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Mama Knows

Mama was right.

She’d always told Billy not to cavort with Kevin Tompkins.

“I don’t trust that boy,” she’d told Billy the first time Kevin ate dinner with them. “He has shifty eyes.”

Billy had just rolled his own eyes. Mama was a worrier, especially when it came to her only son. Why, if it had been up to Mama, Billy would just stay there on the ranch forever.

That was a conversation for later.

Tonight, Billy had to reckon with Kevin’s betrayal.

There were four of them at the table, Mary Lou Vaughn next to Billy and Holly Parker next to Kevin. They weren’t couples, exactly, but Billy still didn’t like the idea of looking silly in front of Mary Lou.

The smirk on Kevin’s face, though, said he’d planned it that way all along.

The girls were already done, safe. Billy held just two cards, same as Kevin.

That realization sparked Billy’s alarm, and then Kevin fanned out his pair there on the table — twin cards of “Mrs. Fox washes up.”

The girls giggled, and Kevin’s grin spread across his face.

“Billy’s the Old Maid!” Holly shrieked in delight.

Mary Lou moved closer to see if it was true.

It was, sort of.

Billy looked at his hand, and the Old Maid peered back at him. Next to her, a third Mrs. Fox continued washing up.

The two boys locked gazes, both knowing, both wondering what the other would do next.

Mama poked her head into the dining room. “Lunch is ready, kids.” She disappeared, but popped back in a second later. “Say, Kevin — don’t forget to pick up your cards from the floor. I don’t want any messes.”

The girls’ eyes flashed to where mama pointed

Kevin blushed. His jig was up.

Billy smiled.

Mama always knew.

Published inFlash Fiction

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