"No, I'm sorry man -- don't have any spare change on me now, left my purse inside. Maybe on my way out, 'kay?" She did a little finger-wave at him then turned and went back into McGilligan's, Joe's humiliation hanging in the air behind her.
He slumped against the wall. Why in the hell had he thought she'd even remember him, let alone that she'd care if she did? Cripes. If she'd been here with that lout Frankie, then clearly she'd moved on.
He cupped his hands around his face and looked through the plate glass. McGilligan's looked the same -- the jukebox at the far end, the little electric train running on the track elevated all around the walls, up by the ceiling, the jars of unnameable pickled food on the bar. Violet was already at the dartboard on the back wall, pulling darts from the target and laughing like crazy.
Ah, he loved her laughter. The way she'd throw back her head, as she was doing now, and the way the full-throated guffaw would push listeners backwards just a half-step or so -- as they were doing now, on the other side of the window. She could bottle that laughter, sell it to television sitcom producers.
And God help him, he even remembered the last time he'd heard her laugh like that at something he'd said...