Marlene's lunch spot is a strip club, where the men wear complicated thongs and dance in the half-light. A young man greets them with a basket full of lollipops shaped like penises: "We put the buff in buffet!" he grins, farmer teeth shining brighter than the Minnesota sunshine. Marlene's confused, for a minute; Cathy and Rebecca giggle and try to avoid touching them. "Lollicocks!" he says, beaming, and Marlene takes all three samples in her arms before leading the way: "I just paid a $5 cover, I'm not going anywhere until I get something to eat." She heads for the buffet, while a large man dances toward Rebecca; she's delighted by Marlene. "Lady's gotta eat, you know?" It is the best day she's had.
There's a girl with black hair and eyeliner, a skirt and boots, sitting at the bus stop. She explains to Adam that the busses are always late, when they're not early; in the summer the schedules are "like, really fucked." His black eye is fading; she can tell he's not a bus person. He admits Cathy's out with friends and Paul's late; her first question is whether they're divorced yet. He shakes his head. They're only separated. She thinks he's cute so everything she says sounds stupid, to her.
"I hate to break it to you, but that's code for they're never getting back together. Once they move out, they never really move back in." It happened to her, this is anecdotal. This is an epidemic. "Now my mom's marrying some total hand-job. Whatever, they're so into their new lives I can basically do whatever I want." The tattoo on her neck, beneath her hairline: She's had it for six months and they've not yet noticed. She rolls her eyes to herself; he claims to be thinking about a tattoo for himself. She shows Adam the top of her breast, where the dragon will go.
When he can speak, he nervously suggests they'd notice. It's all he can think about: The nape, and then the breast. She draws a sword on his arm, on fire, shaped like a lollicock. "Hey," says Adam, "You're a good ... drawer." He thinks she's cute so everything he says sounds stupid, to them both. She asks him if they should ditch the bus and walk, and he agrees.
The men smile at Marlene and Marlene smiles back. "I'm so annoyed!" yells Rebecca. "I was speaking to my future husband over there? At the bar? And after about fifteen minutes, the conversation suddenly turned real gay." Cathy laughs, pointing out his velcroed star-spangled shorts. "That's a costume," Rebecca hisses, as though that makes a difference. "Do not look for your future husband in a strip club," she begs, which sends Rebecca reeling again. "I wonder what Sean's doing right now," she sighs. Marlene shovels chicken strips and fries into a plastic baggie and finally stands: "If you're gonna play that broken record again, I'm gonna go get more hot wings."