The Truant Risk

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE

Submitted: May 14, 2019

Reads: 80

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Submitted: May 14, 2019

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KariAnn was sure Livio saw her kiss Ken, but he didn’t say anything as they drove to the bank.  He pulled up to the night depository box, and deposited into the slot the money he took in for the day.  Then he unexpectedly pulled the car into a dark alley and turned off the engine.  KariAnn was about to get her first lesson that often favors had a price attached.

“Why are we stopping here?” she asked naively.

“I just thought that before we go home, I’d give you a chance to show your appreciation, and we could get to know each other a little better.”  And not giving her an opportunity to ask any more questions, Livio unbuckled his belt, zipped his pants down, and brought out an already erected cock.  “Just give it a few kisses and a little lovin’.”

“But isn’t Sharon waiting up for us?  And I really like Ken.  What would he think?” she stalled, not knowing what she should do.  She knew she was in an awful spot.  She felt angry that he would make her repay him in this way, but what could she do?  Livio did give her a job she wanted to keep, and she didn’t have anywhere else to go tonight so she really couldn’t risk pissing him off.

“Look, KariAnn,” Livio pointed out, “Sharon and Ken never have to know about this, and it’s not like I’m asking to fuck you.  I only want a head job.”

“Alright.” she decided to go along, and when she went down on him he held her head so she couldn’t pull away, and pumped his dick in and out of her mouth forcibly until it exploded with warm juices down her throat.  Then after a kiss and a quick feel, he seemed content at last and continued on home.  KariAnn felt cheap and used.  How unfair and easy it was to take advantage of her because of her vulnerable situation.  Had she now paid her debt to him in full she wondered, or was that only the first installment of many to follow?  Would all his future kindnesses hold a string attached too?

True to her promise, Sharon was waiting up with a cold twelve pack.  She was tall and lanky with straight black hair ratted up on top that fell just past her shoulders, hip hugger jeans rolled up to show off leather biker boots, and she possessed a hardcore look of toughness.  KariAnn hoped she never got on Sharon’s wrong side, and shuddered at the thought of her finding out she messed around with her old man.

They stayed up about an hour filling Sharon in and sipping down a couple beers before turning in.  Although Sharon had been outwardly nice to her, she couldn’t help feeling uneasy whenever she caught Sharon’s gaze.  She had a strong intuition that Sharon didn’t like her much.  KariAnn was thankful it was late and could use the excuse of being tired to slip off to bed.  Sharon and Livio also picked up on her cue and by the time they shut off the lights, KariAnn was almost asleep.

KariAnn slept most of the morning away.  It was 11:30 when the TV finally woke her.  “Good morning, sleepy head.” said Livio who was watching TV from a nearby chair.  “I’m afraid you missed breakfast, but you’re just in time for lunch.  Sharon’s making some bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.”

“Umm, sounds good.  I can smell the bacon frying and it’s making me hungry.” said KariAnn getting up and folding the blanket so the couch could be used again.

“I see you’re finally up.” Sharon said to KariAnn carrying in a stack of sandwiches.  “Would you like some coffee?  I have a pot made.”

“Yes, thank you, Sharon.  I take it with a spoon of cream and sugar.” answered KariAnn politely.

“I’ll take another cup too, babe, while you’re up.” Livio shouted after her.  As Sharon returned with the coffee, the phone sitting on the end table began to ring and Livio picked it up.  “Oh, Rick, it’s you.  What’s the problem now?” he asked.

“It figures.” Sharon said sounding aggravated.  “You’re not going in, are you?”

“Quiet, Sharon.” Livio hushed her up.  “Okay, Rick, I’ll see you in about twenty minutes.” he promised and hung up.

“Can’t that damn place run without you?” asked Sharon hotly.  “You’re already putting in over ten hours a day as it is.”

“It can’t be helped, Sharon.  I’ll try not to be too long.” he said.

“Livio, would you mind if I come along if you’re going to the pizzeria?” asked KariAnn not wanting to be left alone with Sharon.  “I’d like to take Debbie up on her offer to stop by so we can get to know each other better, and I could easily walk the rest of the way from there.”

“Sure, come on.” he said, and then kissed Sharon goodbye.  “I’ll be home as soon as I can.”  Reaching the parking lot, KariAnn and Livio parted company.  Nothing was mentioned about last night as though it never happened at all, and she was more than glad to erase the whole thing from her mind.

