanging from the wall? Why was someone talking to her and distracting her from what was critical, which was something anyone who wasn’t dumb as shit could see? Of course she wanted something to drink! Wasn’t that why they were here? Were these people just stupid? What she really needed was a pen or a pencil and napkins, lots of napkins … anything! Order her anything! That thing staring at her from the wall was freaking her out; its eyeballs were watching her. Fuck! Things were flying at her now, those eyeballs sending things her way; some of this just needed to be put down …. Finally someone was handing her a pen and she began to write, already feeling better, each word adding power to the previous words — if she could write a thousand words, then that thing would stop staring at her.
Ryan sipped his beer and watched Mandy write. When she was done with one napkin she would stuff it in her purse and start on a new one. The tip of her tongue was slipping between her lips in concentration. When the waitress brought their food, she was irritated by the disruption, but ate and wrote, and did not enter into the conversation the rest of them were having. When the napkins were gone, Ryan got her more before she became distressed. What he really wanted to do was read what she was writing, to try to understand what was going on in her head. When she got up, taking her purse and heading for the bathroom, David asked, “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s cool,” was his answer. When she came back from the bathroom, smelling of weed, he could tell that she was already calmer, and he didn’t question her desire to switch seats with him. He glanced at the large moose head in front of him and swore the thing was staring at him.