Yourself II

Rob and Dan cranked up the music and sped down the Arizona freeway in a black Probe. It was a dry summer night outside of Tempe, as they headed toward one of their favorite bars, The Dog Run Saloon, in Apache Junction.

They were hoping to score by the end of the night, after women there consumed enough drinks to become oblivious to the fact that they both were jerks, who really cared nothing for their female counterparts, save for what their pretty faces and hourglass shapes could deliver.

Dan reached over from the passenger’s side and turned down the stereo. “Hey, Rob, whatever happened to that one bitch, Dana, that you were dating? She was pretty hot. You should have shared.”

Rob gave an arrogant chuckle and said, “I kicked her ass out of my trailer one night about two months ago after she mentioned something about me driving drunk. I told her to shut the hell up and swigged down more Tequila. She said she was leaving so I helped her out by grabbing the back of her neck and pushing her off my porch. Bitch got a broken nose, I think. Haven’t seen her since.”

Dan laughed. “Serves her right, I guess. Still, you could’ve at least shared before you broke her pretty nose, Asshole.”

They both laughed then, lit smokes and sped down the lonely desert road, toward their rowdy destination where women and booze would make them feel like somebodies for a night.

“Hey, what the hell! Slow down and pull over, man,” Dan demanded.

“Why?” Rob asked.

“You didn’t see that chick back there on the side of the road waving us down?” he bellowed. “From what I could tell, she looked hot, too. Turn around!”

“Hmm, well if she really is hot,” Rob replied, “I just might be her knight-in-shining-armor tonight. Bitches in distress are always turned on by guys that help them. Maybe we can share her if she wants to party,” he said with a sinister laugh.

Dan spun the car around and raced toward the female stranger. He’d gone about a quarter of a mile when they spotted her standing there leaning against a blue Ford Aspire. To her left was a small figure that appeared to be a girl, though they weren’t absolutely sure since two small hands covered the bent down head.

“Damn! She’s got a damn kid with her, I don’t want to deal with this shit, we’ve got to get to the bar,” Rob said to Dan. “Well it’s too late now,” replied Dan, “she sees us and there’s no one else on the road to help her. Maybe she can ditch the kid later and come party.”

Reluctantly and with a sigh, Rob pulled up behind the blue car and both of them got out. The Arizona moonlight beamed off the woman’s face and long, Auburn tresses. Dan caught a glimpse of her large eyes and gathered they were of a greenish hue. He noticed her shapely, tan legs beneath a pair of cutoff shorts and a snug, white tank top. “Kid or not,” he thought, “she is a fine piece of ass.”

“Hey, we saw you waving us down so we turned around,” Dan said to her, as Rob stood there silently exploring her figure with his eyes. “What’s the matter, did your car break down?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she said, “and I need to get my little girl to the hospital right away. We were at my sister’s visiting and I think she may have ingested something poisonous. She keeps holding her nose saying that it is bleeding, but her nose is just fine. Whatever she got into must have made her start hallucinating on our way driving home. And then my damn car has to overheat! There’s hardly anyone on this freeway tonight, definitely not ones willing to stop, anyway. Please! Can you give us a ride to the hospital?” she pleaded, wringing her hands with tension and panic.

“Sure, we’ll give you a ride,” Rob answered. “The hospital is only about six miles from here, not too far out of our way.”

“Thank you so much,” the woman said. “I can give you some cash for fuel.” Rob couldn’t help but think of other things he’d like her to give him. “Too bad she has a brat on her hands,” he thought.

The four of them climbed into Rob’s car and headed down Superstition Freeway, toward the Banner Desert Medical Center, which was the closest one he knew of. The little girl with long, dark hair seemed more calm than her mother described. Rob glanced at her in the rearview mirror to see her quietly rocking back and forth, holding her head in her hands in such a way that none of her facial features were visible. He decided he’d feign interest in the child to get the mother’s attention and try to make her like him.

“What’s your little girl’s name and how old is she?”

“Her name is Dana. She’s seven years old,” she answered, as she stroked the back of the little girl’s head. Rob felt a slight tinge of guilt at the mention of the name. “And I’m Amy, by the way. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself sooner.”

“No problem,” he replied, “you have a lot going on right now”.

Just then, the little girl raised her head and stared at Rob in the rearview mirror. Tere was just enough light for him to catch the color of her eyes, and they were so green that they almost appeared to glow like neon. He wondered in that moment if perhaps it was the pot he’d smoked earlier, messing with his head. He quickly turned his eyes back toward the road.

“Dana, do you want a drink of Mommy’s soda? How is your nose? You’re still holding it, Honey, but there’s no blood there at all.”

“Yes there is! It’s broken, it’s broken, smashed to bits. That boy pushed me! He pushed me far, far away down. I can’t even feel the earth anymore! And he called me bad names when I was always nice to him!” the little girl shouted.

“Dana, tell me what you got into at Aunt Cindy’s house. Did you drink or eat anything you weren’t supposed to, or take any of Aunt Cindy’s medicine? Tell mommy now, please!” The mother started to cry.

The little girl refused to say anything, but instead looked at Rob in the rearview mirror with angry, wild eyes and began spitting viciously at the back of his head. Rob inadvertently touched the back of his head to feel large globs of saliva accumulating in his well-groomed hair. His heart was pounding with fear. How could he be afraid of a sick little girl? he wondered. Just then, the little girl began to sing in a loud and mocking tone:

“Rob the nob is such a slob,

he has no heart and has no job,

He likes to beat and hurt and thrash,

Rob the nob is trailer-trash!”

Rob began to tremble and sweat as the mother tried to quiet the little girl, but she would not stop her taunting song and continued to spit at the back of Rob’s head inbetween singing the single, morbid verse.

“Man, speed it up, dammit,” shouted Dan to Rob, for he too, felt the hairs on the back of his neck begin to rise at this point.

Rob pressed his foot harder on the gas pedal as his head began to swarm with panic and disbelief. Everything suddenly went dark. Then sirens, flashing lights. Then Rob outside in the Arizona night, being wheeled away on a gurney. He could feel the blood rushing from his nose. Pain everywhere, mixed with sensations of numbness.

“Hey,” he yelled to the paramedics, “my friend, my friend, where is he? Where’s that evil little girl? She’s evil! She’s evil! She caused this! She was in my car and she caused this! And her damned mother!”

“Sir, you need to calm down or we are going to have to restrain you. You’re seriously injured and we’re rushing you to the hospital along with your friend. Please lie back and try to relax. We’re here to take care of you.”

“But, but, the little girl! Her mother! Where are they? Keep them away from me! Please!” begged Rob.

“Sir, I think you are in shock and a bit delirious. We checked the vehicle and surrounding area thoroughly. We did not find a little girl or woman anywhere, just you and your friend.”

As the paramedics began to lift him into the ambulance, Rob glanced over toward the wreckage. There stood a little girl with long, dark hair and eyes an almost neon green. She smiled sweetly at him and waved, then turned to walk away.

~Heather Lenz

2013