Walking through strip malls, checking out the wares of stores they wouldn’t be caught dead in if they had enough money for it to matter. They don’t, of course, and probably never will, but they all hold it in their heads, that if possible this will be the last ever visit to a store that sells anything for less than three digits. And the thing is, digits don’t always refer to money. Sometimes they refer to fingers which is a little confusing and sounds remarkably similar to finger, as in five finger discount, which most stores overtly discourage by both threatening prosecution and also putting those little plastic anti-theft device. Wearing a shirt with one of those things stuck to it might actually be more embarrassing than being caught stealing in the first place.
And Cody is walking with me, of course, because we’re tight like that, and Lorelai is waltzing along on her own, sneering at passerbys. Henri comes along because we don’t know why and there are a couple other kids I don’t know too well, just mall rats, I guess, like us. We’re a dying breed, and we walk and stuff.
So anyway, we’re all moving, right, and this guy comes over to us, and he’s kind of leering. It’s kind of freaking everyone else out but I’m personally kind of ignoring him, and then he slides over in beside Cody, and he’s whispering something. And we’re passing Lane Bryant and we go inside and this guy, he’s still there, still whispering something to Cody. She seems kind of nervous and not too excited about the conversation, but there’s some kind of sale going on and I don’t really have time to screw with it, and we all go in, I think.
So we’re in LB, checking it, and I notice that Cody isn’t with us. Through the window in the front of the store I can see her standing out front, talking to that guy, looking less uncomfortable, but he, still looking pretty crazy, wearing cast offs that no one I know well would ever wear, and he was gesturing crazily and Cody laughed, so I just went back to browsing the sale rack. And I’m thinking all good for Cody and she needs something or the other and I guess it might as well be homeless guy as anyone.
And when I’m finished, I go back outside, and everyone else is still looking around LB, and I don’t see Cody. I look down the corridor, past Panda Box, past Sears, past Gap, and she’s just gone. A few minutes later, we leave, all of us, everyone else bogged down with bags of whatever, and I wonder where Cody is.
The next day, I see her and she looks pretty good, maybe happy, maybe sadder than usual, who knows, but her eyes are all red like, and she seems kind of high. I say something to her, and she just passes, and I think I hear plastic or something but what do I know?