Strays


Once upon a time, lived a girl in the bushes by the highway. She was born by the exit sign to a city with three million people. Her mother was a mentally ill heroin dealer that collected bottles and cans for her next fix. Her father could have been six other guys. She grew up hiding from the cops and twenty somethin good souled volunteers who on the weekends came to the bushes to pass out sack lunches. She had never watched tv, listened to the radio, went to a highschool dance or kissed a boy. Her mother was taken away in a white van when she was three. Her mother told her to hide to never leave the safety of the bushes until she came back to fetch her. So the girl stayed, she stayed listening to the cars pass by driving somewhere to a place she didn’t know existed. She found food leftover thrown by passerbys on their way home from work. She dressed herself in men’s clothes left by some guy who just got out of jail. Her hair was long thick and black. Her eyes were deep dark and purple. Her skin was brown tough and hard. She knew her name was Vera. She knew because she named herself. She educated herself with books thrown from cars, she slept on blankets left behind by people her mother knew. Her only friend was Dolly Bear, her dog that someone left in a box. She was eleven years old when she decided to leave the safety of the bushes to go find her father, maybe he knew where her mother was..

Vera didn’t gather up her courage to leave, courage came natural to a girl like Vera. She packed her few belongings into a duffle bag she found and put a straw hat on Dolly Bear and ventured out onto second avenue. The first people she came into contact with were a boy about sixteen and a girl about seventeen, they wore fancy clothes, had an agenda. Vera just stared as the two stared back at Vera in her extra large men’s t-shirt and pants held up by string and stick. Dolly Bear just there with her tongue hanging out.

Excuse me, my Dolly Bear and I was just wondering if you knew where the white van went and if you knew where my Daddy was?
Cars drove by fast, screaming rapping sometimes a violent classical, The two well dressed adult children lit a camel on fire and giggled.
Maybe she was talking about the magic white van, the one that rescued rabbits. They asked Vera if she liked rabbits, rabbits? What on earth is a rabbit. The seventeen year old girl stomped out the camel took Vera’s hand as the sixteen year old boy grabbed Dolly Bears leash and said.. come.. we might know where that van of yours is. Matter of fact we know the driver.

Vera had never worn shoes before, she never had too. Vera had sturdy feet, she had climbed every tree, every bush in the forest by the highway. Seriously, she learned to crawl on a pile of rocks, dirty needles and used condoms. Vera didn’t need shoes. They walked for a bit until they stopped, in front of a glorious pink house. In front of that house was a white van with a giant picture of a rabbit on the side. Look, it is a white van, maybe they know where my mommy is. Maybe the boy said, the rabbit mobile has found a ton of people in it’s life. Yeah, the girl said. It found us.

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