“Supporting a Girl On a Dollar”
We’d just polished off a Nacho Bell Grande at Taco Bell.
Shaun and I didn’t have a lot of money and neither of us
had a license to drive so going out to eat usually meant
local fast food. We’d decided to go back to my house for a
few hours to watch a movie before we split up. I pushed
open the Taco Bell door with Shaun next to me and crossed
the lawn in front of the restaurant. Walking through the
parking lot behind Waldbaums, I noticed that the light that
lit the entire lot was out and it cast a scary aura over
the place. It didn’t matter when Shaun held my hand though.
He kept me safer, although I always got a little scared in
the night time.
“Way to have no lights on, buddy” I said to Shaun
as a dark car without headlights passed in front of us.
Nobody liked lights today? I held Shaun’s hand tighter and
the car drove in a really big, full circle around where we
were walking. Then it left the area.
It seemed really odd to me that someone would be
driving around without lights at 10:00 at night. I was glad
when it had passed and driven away because I’ve always had
this random fear of being in a drive-by shooting. I kind of
felt like this would be the time it happened, but I figured
it was over and Shaun and I stepped up to the sidewalk and
started walking toward my house. We were just about to
cross the street, when I noticed the car with no lights
driving up the road again. A wave of fear ran through me
again and we waited for it to pass. But it didn’t. Instead
the driver pulled it over to the curb and stopped right in
front of us. There were two big, colored men inside. For a
minute I feared I was about to be the shooting victim I
wasn’t two minutes ago, and then I prayed they were just
asking for directions.
"Come here," the man in the driver’s seat said. Shaun
and I approached the vehicle. The man in the passenger seat
took a knife out of his pocket and pointed it at Shaun and
me. My stomach jumped up and played tag with my heart,
racing all around inside my body.
"You got any money?” he asked, almost accusingly. Of
course we didn’t. Our last five dollars went into the Nacho
Bell Grande and there was probably $1.25 left between the
two of us.
"I have a dollar," Shaun offered and reached deep
into his pocket to pull out the bill. He handed it to the
man. I was silent, in hope he wouldn’t notice me standing
there. The man looked angry at our lack of cash.
"What about you?" he said to me.
"I have like a dime or so.”
He gave me one of those “I know you’re lying”
looks and for a minute it almost gave me a boost of
confidence because I was telling the truth.
"So if I searched you, I wouldn’t find any
money?" he asked us. Shaun emptied his pockets and all he
had was the dollar and a gum wrapper. I didn’t want him to
go into my bag. There were feminine products and my
mother’s cell phone in there. I decided to just hand him my
wallet and hope it was enough to satisfy him. My hand shook
as I passed it to the man with the knife. He looked through
it and verified that I had no more than a quarter or two.
"Damn, you guys don't got any money either," he
said and thought a moment. He wasn’t ready to let us go
yet, but he didn’t seem mad anymore. "Is this your
girlfriend?" he asked Shaun.
"How you gonna support a girl on a dollar?"
Shaun shrugged and the man looked at me. "Would you be mad
if I asked to see your girlfriend’s titties?"
"Yeah, kinda," Shaun said. The guy laughed a
little. It relieved me to hear it because I knew he
wouldn’t ask me to lift my shirt.
"Alright, I'll let you go," he said and gave
Shaun back his dollar and me back my wallet. The knife was
put away and the men closed their doors. The car skidded in
a final circle and drove away, with the headlights still
out. Shaun and I walked home the rest of the way, quiet, my
hand still in Shaun’s, as he protected me.