She rounded the front of the building and looked up to read the street names off the signs.  She was standing on the corner of Seven Mile and Greenfield, and according to Debbie’s scribbled directions, she had to take Greenfield a little past the next traffic light which was McNichols, and then turn right onto Grove St. until she came to Prevost and turn left.  It wasn’t hard finding her house since she recognized it from seeing it before, and it only took her less than a half hour to walk the distance.  Debbie seemed pleased to see her when she answered the door, and invited her in to meet her mom and brother, Mike.

Mrs. Lyons was a stout, heavy built lady with short dishwater blonde hair entering into her late thirties.  Mike had long blonde hair, and unlike his mother and sister was tall and slender; likely taking after his father, while Debbie took on more of her mother’s characteristics.  After introductions, they slipped off to Debbie’s room to listen to records.  “You have a nice house, Debbie, and I really like your room” said KariAnn, a bit envious.  “I used to have my own room too, but my mom gave it to my oldest younger sister when I was sent to boarding school.  You don’t know how lucky you are to only have an older brother.  I had three younger sisters and a baby brother that was always sneaking into my room and getting into my things.”

“I can imagine what that was like.” Debbie sympathized.  “Mike and I shared a room when we were kids, but when we got older my dad fixed up the attic for Mike.  He put up paneling, carpeted the floor and stairs, made shelves, and mom sewed some new curtains for the windows.  Sometime when he’s not home, I’ll take you up there to see it.  He’s got his own phone now, a good stereo, and has done a lot to it himself.  He’d have a hairy fit though if he knew we went up there so you can’t say anything.”

“Okay, I won’t.  Where’s your dad now, at work?” asked KariAnn.

“I have no idea.” said Debbie showing no feeling.  “He ran off about five years ago with a younger woman, and we’ve never heard from him since.  I was only nine and Mike was twelve when he left.  It’s just the three of us now.”

“I must say it looks like you’ve done pretty well in spite of everything.” KariAnn said meaning to be kind.

“Yeah, I guess so, but mom spends most of her time at the hospital to make ends meet and has over the years let herself go to hell.  There was a time she didn’t used to be fat.” Debbie explained, and then thumbed through a pile of albums until she found the one she wanted to put on.  “Do you like Janis Joplin?”  The topic of her dad was dropped, and replaced with girl talk about Ken and Ray, working at Livio’s, the top songs on the chart, and what teenage idols were starring in the latest teen magazines.

Mrs. Lyons knocked on the door before opening it, and announced, “I’m leaving now for the hospital.  Fix whatever you want to eat, and there’s a couple dollars on the table if you need it.  I’ll see you about 11:30 tonight, and I expect you to be home when I get back.”

“I know the rules.” replied Debbie.  “Mom, can KariAnn stay over and eat with us?”

“Yes, I don’t care.  Look, I’ve got to go or I’ll be late.  Bye girls, and stay out of trouble.” she warned.

Don’t worry, Mrs. Lyons, we will.” KariAnn gave her word with an innocent smile.

“Maybe you will, but I wish I could be as sure of Deb.” she teased her daughter, and closed the door behind her.

“I think my mom likes you, KariAnn.  Too bad she doesn’t like Ray.” she chuckled.  “Hey, KariAnn, I just thought of a terrific idea!”

“What is it, Deb”” asked KariAnn with curiosity, “Lay it on me.”

“How would you like to live here with us?  Wouldn’t that be bitchin!  We could be like sisters!” Debbie lit up with excitement.

“Are you serious?  You mean, you’d tell your mom I’m a runaway?  Wouldn’t she turn me in?” she asked in surprise of the idea.

“No she wouldn’t.” Debbie assured her.  “She let this one girl who ran away live with us for a while, but she finally left when she decided to move in with her boyfriend.”

“It sounds fantastic!” said KariAnn as she considered the possibility.  “Staying with Livio and Sharon was supposed to be only temporary, and I don’t think Sharon likes me anyway.  I figure the sooner I find another place to stay the better.”

“Then I’ll talk to mom tomorrow when she gets up in the morning.  Maybe we could straighten up the house too and surprise her.” Debbie suggested.

“A little bribery couldn’t hurt.” agreed KariAnn.  “Let’s do it.”  The girls went all out once they put their plan into action.  Room by room they straightened and cleaned.  Dishes were washed, the kitchen and bathroom floors waxed, mirrors and fixtures shined, beds made, carpets vacuumed, furniture dusted, laundry folded, and the trash collected and taken out front by the curb all before KariAnn waved goodbye to start off on her mile walk back to Livio’s at almost 8:30 p.m.  They had worked hard for seven hours getting everything done, but they knew it would all be worth it when she saw how great the house looked.  They were even pleased with themselves.

