“Imagine you’ve got this epic space battle,” she said. “But, instead of galactic military forces with missiles, phasers and bombs, there’s this guy, Muscles, and he’s got the biggest set of fists you’ve ever seen. I mean, even for a guy called Muscles, he’s huge.
“Then, on the other side, you’ve got, well, me. And he’s got me. Pinned down. Right? Then I’m all – BAM – I kick him where it hurts and slide through his legs. He’d say I ran away like a little girl, but I am all woman, Mister. How else did I get this?”
She held up Muscle’s wallet as proof. “As requested.”
He took the wallet and inspected the contents. “You were supposed to be inconspicuous. I believe my exact request was ‘invisible’.”
She crossed her arms. “Look. You wanted a wallet. I got you a wallet. I mean, I could have swiped it from one of the bridesmaids over there, or – hey – maybe from that guy in the corner. He tried to hit on me twice when I got here. But no. I figured you wanted me to take a challenge. A real challenge, you know?”
“I thought you said his name was Muscles,” he said. “The license here says ‘Sherman Marlett.’”
“I guess I misheard.”
“Hooper,” he said, exasperated, “his driver’s license said he was 5 foot 6 and less than a buck fifty. He’s shorter than you are.”
“I guess it was the lighting. Or maybe he’s been working out. I don’t know.” She leaned against the building, crossing one ankle over the other. “Are you gonna give me the job or what?”
“You’re lucky I owe your mother a favor,” he said, smiling. He shook his head, tucking the wallet into his back pocket. “I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “Probably. I mean, if Moms hates working with me, I can’t see how you’d like it any better. But who knows? Maybe I’m just the sassy sidekick you need.”
“I don’t need a sassy sidekick. I need a lookout, and maybe someone to pickpocket a few keys.”
“I can do that, too,” she said. She made an exaggerated show of looking around the almost-empty parking lot. “See? I’m looking out. I’m looking out all over the place.”
“Just shut up,” he said, heading towards his car. She followed close behind him, silent.
When they got to his car, he opened the door, and she slid into the back seat. Before he shut the door behind her, she looked up at him and smiled, conspiratorially. “He really was huge, though. I mean, seriously. For reals.”
“Oh yeah,” he said, slamming the door. “This is gonna be great.”
# # #
Casey Cooke been published in the Little Patuxent Review, 365tomorrows, and 20Something Magazine. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore, and currently teaches at various colleges in Maryland.