Rider Capote came home to Forest Grove from college every weekend. It wasn’t just the free food and laundry. He liked being at home and with his family. One weekend, his mother called him into the kitchen. “Rider,” she said, “I have baked an apple spicecake for Grams. She’s sick and the cake will make her feel better. I have too much to do to deliver it to her myself. Be a good boy and take it to her today.”
He packed the cake into a plastic box and got into his mustang. He drove to the road that led into town. His radio was on, and he heard a newscaster say, “The Carver is still at large. Police are asking everyone to call in about suspicious people. Do not approach. The suspect is armed and dangerous. A few witnesses have reported this serial killer wears a long, black raincoat, is approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, and has a slender build…”
As he passed the sign that said “Welcome to Forest Grove,” he saw a car on the shoulder and someone leaning into the trunk. Rider pulled over. The person stood up from the trunk and smiled.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hi,” he said, “I’m Rider.”
“It looks like you have some car trouble.”
Lulu thought he had a talent for stating the obvious, and a cute butt. His auburn hair curled nicely around his face, which was dimpled and pleasant. He looked good enough to eat.
“Do you know how to change a tire?” he asked as he walked around her car.
“Yes, but I wouldn’t say no to some help.” She removed the spare from the trunk and rolled it to the flat. They grabbed the tire iron and the jack.
“Your crimson and gray hoodie, is that from State U?” Lulu asked.
Rider answered, “Yeah, I’m a Sophomore.”
He raised the car with the jack. Lulu watched and said, “That’s a long drive.”
“It’s only a couple of hours away, and I like to drive.”
“Are you headed back to campus now?”
“No, not until tomorrow. I’m delivering a cake to my grandmother. She has a cold and it’ll help her feel better. She owns the bar & grill. Maybe you’ve seen it, it’s called Red’s.”
“Not yet, but after this tire is fixed, I’ll drop in for a bite.”
“There’s an auto repair shop one block down from the restaurant.”
“How do I get there? I’m new in town.”
“Go a mile down this road. You’ll come to a 4-way intersection, take a right. When you see the sign for farm fresh squash, turn left and go two blocks down Main. Red’s Bar and Grill is hard to miss because of the gigantic red sign.”
“Thanks,” Lulu said. “Maybe your grandma would also like some get-well flowers. Us girls always like a pretty bouquet.”
Rider smiled. “That’s a good idea. We have a great florist in town.”
They finished changing the tire. Rider put the flat in her trunk. Lulu got in her car and watched him drive off, towards the florist. She drove as fast as the speed limit allowed.
Lulu entered the restaurant and saw the bar to the right of the dining area. Large televisions were hung on two walls. One was on the home and garden network, and the other was off. She looked around, noticing there was only one other person in the place. She had white hair in a braid wrapped around her head, and she was behind the bar with her back to the door. Lulu jumped the bar and pounced on her. She hit the old lady on the head with an empty bottle, dragged her into the kitchen, tied her to a chair, and moved it into the walk-in refrigerator.
Lulu went back into the restaurant and flipped the sign in the window to “closed.” She quickly shut all the blinds and turned down the lights.
Meanwhile, Rider went to the florist and bought a bouquet of yellow and white tulips. When he arrived and saw the closed sign, the windows covered, and the lights turned down, he wondered what was going on. It was between lunch and dinner times, but the grill should be open. He opened the door and called out, “Grams?”
There was no answer. He knew the place in the dark as well as light, so he made his way quickly to the kitchen door. He was about to push it when it swung open.
A different voice answered him. “That nice old lady went to the pharmacy. She said it was ok to wait here for you.”
He felt on the wall for the lightswitch and turned on the bar lights. He recognized Lulu as she walked into the light.
“Oh, hey, Lulu. How’s your car?”
“Fine, it’s just in the lot waiting for a shiny new tire.” She smiled at him like a starving wolf. “Why don’t you set down the cake and flowers?”
“Sure,” Rider put them on the bar. His mouth had suddenly gone dry.
Lulu inched towards him and undid her top button. “It might be a while ‘till she returns, so maybe we should pass the time somehow.”
His eyes went to hers. “Are you suggesting we make out?”
“Maybe.” She looked up at him under her lashes.
Rider said, “You do move fast.”
“Mmm-hmm,” she hummed on a long breath, and started to unzip his hoodie.
Rider grabbed her hands. He looked into her blue eyes. “You sure do have big, pretty eyes.”
Lulu batted her long lashes and said, “All the better to see you.”
Rider smiled and tucked a section of her long brown hair behind one ear. “Hmm, you have nice, big ears. I like that in a woman.”
She chuckled and said, “All the better to hear you.”
He leaned in and kissed her earlobe, then her cheek. He pulled back to look at her again. It took all his remaining willpower to not look at her unbuttoned blouse, so he stared at her mouth for a moment. “Has anyone ever told you that you have lips like Angelina Jolie’s?”
Lulu lunged at him and planted a big, juicy kiss on his mouth. One kiss led to another, and she peeled off his hooded sweatshirt. She threw it across the bar, then nibbled on his neck.
Outside of Red’s, a black and white cruiser parked. Officer Diana Reis had been stopping in for a chop salad at 2:30 everyday for the past two years. The restaurant had never been closed before. Warily, she exited her car and made sure her of her surroundings. The door was unlocked, so she entered the dark and mostly empty room. She saw two people necking behind the bar. The guy had the same curly red hair as the owner’s grandson. Upon closer inspection, she realized that he was Rider Capote, and he was too distracted with the brunette’s boobs to notice that she had grabbed a broken bottle with one hand.
Diana moved as silently and quickly as possible, but the kitchen door suddenly swung open. She saw Scarlett Capote practically fly out, knock the bottle out of the brunette’s hand, and slam into her. The older woman tackled her to the ground. The brunette howled in pain. Diana rushed to the two women and said, “Thanks, Scarlett, I’ll cuff her while you hold her down.”
Rider looked on the scene in shock. The officer had one knee poking into Lulu’s back and was reciting her Miranda rights. His grandmother slowly got up from the floor. Rider went to her aid. “Grams! What was that?”
“That, my dear, was a psychopath.”
“What? We were just kissing while you went out for cold meds!”
“Rider, you’re a sweet boy, but you’re too trusting and naive. That girl attacked me and shut me in the walk-in. Then she attacked you.”
Officer Reis said, “I’m pretty sure we caught The Carver. This bitch has been seducing and killing young men all over the county.”
Rider looked at his white-haired grandmother. He had a whole new appreciation for her. He sat on Lulu’s legs while Grams went to the phone and called the police station. The other two cops in town arrived soon after, and they took Lulu into custody.
Rider gave his Grams her flowers. They ate some of the cake together.
A week later, Diana got a promotion. Rider never ignored the news again, and he changed his major to criminal psychology.