“I thought you were some kinda of carpenter or somethin’”
Jalen turned from the window and stared at the woman. He forgot her name so
he shook his head and turned back.
“What’s taking you so long?”
He stopped trying to use the aluminum knife as a screwdriver and faced the
woman again. “Your mouth and if you continue to talk, they’ll know we’re in her
The banging on the door had stopped four or five minutes ago but he knew they
were still outside milling around like cattle in a field.
The woman points with her chin.“How come that’s the only thing you got for a tool.
I mean if you some kinda handyman or somethin’?” She looked toward the door.
”You gotta light?”
Jalen scratched massaged his face.“What’s your name again?”
The woman ran her fingers through her shoulder-length burnt orange hair.
She blew air out slowly through puckered lips. “Maryann DeCosta.
I remember your name, Jalen.”
“Well,Maryann DeCosta,the only reason I have only a plastic butter knife is because
I don’t usually carry a tool belt when I eat breakfast. And I didn’t have any idea
I would have to run into a shitty ass public toilet to avoid a zombie attack.
I have tools in my car but I never reached the car because a certain person tripped
and fell. Me, Jalen Robinson, being a nice person went back to help his clumsy person.”
He sat on the uncovered toilet. “Okay?”
Maryann slid onto the floor, reached into her over-sized bag. The floor was exceptionally
clean for a truck stop ladies room. “You don’t have to be all snotty about it,” she stretched out her hand, “gum? It’s passion pink. I guess you don’t gotta light?”
Jalen shook his head, stood up. “No.I’m trying to quietly get the bars off of the window.
Maybe you can climb out and get help.”
“Can’t you work and chew gum at the same time.”She laughed loudly.
Jalen ignored her.
“You wanna fuck or somethin’?”She dumped the contents of her bag on the cement floor.
“I think I gotta cond-. “What? What? Why you lookin’ at me like that? You wanna to fuck
me when we was in the diner.”
Jalen hopped off the toilet. “I don’t believe this shit. I’m trapped in a friggin’
shithouse in the middle of friggin’ nowhere, with an airhead, surrounded by the undead.”
She stood and opened the top button on her cut-off jeans. “You know you want some of this.” “Don’tcha?”
“Hahaha,” Jalen roared and then slapped his hands over his mouth and stared at the
graffiti-scarred door. “Woman, I’m a married man. With a ten-month-old daughter,
who I was all my way to meet. I missed my wife so much I tried to call but couldn’t
get a signal in this godforsaken desert. So, Jalen being the good husband stopped in a fleabag, greasy spoon, hoping they had a landline. And I only talked to you to take my mind off my frustration.”
Maryann crossed her arms. “I don’t see no ring.”
“I can’t afford a ring right now. I can barely afford to keep a roof over my babies head and food on the table. That’s why I was in Houston. I working on a bid for a huge job. When I get this spot, my ring and my wife’s ring will be huge. You can take that to the bank.”
He walked to the door and put his ear against the frame.
“You hear somethin’?”
“No. But they’re still out there.”
“How do you know?”
“What, you a college boy now?”
Jalen pulled the knife from his pocket and walked back to the window.
“Come here and look.” She buttoned her jeans and walked toward the window.
“Aww, you didn’t tell me that it smelt like three-day-old dog piss over here.”
Jalen swatted buzzing flies from around his ears and helped her up.
The sunlight on her face showed her age.
“Oh shit. There’s more of them. Her hand flew to her lips. “Oh, no, no, no they got Randall.
Randall, he’s Big Mike’s son. Big Mike is the owner. Randall is kinda slow in the head,” she looked at Jalen, “ya know? But he’s really nice and he always had good weed to smoke too.” She jumped down. “I wonder if they got Big Mike?” She sat on the seat. “What are we going to do?”
Jalen stepped toward the seat. But Maryann didn’t move.
“We can make a run to your car.”
“No.” He looked at the door. “But I can.”
Maryann jumped up. “What … what do you mean? You gonna leave me here?”
Jalen stared at the door. A faraway look in his eyes. “I can run to the car alone.
You’ll only slow me down. Bring to car right to the door and you can jump in.”
“What the hell are you screaming for?”
BANG! BANG! BANG!
to be continued….
© 2017, charles stone. All rights reserved.
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