The rest of the night flew by like the first, in spite of business being slow.  KariAnn was still caught up in the limelight of attention, and the excitement and newness of the job hadn’t yet worn off.  She had felt tired through the shift up to quitting time, but when Ken offered to drive her to Livio’s house, she suddenly got a second wind and was rearing to go.  She jumped at the chance to not have to ride with Livio, dreading he might ask for another sexual payment of gratitude.

On the way to the house, KariAnn told Ken of the possibility she might move in with Debbie, and of all the chores they did.  Ken really went for the idea, and said if Mrs. Lyons let her stay with them, then he’d be seeing a lot of her.  The reason being was Ray was his best friend, and he spent most of his time hanging out with Debbie.  He also promised her that he would swing by to drop her off at Debbie’s in the morning so she wouldn’t have to impose on Livio.  When they pulled up in front of Sharon and Livio’s place, Ken jumped out and walked around to open her door like a gentleman.  Then hand in hand he walked her up the stairs and kissed her under the porch light before saying goodnight.

She had beat Livio home and Sharon had left the door unlocked for them and went to bed.  KariAnn welcomed the sight of seeing the pillow and blanket back on the couch, and headed straight for it.  She was already lying down and covered up when she heard Livio come through the front door, and with eyes closed, pretended to be asleep.  She was sure Livio wasn’t brave enough to try anything with Sharon only in the next room, but she wasn’t taking any chances just in case.  To her relief, Livio walked over to click off the living room lamp, and then headed to join Sharon in bed.

KariAnn didn’t sleep the morning away this time, and was up when Ken knocked on the door at 9:30.  KariAnn felt skanky putting back on the same clothes she’d taken off in two days ago, even though she had just showered and used one of the toothbrushes in the bathroom to brush her teeth.  She hoped Debbie would let her borrow something of hers to wear so she could wash her one and only set of clothes.

“Hi, Ken.” she greeted with a kiss.  “Livio and Sharon are still asleep, but I left a note saying you picked me up and that not to expect me to show up until 9 o’clock tonight at work.  I guess I’m ready if you are.”

“Good, I’m glad you’re all ready to go.” Ken sounded relieved.  “I don’t think I could handle listening to Sharon’s mouth this early in the day.  Come on, I left the car running so we could make a fast getaway.”

Once in the car and out of Sharon and Livio’s earshot, KariAnn remarked, “I take it you don’t care too much for Sharon either.  She makes me feel so uncomfortable, like she’s putting up with me only because Livio wants me there.  I hate the thought of ever being left alone with her.”

“That’s only normal.  What would a sweet girl like you ever find in common with a stuck-up, tough bitch like her?” Ken compared.  “You’re probably right about her not liking you too.  She’s a very jealous bitch I hear, and just loves to kick ass for the fun of it.”

“But hasn’t she figured out yet that just because Livio is attracted to everything that walks around in a skirt and tight sweater doesn’t mean they all have the same hots for him?” asked KariAnn coolly. 

“I don’t know, KariAnn, I really think Sharon likes to imagine they are trying to steal her man just so she has an excuse to rearrange the pretty faces she’s so jealous of.”  Ken slowed down as they neared Debbie’s house and stopped out front.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.  What would you think if Ray and I stop back around 3:00 after Mrs. Lyons goes to work, and we could get together for a while before we have to report to work ourselves?” he asked.

“That would be great.” said KariAnn eagerly.  “I’m sure Debbie is looking forward to seeing Ray too, and we can tell you what Mrs. Lyons’ answer was.”

“Okay, tell Debbie we’ll both be by a little after three.  Give me a kiss that will hold me over till then to remember you by.” Ken smiled.  After a few minutes, their lips finally parted and KariAnn headed up for the door.  Mrs. Lyons answered still in her bathrobe with Debbie right behind her when she heard the doorbell.

“I want to thank you too, KariAnn, for the wonderful surprise and I can’t think of anything that could have been nicer to come home tired to.” thanked Mrs. Lyons gratefully.  “When I first opened the door, I almost wanted to recheck the house number to see if maybe I might have walked into the wrong place.  You girls must have worked your butts off all day!” she expressed awe, and picked up her purse from the coffee table.  “I’d really like to pay each of you five dollars, and on my day off Sunday, I thought I’d make us a special treat for dinner which you’re welcome to join us, KariAnn.”

