Turner made a beeline for the Whole Foods Market on Lamar. It was a shabby little store that had opened a few weeks ago, filled with hippies that sold organic food and body odor. The twenty-dollar bill in his pocket, however wrongly obtained, was going to fill his stomach, and his guilt decreased in direct proportion to his mind’s realization that the gnawing hunger in his gut was about to come to an end.
“This is what they mean,” he mused “when they say people will kill for food.”
He picked up a large loaf of dense Russian bread, a pound of butter, and a few apples. He stomach was flipping over inside his abdomen. Turner went to the shortest check-out line, where a girl in front of him was fumbling with her purse. “For fuck’s sake hurry the fuck up,” he thought.
Then he noticed that she had a cast on her wrist, which was making it difficult for her to get her money. He peered over her shoulder as she tried to dig the bills from her wallet. She only had a couple of dollars and was buying a carton of milk. She turned her face in profile and Turner almost cried out as he recognized her from the fraternity party.
What happened next was too awful, and it happened without thinking.
“Hey,” he said. She turned around. “You dropped this.” He shoved the twenty towards her on the conveyor belt.
She recognized him in an instant. “You fucking little cunt,” she said, snatching the money. The cashier watched, slackjawed.
The girl paid and walked out. Turner didn’t have any more money with him, so, leaving his food on the belt he followed her outside. She spun around. “Quit following me,” she snarled.
“I’m not following you,” he said. “I’m just getting my bike.”
“Where’s the rest of my money, you little thief?”
“I’ve got some of it,” he said. “The dude who kicked you out of the car has the rest.”
“Well let’s go get it, then. That’s my rent money, not to mention the money to pay the doctor for this fucking cast on my broken fucking wrist.”
“I can give you my part,” said Turner. “But I can’t give you his. The dude that has it isn’t my friend and he’s not gonna give it back.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Clementine.” She stuck out her hand. “We haven’t fucked yet, so I guess we can shake hands.”
Turner laughed and took her hand. It was smooth and small. She had a pretty smile, even though she was mad and still wearing last night’s makeup. “I’m so sorry,” he hung his head and blushed.
Clementine brushed away the hair from her forehead. “I know you are, you little chickenshit. Why else would you have given me that twenty? Anyone else wouldn’t have. But you’re still a little fucking thief.”
“How’d you get home?”
“How do you think? I flagged a drunk who took me to the hospital. I just got out.” She held up her cast. “Painkiller’s wearing off and it hurts like shit. I need some drugs and my money.”
Something about her had Turner by the throat. Maybe it was her toughness, or maybe it was the way she’d called him a cunt in front of the cashier. Or maybe it was because she was pretty. “Let’s go get your money, then.”
It was her turn to be surprised. “How are we gonna do that?”
“First we’ll go to my place and I’ll give you the $80 bucks from the hundred I got. Then we’ll go find the dude who stole the rest and get it from him.”
Clementine grinned. “This is gonna be fun! You’ll get your ass kicked or maybe even shot. Can I watch?”
“It’ll cost you twenty bucks.”
“Deal,” she said, and handed him the twenty. “Let’s go.”