Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…come on, why aren’t you guys saying this with me?” Paige McCarty complains. She cocks her gorgeous blonde head to the side and stares us down with her big, crystal-blue eyes.
“Because this is dumb. We do not need to chant our motto every time we get together.” I signal the waitress for another round of drinks.
I need booze. Lots and lots of booze to get through this meeting. I love my best friends, but sometimes, I want to punch them in the face. Lovingly, of course.
“Yes, we do, Kennedy O’Brien. We started this company because men are scum-sucking pigs who deserve what’s coming to them,” Paige says with an angry huff as her bright-pink fruity drink is set down in front of her.
“Thank you so much, you’re a doll!” she exclaims to the waitress.
Not only is Paige insanely beautiful, she can flip her moods faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. At thirty years old, her face has graced the cover of every beauty magazine in existence and she’s got the charm of a Southern belle, but don’t cross her or she will cut you. And this, folks, is why we are friends.
“I, for one, need to be reminded of why I abhor all things male,” Paige tells us as she blots her lip gloss with a cocktail napkin. “All of the money I made modeling was blown on Andy’s secret gambling trips. This motto reminds me of how I felt the day I walked into Jimmy Choo and all of my credit cards were declined, and the sense of satisfaction I felt when I went home and set fire to all of Andy’s clothes on the front lawn.”
A dreamy sigh escapes her heart-shaped mouth when she thinks back on the inferno of revenge, and it reminds me to never get between a model and her need for shoes. Ever. Underneath all that beauty is a brain that is fast thinking, conniving, and perfect for our business.
“I’m certain we will never forget that men are lying, cheating imbeciles.” Lorelei Warner brushes off an imaginary piece of lint on her black suit pants. “Gary sent me his wedding invitation yesterday. ‘We hope you can join us for the joyous celebration of Gary and Doug as they pledge their endless love to each other.’ Can you believe that rat bastard actually invited me?”
Lorelei, my other best friend, means business when she swears. Sure, “rat bastard” isn’t up there on the swearing chart, but it is for her. She’s actually the type of person who will say, “Cheese and rice!” instead of Jesus Christ.
“See? Lorelei is swearing. The world is coming to an end,” Paige laments to me. “If we don’t stick together with this motto, she might forget about coming home to find Doug sampling some sweet Italian sausage.”
Lorelei makes a gagging noise and covers her mouth with her hand. Unfortunately, Paige isn’t talking about food. She’s talking about Nuncio, the hot waiter at Villa Macri Ristorante—the place where Doug proposed to Lorelei and where they celebrated their anniversary every year.
Lorelei met Doug at Harvard Law and once they both graduated and were well established in their respective law firms, they tied the knot. I always suspected Doug played for the other team. He was too pretty. And do you know any straight men who have hair pomade shipped in from Paris?
“What cases do we have on the schedule this week?” I ask as Lorelei pulls out a few files from her leather briefcase now that she’s composed herself after remembering the night her ex-husband became a gay man.
“We’ve got a bail jumper, a cheating spouse, and a subpoena delivery. Who wants what?” Lorelei asks as she sets the files down in the middle of the table so we can flip through them.
“I do believe I’ve had enough of cheating spouses, so count me out for that one.” I grab the bail-jumper file and flip through it. I was trained by Uncle Sam in the army, so firing a gun at bad guys and being in the midst of danger is what I thrive on.
“Speaking of cheating rat bastards, have you talked to Alex lately?” Paige asks as she tests her froufrou drink and finds it to her liking.
“Ha! Yeah, right!” I reply with a snort. Finishing off my Bud Light Lime, I slam the empty glass back onto the table with a clunk. “He was supposed to pick up the girls last weekend and never showed or called. I hope his penis falls off. I hope it rots and falls off inside of Miss Teen USA, therefore causing her perfect, twenty-two-year-old vagina to rot and fall out of her thong when she sneezes.”
Paige and Lorelei stare at me with open mouths once I finish with my tirade.
“Wow, tell us how you really feel,” Lorelei replies sympathetically with a pat to my arm.
“It’s okay. It’s fine. I’m perfectly FINE with the fact that while I was fighting for our country, he was fighting to singlehandedly ruin our marriage. What’s NOT fine is the fact that he’s ignoring his daughters. How did I not know he was a worthless human being when I met him?” I ask with a disgusted shake of my head.
“How did I not know Andy was playing ten-thousand-dollar hands of Texas Hold’em instead of going to software conferences? How did Lorelei not know that Doug likes to play slap and tickle with balls instead of boobs? Because men are rat bastards, that’s how,” Paige explains.
“Rat bastards,” Lorelei and I agree with a nod of our heads.
Continuing my quick scan of the case file, it looks like this should be a pretty easy one to handle. The guy tried to rob a house while the owners were still home. He panicked when he saw them sitting in the kitchen, dropped the laptop he had in his arms, picked up their Chihuahua instead, and bolted out the front door.
He got out on bail and then skipped his court date. Which is a no-no when you use a bail bondsman to help you get out of jail. You should never piss off a bail bondsman. It will always end badly.
In this case, Martin McFadden pissed off my father, who owns Buddy’s Bail Bonds, his pride and joy after he retired from the army. All the men in my family served in the army. My grandfather, my Uncle Wally, my two cousins Beaver and Ward (my Aunt Janet loved the TV show Leave It to Beaver—don’t ask), and both of my older brothers, Bobby and Ted. (Bobby, Ted, Kennedy. Go ahead and get it out of your system now. My Irish-American mother always wanted to be Jackie O, sue me.) My mother died when I was a baby and since I was the only girl, army was all I knew. I enlisted right out of high school just like everyone in my family. Unfortunately, I didn’t really do it to make my family happy; I did it to make a boy happy. THE boy. Alex Bradford, my high school sweetheart. I met him in twelfth grade when his father retired from the army and they moved to our small town. We were in gym class together and when I was assigned to his dodgeball team, he leaned down and whispered, “Don’t worry, I won’t let anyone hit you with any of the balls.” It melted my heart and pissed me off all at the same time.
According to the file, the Chihuahua Martin snatched is a two-year-old named Tinkerdoodle that I could punt like a football. He took her from her comfy, pink, bedazzled dog bed, and the owners haven’t stopped crying since then. No, he didn’t go back for the TV, the jewelry, or the artwork; he went back for a yappy, ankle-biting dog. What an idiot. This will be an easy paycheck for the week, I can feel it.
Sliding into the front seat of my silver Ford Explorer, I get the SUV started just as my cell phone rings. My dad starts complaining before I even say hello.