I’ve been having dreams of my furry seat covers suddenly coming alive and eating me. I now have a rash on my back and under my arms from the lack of AC, and the scratching that’s happening from my seat covers stiffening from the amount of sweat they absorb on a daily basis. The once soft locks of fur now stick out and threaten like angry little albino daggers.
After we were robbed at gun point in New Orleans as we approached Betty, we were left with very little. My credit card and ID which I had drunkenly tucked into my cleavage at the hotel lounge during our conversation, and my car keys, which James had tucked into his vest pocket, as I had kept dropping them repeatedly, but was afraid to continue retrieving them for fear of my breast escaping my chic, backless, unsupportive dress.
We had spent three days in New Orleans at this point. We saw each other only once before in the hotel lounge. Despite being mistaken for an escort in our initial introduction, we managed to have a wonderful evening that didn’t end with a sexual proposal. After I got tired and wandered upstairs to fall asleep, I didn’t see him for two days. I ran into him at check out time. He turned around from the desk after having returned his key to see me standing there with my small suitcase and key in hand, ready to check out.
His smile was warm, one you would see on a friend who hadn’t seen you in ages.
“Hey Sophie!” he said warmly. “Checkin’ out?”
I nodded and proceeded with the process. He gave a half wave and headed out the doors, backpack slung over his shoulder. I was surprised to see he was gone when I turned around after having completed my paperwork. I walked out the doors and pulled Betty’s keys out of my pocket. I put my suitcase in the car and walked around to the driver’s door. He was leaning against the car by then. It scared the shit out of me.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said. “Nice car, man!” He stroked her hood a little, admiring her look.
“Thanks,” I said, still groggy and not having fully woke up.
“So what’dya say to a drink tonight?” he asked, looking hopeful.
“A drink? Why?”
“Well, I mean, its our last night in New Orleans. We joked a little, and I’m really sorry I thought you were a hooker…and I just kind of want to make it up to you. And hey, I’m on the road, you’re on the road. Don’t you get like…. I don’t know. But doesn’t it get fucking lonely sometimes?”
That statement felt like what I imagined it would feel like to be launched into a wall at fifty miles an hour. My heart sank a little at it and I looked at my car, which I realized at that moment wasn’t an actual person. She was an imaginary friend I’d made up to fool myself into thinking I wasn’t fucking lonely.
I looked at the ground for a moment, then I looked at him, squinting, holding my hand over my eyes with my keys dangling in my face.
“Sure. We’ll get drinks tonight,” I said, leaning against the car as well.
He took his weight off Betty and shoved his hands in his pockets.
“Awesome,” he said. “I’ll see you at the hotel lounge at eight. And wear that sexy dress.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I really want an excuse to wear that tux again. I feel like fucking stud in it,” he said as he walked away in his cargo shorts and white button down shirt, without looking back.
After we were robbed and the hijackers (three of them) ran away, we looked at each other. Neither of us put up much of a fight. Sauntering back to a tired Porsche, drunk, in a tux and designer dress, we were greeted with the clicks of a hammer being pulled back. We realized we’d walked into the plundering, my baby was being pilaged and rifled through. We stood still as we heard our calm instructions “Stay still. I’m gonna empty your pockets pal, and I won’t touch the girl. Let’s make this easy on everyone.”
James stood still and let the disturbingly attractive Cajun man pull his wallet from his pocket, along with his cell phone and, then yank the back pack from his shoulders, gun pointed at his head the entire time. I never saw my captor, I only smelled the strong scent of a disgustingly cheap musky cologne. I’ll never forget it. I had no fear, minor annoyance. I felt like I was shrugging at the universe.
They finished the job, closed the doors on Betty, told us to get on the ground and count to ten, and the three of them fled into the night with our things.
We laid on the ground on our stomachs, neither of us counting. I turned my face to him and gave a small closed-mouth smile. He did the same. After a moment, he hopped up and held his hand out to me. I pushed myself up and sat on my ass for a few moments before I took his hand. He yanked me up and dusted me off. In the process of doing so, my ID and credit card fell out of my cleavage and toppled to the ground. He looked down at them and picked them up and then handed to me.
“Oh my, Money Penny. Seems you’ve earned your name. It falls from your bust.” I smirked and took the cards and fanned myself with them. “Yes. We’re rather lucky, aren’t we? What first? New clothes for us, or a plane ticket home for you?”
He looked pensive and then leaned against Betty on her hood. He took his tux jacket off and laid it down next to him. Crossing his arms he looked at me as if he had a proposal.
“What if,” he started “we see how far we can get without any of that?”
He reached down into his sock and pulled a huge reserve of cash.
“Why don’t we see how much we can make happen with just this? When we run out, I’ll go home. You can be rid of me. If you insist on getting yourself some new threads, it comes out of this wad. If we stay in a hotel, its cash. The more you spend, or I spend, the quicker this is over. If you wanna ditch me, Money Penny, we’ll blow it at Wal Mart and part ways. How does that sound?”
We are at a small cafe right now just outside of Tennessee. I thought I’d post a small update for my own sake, who knows what I’ll remember a day from now. I’m borrowing a tired HP from a woman who looks as if she’s a true eHarmony expert. I think she’s waiting for a blind date now. I’ll try and keep it brief.
We just ran into a few girls on their way to the music festival up the road. They reeked of weed and youth and optimism. I was momentarily jealous.
Then I looked out the window and saw James. He was cleaning Betty’s windshield, his dirty tux pants with frayed hems ebbing his dusty, scuffed dress shoes. The sleeves of what was once a crisp white tux shirt were now rolled up, the shirt hung open to his damp white wife beater, all having been washed and dried in a cheap laundromat two days ago. The two of us sat in a Georgian laundromat in a small nothing town at two in the morning, naked but for towels, watching our custom tailored and incredibly expensive garments bounce about in a fifty cent dry cycle. It softened them, loosened the fit, and made them smell like Mountain Meadow. The tux jacket had long been crumpled and used as a pillow to sleep on, tucked behind the passenger seat on the floor by day.
I look at myself now, dirty, stringy long brown hair hanging at my side, my Valentino dress giving a death moan as it hangs loosely on me, becoming more of a black sun dress than a sexy cocktail number.
I have no phone. I have no computer. I have no clothes, no hair dryer or MAC make up. No purse, no choice of shoes. All I have is a ruined dress, a boy who seems to get more beautiful as the days go on, and an old Porsche with nasty seat covers and now a clean windshield.
Why does it feel like the less I own, the more I have?