Marshall noticed that something down on the street had caught Benton Noro’s eye. She looked down, smiled, and waved. Marshall looked down to see that the tall blond woman had exited the shop on the other side of the street. The woman waved back at Benton Noro and pointed to her watch. “If you will excuse me,” Benton Noro said, “I have a party to go to tonight and I need to go get ready.”
Benton Noro rose quickly and gathered up her coffee and phone from the table. She looked over at Catrin. “Call me if you ever need some real-world advice,” she said. “I can tell you how business works in this town.”
“Thank you for the lesson,” Marshall chimed in. Benton Noro walled back into the building and Catrin let out a low sigh. “The woman makes me nervous,” she said.
Marshall nodded. “I can see that,” he said.
“Her girlfriend even more so,” Catrin added.
“I haven’t met her,” he said.
“Her name is Victoria Basha. She has a mixed martial arts studio. My parents had me take classes there, but I didn’t last long. I don’t have the heart for it. It isn’t one of those women’s classes about kicking a guy in the balls and running away. They fight, and they fight hard. They’ve even got one of those octagons like you see on TV. She’s been on TV too, but she just coaches now. Still, you know those punching bags they hand from the ceiling?”
“A speed bag?”
“She has something like it, but she uses it strictly for kicking.”
“Impressive,” Marshall said. He thought about Benton Noro’s comment about not having to break kneecaps yet.
Catrin nodded. “It would be interesting to go to that party though.”
“You know what party it is?”
My parents are going. It’s a fundraiser for David Guerrero, the guy running against Sheriff Dwight. It’s an Oktoberfest theme with lots of beer and bratwurst. I like both of those things. I don’t even mind polka that much.”
“What does it take to get in?”
“Well I do have an invite, technically. They sent me one as well. It’s two hundred dollars a plate,” I think. Too rich for my blood. “It would have made for a fun Saturday night though.
Marshall hadn’t realized it was Saturday. He thought about the party for a moment. Marshall thought about it for a moment. It would be interesting, as Catrin said, but it felt like it would be a betrayal to Sheriff Dwight. He hadn’t thought about it until then, but he was in Sheriff Dwight’s camp. He hadn’t intended to be, but somehow it had happened. “Tempting,” Marshall said, “But I don’t want to make commitments my ankle can’t keep.” This was technically true. The walk had been a good first step, but the soreness was not entirely gone.”
Catrin shrugged. “No Biggie. My parents are big supporters. I like Dwight. I’ve catered at his house a dozen times or so, and he’s always been nice to me. My parents have never really gotten over losing my brother though. I don’t know if there was something more the sheriff could have done, especially after they called in the FBI, but the fact is that he failed to bring my brother home. They can’t get past that. I spent a lot of time being angry at people. At some point I had to move past it.
Marshall nodded. He thought about sharing something, but stopped himself. Instead he said, “What’s Rainman up to tonight?”