Sunday Storytelling #17: Sheila Goes to Portland, Part 2featured

Sunday Storytelling {the ponytail diaries}

Sunday Storytelling is where I post a piece of fiction on Sunday. It might be a complete short story, a snippet of a work in progress, a character sketch, a response to one of the thousands of creative writing prompts I’ve collected through the years. Most of them won’t be polished or “final,” so feedback and criticism is welcome, but please be constructive in your comments. Read other Sunday Storytelling pieces here.

Read part 1 of Sheila’s story here.

The anger courses back through me. Tommy could have at least given me a hundred bucks for a train ticket, if he really didn’t want to see me again. Part of me still didn’t believe him, though. There’s no way he could ever be happy with some straight-edge bitch. He’d be back, and then he’d regret telling me to fuck off.

I wonder if he’ll still call Neil for me. Probably not. I never liked Neil that much, anyway. He was always a little too leery and creepy, even for me. It’s something in his eyes. Guys like Tommy or Mark…they just like pretty girls. With Neil, you almost felt like you were prey. If you were too easy to catch, he got bored and finished with you fast. Too hard, though, and he’d get frustrated. Neil frustrated was never a pretty sight.

Well, I’m not going back to Mark’s. I’ve stayed in some godawful places over the last twelve years and that was too much, even for me. I’m pretty sure that was dried blood in the bathroom. It certainly smelled like death in there.

I make it to the park and sit on the bench, picking up my feet and curling into a ball. I rest my chin on my knees and watch people as they pass. Couples, guys walking dogs, families, little kids skipping. A couple cyclists and rollerbladers. I roll my eyes. Rollerblades? Seriously? Is it 1984?

What would I do in Montana, anyway? Live on a dude ranch? I could do that. I like horses. What else is there in Montana? Are there any cities in Montana? Maybe Oregon would be better. At least I can name a couple cities in Oregon. Probably cheaper to get there, too.

I need to get some money. I don’t have any stash left, so I can’t sell anything.

Mark could front me some stuff, if I asked. He’d make me stay with him until I pay him back, though.

I dig into my bag, feeling around for anything that could be helpful. Two dollars. Some change. A half-empty box of cigs. A pair of broken sunglasses.


I look up. A group of women, all pushing strollers, are coming towards me. I get an idea and stand up.

“Excuse me? Miss? Excuse me? Can you help me?” I’m careful to keep my distance. Women with babies are especially jumpy about trashy strangers like me getting too close. I try to shrink down into myself, make myself look smaller, nervous, a little scared. Frightened, not frightening.

One of them slows. She doesn’t say anything, just looks at me, her mouth setting in a thin line.

I take a small step forward. “I’m really sorry to bother you ladies, but this guy just stole my wallet and all my stuff.” I hold out my pathetically empty bag, showing them the contents. “I had a train ticket to Portland, I’m trying to get there to meet my sister, she just moved there and I’m moving in with her so I can go back to school, and this…this guy, he just…” I pretend to stifle another pretend sob. “We were talking, and he said he was from Portland, and I’m so stupid I believed him, and then he just grabbed my stuff and ran off and I…” I trail off, look down and wipe my hand across my face. I peek up at the women. I can’t tell if they believe me or not. “Can you help me? Please?” I ask, trying to sound as helpless and pathetic as possible.

Finally one, the tallest one with perfect ombre hair color, reaches for her purse in the little storage sack on her stroller. “How much is a train ticket?” she asks.

“About…eighty bucks.” I have no idea. I haven’t paid for a ticket in so long.

“That much?” She raises her eyebrows, but pulls out a wallet. Black. Gucci, I think. Rich little bitch. “Well, I don’t have much cash, but here.” She holds out a twenty.

I slowly reach forward and snatch it. “Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!” It’s crisp. Brand new. Not much cash, my ass. She has a stack of those in there, I just know it. My fingers tingle. I could grab it out of her hands and run off through the brush to the creek and they’d never even try to chase me. I wait, though, looking around at the rest of them.

Another one, shorter, with jet black hair that she’s way too pale to pull off, pulls out her wallet. This one’s got Coach logos all over it. Man, I picked the right group of bitches to accost. She hands me a crumpled ten. “Good luck, hon,” she says.

“Thank you.” I force a small, grateful smile. The rest are staying back, checking their phones or their babies. They’re staying strong. They’ll resist the pull from these two. I step back to the bench. “Thanks.” I shove the bills deep into my bag and secure the flimsy latch.

“I can’t believe you fell for her,” one of them stage-whispers as they walk away.

I don’t hear any response. I don’t care. Thirty-two bucks, now. I should go to the train station and find out how much a ticket actually costs.

First, though, I need a drink.

Comments, feedback, and constructive criticism welcome…