“Oh, you don’t have to pay us, Mrs. Lyons,” replied KariAnn, feeling a little guilty about their true motive, “but I’d love to take you up on dinner Sunday.”

“No, KariAnn, I want to give you something for all your hard work.” Mrs. Lyons insisted, and placed the five dollar bill in her hand.  “You girls both earned it.  I only wish I had a little more to give you.”

“Thanks, mom.” said Debbie taking her five without a fuss.  “You know, mom, it sure would be nice if KariAnn lived here with us.  She’d make a great sister and between the two of us, we could do some of the work around here and you wouldn’t have so much then to do.”

“KariAnn is a nice girl, Deb, and I wouldn’t mind having her around, but I’m sure she has a family of her own that loves and needs her more than we do.” said Mrs. Lyons, not really taking her daughter seriously.

“Yeah, she has a family alright, only they love and need her so much that she ran away.” Debbie blurted out.

“Is that true, KariAnn?” she asked, now seeing the pieces fall into place.

“Yes, I ran away.” confessed KariAnn nervously.  “They made it clear they don’t want me home, and that suits me just fine.”

“You mean to tell me they have no idea where you are or if you’re even alright?” asked Mrs. Lyons trying to imagine what they must be going through.  “Maybe you should tell me what happened.  What was so bad at home to make you want to run away from it, and have you think they don’t love you or want you home?”

“That’s just it; I didn’t run away from home.  I was sent away.  Mom told dad she couldn’t handle me, and threatened she would leave if he didn’t agree to put me in Vista Maria which is an all girls’ Catholic boarding school.” KariAnn tried to explain, not quite sure where she should start.  “I was there a little more than two months, and finished the end of the 8th grade during that time.  I knew I had screwed up a few times and had disappointed my parents, but I really did feel sorry for it and wanted to make it up to them by showing I could accept my punishment and straighten up.  So I gave them my best efforts and behavior, got all A’s on my report card, and even earned some time off to go home.  I begged mom to give me another chance to show her I could be good, but she told me I couldn’t come home yet not even to visit.  I was never more sincere and she wouldn’t believe me.  I only got to see my family once a month from 2 to 4, and I was beginning to feel like an orphan.  I couldn’t handle it anymore, and I truly do believe mom hates me because I’m from her first marriage and she hates my father.  She says I’m no good and just like him, but I don’t even know the bast…man.” she caught herself almost too late.

“So then you lived with your mom and step-dad?”

“Yes, mom remarried when I was still a baby and I didn’t find out dad was not my real dad until only close to year ago.  He’s the one who loved, raised, and took care of me, and in my heart he’s the only dad I’ll ever have.”

“Then you did get along with your step-dad.” Mrs. Lyons reasoned.

“Sure, we got along well.  He always seemed proud of me and acknowledged my accomplishments, but we didn’t get to see him much.  Between my dad working around the clock so he could give us all the things we wanted, and grabbing what sleep he could there wasn’t many hours left.” KariAnn explained.  “Dad knew mom and I were having some serious problems, but he was always caught in the middle and no matter whose side he took, he lost.  I think he figured eventually mom and I would work things out for ourselves, but we just kept pulling farther apart.”

“Did you ever try to talk to your dad about the problems you were having with your mother?” questioned Debbie’s mom.

“Not much.” she admitted.  “He didn’t really know how bad things actually were since mom usually treated me better when he was home.  I didn’t know how to tell him mom was only putting on a good act, but was hurting me when he wasn’t around.  She would have turned it around to make me look like the heavy anyway.”

“What did you mean when you said she would hurt you?”  Mrs. Lyons was beginning to sound concerned.

“She hurt me mostly with words, but when she’s really been upset, she has beaten me around in circles with leather dog leads, and whipped me with switches that she’d make me go out and find from the Willow tree and bring to her.  Once she even took her fists to me, and another time I was actually called out of class to the counselor’s office and asked a ton of questions about how I got the welts all over my legs.  They wanted to know who did it, how often I was beat, if either of my parents had a drinking problem, who I would choose to live with if my parents got divorced and many more.” replied KariAnn, hoping she was convincing Mrs. Lyons that sending her home wouldn’t work out.

“Are you an only child or do you have any brothers and sisters living at home?”

