"Look. It's not that hard. All you have to do is distract and I'll grab okay?"
She nodded as she peeked around the corner at the bread truck. Her mouth watered with just the thought of fresh bread rather than stale slices in which she had to pick off spots of mold after it had sat in a dumpster for days. She was weak from hunger but fired by craving for that warmed baked goodness.
Her friend was the fastest runner she knew for Timothy had lived on the streets longer than she had. She also had a bit of a crush on the seventeen-year old boy, two years older than her, but she would never tell him or anyone else that. No, that would be a weakness and she had learned that weakness was one thing you could never show.
She nodded as he all but shoved her around the corner. She stood there on the sidewalk wearing her dirty long sweatshirt over torn jeans with duct tape wrapped sneakers on her feet in which she kept stuffed with tissue because they were two sizes too small. People scorned at her, quick to circle around her as if touching her would somehow make them homeless too.
She mumbled as she fidgeted with the hem of her shirt in her fingers. "Distract...how do I?"
The delivery man was turning to grab the last tray which meant the doors would be locked and their chance would be over. She had to think fast or Timothy would be so mad. She couldn't make Timothy mad. Being on the streets was dangerous so having a partner in crime to help as well as safety in numbers, she couldn't let that happen.
Think Elsie think...
She heard Timothy's warning behind as she ran forward and grabbed the delivery man totally winging it. "Dad!" She threw her arms around the delivery man's neck to pull him away from the truck. "I miss you. Mom said you were supposed to come home years ago. I came to find you! She'll be so happy!"
Her eyes tracked Timothy as he ran over to grab the crate of fresh bread before turning to run.
The delivery man yanked her off of him and shoved her away. "You're crazy. Get off of me. And get a damn bath." It was at that moment the man saw Timothy and yelled. "Hey! You! Stop!"
The shove sent her back against the truck as the delivery man went after Timothy. "No!" She grabbed at the delivery man but instead just hit the pavement, scraping her palms when she landed. The delivery man chased after Timothy as they ran across the traffic.
It all happened so fast that it seemed like time had slowed down. Timothy clutching that crate of bread as he almost got across the busy street...until a dark car slammed into him and sent him skyward. Elsie watched the bread fly up to send slices of bread everywhere as Timothy's body came slamming down on the pavement behind the car. "No!!"
She started to run to check on Timothy but was grabbed from behind and then thrown to the ground, her chin striking the pavement. Police had shown up and one had her pinned to put zip-ties on her wrists as another squatted down to check on Timothy. She was yanked up as the delivery man was pointing and telling the officers in a rage what had happened.
But Elsie couldn't take her eyes off of the still form of Timothy laying there on the dark pavement with white squares of fresh bread scattered around him. She frowned when she realized the ones closer to him were turning dark red...
"Get her to the car. Call the meat wagon for the other one."
And Elsie cried as her one weakness laid dead surrounded by bread she would once again not be allowed to eat.
Never show your weaknesses. Because they always hurt when they are gone.