(Warning: Unedited excerpt so may contain errors.)
An hour and a half later, we pulled into the parking lot of the Lamplighter. I pulled out a compact from my purse and checked that my disguise was still in place.
“I feel ridiculous,” Juliet said. “This thing is making my face itch.”
“It’s only for a little bit longer. Remember it’s for Nellie.” I stepped out of the car and adjusted my wig. Operation Pole Dancer Recon was in play. “Remember my name is Ralph Hutchins, and you’re John Wiggins. We’re feed salesmen from Des Moines on our way back to Iowa from a big pig feed convention.”
“I hope I don’t have to pee,” Juliet complained. “I have no magic to pull that act out of my hat.”
“I’m glad I kept all the costumes from the Founder’s Day play. Who knew Ben Franklin could be pimped out to look modern. A little haircut on the wig, a ball cap, a denim shirt and jeans…Bam! Instant man.”
“I look ridiculous. This beard is over the top. I look like I’m Amish.”
“You look like a feed salesman from Iowa. It’s perfect. You only need to do one more thing to pull this disguise off.”
“What’s that?” Juliet asked.
“Lose the purse. It’s a dead giveaway.”
Juliet grabbed her keys out of her purse and tucked them into her jeans. She wore an old shirt of our grandfather’s that had been tucked away in a box waiting for my next trip to Goodwill. I adjusted her baseball cap and decided it was now or never.
We stepped inside and I sidled up to where Bruce was tending bar again. In the deepest voice I could muster, I said, “Gimme whatever you got on tap.”
“Sure thing. How about your friend?”
“John? You wanna a beer?”
“Uh, sure, Ralph. That’d be awesome.” Juliet croaked.
I rolled my eyes at her. Feed salesmen didn’t say awesome. “Me and my pal here were just at a pig feed convention.”
“You don’t say,” Bruce said, bored. He slid two mugs of beer across to me. I dug around in my front pocket and pulled out some money to pay.
“Yep. Got some new product coming out this fall that’s going to make those hogs bacon-producing machines.” I made a show of looking at the stage. Fortune shined upon me because it was Dusty dancing. “That sure is a nice- looking filly on stage. What’s her name?”
“That’s Dusty Rose. You got lucky. It’s her last night here. She’s moving back to Louisiana this week. Why don’t you boys go and enjoy the show. Dusty will give you a private lap dance for the right price.”
“I think I’ll do that. Come on, John. Let’s cop a squat close to the stage so I can check out that prime filet.” I grabbed my beer and swaggered across the floor.
“You look and sound ridiculous,” Juliet hissed.
“At least I didn’t say that a beer would be awesome. Oh my god, are we Valley Girls?” I hissed back. I grabbed a chair next to the stage and sat down.