Even the most shrewd, most calculating predator can be guilty of the most common mistake:
Judging a book by it's cover.
Judging a book by it's cover.
Tiny Hands on a Big Gulp by Anthony Mitchell
White sun rays illuminate the woman's face as she stands on the sidewalk. She holds a greasy Arby's bag and sips from a big gulp cup. Her tiny fingers can barely control it. Oh yes. This is the one for the week. I feel for my ether bottle in my pocket. Check. I feel for the rag. Check. I place them in my lap and cover them with the long tail of my checked shirt. I pull my Eldorado to the curb and roll down my window.
“You needing a ride somewhere?”
She focuses in on me like I am a mouse in a hole in her wall. I raise my eyebrows. She smiles. Her white teeth glow.
“Just across town.”
The sun light disappears from her face. The clouds gather. My eyes dart to the change and back to her.
“Looks like you best ride with me. Wouldn't want you to get rained on.”
“Hmmn. This sounds too good to be true. Let me give you a sandwich in return and you have a deal.”
I nod and open the door for her. She slides on in and shuts the door softly. Too softly.
“Shut it again, dear.”
She does not slam the door but manages to pull it to hard enough to secure the latch. Such a gentle little person. I pull away from the curb and we hit a red light.
“Take me up to Target. I know people there.”
“You work there?”
She smiles to me. “No.”
Good. Unemployed women always make things easier.
“Here's your sandwich.”
I pat my stomach.
“Just put it on the dash. Had a huge lunch. I'll have to eat it later.”
She places the paper wrapped food on the dash and returns her hand to her big gulp cup. She takes a tiny sip and holds it with both hands.
I love it when they have small hands.
We pass through the red light, but traffic is too heavy for me to make my move. It is broad daylight as well, but I always get them in broad daylight. Women seem to put their guard up at night. A clap of thunder sounds in the distance. She jerks in her seat and nearly drops the giant drink everywhere.
“You scared of storms?”
I shake my head.
“Not me. I say 'bring it on.'”
I can feel her smiling toward me. It is a blank expression but something looms behind it.
“I think storms are like the sea. They thrash and swirl and suck everything down.”
I look over to see her eyes fixed on mine. She wears a half smile.
“Yeah. I can see that.”
“It's like something bad happening. But bad things have to happen.”
“Well yeah. Can't have the good without the bad.”
Her eyes are still on me. Has she blinked since she got in here?
“I like bad things.”
I look over to her.
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
She giggles to me. There is something in the giggle like she knows something I don't. Some private secret. I stay focused on the street.
“I think I will call you Chin-Bo.”
She reaches over and strokes my chin with her finger.
“Um. What are you...”
She gives another giggle.
“You have a strong chin. And Bo is a strong name.”
“Well, my name is actually...”
Her finger presses to my lips, muffling my attempt to give her a fake name. But one that sounded better than Chin-Bo.
“You couldn't do bad things, Chin-Bo. Not the kind I like.”
I focus on the street. The target is a few miles ahead but not within sight yet. Still, I need to make my move and the traffic is getting lighter. The sky is now gray and white. Rain spits a drop onto my windshield.