“There are five of us all together.” KariAnn answered.  “I’m the oldest and have three younger sisters and then there’s the baby, Michael.  They’re another reason dad’s hands are tied.  Dad really loves mom a lot, and although I know he loves me too, it would be much easier and less painful for him and the others if I left instead of her.”

“See, mom, she can’t go back home.” Debbie finally spoke up after being quiet all this time.  “Can’t she stay with us?”

“I don’t know, Deb, I’d like to help her and say yes, but do you have any idea the trouble I’d get into if they found out she was staying here?” Mrs. Lyons hesitated.

“Please, Mrs. Lyons,” KariAnn pleaded.  “My family doesn’t even live in this city, and if I have a place to stay and don’t get in any trouble then no one will even suspect I am a runaway.  I also have a part-time job at Livio’s and I’d do whatever you say.  I’m not really a bad kid, and just need for someone to trust me and give me a real chance to prove it.”

“What do you say, mom, can she?” Debbie pleaded with her.

“If I say yes, it will be under one condition.” Mrs. Lyons pointed out.  “If I let KariAnn stay here, I’ll expect the same out of her that I do of you.  That includes following the rules I’ve set down, being honest with me, and if she helps out around the house, she’ll be paid the same allowance as you.”

“Wow!  It’s a deal!  Thank you, Mrs. Lyons.” KariAnn exclaimed in excitement, and kissed her on the cheek.

“Mom, you’re the greatest!” Debbie said kissing her other cheek.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” she chuckled.

“Come on, KariAnn, let’s go in my…I mean ‘our’ room.” Debbie corrected.

Once behind closed doors, KariAnn remembered, “Oh, Deb, I almost forgot to tell you that Ken and Ra are coming over at three after your mom leaves.”

“Boy, I’m glad you didn’t tell me in front of my mom.  She doesn’t like guys over when she’s gone, especially Ray.” said Debbie.

“Do you think it’s a bad idea then to have them over?  Maybe we could go somewhere when they come.” KariAnn suggested.

“Don’t worry; she’ll never know they were here.” Debbie said pretty sure of herself.  “Mike will be getting home late this afternoon, but he doesn’t squeal on me and I don’t squeal on him.”

“Sounds like a good arrangement to have.  Your brother seems like a pretty cool guy, and I must say he’s cute too.” she added.

“All my girlfriends seem to agree with you, but Mike only has eyes for Karen.  They’ll be getting married next summer when she turns eighteen.  He’s even bought her a beautiful diamond engagement ring already.” said Debbie obviously approving of Karen.  “You’ll have to see it the next time she’s over.”

“What does Mike do to earn that kind of money at his age?” asked KariAnn out of curiosity.

“He’s a bagger at A & P, but makes most of his extra cash dealing.” answered Debbie.

“You mean Mike is a pusher?” asked KariAnn in surprise.

“Yeah, it’s sort of ironic isn’t it with mom being a registered nurse and all.” mused Debbie, “ Boy would she ever skin Mike alive if she knew!”

“Do you and Mike do drugs then too?” was KariAnn’s next question.

“Sure, nowadays who doesn’t?” smiled Debbie.  “In addition to liking the high, it’s wise and good business to sample the drugs before you fork over the bread.  We’ve been ripped off a couple times and had to learn that lesson the hard way.  One time Mike bought some bogus coke that turned out to be mostly baking soda when he got it home.  He was out a small bundle and there wasn’t anything he could really do about it.  Haven’t you ever been high before?”

“Just on drinking, but I was hung up on a guy who took and sold drugs, and so did a lot of my friends.  I guess I’ve always been afraid to try them,” admitted KariAnn, “and I knew my folks would murder me if I got caught.”

“Would you like to try some pot later this afternoon when Mike gets home?  Pot won’t hurt you, and it sure is a better and quicker buzz than drinking.” Debbie tried to sell her.

“Gee, I don’t know, Debbie.” KariAnn replied reluctantly.  “I’ve got to go to work tonight, and I’m not so sure I’m any braver now about trying them than I was before.”

“Look, KariAnn, you don’t have to worry anymore about your parents wrath hitting you, the buzz is similar to drinking only it takes less to get you high, it doesn’t have calories or fill you up, and you’ll be down from the buzz and feeling perfectly normal I assure you before you have to go in to work.  Tell me, how can you knock something until you’ve tried it?” Debbie quoted the old cliché, and then proposed, “I’ll make you deal, if you don’t like the high, then I’ll never pressure you about it again or like you any less.”

