The greeter lady went red, she held her hand to her mouth and started crying. And Perry wished it was her who’d said it.
Baby Girl pulled her headphones down. Perry could hear a man yelling waka waka waka waka. “I think we should go get us a ride,” Baby Girl said, turned so Perry could see the slim jim sticking out of her back pocket. Her brother, Charles, had made it out of a metal coat hanger before his accident. They’d stolen it from him after. Everything was before and after for Baby Girl now, Perry knew. Before the accident she’d talk about boys, and once Perry had walked in on her doing sit-ups next to her bed. After Charles’s accident it was like Baby Girl did all she could to look hideous. Untouchable.
“Let’s get a SUV this time,” Perry said. She couldn’t drive, knew it was up to Baby Girl to choose what kind of car to get, but she’d been wanting to sit up high like that.
“You are the show-offiest motherfucker I ever met,” Baby Girl said, but Perry knew it was a challenge she wouldn’t say no to.
They went into the Circle K to get the usual. Hot fries and a sweet tea for Baby Girl, Mountain Dew and Twizzlers for Perry. She liked her heart to go go go all night long.
“Where you girls headed tonight?” the man behind the counter asked. He was an Indian-looking man but he had an accent like theirs. Dark and syrupy, twang twang twang. His name tag said Patel.
“Why would we ever tell you that, Patel?” Baby Girl flicked her change, a nickel, across the counter. It hit the man in the zipper. “Oh shit!” Baby Girl exploded with laughter, holding her gut and pointing, like some of the boys did in the hallways at school. “That’ll keep your ass honest!”
He shook his head, wiped at his pants like the nickel had left a stain. “You are a pretty girl,” he said, chopping his hand at Perry. “You should be at home asleep in your bed with curlers in your hair.” Baby Girl laughed, a grinding dry kind of sound like she was pushing something out her throat. Something else she got from the boys at school. They were almost outside when he yelled, “Ain’t nothing open past one a.m. but legs!”
Baby Girl laughed hard at that, too, but once they were outside her laughter got all swallowed up by the quiet of the night and then what was the point. Baby Girl put her headphones back on. They walked along the road, Baby Girl’s arms moving fast, pointing, punching, hands forming signs only she knew the meaning to. Perry stepped on every crack she could see in the dark yellow of the streetlamps, something that felt like her own way of saying fuck you to no one.