I visited Arlene at the three-bedroom ranch-style house that she and her husband, Frenchy, had just bought on Osborn Road near the old Holiday Inn in Phoenix. Sitting on a black Naugahyde barstool at the kitchen counter, I looked through the Venetian blinds at the front yard while Arlene, wearing a reddish-brown Afro wig, made margaritas in a blender. Water from the sprinklers made half-circle arcs over the yard, which was bare and smelled of manure. Arlene said Frenchy had just put the grass in.
I hadn’t talked to her in five years.
This story is now part of my memoir, Million Dollar Red, available from Vine Leaves Press in December 2019.