Daughter Much Afraid

About a year ago, I made friends with my next door neighbor. She was a lovely girl. Deep blue eyes, beautiful skin, really dark hair. She had this air of quietness and meekness, but she was far from a pushover. She works three jobs and goes to school. She commutes from her father’s house, where she does most of the housework, and has recently repainted the whole interior…by herself…while babysitting her sister’s child. I’d never met a demure go-getter before, and we had a lovely evening swapping funny stories.

She worked for a bakery in a sketchy Midwestern downtown. It was safe enough and cute enough from the road, but the sidewalks weren’t really the best place for a beautiful young student to wander. One morning, the baker handed her the delivery for the day. He packed up the cookie cakes in blank pizza boxes and the cake in a nice cake box and gave her directions to the cafe about a block down the main road.
Now this block of Main Street passes the Public Library and several alleys; local hang outs of the homeless and the drug addicts.
She took the directions and the boxes and set forth in the 7:30 am twilight of October. Steeling herself and turning her mind away from all the horror movies and murder mysteries she’d ever seen, she walked resolutely out the door.
Breathing deeply, she walked as quickly as she could, balancing her three boxes. She walked with purpose and kept a weather eye open to monitor the situation.
With a clutch of fear, she looked to her right and saw an enormous vagrant on a collision course with her. She could speed up, she couldn’t run. She had those stupid confections. At this rate of speed, they’d get to the corner at the very same time. Must get out, must go, must turn! Nowhere to go! Oh god, she’s going to diiie!
The enormous man leered at her dangerously as he came alongside of her.
He looked her in the face and while she fumbled for her cell phone to dial 911, he leaned in and yelled
“Pizza and Cake!”

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