“Okay, it’s a deal then, but first twist my arm a little harder.” KariAnn laughed, holding her arm out in jest.

“Is that hard enough?” Debbie asked as she gently twisted KariAnn’s extended arm, laughing with her.

“Uncle! You win!” she exclaimed.

“Have you ever heard of Red Bud?” asked Debbie.

“I think so.  Isn’t it a reddish color pot that’s supposed to be some really good stuff?” KariAnn answered with pride that she didn’t look totally ignorant about drugs.

“That’s right, and Mike’s picking up a pound of it today after work.  He usually gives me a percentage of whatever I help him sell.”

“How much does a bag cost?” asked KariAnn wanting to learn as much as she could.

“It depends on how much it weighs out and how good the quality is.  A Lid weighs an ounce and goes for $12.50, or you could buy a smaller amount like a Nichol or Dime bag for $5 or $10.”

“And a pound?” asked KariAnn.

“Again depending on the quality, domestic goes for about $55, Mexican $60, and the good stuff anywhere from $90 to $125 a pound.” Debbie rattled off.

“Wow, that’s a lot of money to spend!”

“Not really when you consider the sizable profit you make when you break that pound down and divide it into ounces.” Debbie explained.  “Let’s say you buy a pound of Colombian at $90 a pound, and bag it up into sixteen ounces.  Then when you turn around and sell it at $12.50 an ounce, you bring in $200 and you only invested $90.”

“I see what you mean.  That’s $110 easy made tax-free dollars in your pocket, but isn’t it awful risky?” KariAnn said a bit skeptical.

“It can be, but I only sell to my friends and people I know.  Now Mike is the one who takes most of the chances and bigger risks, but he likes to play it safe too by sticking to known and reliable sources.” pointed out Debbie.

“Have you ever tried L.S.D. or any other kinds of chemicals?” asked KariAnn wanting to know more.

“Sure, lots of times.  You name it and I’ve probably taken it, except for heroin.” bragged Debbie.  “Mom has a big medical encyclopedia on drugs.  There’s a color picture and complete description and run down on just about every pill there is.  I like to look up the different capsules, pills and tablets we buy to compare them to the book and read about them.”

Just then they heard Mrs. Lyons’ heavy footsteps come down the hall, followed by a rap on their door.  “Deb, I’m leaving early today to shop around for a birthday present for Mike.  It’s only a couple days away now and I don’t know what I’m going to get him.  I’ll probably go straight into work from there, so I’ll see you in the morning.  I’ll see you too, KariAnn.  Bye girls.”

“Goodbye.” they both shouted in unison.

“I almost forgot his birthday is so close, and I have to get him something yet too.” remembered Debbie.

“What day is his birthday?” asked KariAnn.

“It’s July 1st, and if this is Saturday the 28th, that makes his birthday this Tuesday.”

“I guess that doesn’t give you much time left.” KariAnn agreed.  “Why don’t we go down to the store and look around for something later this afternoon.  I need to pick up a few things too like a toothbrush and some mascara since I wasn’t able to take much with me when I took off.  By the way, Debbie, would you mind loaning me a change of clothes so I can wash mine out?  This is all I have to wear.”

“Sure thing.  As a matter of fact,” Debbie lit up with a thought, “there’s a couple bags of clothes down in the basement mom was only saving to give to the Salvation Army.  Most of them are clothes that don’t fit me anymore and are too small, but I bet some of them just might fit you.  Come on down with me and let’s check them out.  You can keep anything you see that you like.”

KariAnn was really in luck for not only did many of the clothes fit, but also they were all in good condition and looked nice on her.  She found two pairs of soft faded blue jeans, one pair of brown corduroy pants, six blouses and tops, and a white button down sweater.  Counting the clothes she was wearing, KariAnn now had enough changes to wear something different every day of the week.  Leaving her dirty clothes in the washer, KariAnn changed into clean jeans and a pink summer top.

The girls then went back to their room and turned on the radio.  At first, neither of them paid much attention to the news broadcast as they chatted and flipped through magazines while waiting for it to be replaced by the beat of rock-n-roll.  Suddenly KariAnn caught the familiar ring of hearing her name, and instantly hushed Debbie to be quiet and listen.

