Monday, June 2, 2008

Predator:: Part I

[This is another chapter of my yet-unfinished novel that also contains The Perfect Shot. The male narrator is the same from TPS. I wrote this last year but had yet to type it out.]

The first time I heard Kelsey's voice, it was over the loudspeaker at the supermarket. I was drawn to her immediately, simply by her quick, mumbled, "Produce, you have a call on line two". I recognized the despair in her voice, the bored desperation that only fellow retail slaves can pick up on. A bystander would have thought her lazy, unmotivated, perhaps even socially awkward. I saw her for what she really was-- and what I had been-- a bundle of exuberance, energy, ideas, passions and goals that were being crushed unmercifully by the everyday grind of corporate America.
I knew that every time someone argued with her over dollar off coupons, or declared, "I wanted PLASTIC, not paper!", a little bit of her internal spark died.

I had to save her.

I finished my shopping while formulating my plan. If she was anywhere near as desperate as I had imagined, she wouldn't mind me scooping her up into my Jeep and taking her somewhere exciting. She might be scared at first, but she'd get used to it. She might try to act tough, but I'm fairly intelligent and can likely talk her out of it. I'd pay with cash so my credit card wouldn't be traced. I was already wearing a baseball cap, thus blocking my face from the view of most downward-pointing security cameras. I'd tell anyone who asked that she was my sister. Cousin. Sister's cousin. I was confident that it would work.

I approached her checkout line. As I suspected, she seemed professional, but unique. Her work uniform was clean and pressed, but I could see a long striped tank ton underneath, and a button that read "Do I look like a fucking people person?" just barely being concealed by the collar of her work-issued top. I was certain she took great pleasure in wearing it without her supervisors taking notice. She wore black eyeliner, applied with a heavy hand, very likely hours ago, I guessed by the fact that it was smudging around the edges. She bagged my groceries quickly, expertly separating the eggs and bread. She handed it to me and said robotically, "Have a nice day."

She was on auto pilot.
This was going to be easy.

I grabbed my groceries with one hand and grabbed her upper arm as tightly as I could with the other. She let out a surprised gasp, but didn't scream. I liked her already. "Come with me," I said sternly, guiding her towards the door. "and don't you dare scream."
She glanced around, helpless, looking for her supervisors, but no one was paying attention. They were busy getting change for register seven and voiding items mis-scanned by the new girl at register three.
She left her register almost willingly, and although there was fear in her eyes, there was nowhere near as much as I had expected. She's EXCITED, I thought. She's LOVING this. This is an adventure for her.
I unlocked my Jeep from across the parking lot and pushed her into the passenger side. I was fairly confident by now that she had no intention of running. I got in beside her and locked the doors.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked, more curious then fearful.
"I hadn't really decided yet." I informed her as I turned on the ignition. "Maybe somewhere that you can get a new job."
A NEW JOB? She looked obviously baffled, so I continued. "You looked like you needed saving. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you find your job unfulfilling. Unexciting. It has no relation to your own personal talents. It isn't helping you to grow as a person. Quite frankly, it's stifling you."
She blinked, obviously shocked. Not expecting such a speech from the man who was her abductor. She was silent for a long while. Sizing me up. Accessing the situation. When she finally spoke, her voice was cold and accusing. "So, is this what you do? Go around kidnapping girls who are unsatisfied in their work environments? You must have your work cut out for you. Why don't you try being a social worker or something? I'm sure the pay is better."
I laughed at her standoffishness. "Correct me if I'm wrong," I began, "but, did you not WANT to get out of there? You can hardly kidnap someone who is crying out for help. Not to mention, you came willingly. I'm only doing you a favor."
"Keep your fucking favors." she snapped at me, and then was silent for the remainder of the ride.

To Be Continued...

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