“I could really use your help, Del-bird.”  Brett leaned over the counter, his shoulder nearly, but not quite, touching Delilah’s.  He’d pulled his dark shades down to the end of his nose so he could see over the rims, but rather than look Delilah in the eye, he had his head turned back towards the fancy stereo on the shelf beneath the window to the kitchen.  “I know it’s programmable.  That’s why I bought it, but I can’t make it jam the way I want.”

“What’s in it for me, Brett darling.  I’m a busy girl.”  Delilah was a spunky single mom, a Perkhead disguised as an in & outer during the week and a cat on the weekends, which is an altogether common pattern of Perkhead regularity.  She programmed at some big company and her twins were old enough to start driving soon.  They used to be triplets but one got separated at birth.  I read about it on a true crime website.  You’d be amazed how often that happened.

“Free coffee for a week?” he offered lamely.

“A week?  That’s all you got?  Come on, Brett baby.  You can do better than that.”  She was toying with him.  She knew he had a thing for her.  Every Perkhead did.

“Free coffee for a week and a free dinner … with me?”

I stifled a laugh.  Brett couldn’t have been more obvious or more hopeless.  A networking protocol god?  Sure.  A walking Wikipedia when it came to Lightning?  Absolutely.  A bullseye target for the Fashion Police wearing those old zoot suits that used to belong to Lightning?  You betcha.  A cool, jazz cat?  Da bomb.  A suave, debonair ladies man?  Not on your life!

“Free coffee for a year,” she countered.

“A month,” he said, “and that’s my final offer.”

Somehow, I doubted that.  He’d do anything to spend more time with her.

“Tell me again, sweetie.  What do you need done?”

Brett broke into a smile.  “Sweet Blue Chariot.  Play it every day, at 5:47.  To remember Lightning’s passing.”

Brett was so transparent.  He could have automated the daily rendition of Lightning’s last song himself.  Hell, he could have programmed the stereo into playing it backwards on every third Tuesday, but then he wouldn’t have had an excuse to talk to Delilah.

“A month you say?”  Her mouth twisted into a grin.  A month’s free coffee wasn’t bad pay.  Writing the script couldn’t take more than an hour.

“You got it Del-bird, a month.  And dinner.  It’ll be blue, just me and you.”  He winked, like some cat playing on stage.  If Brett had played, I always figured the sax would have been his jam.  He just had that swagger.

She leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek.  “You got it, Brett.  I’ll script your jam, but have to take a rain check on the dinner.  I’m working overtime on a big project.  I barely have time to see the boys.”

Contentment washed over Brett while his fingers lingered on the spot where her lips had touched him.  “You just let me know when, Del-bird.”

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