Pop Quiz #1
A woman waited in a subway terminal. She hadn't talked to anyone that day beyond a job interview and a curt exchange between herself and a barista.
A second woman approached her. She was missing teeth and she pulled up her pant leg to show multiple layers of jeans. She showed where her waistband was cinched with a rubber band. "I must weigh one hundred pounds," she said.
She said she needed to get to a shelter downtown (the downtown towers a splotch on the horizon); she said she didn't have enough for train fare so she was going to walk.
The first gave her two dollars. The woman asked, "Oh, will it hurt your family?" (a ridiculous question). Then she asked if the woman had any food -- anything, even gum. Nothing, not gum. She said she was so hungry she would eat a person -- she said she wouldn't normally eat a person. She wheedled until the first woman produced breath mints, warning her that they were strong.
She helped her open the tin, it had a weird catch on it, and the second woman suggested they both have one. They grabbed adjacent white wafers between thumb and forefinger.
The woman wheezed, "this is terrible!" She meant it, but she was laughing. "You must give these to people you are trying to get rid of." She said they tasted like Vick's vapo rub.
Then the first woman pulled out a five. The other refused it. "You sure?" "No!" And took it. She walked down to the street saying she was going to buy a hot dog -- two hot dogs. The first woman could taste, across the roof of her mouth, the remnant of the woman's smoky acrid smell.
Q. What if the second woman is lying?