Alex, Old Ron, and Trouble

Alex is about as fresh faced as they come. She’s a college student in West Virginia, working at the coffee shop during the summer. She’s quiet and deliberate behind the counter as she fills cups with coffee or tea and dispenses tickets for the train and bus.

Old Ron likes the young ladies. He isn’t supposed to start work until nine but he’s up there at seven every day Alex is  behind the counter. His eyes track her as she grinds beans, changes filters, or steams milk for a latte. Extra sensory perception isn’t needed to get inside his head.

She knows his type. She may still be young but she knows about the old men and their barely veiled lust. She tolerates his stares and comments by butchering him in her imagination, over and over, a constant bloody dream of unrelenting carnage.

“I’m sorry what did you say?” she has to ask because while his lips moved she had flayed him to the bone.

“You look nice today,” he repeated.

The door opens and in walks Trouble. His name is Mr. Jack, bus driver for the crosstown to Tyson’s Corner but everyone calls him Trouble. The first time he saw Alex he almost couldn’t contain himself. He’d walked outside and said to Dave Broom, already seated on the bus, “Now that is one fine looking young woman there. Whoo whee. Mmph! What I wouldn’t be doing to her!”

Dave had sighed. “She could be my daughter,” he’d said. “It freaks me out too much to think about anything else.”

Trouble walked up to the counter. “Hey little darling how about you fill my cup while I fill my eyes?”

Old Ron sucked in a bunch of air and bristled. He didn’t like Trouble. Didn’t he have a whole bus load of women to hassle? Why’d he have to come in here with his sly eyes and smooth skin? Old Ron almost felt compelled to say something. He wasn’t sure how he’d defend her honor but it was darn clear he should. She’d like that, he reasoned, she’d be all happy and finally start to really listen to him, go home with him, climb on top of his bow legs and ride his ass. He blinked.

Alex stared out the window. Her boyfriend thought she was seeing someone else. They hadn’t spoken in days. Old men scratched and howled around her door like dogs outside a house full of fatty chipmunk. She was well aware of what they wanted. It was as sad as it was exciting, a feeling she could barely grasp, Christmas morning with sacks of crap for presents. She deserved better than this, that was how it felt,  the little old men in clown suits would steal her youth and leave  nothing but a husk for others to pick over. She wanted more and she would have it.

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