Cole and Rusty had reconvened near the department’s coffee pot, each sipping from a mug.
“The dude was naked?” Rusty asked.
“As the day he was born,” Cole answered.
“And she was in a bathrobe?” Rusty asked.
“Yup,” Cole said.
“Wet hair?” Rusty asked. “Like she’d just been in the shower?”
“Yup,” Cole replied.
“And she was coming back to the room with a bucket of ice and a bottle of wine?” Rusty asked.
“Affirmative,” Cole said.
“That’s the most white trash thing I’ve ever heard of,” Rusty said. “Who puts ice cubes in wine?”
“I don’t know, Rusty,” Cole said. “Maybe the ice bucket was just to chill it.”
“And she got it for him,” Rusty said.
“What?” Cole asked.
“Well,” Rusty said. “Usually it’s the man doing romantic gestures, like going out to get a bottle of wine. But here, you got the woman doing it, so clearly she’s smitten.”
“Smitten?” Cole asked.
Rusty sipped his coffee. “Sharon ever bring you a bottle of wine?”
Cole sighed. “I can’t say that she has.”
“Didn’t think so,” Rusty said. “And I’m sorry to say this but given the circumstances you’ve laid out for me, I can come to no other conclusion than that your ex-wife and that big beast of a man are…”
“Don’t say it,” Cole said.
“…fucking,” Rusty said.
“I asked you not to say it,” Cole said.
Rusty ignored his friend’s plea and carried on. “Deep, down and dirty, hardcore, X-rated fucking.”
“Stop,” Cole said.
“Worse,” Rusty said. “This man has turned your ex into a slave…a slave for his gargantuan dong.”
“It was massive,” Cole said.
“Women pretend like size doesn’t matter but it matters, Cole,” Rusty said. “It totally matters. When a woman is with a man who has been blessed with a King Kong dong, all their talk about feminism and women’s rights goes out the window and they become a slave to the dong, doing all sorts of crazy things, like going out in a bathrobe in the middle of the night in search of alcohol to appease her well endowed master.”
“It was a mistake for me to go over there in the first place,” Cole said.
“Damn right,” Rusty said.
“You’re the one who told me to go over there,” Cole said.
“Did I?” Rusty asked. “Don’t listen to me, man. I say all kinds of shit.”
Maude stepped into the break room and set her oxygen tank down on the counter. She then poured herself a mug of coffee.
“What’s everyone talking about?” Maude asked.
“Nothing,” Cole said.
“Sharon’s getting straight up plowed by her partner,” Rusty said.
“Shut up,” Cole said.
“Dude’s got a damn boa constrictor in his pants,” Rusty said.
“Is that right?” Maude asked as she let a cigarette.
“I don’t see any need for this conversation to continue,” Cole said.
“It’s huge,” Rusty said. “Cole walked in on them while he was banging her into next week.”
“That’s…” Cole struggled to avoid an urge to slap Rusty. “You’re exaggerating.”
“I’m telling the story better than you told the story so I can keep Maude’s interest,” Rusty said.
“I’m not that interested,” Maude said.
“Aw come on, Maude,” Rusty said. “You’re a woman.”
“Last time I checked,” Maude said.
“Tell Cole to give up and move on already,” Rusty said. “Sharon’s got a damn bratwurst and there’s no way she’ll ever go back to a cocktail weenie.”
Rusty looked at Cole’s face. Suddenly, he knew he’d gone a step too far. “I’m not knocking cocktail weenies. I got one. You got one. Most men are average it’s just…men who are above average live lives of rarified air and when a woman gets a hold of a big ole’ baloney pony she’s never going to let it go, right Maude?”
Maude shrugged her shoulders. “I dumped a man with a big one for my Arnold.”
“What?” Rusty asked.
“It’s true,” Maude said. “When I was a girl…”
“…back when the world was young and dinosaurs roamed the earth,” Rusty added.
“You want the story or not?” Maude asked.
“Sorry,” Rusty said.
“When I was young,” Maude said. “I dated a man who was in a motorcycle gang and this fella was packing a unit that could have served as his very own kickstand.”
“Goddamn,” Rusty said.
“I don’t need to hear this,” Cole said.
“And sure, that life was fun for a young girl,” Maude said. “Drugs and danger and all that but you know what? Larry was a real asshole. Constantly cheated on me and took me for granted. The last straw came when I caught him in a truck stop bathroom with another girl. I walked right out of there and was fuming mad but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a ride home so I…”
“Called upon your pet brontosaurus to whisk you away,” Rusty said.
Maude clutched her cigarette between her thumb and pointer finger. “I will put this out in your eye.”
“Understood,” Rusty said.
“I met Arnold,” Maude said. “He was a long haul trucker who had stopped for gas. Such a nice, sweet man. I gave him my number and he courted me proper. We went on all sorts of dates. He brought me flowers and the whole bit. And even though he had a small one, I told him I loved him every day until the day he died and I still do today every morning before I get out of bed. I just wish he were there to hear it. Ehh, maybe he still does somehow.”
“How small are we talking about?” Rusty asked.
“Oh,” Maude said. “Way, way below average. Looked like a button that got lost in a pile of wheat grass.”
“It was like a little mouse that was afraid to peek out of his hole,” Maude said. “But the moral of the story is, yes, women do love big ones, but any woman with half a brain isn’t going to put up with a bunch of bullshit to hang onto one…and she’ll even deal with a small one if its owner is a good egg.”
“I don’t have a small one,” Cole said.
“Whoa,” Maude said as she puffed on her cigarette. “That information is between you, God, and the millions of people who watch Network News One.”
“You get the point, Cole?” Rusty said. “You might still have a shot with Sharon if her partner ends up being an asshole.”
“Ugh,” Maude said.
“What?” Cole asked.
“Nothing,” Maude said.
“No, what?” Cole asked.
A thick trail of ash plopped into Maude’s coffee. That did not stop her from taking a long, vigorous sip. “None of my business, but if you go back to her after what she did to you, I’m going to call you a pussy.”
“That’s what I said,” Rusty said.
“Well,” Maude said as she exited the break room with her tank in one hand and cup in the other, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day, Prince Harry.”
Rusty and Cole stood there in awkward silence for a moment.
“You think she noticed her ash fell into her coffee?” Rusty asked.
“I don’t think she gives a shit,” Cole replied.
The duo stood and enjoyed their coffee for another minute before the loud, obnoxious ravings of the esteemed Mayor of Sitwell echoed through the station. “Cole Walker! Where the hell are you?!”