Tuesday evening at the Mineral Town Inn, and the three of us are the only ones here.

Of course, since we started closing on Mondays and Tuesdays after dad's heart-attack last winter, there technically shouldn't be anyone here at all.

Then again, a girl gets lonely on a summer's evening, and her two best friends/best customers aren't any trouble at all, right? Besides, Karen's big day off is also Tuesday, and Rick needs a quiet night in the inn every now and again.

It was an impromptu whim at first, but since then we've made our Tuesday nights a bit of a tradition. I supply the booze, Rick brings some food, and Karen brings the evening entertainment. We have a little fun, we get to relax from our jobs, and we generally have a pretty good time (especially since Karen's got a rather... interesting DVD collection).

Tonight's special was pretty nice. Not only were we treated to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Rick brought a ham to go with it, and I got to prepare it so it looked like a human leg!

...

...Sometimes I wonder if they plan these things in advance...

Anyway, we're saying our usual goodbyes, looking forward to next week... when I realize something.

Next Tuesday night is the 24th; the night of the Fireworks Festival...

Within moments, a plan begins to form for next week's night out.

--

Tuesday evening at the Mineral Town Inn, and I'm ready. We've spent the better part of the past week discussing how this'll work, and I think it'll be pretty fun. It took a bit of prep work, but I've spent most of the day getting that done.

And it would've been a great idea... except for the rain...

I don't get it. I'm 20 years old, I've spent my entire life in Mineral Town, and the one time I decide to do something interesting on the Fireworks Festival is the one time it rains out.

What does the Harvest Goddess have against a picnic and outdoor movie night between friends, anyway?

Well, this is where the phone rings, naturally. And of course, it's Karen on the line. I know what's going to happen from here. Sorry girlfriend, movie night's off. Nothing I can do....

"Wait... could you repeat that, Karen?"

"I said don't worry, Ann. I have a Plan B."

Ok... considering Karen's usual ideas, I get the feeling it's gonna be an interesting night...

"Alright, what is it?"

"Just come over here, you'll love it."

Well, I'm a little worried... but with Karen's parents in the same building, it's unlikely she's up to anything too dangerous...

Deciding that my picnic dinner is too good to waste, I pack it into the cooler I had ready and set out for Karen's place.

--

Ten minutes later, I'm sitting out in the middle of a flash flood, waiting for Karen to realize that I'm at her front door. The door's locked, and since the lights are on in the front area, I'm assuming Karen just forgot to unlock the door in her mysterious 'preparations.'

Damn it, if I don't get out of the rain soon, I'm gonna kill her for this.

Rick comes up, more prepared for walking in the rain than I had been (honestly, it's just a minute's walk for me, I didn't expect to get stuck out here), but looking similarly soaked.

I was about to ask him what he'd been doing to get so thoroughly drenched, but then the brunt of the typhoon hit, and I realized that he'd probably been walking through it.

Fortunately, Karen finally got to the door right after that. I'd hate to have turned inside-out in that storm. I rushed in with all possible speed, and headed straight for the kitchen.

"STOP!"

Freezing in my tracks, I turned around to ask Karen why she'd just ordered me to stop.

Then I saw the tracks I was leaving, and knew exactly what was wrong.

"I don't suppose you'd let me use your bathroom for a few minutes?"

--

Oddly, Karen had everything set up. After getting us both a tall, stiff glass of something she promised would keep us from catching cold, she sent us both up to her bathroom; where a television and DVD player were already waiting.

When we stripped down, I was rather glad that Karen's parents had decided to head out for the holiday. They'd probably be stranded while the storm passed by, but at least I wouldn't have to answer questions about why I was sharing a bathtub with both Rick and Karen.

Of course, the answer was simple. Rick and I were both sopping wet, so we both had to get into a hot bath before we froze to death. And naturally Karen had to join us, or else she'd be a bad hostess... right?

...

...

...I think I've had a little too much to drink, but for some reason I'm too fuzzy to care...

The movie was pretty nice, though; the big teen horror flick known as Green. In it, some creepy water spirit decides to kill off the male population of a small farming town so he can use the women as his personal breeding slaves.

Ok, it was stupid. But the effects were good, the story was surprisingly so (I had nightmares for weeks after I first saw it), and the controversy made it the horror flick of the decade. I've heard that they had to censor it very carefully to keep it out of X-rated territory...

...And since Karen had the Unrated version, I can understand why!

I'm paying rather close attention to one of the more... intriguing scenes when I realize that some of the sounds I'm hearing aren't part of the movie. Looking over at my friends, I realize that they weren't really paying close attention to the film anymore.

Well, I'll let them do that. They've been friends since they were toddlers, so it's no real surprise that they're... well... interested in each other. Especially since neither of them are particularly unattractive...

...

...

I think I'll just let myself out about- AH! Fingers aren't supposed to go there!

Of course, the fingers belong to a hand, which belongs to an arm, which belongs to Karen, oddly enough.

Part of me thinks I ought to be complaining, but quite honestly? I'm enjoying this too much to care.

--

A few hours later, and the wind's still howling outside. I'm in a bed (not sure whose), and both Karen and Rick are right next to me.

I can't remember a damn thing that we've been doing, but I'm pretty sure it was interesting.

Karen's looking down on me, a very self-satisfied smile on her face. I'm beginning to realize that she'd set this all up, but I still don't understand why.

When I ask her, right before I finally fall asleep, I think I hear her answer me.

"What can I say? I like red-heads."

--

Tuesday evening, and the bar's jumping. Karen's serving drinks right and left, and I'm running around the kitchen at a breakneck pace.

After the events of last summer, the three of us... kind of decided that we liked the setup. We've been doing similar nights to the first one ever since.

Of course, Karen decided to move in with me after Jeff and Sasha found out what we were doing... not because they disapproved, but because they found it too much fun to tease her about it.

Well, that and it turned out we weren't the only ones having fun during that typhoon... or the only ones who wound up pregnant afterwards...

Anyway, Karen turned out to be a competent barmaid (although I'm never letting her in the kitchen again [seriously, how can you set a pot of boiling water on fire, anyway?]), so she earns her keep well enough; and Rick's never too far away if we decide to have a night off...

"Excuse me, but I'd like you to have this."

I look down... and scream. The creature in front of me has got to be the inspiration for Green, the resemblance is just too uncanny!

And the object he's handing me... wait, is that money?

"I wanted to thank you personally. You've helped to inspire the sequel to my masterpiece."

"Wha... huh... WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN!?"

"You were watching the original the night of that horrible typhoon two seasons ago. Thanks to your actions that night and since, I've been able to create a worthy sequel. It'll be out next summer."

Shocked, I take the cash and watch him saunter out the door.