“We can’t go any further until you tell me why everyone in town–except me, apparently–calls you Dink.”

Jen smiled wanly. “Tell you what. You figure it out, I buy you lunch.”

“Well, now.” Alan hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. “My wife’ll confirm that betting me lunch is a dangerous game. When I’m paying, I get meals made by Ronald McDonald or Chef Boyardee. When someone else is paying, I take lunch at Ponce De Leon’s Bistro downtown.”

“They even open right now?”

“They do curbside. And they make a gourmet chicken cordon bleu sandwich like you wouldn’t believe. Local cheese, local bread, taste that’s out of this world. Starts at $25, and that’s before I order the house kettle chips.” Alan paused, turned away for a drag on his cigarette, and then turned back. “Which I will.”

“That suits me just fine,” Jen said. “But you gotta do it honest. No asking anybody straight, cuz I’ll find out.”

“Fair enough,” said Alan. “You catch me doing that, I owe you lunch at Poncey’s.”

“We need a deadline, then, to make it a proper gentleman’s wager.”

“End of this week. My week starts Monday, so Monday next.”

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