I wrung my hands til they chapped and protested with blood in the crevasses they used to identify us by. Each school year, around October, they was a man who would come and take our picture and fingerprints. Our parents would give him a few dollars and my ID came in the mail around November. I had a stack of them at the end of high school, and they continued to have the same man take my picture and fingerprints until I was able to get an ID from the DMV, which, it turned out we could have done that all along.
I saw the man at a bar one night. He rolled his sleeves up, and wore his pants nearly as high as his ears. He had his digital camera on the bar in front of him, and a two-dollar bill beside of it. The bartender shook her head.
Done told you I don’t like twos.
Legal tender, hain’t it?
Dunno, you tell me.
By golly, it is. Just want some water.
Well you can have it, but keep the two.
She reached for her bargun and filled a glass to the brim with Sprite. Close. Not exactly water. He looked over his shoulder and saw me. Before I could leave, he motioned me over. I gulped hard, and walked slowly over to him.
Oh, come on — hain’t got all day!
I sped up a little bit and stood by an empty stool beside him. He was wrinkly and skinny in all the places old men are such. What was ugliest about him was the way he stared at my budding chest.
You’re a little young for a cozy like this’un.
I’m old enough to know…
…but too young to care.
There’s a couple o’ folks that would be heart broken to hear that.
He pulled out the stool beside me and motioned me to sit. He called over the bartender to pour me a Sprite and he started asking me about how school was going. I said fine. He asked me about being a teenager in the 21st century, and other stuff old men would say to young girls.
So, I’ll leave you alone. I’ll call a cop to take you home.
This guy was weird.
Can’t let you be in this kind of place. I bet your parents don’t even have your ID.
He chuckled into his Sprite and began to dial a few numbers on his phone.
Can’t hear you. On the phone.
So I pushed my stool out and left. What a weird dude. I pushed open the saloon style doors and walked in the rain the way home. I got to Wednesday Boulevard before I saw a car. It passed me, and slowed down to a crawl.
I had seen the car before, but I couldn’t remember where from. Red taillights and two tone paint. Older body style, like you’d find at a used car lot. License plate MWZ-5766.
I kept walking, and I saw a window roll down. It was the weird man, and he motioned for to get in as I passed.
Can’t let you get too wet, get in!
I started jogging a bit and he throttled the gas. I felt my stomach lurch and I wanted to be home.
Stop running, girl, get in!
I ran. I ran around the corner and hoped his tires would spin. I ran into the road and screamed as loud as I could. The rain came down in torrents, and the headlights pinned me to a brick dividing wall. I thought it was over.
I screamed. And jolted awake to scream some more.