By Toni Kief
THE BEST LAID PLANS
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. www.tonikief.com.