Hildreth stood. “Well! Now, that I cleared that vampire out of my head, what should I do?”
I could practice with my Bossman 550.
I could go take a nap. That’s a nice idea. Charge up my batteries.
Maybe watch some more junk tv.
Send Elsie harassing text messages. That would be awesome. Spam her mailbox with stupid texts like “Do fish worry about drowning?” Or “How fast can a refrigerator run?” See how many she responds to versus flat out ignores.
She’d call me an idiot for sure.
He laughed. “And my day would be complete.”
I could pay Jeff a visit.
“I should call him first.”
He went back upstairs and called Jeff’s number.
“Hi! Is this Jeff Farsigh?”
The man on the other line chuckled. “Maybe. Is this Hildreth Mayhew?”
“Ha! Maybe. How ya doin’?”
Jeff sighed. “Busy.”
“Ah. Too busy for a social call?”
“Maybe. Unless you bring a box of donut holes from Shant, Cant, and Aint with you.”
“And a cup of coffee?”
The two men said in unison, “No cream, no sugar, and not too hot.”
Jeff laughed. “We still got it!”
Two hours later, Hildreth parked in front of Jeff’s yellow and white ranch house. He pulled out his phone and called him again. “Hey. If this is Jeff Farsigh, you should get your tail out here and say hi.”
“Maybe I will. If you’re Hildreth Mayhew.”
“Maybe I am.”
“Then, maybe I’ll come out.”
“I’m out here waiting with a box of donut holes and coffee.”
“Blast you. Now, I do have to come out.”
Hildreth grinned. “You better hustle. These donut holes smell goooood.”
Jeff hung up the phone.
Hildreth opened the donut box and snooped through the assortment of deep fried schmoos. “mmm. Powdered sugar. Blueberry. Cream. Raspberry.”
Someone knocked on his driver’s side window.
Hildreth looked up and grinned at the prematurely gray haired man outside his door. He took out a random donut hole, wagged it at him, and popped it into his mouth.
He automatically gagged and spit it out.
Jeff laughed and opened the door. “Let me guess. Lemon custard?”
Hildreth dropped it into his ash tray. “Yep. Lemon toxic custard.”
“Serves you right. Trying to eat my donut holes. Dweeb.”
Hildreth got out of the car and hugged the former hunter. “It’s been too long.”
Hildreth released him. “How have you been doing?”
“Let’s go inside and talk.”
“That bad, huh?”
He shrugged again.
The two men went inside.
Hildreth dumped the donut holes into a salad bowl and set it on the table. He settled down and contemplated the cornucopia of sugar and yeast.
“You look good. Life treating you okay?”
Hildreth smiled. “That one.” He plucked out a raspberry jelly one. “Can’t complain too much. Not nowadays. I’m engaged to a super hot vixen of a hunter.”
“Oh? Anyone I know?”
“Whaaa? I thought she hated men.”
Hildreth laughed. “She sure doesn’t hate me.”
“What about you?” He put the raspberry donut hole into his mouth. “You got someone to come home to?”
Jeff searched the salad bowl for just the right piece. “I did. She died.”
“Our daughter was kidnapped.”
“I did everything I could think of to find her. Even put her face on milk cartons. Nothing.” He sat back with a couple of glazeds. “You seen Shinowa lately?”
“How is he?”
“He can still toss me half a mile.”
Jeff chuckled and ate on of the glazed donut holes. “That’s good to hear. You still get nightmares about him?” He looked up at Hildreth. “About Master Initskay?”
“Not so much anymore. But it still hurts.”
“I know. They still get me every now and then. Seems to hit me harder now I’m alone.”
“Are you all right?”
Jeff sighed. “I’m alive. On the flip side, the nightmares were a whole lot worse before I retired.” He contemplated the other glazed doughnut hole in his hand. “I’ve never told him, but I’m glad Shinowa talked me into retiring.”
Hildreth picked out a chocolate frosted one. “Speaking of which, I heard you took up singing.” He ate it and sucked the frosting off his fingers. “Dude! I had no idea that you could hit anything beyond middle c.”
“Hahaha! I know. Laura talked me into taking lessons. She figured it would give me something useful to do.” He smiled a soft smile. “She was right. As always.”
“Would you want to sing for my wedding?”
“I don’t know.” Jeff ate the glazed. He took a lemon custard one and bit it in half. “You want the other half, don’t you?”
Hildreth fake gagged, which made Jeff laugh.
“Dweeb. I’d gladly sing at your wedding. If you pay me.”
“Seems fair. How much?”
“I’ll let you off easy this time and waive my usual fee.”
Hildreth raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Really? No catch?”
“Uh-oh. I don’t trust that manic gleam in your eyes. Looks like trouble.”
“It’s no trouble. All you have to do is let me record a video of you eating ten lemon custard donut holes.”
“Dude. You are a total brute.”
“But, what the heck? I’ll do it. Just this one time. Fair warning, it won’t be a pretty sight. There might be some involuntary vomiting involved.”
“I’m counting on it.”