I met a character today. She will be appearing in a forth coming book. Not sure which one, but I know she was a gift to to me yesterday in line at Half Price Books. She carried one of those little baskets filled to the brim with used VHS tapes. They were on the clearance table marked at a buck apiece. I did glance. Her red plastic basket had at least a dozen of the things. And she complained to the cashier that some of them were marked for a dollar and some were two or three dollars, which in her eyes, wasn\’t very fair.
\”The one\’s marked a dollar have been in the store a long time,\” the cashier patiently explained.
VHS woman looked around, to see if she had any backup if she wanted to cause trouble. We all looked at the stacks of books in our respective arms. Don\’t want to get involved, we Texans turned into New Yorkers under her searching eyes.
She yanked down the back of her hot pink, \’70\’s style running shorts, the ones with the bright white piping outlining the shape of the shorts. Her baby tee-shirt was the exact same hue, a vivid, loud pink. On her right calf was a poorly done tattoo of a heart with something inside.Her dark hair bobbed on her shoulders, not a gray anywhere. I couldn\’t really see her face, I wondered how old she was.
Then she asked for the manager\’s name and number, so she could talk to him about the pricing of VHS tapes. The cashier, gracious college student that she was, handed over a business card with the receipt. The woman then said the words that seared her into my brain as a character forever. \”I collect tapes, you know. I have over seven hundred and one.\”
Cashier stares at her with her mouth gaping. Remembers that the customer is always right. \”Wow, that sure is a lot. I couldn\’t keep up with that many.\”
\”Well, I have that many. I write them all down in a book. I\’ve watched every one of them too.\” She smiles smugly at another woman in line. \”We collectors have to keep places like this honest, or they\’ll gouge us every time.\”
It was all I could do to keep from grabbing a notebook right then and there. But it got better. A man came up and asked if she was ready to go. His gray and white hair was in a pony tail hanging down his back, a dirty blue bandana wrapped around his forehead. He had on a black t-shirt (could it be? AC/DC?) and beat up old Levis. I think those were black Converse Chuck Taylor\’s on his feet, although I really expected black biker boots. I couldn\’t figure out if he was her father or her lover until they got outside. Then I hoped it was the latter.
The story formed in my mind. A motorcycle accident. It was the only explanation for her.
Out the window, I watched as he helped her into an old pick up. Yep, an accident.