After watching Zeke and his sister, Cletus figured he better touch base with his children before he left the state.
From Portland, his closest child was a girl of six named Eibileen. Eibileen lived in Grand Ledge, Michigan.
Even though he was behind in his child support payments, his ex-girlfriend was more than willing to let Cletus take his daughter on a date. She had some vacuuming she needed to catch up on.
Zeke and Cletus picked up his daughter and it was a pretty snug fit in the pickup truck.
Zeke disappeared around the corner to soak up a beer in the local pub.
Cletus and Eibileen went into Kindlystone Creamery with Eibileen in complete command of the situation.
After ordering, they sat at a table. The chairs were much too small for any normal human to sit on. Cletus felt like he was balancing on the end of a cue stick.
Eibileen's first question was, "Are you and Zeke gay?"
Cletus had been around the block a few times and automatically responded, "Why would you ask that?"
"My friend Quinlin's dads are gay." Eibileen responded.
"If I was gay I wouldn't have a daughter." Cletus said.
Eibileen looked at Cletus like he was daft. "Quinlin is a girl and her dads are gay."
"Zeke and I aren't gay." Cletus said. The conversation was not going the way he had expected.
"Why not?" Eibileen asked.
"I like girls." Cletus said.
"Why?" Eibileen asked.
Cletus actually gave the question a bit of thought. "Girls smell better. Girls listen better. Most girls actually care about how you are feeling." Cletus answered.
Eibileen nodded like she had already figured that out.
The trenchers of ice-cream were delivered by a skinny girl with bad complexion. She also brought ice water.
Eibileen took one bite and pushed it away. "I don't like it."
Shit!!! That ice -cream filled boat cost $12. That was a lot of money for Cletus.
"So why did you pick it?" Cletus asked. Cletus had his flaws. He had impulse control issues and when riled he lost all ability to regulate his emotion. But he wasn't going to get mad at a child.
"The picture on the wall looked like Sup-doc Bunny. I wanted to see what it tasted like." Eibileen said.
Cletus thought the dairy dessert barista would have been more than happy to give out taste samples, but he bit his tongue.
Eibileen very cheerfully ate the lemon wedges that were in the ice water. The skinny waitress was more than happy to keep delivering more, free of charge.
Cletus was overly full after finishing his tummy-buster. He walked Eibileen the six blocks home. He felt gassy and did not think Eibileen would survive spending much time with him in an enclosed space.
Zeke looked up from his beer. "How did it go?"
" 'bout what you would expect. She is just like her mom." Cletus said. He had no clear feeling about the interaction. All he knew was that he was trying to do his duty as a father to the best of his limited ability.