“What’s your name, kid?” the deli owner asked her as she rested against the side of his building.
“Mink. Who’s askin’?” She didn’t like folks poking into her business. She was waiting on the bus and didn’t need to get hassled.
“Hmm. Interesting blue hair you got there.”
“Yeah…” Older people always had shit to say about the different colors, the piercings, the tats.
“You live up on the corner, right? I’ve seen you in the neighborhood.”
He better not be a perv. “Yeah. That’s right. How you know that?”
The way he laughed was a surprise and she frowned. “Settle down, Mink. Got no interest in a kid young enough to be my great-grandkid. I need somebody close to run errands and I’ll slip you a couple bucks.”
“What kind of errands?” she asked suspiciously.
“The produce guy won’t deliver. I need onions and tomatoes every couple days and I got the arthritis. I can’t drive anymore. My daughter runs the shop but she can’t do everything.”
“How many bucks you thinking a week for me to clear my schedule?”
Another laugh. “Let’s start with twenty and see if you show up.” She started to get her back up and he waved his hand impatiently. “It’s a flaw with your age group. You might not like it but that’s not my problem and it don’t change reality.”
“Alright. Alright. I’ll do it.” She put one hand on her hip. “I’ll show you you’re wrong about people like me.”
“Will you now?” he asked with a grin. “That would sure be a sight.”
“I got brains. I got hustle. I’m gonna surprise you, man.”
“Surprise me by calling me Mr. Hanson. Then you can carry on surprising me about the rest.”
“Sure, ma…Mr. Hanson.” He was a nice enough man. Her great-aunts bought all their cold cuts and holiday roasts from him. They had all her life. Besides, twenty bucks was twenty bucks. “Want me to run an errand now?”
“Thought you were waiting on the bus.”
She shrugged. “Nothing important. I was gonna lift a couple things at the mall. Figure this might be a better use of my time.”
“Hmm. Interesting approach for a new employer.”
“Not an employer yet. Right now, you’re the guy with twenty dollars that could potentially belong to me.” She slung her pack over her shoulder. “And I’m gonna do what it takes to get it.”
He stepped inside to grab a piece of paper and a sack. “Talk to Sal. He has the order.” She took the stuff and turned to go. “Mink?” She turned back and he handed her a couple singles. “For a drink on your way. Supposed to get hot today.”
“Hey. Thanks. Be back in a bit.”
For a kid outside the norm, she took work serious. Not because it fulfilled her or anything. She liked making money. She liked buying books, going to concerts, seeing movies the weekend they came out, and taking trips with her friends.
It’d be nice to be independently wealthy but there weren’t many chances of that falling in her lap. Since she wasn’t going to have a fat bank account anytime soon, might as well make some cash honest.
Easier than trying to get a counter job from all the locals who frowned at her choice of style.
She had a lot of get up and go when she needed it. The butcher owned a flower shop down the block with his other daughter and a small diner with his son a few blocks away. Lots of opportunity to make twenties if she played her cards right.
No reason to turn down a single one. Life was too damn short.
© Shayne McClendon
My darling friend Angela Mink passed away in May 2017 and I struggled for several weeks to put stories I had for her into words. Little snippets that made me think of her, that made me smile, and I know she would have loved them. She might have even whimpered in happiness. My Jana Bobanna always referred to her as Angela Darling and it’s the only way I can think of her now. Our girl is loved and very much missed. ~Shayne