“Montana don’t own it.” Ray dragged his battered straw hat off his sparsely haired head and scratched around in the thin strands.

“Own what? And don’t scratch your damn head in here!” Lucille smacked a plate of pie down on the counter next to the cup of black coffee she had served him before his hat came off.

“Sorry,” Ray muttered. “My head itches!” Lucille pursed her lips and sighed through her nose.

“Well, washing it would be a good start. Maybe with some of that dandruff shampoo… I forget what it’s called.” She wiped invisible crumbs from the counter before looking at him again. “And get a new hat. That thing is filthy.”It was Ray’s turn to sigh, but it came out as a humph.

“I wash my hair!” He resisted the urge to reach up and scratch under the hat. Maybe she would go with him to the drugstore this afternoon and get some of that dandruff shampoo. Lucille was pretty smart about stuff like that. He watched her pick up the brochure he pushed towards her. It had a picture of the tops of some mountains but was mostly sky. Plastered across the front was the claim: Come to Big Sky Country. Then under it, in smaller letters, come to Montana.

Lucille picked it up and held it close to her face. She really should wear her glasses, but Ray would never say that to her. She frowned. “We have a big sky too… don’t we? Here in Roy?”

“Course we do — our sky is even bigger than theirs!” It came out too loud, a couple at a small table, the only other people in the tiny diner, stared at them. He lowered his voice. “How come they get to say this and we don’t?” He poked a finger at the brochure Lucille had opened and was reading. She looked at him over the top of it.

“Because they went and got an advertising agency and made this brochure. They said it first, is all. If we, Roy, and New Mexico had said it first, it would be ours.” Ray looked at his pie. It was cherry, one of Lucille’s best. He picked up his fork but put it down again.

“But we could have Biggest Sky! That’s not taken.” Lucille rewarded him with a wide smile. She almost never smiled.

“Yes. Yes, Ray, we sure could. Now eat your pie.”

Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash

Make, write, paint, play music, read, eat, sleep, repeat.

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