From last time ...
"Right now, I've got to go see Ma. She'll kill me if she finds out I've been here and didn't stop to see her first."
And now ...
As Sarah drove down the highway toward Ma's place, she could see there were no lights except for the motel sign. The diner was dark. The gas station across the road was dark, too. As she pulled into Ma's lot, she could see there wasn't a single car or truck parked in any of the lots.
Sarah got out of her Jeep and walked into the lobby just as Ma was closing the door to her rooms. She had a holstered gun on her hip and her .22 rifle in her hand. She turned around and saw Sarah as her hand flew to her hip.
"Sarah!! C'mere, girl."
Ma laid her rifle on the counter and held out her open arms.
"C'mere an' gimme a hug."
"Sure, Ma. Just don't shoot."
Sarah gave Ma a long, strong hug and stepped back, a quizzical look on her face.
"Oh, I saw ya' soon enough. I wouldn't a shot ya."
"What's goin' on here, Ma? The diner isn't open? And the station?"
"Oh, they're open alright, jus' not after dark. Too much trouble after dark."
"Trouble? What kind of trouble?"
"Holdups. Gangs of guys comin' into the diner and walkin' out without payin'. Vandalizing stuff. It's all because of that Vito guy and his protection racket. Ever since Sully got killed, they been comin' here tryin' to collect. And we ain't payin'. I guess Sully crossed us off his list, but now that he's gone, ain't nobody to stop 'em from comin' out here with their hand out."
"Oh, I'm sorry Ma. I had no idea ...."
"What are you sorry for? It ain't your fault. You ain't runnin' the protection racket. It's this guy that comes here now. Pablo Flores. He's a mean 'un."
"Pablo Flores, huh? I think I know that name ... Ma? These things only seem to happen at night, right?"
"How long would it take you to get everything back on a 24 hour a day schedule?"
"I dunno. A couple of days, I guess."
"Do you trust me?"
"With my life, little girl. With my ever lovin' life."
"Then open up again. Day after tomorrow you go back on your 24 hour schedule."
"What'r you gonna do?"
"I'll be back in the morning with Mackey. We'll talk it over over breakfast."
"Mackey? You bringing that lovely hunk of American manhood in here tomorrow?"
"It's jus' that he don't come around here too much, that's all. It'll be nice to see him."
Ma turned around and headed for the door to her rooms.
"Switch on the outside light as you leave, okay? And close and lock the door."
"Sure, Ma. Where you goin'?"
"Nowhere's. I gotta take a shower is all."