“There are still no clues to the whereabouts of young KariAnn Randall who escaped unseen out a window at an all girls’ boarding school last Wednesday in Dearborn Heights.” announced the newscaster over the radio.  “KariAnn is described as being thirteen years of age, 5’ 5”, 115 pounds, with long brown hair and hazel eyes.  Anyone seeing this girl is asked to report any information to their local authorities.  Now back to more of your favorite hits.  This next song by the Carpenters was called in and dedicated to Charlene.”

“Did you hear that, Deb?  They were talking about me!” exclaimed KariAnn.

“Don’t worry, the description they gave could fit a lot of girls, but it may be a good idea to play it safe and consider changing your appearance.” suggested Debbie.  “We could always dye your hair blonde like mine and cut it short or something, and who would ever recognize you then?”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” protested KariAnn not in favor of her brilliant idea.  “I don’t think I’d make a very convincing blonde with dark eyebrows and eyelashes along with dark roots when it starts growing out.  Besides, I don’t want to cut my hair either.  I like long hair.  I figure, Deb, the real secret to not getting caught is simply staying out of trouble.”

“You’re probably right.” Deb agreed.

Ken and Ray seemed impressed when the girls told them about hearing KariAnn’s name and description over the radio.  It almost made KariAnn feel more like a celebrity than a fugitive from the law.  Ken agreed the description of her was vague enough to make it unnecessary to deliberately change her appearance.  After all she not only had an edge over most runaways by having a job, but she also had a cover for her identity living with the Lyons’ family.

The guys had long left by the time Mike got home at 6 o’clock.  He carried the pound of grass into the house in a brown paper bag like it was nothing more than a sack of groceries.  One look at his eyes, however, revealed he had tried some of it out and had a good buzz going.  “Well, Mike, is it as good as you thought it would be?” asked Debbie anxious to try some.

“Better!” he answered.  “This weed is really kick-ass.  Go get the box of Baggies out of the cupboard and help me weigh these ounces up.”

“Okay, I’ll get ‘em.” said Debbie heading for the kitchen.  Returning with the box, she remembered Mike didn’t know about the good news yet.  “Hey, Mike, I’ve got something to tell you.” she said excitedly.  “Mom said it was okay for KariAnn to live with us!”

“She what?”  Mike stared at her with glassy eyes.  “Run that by me again.”

“I hope you don’t mind my staying here, Mike, for I’d like to know it’s okay with you too.” KariAnn spoke up.

“No, I don’t mind.  I’m sorry if it sounded like I objected.” Mike apologized.  “I was just surprised mom would go along, that’s all.  She came awful close to getting in serious trouble over the last girl she took in off the streets.”

“I know about that and I give you my word, Mike, that if I ever get caught and the police find out whom I really am then I won’t tell them I was living here.  That way it will keep her out of it.  I don’t want to see anyone get in trouble on my account.” assured KariAnn.

“Look, you’ve already convinced mom and that’s good enough for me.  Welcome to the family.” approved Mike.  “Now that we got that settled, let’s get this pound bagged up.”

Mike weighed out fifteen ounces to sell and split the last one between him and Debbie for their personal stash.  Then he handed six of the bags over for her to sell telling her how much he wanted for them and the rest he would get rid of himself.

“Grab your purse, KariAnn, and go with me to Jeff’s house.” said Debbie putting her stash and one of the ounces in her purse.  “I promised I’d drop him off a Lid as soon as Mike got a hold of some, and I know Jeff will want to burn a couple joints with us before we leave for bringing it over.”

“It’s now or never, I guess.  See you later, Mike.” KariAnn yelled over her shoulder as she walked out the door with Debbie.

Jeff was one of Debbie’s regular customers, and he lived in walking distance only a few blocks away.  Jeff was nineteen, had long dark hair tied back in a ponytail, and wore round wire rim glasses.  True to Deb’s words, Jeff rolled up a joint to smoke with them from the bag of Red Bud he just bought, and handed the doob to Debbie to light up.

“Smells primo, Deb.” Jeff approved.

“Mike said it was really kick-ass, even better than he hoped, and he looked pretty stoned when he came home with it.” Debbie assured.  Then after inhaling a deep hit, she passed it to KariAnn.  “Just inhale it like a cigarette.” she instructed as she handed it to her, and explained to Jeff that it was her very first time.

“A newbie, huh?  There’s nothing like starting out with the good shit.” Jeff teased.  “You might not want to hit it so hard.” he laughed as KariAnn started coughing.

