Double Dog Dare
"Royal Flush, bitches!" Winston fanned his cards out on the coffee table, face up.
'Awww' was the general consensus from his opponents as Beckley took off another sock, Mindy took off her last shoe, and Phara took off the button down shirt that covered a tank top.
"At least I know what 'da sein' is." Phara jabbed as she walked into the kitchen for another beer.
'Ohhhh' was the general consensus now. More of an 'ohhhh, you've been burned!'
Winston was black, but his blush was still visible as he shuffled the cards. "I know what it is." he mumbled.
"Yeh, right! When I first brought it up last week you had no idea what I was talking about!" gloated Beckley. "And you're supposed to be a second year philosophy major! Were you just sleeping through class for the past year and a half?!"
The girls giggled at him. Phara handed Mindy another beer. The apartment was in 'cement city' the shadier side of Denton, Texas. If you could call any part of Denton truly shady. The apartments were rundown, at least 20 years old, and were apparently reserved for illegal Mexicans and University of North Texas students.
The four were drinking and playing poker, in an apartment, with Phara's name on the lease.
The primary reason that had brought them all together on this brisk fall evening was an Intensive German class offered at the University of North Texas. The secondary reason was the fact that out of the four, Phara was the only one with her own apartment. The other three lived in the dorms. The tertiary reason that they were there was Beckley. Beckley had orchestrated the whole get-together, he had a crush on Phara. He had volunteered her apartment, and paid way more than the beer was worth in order to arrive with it. They were all younger than 21, the legal drinking age there in Denton.
"Hey, did y'all hear about that nurse that got sniped the other day? That's messed up!" Mindy seemed actually concerned.
"It was her ex." stated Phara, knowingly.
"What? Really?" Mindy looked to her with widened eyes.
"Well, I don't know for sure, but I'd bet money on it." Phara peeked at her cards secretively. "I'm a nursing assistant, you know. I work with nurses. They're shit magnets. They're real sympathetic and guys can smell that. They're always dating psychos because they think they can change them."
"She's right. The guy that shot her was her ex-husband." Phara shot Beckley a knowing glance. She knew she was right. He knew she was right. He was praying he got some credit for backing her up.
"So, they know who did it?" Mindy was still mesmerized. They all stacked the cards that they wanted to trade in.
"Of course. It took the cops, like, no time to figure it out. The guy was an idiot. It's impossible to get away with anything anymore." Beckley huffed as if he was the one being blamed for the murder.
"Oh, you can get away with murder." Phara raised her eyebrow cryptically behind her cards.
"Whatever." doubted Mindy. "They've got fingerprints, and DNA, and CSI and all the technology now. You're sure to get caught."
"The main slip-up is motive. It's always someone that has something to gain. Or something to lose. Greed. Jealousy. The line between the victim and the perpetrator is usually pretty obvious." Phara declared.
"Oh whatever, like you could get away with murder." Mindy narrowed her eyes at Phara.
"I could." Phara was confident. The two guys just stared in awe at the showdown that sat before them.
"If I walked out this door right now. At ten o'clock at night. And walked in a random direction. Until I came across a random person. And then I just did it. And there were no witnesses, or any witnesses didn't get a good look. And I left the murder weapon at the scene." Phara looked smug. "They would have nothing on me. I'd get away with it, scott free!"
Mindy was usually shy, reserved. The beer flowed through her 19 year old veins, giving her an uncharacteristic confidence. She leaned across the coffee table towards Phara.
"I double dog dare ya."
There was a full minute of silence. Phara stared at Mindy. Mindy stared at Phara. The two guys looked back and forth between the girls, in shock, but not sure why.
Phara stood up and walked into the bedroom. She came back into the living room wearing a black hoodie. Then she walked into the kitchen. All eyes were on her. Her guests heard rummaging. She stepped back out from behind the fridge and gripped the handle of the front door.
"Where are you going?" Mindy seemed genuinely frightened.
"I need some caffeine and I'm outta soda. I'll be back in a minute. Anybody want anything?"
Not just Mindy, but Winston and Beckley breathed a sigh of relief. They all mumbled a negative answer and Phara left the apartment.
Almost an hour later the front door swung open, followed closely by Phara. She entered quickly and pressed against the door from the inside as it slammed shut. Beckley was startled from the TV show he had been waching. He stared up at her in the eerie blue glow, beer in hand, jaw slack.
"Where is everybody?" Phara asked.
"They had to go. We've all got class in the morning."
Phara crossed the room faster than either realized. Before she knew what she was doing, and way before he knew what she was doing, she was stradling him and they were passionately kissing.
The next day in the student union, Phara browsed. She made her way to the cashier with a bottled water, a container of pasta salad, and a copy of the current edition of the Denton Record Chronicle. Her economics professor's opinion of the local paper was that it's great....'if you have parrots or puppies.' Phara smiled to herself. She paid the cashier, got her change back, and found a nice table in the brocade shadows of the gingko tree in the courtyard.
She opened up the paper. The headline on the front page read "Student stabbed to death, motive unknown."
Phara nonchalantly took a bite of her pasta salad. Out of all the places to eat in Denton, the student union really had the best pasta salad.