It’s my one indulgence, Abby thought to herself, peering at the frosty, oversized container in her hand with a triple claw logo blazed down the front. Absent were the words “lo-calorie” or “lo-carb”; if she was going to drink the stuff, she wasn’t messing around. She was supposed to have quit the caffeine-laden sugar bombs; her husband certainly thought she had – complained they weren’t healthy, but his real concern, she knew, was how all the calories went to her butt. Abby found a way to carry on her addiction in secret by combining the purchases with fuel stops at the Sip n’ Zip. Sometimes she would buy two, saving one for a day or two later, but they were expensive little monsters, and she didn’t like getting too risky. The hubby tracked her debit transactions like they were fantasy football stats and she was the opposing team. Still, she could not give the sweet elixir up, not completely. Her lifestyle demanded the occasional guarana boost, or she’d risk dropping everything she juggled – kids, house, work, more kids.
Satisfied she and her car had the fuel they needed to make it through the day, she darted toward the gas pumps, nearly stumbling on loud, clunky heels, running late as usual. Her Passat waited there, prepared to cart her to work. She dumped herself into the driver’s seat, tossing her purse on the passenger seat, and before putting key to ignition, she lifted the can she carried, drippy with condensation – more pronounced than usual from the sticky summer heat – and she popped the top to her heaven dressed in aluminum.
She wasn’t sure if it was before or after or during her first sip that it happened; what she did know was only a small amount of the liquid made it into her mouth – just the faintest hint of carbonation tickled her tongue before several ounces spilled down her chin, landing on her cream-colored blouse. The cause was a wholly unexpected interruption, coming from behind her, in the back seat – a person, a dark person crouched back there, half on the seat, half on the floor behind her, and the thing that startled her into spilling was cold and rigid, pressed hard against the back of her neck – exposed because she had her hair up, and it’s odd; you never know where your mind will go during those unthinkable moments.
“Oh, my blouse!” she shouted involuntarily.
-to be continued-