Best Laid Plans

By Toni Kief




Toni Kief

She was hungry, not late to lunch hungry, but being chased away from dumpsters hungry. ​​ The past two weeks​​ have been rough, but the streets are​​ still better than being home with Mom’s new husband, or the humiliation of foster care. ​​ 

Junie found a small community of young throwaways and they all looked out for each other. ​​ However, with the change in season,​​ pickin’s​​ got​​ slim. ​​ She felt​​ desperation as she stood​​ in the rain​​ and​​ bitter cold. ​​ None of them have eaten in a couple of days, and she knows that they needed​​ a new plan. ​​ Even though she​​ was one of the youngest kids, Junie​​ was a decision maker, and her mom’s words echo, “desperate times mean desperate actions.” ​​ 

She saw​​ the silver Chevy​​ circle the block a third time.​​ She knew​​ in her gut who​​ was​​ driving as the sedan pulled​​ to a stop. ​​ It​​ was​​ the one she's been warned about, he​​ was always haunting the​​ young. ​​ Junie accepted​​ that her young face and slight stature drew​​ the pervs, but this one​​ was​​ different. ​​ The other kids say this old man is​​ good​​ for a meal, but it is not free. ​​ The ones that come back from a date with him stay quiet for a long time. ​​ Junie knew that hunger​​ would​​ win this morality play. ​​ 

Once she​​ was in the car, he seemed​​ nice,​​ and he​​ questioned​​ about her family.​​ Junie told​​ him her name​​ was​​ Brie​​ and​​ talked​​ of​​ a​​ 90210 life. ​​ Junie​​ asked​​ for food,​​ but he ignored​​ her request​​ when he went to check-​​ into​​ the Quality Inn. ​​ If she​​ were​​ the kind of girl to pray,​​ it would be​​ for​​ strength​​ and​​ some​​ sort​​ of dignity. ​​ He​​ came​​ back too​​ soon​​ and tossed​​ her a pack of cheese crackers. ​​ “Here you go​​ Brie, you can eat after.” ​​ He​​ snorted​​ at his lame​​ humor​​ and​​ left​​ to​​ move the car to the rear​​ entrance​​ of the motel. Junie​​ devoured​​ the​​ cheap​​ snack. ​​ 

She watched out the window and saw him park and​​ remove​​ a large duffle bag from the trunk. ​​ She​​ heard​​ a clanking sound. ​​ The crackers​​ seemed to have only angered​​ the​​ hungry​​ beast​​ within​​ justifying​​ her choice. ​​ She decided​​ the​​ unknown​​ trumps the guaranteed attacks at the shelter.  ​​​​ 

“Mr. Man, can I take a shower first?” ​​ He grunted​​ something in response, but his focus​​ was​​ on his unpacking. ​​ She​​ locked​​ herself in the bathroom and stood​​ in the luxury of hot water watching the grime circle the drain like her childhood. ​​ He yelled through the door a while ago, but there has been no sound in the last 20 minutes. ​​ Time is up. Junie knew there is no escaping her fate and trembled​​ as she opened​​ the door. ​​ 

In the evening light, she​​ saw​​ his ravaged old body, naked, lying on the bed with a mask and chains in his hands. ​​ There is no movement, and no sounds.  ​​​​ Junie crept​​ over​​ and whispered, “Mr. Man, Mr. Man” and she noticed​​ no evidence of breath. ​​ She considered​​ CPR​​ but wonders how stupid it would be to revive the old creep. ​​ As a girl of action, she rolled​​ his cold body in the comforter and kicked​​ it to the floor. ​​ 

She picked​​ up the phone and dialed,​​ “Hello this is room​​ 269 may I have Room Service?”​​ 

About The Author

Toni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, with two others in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.