Marcie Bruno snapped her gum and stood at the cash register, twirling her hair around her finger. It was late, and she should be mopping the floors but that was crap. It would ruin her manicure. The same went for stocking the cooler, or washing the shelves. The place was old as dirt anyways, who cared?
Marcie’s boss had called her in to work on her day off. Steve’s grandmother had died three times now, the management changed over so fast in this place that no one kept track of stuff like that. Funny how she always died on a Saturday night, so that he couldn’t make his 11-7 shift. This time there had been no one else available so she had to go in. The manager was going to work Marcie’s shift in the morning, so at least she didn’t have to work tomorrow.
She took a Seventeen magazine off the rack and sat behind the counter. When the cream-colored Buick LeSabre pulled up she hardly even glanced over as she hit the button to start the gas pumps. A few minutes later she sighed and put down the magazine and glanced out the window. Wow, that’s an old lady car if I ever saw one. So lame, I oughta text Julie, she thought. Then she saw the guy pumping the gas. He was looking straight at her, and he was cute!
Marcie grabbed a make-up mirror and lip gloss from under the counter. She kept them handy for just this type of occasion. Snapping her gum, she checked her bangs in the mirror, pulling a little here and there to make them stand up just right. A set of bangle bracelets jingled lightly as she applied more lip gloss. Hot mess baby, yea!
Dinnggg Dongggg. The door buzzer sounded like a doorbell. What moron came up with that idea she didn’t know, but every time she heard it she felt like yelling, “Avon calling!” Sometimes she did too, just for the fun of it. It was after midnight, and the blue laws being what they were in her little Texas town, she had locked the doors to the beer cooler at two when they quit selling. The young man checked one of the doors and came to the counter. He had a smile on his face and wore his jeans and t-shirt like they were poured on. Marcie was in love.
“Now I know,” the man began, “that it’s past two am. But I also know that I just have this powerful thirst.” He rubbed his stomach all slow-like. “And I think a pretty, sweet girl like you just might be able to help a guy out.”
Marcie looked at him, smiling. A total come on.
“Am I supposed to fall for that?” She asked, giggling. She tossed her hair back over her shoulder. “I don’t suppose you got any ID…?”
“George. My name is George, and you are…Marcie.” He leaned in and tapped the name tag pinned to her left breast one time. “Come on Marcie, are you going to help me out?” He leaned back and smiled again.
Marcie looked left and right, there was no one else around. George had a bit of a wild look in his eye, king of dangerous. It was powerfully attractive to a seventeen year old who had never been anywhere.
“Awww, why not. But you can’t tell nobody, I could get fired and lose my job. My mama would kill me dead!” She stopped and thought for a moment. “How am I gonna do it though?”
George laughed and crossed his heart. “I won’t tell anybody, I swear it ma’am!” They both laughed. Marcie nodded, she had it.
“Okay. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to go and stock the cooler, see? I can’t take a chance on you being seen walking out the front door with a six-pack. When I bring the boxes out to the dumpster, like, I might not have emptied one all the way and it might still have a six-pack of Miller Lite in it, see?”
“Or Budweiser,” George hinted.
“Fine, or Budweiser.” She said, laughing prettily. “So all you have to do is park over there near it, and after I take the trash out…”
“I got it. You uh, you gonna join me later?” George asked. “What time do you get off?”
“That sure would be nice,” said Marcie and she giggled. “But I don’t get off till seven am. It totally sucks.”
“So lock up and sit with me a while, who would know? It’s not like you got Mardi Gras in here tonight.”
Marcie giggled again. He was just so cute. Julie was gonna die when she heard about this. He paid for his gas and went back out to his car, casting a meaningful glance over his shoulder as he went. She texted Julie to tell her about it and headed back into the cooler.
