Peter Cavell
July 24, 2005
       And so she just stood there, staring them down coolly, hoping that they didn't notice the half-eaten blueberry muffin she was desperately trying to conceal behind her back.  Finally, she responded.
       "I don't know what you're talking about.   It was a pretty good retort.  Not incredibly clever, but what it lacked in wit it certainly made up for in confidence.  Maybe she was going to get away with this after all!
       The one on the left (Frankie?  Billy?  It definitely had two syllables, she could remember that much,) sighed.  "We don't have all day.  Look, Miss…"
       "Babkins,  whispered the one on the right.
       "…Babkins, why not just be reasonable and help us out here?  All we want is change for a dollar.  That's not too much to ask, now, is it?"
       She saw their ploy now, oh yes.  They were trying to trip her up by making a reasonable request, and then following it up immediately with an unreasonable one.  If she gave them change for that dollar - which she certainly didn't intend to do - the next question would be where she'd been on the night of June 19th, or where the microfilm was, or something like that.  There was no way she was falling for this one, not again.  So, she maintained her haughty glare, hoping to make them wilt under the power of her gaze.  It wasn't very easy to do; since there were two of them, and she could only stare at one of them at a time, she was constantly shifting her gaze from one to the other, and that took away a lot of the shock value.  She could always just pick one and stare him down, but which one?  The one on the left (Jimmy?) was doing most of the talking, but whenever he had a lapse in his memory, the one on the right supplied all the answers without hesitating.  Was he the actual brains of the operation?  Or just the spleen?  Well, there didn't seem to be much time to decide.  They were clearly getting impatient, and the one on the left was slowly reaching into his jacket-pocket.
       "Tell you what, Miss Bubket…"
       "…Babkins, I'll -"
       She made up her mind.  Now certainly wasn't the time to wait around and find out what he was about to say.  With a scream like a cornered bobcat, she withdrew her slightly sticky right hand from behind her back, and hurled the muffin as hard as she could at the face of the one on the left.  He brought his arms up to shield himself, and she was off like a shot, racing through the crowded subway station, weaving and darting between the faceless commuters, trying to find the exit.
       "Hey!   called the one on the right.  "Hey!  Come back here!"
       A few commuters turned to stare blankly after her, trying to see who he'd been shouting after, but she was already gone.  She took the stairs two at a time, burst through the door to the busy street, bought a hot dog from a vendor, and had vanished into the crowd before anyone could figure out what had happened.
       Damn, she thought, that was too close.
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