her name was maroula. i think.
Her name was Moula. Or maybe Maroula. I couldn’t be sure. You don’t really pay attention to banalities when the next words are:
“He is coming to kill me. He is coming to kill me now.”
It was Friday night. I was in a service station on a backwood road somewhere west of I77 when the girl fell through the door. A distinct beat-all-to-hell look on her face.
Jean – I’d later learn the cashier’s name was Jean – picked up a broom and moved toward the almost dressed mess – keen on sweeping her out with the rest of the night’s rubbish. “Crack heads,” she said, “come in here all the time…off their skulls.”
The girl grabbed her hand. Hysterical. “No. He will kill me. Pleeeeaaase. He is coming.” She started crying in a different language. One I knew just enough from my Nicky Days to make out this:
“I have no family. He brought me here to beat me. He said he will kill me and no one will know.”
Jean stared at the girl. She didn’t know the language but she knew the look. The desperation. The sincerity.
The older woman spotted me gawking in the Twinkie isle, Red Bull and Little Debbie in hand. “You leave now or you don’t leave anytime soon.”
I heard, but didn’t listen. I was too busy wondering at the girl’s face. At her skinned feet and knees and the missing patch of hair that snagged on longer strands on its way down her back.
I never said a word when Jean locked the three of us in under the neon lights of the Quickie Mart but I did think ‘Great. I haven’t been in the country a week and I’m already gonna be on an episode of Cops.’