I beat it to the alley one step ahead of the high beams skimming the parking lot and throw myself flat against the concrete wall. The yellow light skips an inch or so from the frayed hem of my jean shorts and flickers on past, leaving me alone in the dark. Sticker brush pokes my bare legs and I try not to think about the fire ants sharing the same space with my sandaled feet. I’m hot and sweaty and my brain is pounding in my ears, but I’m out of sight. My eyes adjust to the dark and I notice a fence about six feet high runs behind the alley. I could climb it easy, if I have to.
It’s hard for me to see hidden in the high weeds, but I know my mother. She is in hot pursuit. She will drive by the gang of teens hanging out front of the pizza place, my brothers in the back seat, helping her track me down. Both have been promised a prize for being good lookouts. If she doesn’t spot me the first pass, she’ll wheel the station wagon back around, stop and lean out the window to describe me to people she’d otherwise never be caught dead speaking with—she’s about four-eleven, a hundred pounds, three piercings in her right ear, have you seen her? She is determined to find me, to make a scene and punish me for mingling with those people, the lesser-than us.
People beneath your station.
A blur blows past my place in the dark. Brakes slam. I hear a thud and glass splintering. A scream lets out, followed by another and I risk a look to see what’s going on. A boy infamous for popping old school wheelies on his ten-speed lies sprawled in front of my mother’s car. The front tire of the bike rolls drunk across the pavement.
People rush by my hiding spot to help. The world distracted, I slip over the fence and run the two blocks home, knowing full well she had this coming.