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New Blood

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Light fanned out from the street beyond like the fingers of some huge hand, grasping at everything, reaching almost nothing, bathing the grungy, glossy, oily, graffiti splotched alley in dirty, tawny hues. But that might make it sound kind of cool, like a scene from some modish film with noirish pretenses. This place really, really wasn’t that. The overflowing dumpsters pretty much killed any chances the location had at gritty chic. The goopy looking yellow crap crusted on the wall behind me didn’t help much either. No clue what it was, besides gross, and no desire to find out.

The worst part was I kind of fit in. There were bag ladies with more style than me, less grungy, less frayed, or at least less broasted. Being blown up really sucked. Surviving it sucked even more.

I kept telling myself that I’d fix it. I’d survived. I’d do what it took to survive. I just needed to be patient. And get over the stench. This was great spot, out of the way and there was a constant stream of foot traffic right at the alley’s mouth. All I had to do was hang until something choice walked by.

That was the trouble. I swear every body type from Amazonian to Rubenesque strolled past my hidey hole that night. It was truly scary. Like I’d died and gone to Iowa, or maybe the Renaissance. Da Vinci could’ve been holding auditions for the next Mona Lisa at the Bronze. There were more plain-faced, chubby women that night than I’d even seen in my life. No clue. Maybe Weight Watchers was having a convention. All I really knew was that I was sick of waiting.

After most of forever and half of next week, something finally broke, besides my patience. There was this little redhead. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch, a little taller than me and a whole lot geekier. But overalls were overalls. Even if they were violet corduroy, they sure would beat what I had on. Her blood would be just as warm as the next person’s. It’d all work out.

I followed her…and boy was she clueless. She was all too into projecting how much the world sucked to notice my holocaust survivor ensemble—hunched over, miserable, with her arms folded. Like she knew squat about being miserable. We could talk—maybe compare notes—after a couple tons of rubble fell on her.

But whatever, she was the only one in her world who really mattered and I could kind of respect that. I gave her the lead, and kept giving, just watching. There was something about her that didn’t feel right. She was too—

I wasn’t sure what she was. Not then. I know now.

Anyway, she lost me at the door to the Bronze. No clue what she was doing going clubbing looking like someone had flattened her puppy. I never found out. I should’ve asked right then, but I’d blown my chance. I couldn’t exactly follow her inside, so…

Some other night.