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Two Mismatched Sandals
A young girl walks through the Holiday gas station parking lot on the west side of town. It's a foggy drizzly night, street lamps illuminate wisps of fog like a tunnel onto sparkling asphalt. She holds herself tight together, arms crisscrossed. Standing in front of the door, she wipes her cheeks, takes a deep breath and pulls the door open.
The attendants resembling uniformity in dress stand apart. The one with brown hair and bright brown eyes; his name tag "Brian" unpacking a carton of marb lights. The other; bald, big and blue is counting the cash. They stop to look at whoever set off the ringing bells. Slim wearing wrinkly jeans over a torn baggy flannel and two mismatched sandals. She looks like all the other west D-town street rats until they see her face; a sore sight. Her eyes are swollen and red looking like rose petals and blue fire, full lips and high cheekbones. Brian's features relax and he frowns seeing her jawline bruised with hand-prints. He feels something here forcing questions to flow and his eyes seem full.
"Can I use your phone?" her voice soft and cowed she looks to the one counting cash.
"Pay phones outside sweets," he points towards the other side of the lot, a glowing Mcdonalds sign making everything yellow. Tears fall one by one, quickly she turns to walk out. Brian's mouth opens as his manager looks for affirmation.
"Wait a minute girl, come back here. I've seen you here before. You're that Arizona girl." She nods. "Are you alright?"
"Ya, fine, just need to use a phone," sniffling, searching her pockets, "I don't have any money, I left my wallet and well everything at..."
"Don't worry, here's the phone," handing her the handset he asks, "the number is?", and she takes a deep breath.
"Thank-you, it's 624-7343."
"ring ring ring.."
Ring Ring Ring...
In the basement of a 3 story house all the way in the back, past the cellar and laundry room is a room with cement walls and posters everywhere. A smoky haze lingers the room, it's filled with ashtrays overflowing, and bottles of whiskey, brandy and vodka lining the basement window ledges painted white. Pink Floyds 'Wish you were here' is playing and Dennis sits humming and foot tapping to the tune. Impatient; wondering how much longer Joey and Lance can go on arguing whose better at dragon slaying. Getting up he grabs for Joeys PlayStation controller,
"Shut up- Joey, let us show you how to do this." laughing he tosses it back as he hears the phone ringing. Flinching internally as he hears shuffling upstairs. It's late for a school night. Eye-brow raised he answers curiously.
"Hello," pause, " Are you alright?", pause, "okay, where are you?," pause, "Ya, get over here, come to the window." He hangs up. Tall, dark and dorky Joey butts out his cigarette," and asks, "Who was that?"
Lance looks up his eyes featured through wisps of dark curls, his stock becomes hard, he looks taller than his typical short frame.
"Is she alright? We should pound that mother fucker!"
"Listen, just be cool ok?" Dennis giving Lance a meaningful look.
Frankie hands the phone back to to manager, mumbling a thank you. He leans forward as Frankie begins to walk out, he presses in grabbing the front of her flannel he pulls her closer to the counter.
"Listen doll, my name is Mike, if you need me to take care of something... just let me know," his fingers grab her chin, running along her bruised jaw line,"ok?"
"Go get yourself something to drink and get out of here." inclining his head towards the coolers.
She grabs a Sprite and runs out the door.
The moon sure is pretty tonight hiding behinds the clouds of fog. Like a giant unwrapped gift all the joy of it is still there, just protected, for none to see. She tries to see through the clouds and forgets to be quiet as she passes the green house on the end,"Oh shit! That damn dog!" Barking loudly she walks by as carefully inching along quietly, even still like a game of domino's; one more dog barking, then two then all the dogs are yowling by the time she makes it past Harold St. I just woke the whole neighborhood! Anxious she begins to run, just 3 more blocks to go. All the houses close together she listens to her flip flop flop and her sandals thud her heart in time too a stitch searing her side.
Her breath ragged she curses her asthma and stops to slow the stitch then walks to the side of the house. She opens the window, feet first she lowers herself. A hand grabs her feet guiding them towards the washer, feet shuffle, that must be Dennis.
"That better be you Dennis!"
Dennis laughs and grabs her feet. "Nice shoes Frankie, couldn't decide the occasion?" Grabbing her hand she jumps to the floor.
"Thought I'd let you figure what to do with me. A luau or camping next to the river, you decide!" She smiles and he reaches a hand out towards her hair, watching her flinch and look ahead past him he reaches still, combing her wild hair behind an ear, seeing bruises graze her neck; softness washes his features and Frankie looks away, a tear falling, then two.
"Hey, hey.. come here." Hugging her close he holds on as long as she will let him. Rubbing her back, welts forming Frankie shrugs him off letting the sting subside.
"Come on, I got a treat for ya in there."
Walking into the smoky room, wiping her cheeks dry there sit Joey and Lance debating heatedly about magic wands and extra lives and like seeing a tub of ice cream warm comfort fills her.
They notice her and say together; "You just couldn't stand being away could you?" Big dumb smiles on both their faces.
"Ya that's it," rolling her eyes, "more like Dennis said he needed help baby sitting." She punches Lance in the shoulder and takes Joeys controller.
Dennis hands her a bottle of Budweiser then sits next to her on a brown plaid couch with foam falling out the sides.
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