“Yeah, this is the dope, Deb.” Jeff said as he exhaled a big cloud of smoke into the air of the small room.  “So, KariAnn, what do you think?”

“I don’t know.  I really don’t feel anything yet.” she said not quite sure what to expect.

“Give it time.  You will.” said Jeff.

“Anything yet?” Debbie asked as they polished off the joint.

“Nothing.  I don’t feel any different.” KariAnn said with disappointment expecting more.

“Well, then let’s smoke another one.” suggested Jeff dipping back into his bag and twisting up another.  “I don’t know why you don’t feel high because I’m catching a great buzz.  How about you, Deb?”

“Hey, I’m getting toasted too.” Debbie agreed.  “You are inhaling the smoke aren’t you, KariAnn?”

“Yeah, I am.  So why don’t I feel high?” she asked, and could see both Jeff and Debbie looked puzzled.

“Well, we have to get going.” Debbie finally said.  “See you next week.”

Just then KariAnn stood up to leave with Debbie, and the buzz hit her like a ton of bricks.  “Wow, Debbie, I feel weird, but in a good way.” she smiled as they stepped outside.  “So this is what it feels like.  I feel like I’m floating, and can’t feel my feet touching the ground.”

“Sounds like you’re high.” Debbie laughed at her friend.

In the short week since she ran away from the school for the second time, KariAnn had managed a job, place to live, made new friends, smoked pot for the first time, and even dared to go skinny dipping in the broad afternoon with Ray, Debbie, Romeo, Pam, and Ken at River Rouge Park directly across the road from, where else, but Vista Maria!

Today was the 4th of July, and KariAnn and her new friends were invited to a big outdoor beer and pot party thrown in an old condemned barn sitting in a large open field.  No one knew for sure if it was the huge bomb fire or all the loud ruckus that triggered the cops to raid the party, but never the less it happened.  Several cops started checking IDs while another cop read off names of runaways from off his rap sheet.  Fortunately it was a good-size party, and a lot of people to check out.  When KariAnn’s name was called, she nearly jumped out of her skin, but remained amazingly cool when the cop finally got around to asking her name and proof of ID.  She had been surprised that she pulled it off with a fake name and saying she didn’t yet have a driver’s license.  The cops seemed contented with making everyone dump all the beer out on the ground, and luckily no one got busted.

Mid way through the second week, they had another close call except this time it wasn’t the cops.  Romeo, Pam, Debbie and KariAnn had decided to go for a joy ride to cool off after closing Livio’s.  They hadn’t even left the parking lot when their foxy, 16 year old friend, Romeo, went pale after spying a guy he recognized in another parked car.  Everyone could feel the tension in the air, but no one except for Romeo knew why.

A tough-looking youth in the front passenger side went to get out of the car, but no sooner did his door open when Romeo threw the car into drive and floored it down the back alley.  KariAnn and Debbie, who were sitting in the back seat, turned in time to see the car door slam and to come speeding after them.  It had been a pretty hairy scene for not only did they shoot at them twice with real bullets that would have blown the back of Debbie’s head off if not for hitting the stereo speaker in the window, but once they succeeded in running their car off the road the real frightening part began.  Romeo was dragged right out the car and beaten to a bloody pulp by two guys while the other two held him.  His face looked a mess and was already starting to swell when the two holding him let go and he slumped on the ground.

The guy Romeo was able to identify in the parking lot cleaned out what money he had in his wallet, and then walked over to the car where the three girls sat in terror over what they had been forced to helplessly witness.  The girls feared they were now going to be next, but the guy instead only left a warning to tell Romeo that if he ever tried again to rip him off he was dead.

It was now the middle of July, and the third week on the run lacked the danger and drama of the first two weeks.  It had seemed more like fun and partying especially since it was now her birthday and she had thankfully started her period on time last week.  Debbie and Pam had arranged a surprise party for KariAnn at the nearby park only kitty corner from Deb’s house, and invited everyone they knew.  No one had even mentioned her birthday so when the girls took KariAnn to the park and she saw the cake and all the people, her face lit up like a Christmas tree.  How great it was to be independent at fourteen, to be able to do anything you want, and to be accepted.

One of Ray’s friends said he knew Glen Harris was having a big bash tonight, and suggested they finish off KariAnn’s birthday there.  Most everyone went for the idea and knew Glen’s parties were legendary, so after copping a good buzz everyone hopped in their cars and cruised out to Glen’s pad.


© Copyright 2019 Katie McDougal. All rights reserved.

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