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Appalachian Trail Diary by knifethrower

Chapter Two

“Kagome, wake up.”  Sango was shaking my shoulder.   

“Where are we?”

“Tennessee.  Somewhere near Knoxville.  I had to pull off the road for a pit stop.  Do you have to use the bathroom?”

Rain was still beating on the roof and windows of the car, and the inside was pretty fogged up.  I could see the lit up sign for a McDonald’s through the gray blur, though.  That sounded good.  I looked over at Sango.  She was in pretty rough shape.  The inside of the car smelt like pot.  Then I noticed she was holding something pink.  “Hey!  You took my diary!”

She stuck her tongue out, but she handed the notebook back to me.   

“You never told me your name.  You could have at least gone to the trouble of making one up.  And that bogus story about visiting your granny in Atlanta was pretty lame.  You can’t assume everyone you meet is an idiot, kid.”

“Are you going to call the cops?”

Sango looked at me for a long time, not saying anything.  She looked kind of sad.  “You ever been in trouble before, kid.  I mean, in the justice system? 

“A few times.” 

“You know they could charge you as an adult and send you to the can, even though you’re a minor, right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Real prison is no fun, Kagome.  Believe you me, I’ve been there.”

“You were in prison?”

“Yep.”

Shit.  I should have held out for a ride with a truck driver.  “What were you in for?”

“Asking that is poor etiquette.  But I’ll tell you anyway, because if I were in your shoes, I’d definitely want to know.  My boyfriend got nailed for selling drugs.  To get off, he turned me in.  It was kind of funny.”  She laughed, but it wasn’t a happy laugh.  “I met him at the gym where I worked.  He seemed like such an awesome guy.  Good looking, in great shape, all that.  Within a week, he had moved in with me.  He worked as a bartender in a fancy bar.  He would have never gotten caught, either, except the money he made from selling drugs to his customers wasn’t good enough.  He was stealing their credit card information, too, and that’s what they charged him with.  One lousy count of illegal use of a financial transaction device.  He got probation.  In exchange, I got charged with running a drug house, manufacturing, and possession with intent to distribute.”

“Oh, Sango.”

“He didn’t have any prior criminal history.  I did.  That’s the breaks, kid, and that’s why I asked if you’ve ever been in trouble before.  Nobody can predict if you’ll get off with a slap on the wrist, or…”

Sango had started to cry.  I let her go for a few minutes, then asked, “so, what do we do now?”

“I really need a burger, and some fries, and a coke.  But it’s only…”  She looked at her watch.  “8 in the morning, so I guess I’m screwed.  No way I’m eating those eggs.”

“Sango, are we in trouble, like, money wise?  I really appreciate your sharing your dinner with me last night, but you really don’t have to pay my way, ya know?” 

Sango looked a lot less sad, all of a sudden.  “Why, kid, you got money?”

I suddenly felt like I should be more cautious.  “A little.  I’ve got like fifty bucks.”  Not enough to roll me for.  I actually had taken three hundred out of Mr. Bradley’s wallet, and had another two hundred of my own that I’d been hiding, in case of emergency.

“That’s good.  You can pay for some gas.  We’ll use the john, clean up a little, and get on the road.  Can you make it if we skip breakfast?”

"No problem.” 

“Okay, a Petro.”  Filling the gas tank didn’t cost as much as I expected.  It only took like eight gallons of gas.  Mr. Bradley had driven an Expedition, and that cost over a hundred dollars to fill up.  Sango looked a lot better once she washed off the eye makeup that had run all over her face when she was crying.  We got cokes and hit the road.

“So, Kagome, how old are you?”  Sango asked.

She really smoked too much dope.  She had just read my diary, where I said I was fifteen.  “Fifteen.”

“How old are you?”

“Fifteen, Sango, geeze.  What’s your problem?”

She looked over at me, squinting a little.  “Sixteen.  And a half.  We’ll get you some eyeliner.  Maybe plum or sapphire.  Blue mascara.  That’ll bring out the color of your eyes.”

Sango was really into eye makeup.  But I got the picture.  If I was sixteen, I wasn’t jailbait.  I didn’t need to be enrolled in school.  All that.  And with some makeup, she thought I’d pass.

“You’re going to need to come up with a new name.  Any ideas?”

I’d never thought about it.  “No.”

“Where’d the name Kagome come from?”

“Some social worker gave it to me.  I guess she was hooked on Japanese anime.  She decided to name me after this girl who fell down a magic well.  Because, even when I was a baby, you could tell I was oriental.”

“Fell down a well.”  Sango started to sing some old song.  I’d heard it before.  It was really old.  Psychadellic.  “Go ask Alice, when she was ten feet tall…”  She was jerking her head in time to the music, which did not really exist.  I noticed there was no radio in the dash.  Probably a good thing.

“How about Alice, like “Alice in Wonderland?”

“I don’t know, Sango.  I guess it’s okay.”

“So, Alice, do you want to be my sister?”

“What?”

“We can tell people you’re my little sister.  Alice Della’Acqua.  I love it.”  She started to hum happily.  Plotting away.

“How do you spell it?”  She told me, and I wrote it on the front cover of my diary.  I started working on a picture of Hello Kitty, right underneath. 

“There’s a mall up ahead.  We should be able to find you some make up.  What do you got for shoes?”

I went to hold my foot up above the dash, but there was no room.  “Converse All-Stars”.  They were pink, like my coat had been.  But there was no way I was giving them up.

“I never told you what we’re doing once we meet up with this guy in Atlanta.  You’re going to need some hiking boots, kid, ‘cause we’re going to be taking a really long walk in the woods.”

There was a Wal-Mart at the mall.  We got a cart, and picked out makeup, which took like forever.  Sango said I could use her shampoo and stuff.  She asked if I had a toothbrush.  Dang!  I knew I was forgetting a lot of things when I left the Bradley’s.  Yes!  They had a Hello Kitty one!  I threw it in the cart, even though there were cheaper toothbrushes there.  Sango was smiling like crazy.  I guess shopping made her happy.  Next we found a pair of halfway decent hiking boots that felt comfortable, and were on sale.  $39.99.  Not cheap enough.  I put them back.  I was staring at a pack of neon markers that was on display at the end of the aisle.  Sango grabbed the boots and threw them into the cart.  Then she threw the markers in the cart with everything else. 

“Sango, wait.  I don’t have a lot of money left.  We’re going to have to be careful not to spend too much.”

“Give me a break, Alice.  I know you’ve got more than forty-some bucks on you.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“You can trust me, Alice.  Just nobody else, all right?”

“So, Alice, ready to hit the Golden Arches Supper Club?”

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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