The sun was getting ready to set when they arrived in Denver. Rick got out of the car and opened up the trunk. He took out a large green and blue plaid cloth and wrapped it around his waist. He then dropped his jeans.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm putting on my kilt."
"Oh? Is that what that is? And why are you putting it on again?"
"Because if I don't, Mandy is going to give me shit to no end."
"I'm looking forward to meeting this... Mandy."
About half way down the block they came to a house that was painted orange and with a dark green trim. The yard was over grown and filled with metal ornaments that had rusted over time. They went through the gate and up the stone steps to the front door. Rick rang the bell.
The door opened and a very large and very black man in camouflage fatigues loomed over them from the doorway.
"What do you two want?" He barked at them.
"Um... Does Mandy still live here?" Rick asked.
"Hold on a second." The man shut the door. "Yo, Mandy! There's two white people here to see you! One of them's a dude in a skirt!"
"Rick!" a voice could be heard shouting from inside the house, but the way she said it sounded more like 'REEK'.
A tall woman, with milk chocolate skin and thick dreadlocks full of brightly colored yarn, burst from the front door and threw her arms around Rick. Liz had expected Mandy to be closer to Rick's age or even older, but she wasn't much older than Liz. Mandy's outfit matched the paint of the house.
"Oh my god. What are you doing here? And where is your cowboy hat?"
"I lost the cowboy hat. Two years ago. It had a hole in it."
"Then we must get you another one! And who is your friend? Hello! I'm Mandy!"
Liz reached out to shake Mandy's hand. Still on the step behind Rick, it was the best she could do. Mandy put both of her hands around Liz's and squeezed it tightly.
"I'm Liz. Hi!" She squeaked out.
"Come in! Come in!"
They made their way into the living room. The man in the camos was no smaller even when on even ground. Rick shook his hand.
"Hi, I'm Rick. Nice to meet you."
"What up. I'm 2Fly."
"Born high forever to fly?" Laughed Rick.
"Are you fucking with me, dawg?" 2Fly asked.
"Boys! Boys!" Mandy came in and separated the handshake that had gone on for way too long. "We are all friends here. Rick used to live here too and I want you to treat him like he lives here still. Liz too. Is that clear, 2Fly?"
"Yes." said 2Fly.
"Yes, Mistress Mandy," said 2Fly.
"Good, now go play in your room Mr. 2Fly."
"It was very nice to meet you. Rick." 2Fly said.
2Fly looked at Liz.
"Oh I'm Liz."
"Liz." He nodded his head. 2Fly turned squarely on his heel in a military fashion and marched down the hallway, then turned squarely into his room.
"Okay you two," said Mandy, "Let's get high."
They grabbed some beers from the kitchen on the way to Mandy's room. Mandy made them both take off shoes before going into her room, which was full of scented candles, oils, and incense. Tied dye fabric covered the walls. The three of them sat on Mandy's bed which took up most of the large room. Mandy pulled out a giant bag of weed like it was a bag of cookies. She then proceeded to roll a blunt on a sliver tray.
"So, what's the deal with too fly?"
"Oh, Gerome? It's 'two Fly', by the way, like the number two. I'm managing him. He's a hip-hop artist and no you wouldn't like his music, so don't even say anything."
"Well, I see your management style has gotten a lot stricter then when you were managing me."
"Hey, it wasn't easy managing the Kilted Cowboy."
"So," chirped Liz, "You used to be Rick's manager. Why'd you stop?"
Rick and Mandy laughed and looked as each other, but Liz couldn't seem to get in on the joke.
"I did the best that I could. But I was young back then and just started out. I made the mistakes that young people make."
"We both did," added Rick.
"And what was your excuse, Mister?" Mandy asked Rick superfluously, then licked the blunt shut and handed it to Liz. "Here, Liz. You can do the honors."
"Oh, no thank you. I don't smoke."
"Really? You're hanging out with this guy and you don't smoke? Fine by me. Rick and I will just have to take this thing to the head. Isn't that right, Cowboy?"
"You better believe it."
Rick and Mandy passed the blunt back and forth. Liz looked at the nearly empty beer in her hand. It was going down too quickly.
Getting drunk too quickly led to sobering up too quickly. She was going to have to conserve her will if she was going to come up with some money this evening. Just something small, she thought as she stared down the neck of her beer. When she looked up, Rick and Mandy were making silent eyes at each other.
"Hey, Mandy?" Liz asked, "Where is your accent from? Are you Jamaican?"
Rick and Mandy both started laughing which made them cough out mouthfuls of smoke.
"No. No. I'm not Jamaican," Mandy gave a big smile. "I was born in Haiti. But when I was almost seven, a very bad storm destroyed our home. Sent it right off the side of the hill. We could not afford to rebuild and we were sent to the Dominican Republic and after a few months there, we were sent again to Puerto Rico. That's where we lived until I was twelve when my family eventually moved to New York."
"Mandy speaks three languages," Rick added.
"It's true. I had made a bunch of money being a translator at the UN. But I had no idea what I wanted to do with any of it. Then I saw Rick, playing the piano in that little cafe in the village. Is that place still there?"
"Probably not," said Rick, "But I hope so."
"Anyway, I saw, or I should say 'heard', Rick playing the piano."
"I was much younger then."
"Not that much younger. But he was asking for someone to buy him a drink... So, I did. He said he needed a manager and it paid fifteen percent. Next thing I knew, I was in his car, listening to cassette tapes, exploring the country." Mandy's eye glazed over and she gave a smile at another time and place. "But how about you guys? Where are you off to?"
"LA," said Liz.
"Oh," Mandy looked wide eyed at the two of them, "Out 'n About burger, is it?"
"Hells yeah, Out 'n About burger," said Rick.
"I do miss those burgers," said Mandy.
YOU ARE READING
Love and Hamburgers [Rick and Liz Saga, Season 1]Paranormal
[Completed/Edited - 2018 Fiction Awards Nominee for Best Romance] With her elbows pressed against the well-worn wood of the bar, Liz swiped at her phone. She found herself lurking the Facebook pages and tweets of her exes. None of them were partic...