And Shipping is Always Free

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

After church the three ladies liked to buy sack lunches from a truck and a bottle of Chianti from the shabby old liquor store on the way down to the river. They would sit on the bank by the rapids with their lunch and catch up on the weekly gossip.

There used to be old men fishing down there. The fishermen would sometimes whistle or shout at the ladies, which they, correctly, took as a complement. Now, though, the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in the fish have been determined to be unsafe and the fishermen have been run off by the police. Sometimes the women miss the fishermen a little – but they also enjoy the quiet.

The ladies have a little pool going. Every week each kicks in a ten dollar bill and the first one to spot a body floating down the river wins the pot.

“There's one!” the lady in the middle shouts.

“That doesn't count, that's a swimmer.”

“It's a body isn't it?”

“But the bet is on a corpse, and you know it.”

“OK.” She sounds disappointed.

“There's one!” the lady furthest upstream calls out.

The middle one is not happy. She gives the object a close look. “Wait, I don't think it's a body, I think it's an inflatable woman.”

She pulls her Sig Sauer P229 out of her purse and lets off a round. She is an expert shot. The inflatable pops and shrivels up into the churning water. The ladies hear giggling from a copse of willow trees upstream. The ladies have been pranked.

“Those kids! At it again. Where did they get that thing?” They shout at the kids. “Where did you get that thing?!”

A reedy voice, hard to hear over the roar of the rapids, comes giggling back from the willows. “Dealdash Dot Com.”

“Children now-a-days. What is this world coming to?” the lady in the center complains. The other two nod in agreement. She pulls a little kit out of her purse, screws the handle on the end of the aluminum rod, and begins to swab out the barrel of her handgun.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness. That's what my mother taught me.”

The other two nod in agreement again, but don't move their gaze from the water. They want to win the pot.