About five minutes later Marcie came out the back door with three soda flats and a beer box. She set the lot down on the ground by the dumpster, the flats sitting sideways in the beer box. The Buick was on the side of the building. She started to wave and realized that it wasn’t that guy George. It was a younger looking guy with his hair parted in the middle and plastered down on his head. He had on heavy black glasses and was sitting kind of prissy-like in the back seat. He didn’t tell me he had a friend, she thought, and then a second later, where IS George?
Marcie started toward the car. It looked like George in the back seat, but it wasn’t him. Just as Marcie rounded the corner of the building and got a good look at the guy in the backseat, the county sheriff pulled into the parking lot. He pulled up to the front of the store and rolled down his window.
“Marcie!” He called to her. Then he saw the car she was next to. “Come on over here a minute.”
“I’m coming Mr. Paul,” she called back. She turned back to look in the car. The back door on the other side was open and the guy was gone. How weird!
“Marcie! Come here please!” Deputy Paul Deacon called again, stepping out of his car. There was an edge to his voice. Paul had known Marcie her entire life. She was a little on the wild side, but basically a good girl.
“Okay okay, I’m coming!” She left the LeSabre and went to see what the officer wanted. She snapped her gum and took her time as she walked up to him, teen nonchalance rolling off her in waves. The deputy told her to go back inside the store.
“What’s going on Mr. Paul?” Marcie asked.
“Have you seen a young man, dark hair about a head taller than you? That might be his car.”
Marcie tensed a little and Paul caught it. “What is it Marcie, you have seen him haven’t you? He’s not inside is he?” The deputy looked over her shoulder into the store. Marcie shook her head.
“No, well, I guess there was a guy,” she looked back at the cream-colored car, “but I don’t know where he went! What’s going on?”
“Marcie, go back inside the store and lock the doors. Right now.” The deputy said.
“Well, okay, but I was taking the trash out, I left the back door open.” She replied. The deputy, still looking into the store stopped and looked at her. He reached back and took the keys out of the ignition and put them in his pocket.
“Get in my car and lock the doors.” He took her by the arm and moved her to the front seat. “Get in and stay there!”
Marcie was by now a little freaked out. I wonder what he did! She thought to herself, and I almost got in the car with him! She didn’t know what he had done, but it had to be pretty serious if Deputy Deacon had his gun out. The deputy stepped inside the store and moved out of sight. Marcie waited.
All of a sudden two hands slapped the window by her head. Marcie screamed. It was the George guy, his hair sticking up all over the place and a crazy look on his face. He tried the door handle but it was locked.
“Come on Marcie, open up!” He called to her. When she didn’t respond he slapped the window again, harder. Marcie screamed again. Panicked, she started honking the horn. Come on Mr. Paul, come on! The guy pounded on the window one last time and raced for the LeSabre. He jumped behind the wheel and had just turned his key in the ignition when the deputy ran out of the store. Marcie was still honking the horn and pointing furiously at the Buick, which was now backing out toward them.
Paul ran to the side of the store and looked around the corner. The car, backing up, came almost even with him for a second. He had his gun out, but as he looked into the window of the car he stopped and just couldn’t shoot. It was a kid. Just a boy from the looks of it. He pointed the gun and yelled for the boy to stop, but of course he didn’t. The car skidded sideways as it peeled out of the parking lot. Paul ran back to his cruiser and grabbed the door handle but it was locked. Marcie sat in the driver’s seat, texting her friend Julie. Paul yelled at her to open the door. She did and he pulled her out, hopping into the driver’s seat himself.
“Marcie, go back inside and lock the door. Another deputy will be here in a few minutes. You stay inside until they get here!” He started the car and rolled down the window. “Hey, was there more than one of them?”
“Funny you should ask,” Marcie replied. “I think there was two of them. But I’m not sure. I only, I saw…” she stopped, because she wasn’t sure what she had seen. She waved him off. “Go. Go ahead, I’ll wait for the deputy.”
Paul put on his flashers and siren and his powerful cruiser screamed out of the parking lot. Marcie went back inside the store and locked the doors. She decided to heck with texting Julie, I’m calling, I don’t care if I wake up her mom!