A day late.
Thirty-five year old Marie Escobar came out of the Jiffy Mart with a pack of cigarettes and a candy bar. She was on her way home from school and the kids had been intolerable today. They were fidgety, inattentative, uncontrollable, and talkative. She had no doubt that she would have to re-cover a lot of information tomorrow or they would all fail the quiz she had planned for the end of the week. Well, except maybe Donna.
Donna was the smartest kid in the entire fifth grade. She just seemed to understand things intuitively. That girl was going to go far.
Marie paused by the trash bin in front of the store to open the pack of Marlboros. She removed the cellophane and foil from the top and dropped them on the ground next to the bin. The breeze immediately picked them up and sent them tumbling along the front of the store. She watched as a young man came around the corner of the store and bent down quickly to pick up the rolling sliver of foil. He was one of those hippies. Get in the car quick.
Hurrying to her five year old Chevy Impala Marie slid quickly behind the wheel, shut and locked the door. Those hippies are all on drugs, she thought. It makes them erratic and unpredictable. She shoved the key into the ignition and turned it as he dropped the litter into the bin.
The hippie turned and looked at her. The fringe hanging from the sleeves of his leather jacket waved in the wind as he pulled his hair back and behind his shoulders.
Oh no, he’s coming over here.
He signaled her to roll down the window using the universal hand sign, moving his hand in circles, emulating the operation of the window crank. Feeling trapped, she lowered it about an inch.
“Problem?” he asked.
“It won’t start.” She replied.
“Wait here, I’ll be right back.” He turned and walked into the Jiffy Mart.
Oh my God. He’s probably going to kill me. Or worse. He’s probably crazed on pot. What am I going to do?
CLICK, CLICK, CLICK
Damn this car.
He came back out with a bottle of coke and opened it with something he had on his key ring. He took a big swallow, and smiled at her as he lifted the hood on her car. She couldn’t see what he was doing and it made her nervous. She leaned down and peeked through the bottom of the windscreen using the opening formed below the raised hood.
That hippie was pouring coke onto what looked like green moss clumped on one of her battery cables, right where it hooked on the battery. She watched as the mound of green melted away. He poured a little more, then leaned his head around.
“Try it now.”
She turned the key and her beloved automobile started right up.
The hippie lowered the hood and closed it gently. He came around to the window and speaking into the narrow crack said, “You probably want to clean those battery terminals when you get home. Nice car.”
Miss Escobar sat in the idling car and watched him walk away. She closed her mouth and realized that she wasn’t dead. Or worse.
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