Maggie had been waiting for today since last Friday. It’s been seven days since her last payday and all she can think about is green. Maggie separated her tips from her check and held a hundred dollar bill in her hands. She admired the crisp edges and green threading and smiled back at Benjamin Franklin. She felt her blood sprint through her veins, excited to be clocked out for the weekend. She walked out of Red Lobster without saying goodbye and began heading down the sidewalk, not thinking about the next time she would have to say hello.
Maggie put her tip money in her pocket and let her cheeks feel the breeze against her face as she listened to her feet graze the solid grey concrete. Her eyes led her to the tulip that waved at her every Friday as she walked by. Its pink trim and yellow center matched the color of her eye shadow today; she blinked her eyes vividly as to capture a few pictures of the tulip before she passed. She was happy to be alive. She let her fingertips brush against the bright green bushes that made up a fence along the sidewalk. She turned two corners and walked up to the brown house with white shutters, the only house on the lane without flowers in their yard.
She knocked three times on the wood door. As she waited for an answer, she took one more look at her crisp hundred-dollar bill and enjoyed her last moment with the sacred green. A light-skined boy opened the door and focused on the short curly-haired girl standing on the doorstep. He welcomed Maggie inside and introduced himself as Rainman. Rainman was older than the guys who usually answer the door. Maggie always has trouble remembering the guys’ street names, but she knew she would remember Rainman because of the black raindrop tattoo that sat below his right eye.
“How much you buyin’?” asked Rainman.
“As much as I can get for one-hundred.” Replied Maggie
Rainman led Maggie through a dirty kitchen to the dimly lit basement stairs. They entered a fluorescent room as Maggie began to capture the glances of some familiar faces. She recognized all of the men staring at her through grey smoke. A familiar scene to Maggie, yet every time her heart raced and her eyes ran around the empty-bottled, smoke-filled room. She began walking toward the familiar man in the middle of the room, noticing he’d gotten a haircut since she saw him last week. Her first time here, she was told to call him Caveman. This was another name that was easy to remember, because he never left the basement.
“Here’s yo bag girl, don’t go wastin’ it all at once” said Caveman
Maggie handed Caveman the money and held the bag to her nose before putting it in her pocket.
“Thanks, I won’t. See you next week” Maggie said, as she began heading toward the door.
“Hol’ up, ain’t you gonna stay and hit this for me?” Caveman shouted.
Maggie turned around and faced him as he held out a bong to her. She didn’t want to stay. She never enjoyed spending any more time in their than she needed to, but who was she to turn down a hit, and afterall, they were all there for the same reason. Maggie walked closer to Caveman and grabbed the blue glass bong as she used all of the strength in her lungs to clear the glass. She exhaled and coughed out smoke, struggling to keep her eyes open and focused. She was ready to leave. Without hesitation, she turned toward the door and began walking out. A hard smack against her butt made her jump, she jolted around to see Caveman and the rest of his Cavemen laughing while they undressed her with their eyes. She wanted to spit on his face, but since she was the only one in the room without a gun or a penis, she knew that was a bad idea. She picked up her speed and began walking back up the squeaky steps, feeling lighter and looser with every step.
The feeling arrived as she stepped out of the wood house and into the cold evening air. She had been craving this feeling all day at work, while serving the happy faces that paid for her habit. At that moment, she no longer cared about feeling threatened in the dirty house or the numbing of her right ass cheek, she didn’t even care that she had just spent all of her tip money on weed. She only cared about how long it would last her. Maggie walked out of the house toward the sidewalk.
She began to notice all of the dead grass in the yard, and the rusted fence highlighted by the setting sun that reminded her how much time had passed. She began walking home with her head down, noticing the cracks in the sidewalk and how unrepairable they looked; how walking on the cracks was only going to create more cracks. She wondered if the sidewalk would ever be solid concrete again. Maggie turned the corner as the colored tulip caught her attention; the dull pink tulip stood out only because it sat against dead grass. The dead grass around the flower is what gave it life; she wanted to embrace the bright pink and yellow, but could only focus on the dead grass behind it now. She didn’t want to look at it anymore so she focused on the pavement straight ahead being eaten by the rising shadow. The day was almost over, and the green bushes would turn black with the night; but this didn’t matter anymore. The only thing on her mind now was the green inside her $100 bag.