Hallojeans: a short story

When I finally came to, the beating had stopped, but I could sense that the torturing had yet to begin. "Where are we?" I asked. "Shut up," said my girlfriend, smacking me across the mouth. I spit up some blood, shocked that I still had any left inside me. "We're here." I looked up, read the sign, and mouthed the words silently: Thrift Shop. I knew I was in trouble. We entered the store, me, scared and confused, and her, grinning like a school child, but one that tortured animals in the backyard to pass the time.

"You can't bring that in here," a guard proclaimed, pointing at my backpack. "But, this all of my things," I cried. "Give it to the man," she said, waiting for me to do it before she did it for me. "Help me," I mouthed at guard. His million mile stare cut my soul in half as he turned and placed by bag on the floor. "I know why we're here," I said, turning back to her, trying to muster as much calm as I could manage. "I figured you needed a little persuading," she chimed. "And if I run right now?" I asked. "I'd catch you, cut your legs off, and do this the easy way." Right then, I knew the only way out was through.

I walked Death's Row of old clothes, contemplating my options. "I don't wear jeans," I pleaded, thinking maybe this was all a big misunderstanding. "You will," she told me. The coldness with which she operated was that of an ice sculptor, skilled in manipulation and coldness. "This will be good for you," she comforted. It was about as comforting as a used tissue. See, I don't wear jeans, especially ones that other people have worn. Jeans are like the Yoko Ono of clothes; they break up any good ensemble, and they're terrible at singing.

We arrived at our destination quickly, swiftly, like she'd been here before, dumping the bodies of all the men she's forced to wear jeans. Peering through the clothes rack, I swear I saw two dead eyes looking back at me. I was racked with fear. I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Ahh!!” I screamed. “Don’t wuss out on me now, try these on. They’re acid washed,” she said, shoving jeans into my face. “Please don’t wash me with acid. That never ends well in the movies,” I begged. “Not you, the jeans, it’s a style.” “There’s nothing stylish about jeans, you monster. It’s like the fabric died and is constantly experiencing rigor mortis.” Slap. This one hit me hard across the right temple. I backed up, tripped, and landed in the changing room. She quickly blocked the door and barked “Change!”

Trapped inside, I felt around for a light but didn’t see one. Why is there no light in here? I thought. I slowly undressed, and as I sat down, I could feel the cold, haunted bench raise each hair on my body one by one. The jeans slid on a little to easily, like deviled eggs into the mouth of someone who enjoys eating deviled eggs. A rush of air blew by me, and I swear I heard it say “You’ll die in these jeans, hahaha...” “What’d you say?” I asked loudly. “Nothing, idiot, just finish up. There’s a line,” she said with no emotion. I knocked, the unspoken cue for someone to do something on the other side of a wall. I walked out, wiping blood from head and standing there for her to ogle. “They fit,” she remarked. “I know,” I said. “We’ll take them.” I felt light headed, not knowing whether it was due to the loss of blood or the fact that I was forcibly being made to buy jeans. “Change back and let’s go.”

She escorted me to the front of the shop, pressing what I suspected was the gun she’d flashed me at breakfast into my side. “Act natural, dummy.” I stopped wobbling back and forth and walked straight, knowing my fate had been sealed the moment I asked “Whats that gun for?” at breakfast. “I bought it at a gas station. I asked for 12 gallons of unleaded and 12 gallons of lead,” she said as she slammed it onto the back of my hand. That’s the last I remember until 15 minutes ago. She drugged my orange juice.

At the counter, I made the purchase, under duress and cringing the entire time. I felt the gun dig in even further as the card was swiped. I said “Thanks, can I have bag back now?” Out of nowhere, the security guard from before appeared, handed me my bag, and stood there again, staring daggers through my palpitating heart. “Help me,” I mouthed again, but before he could answer, his brains hit the cashier as the loudest noise I’ve ever heard deafened me. He slinked to the ground and started pooling blood at my feet. “You didn’t see that,” she said. I nodded along with the cashier, you was already taking the next customer. Retail, am I right?

We walked outside. The bright sunlight hit me square in the face, and I tripped over my own two feet, spilling $9.00 acid washed jeans on the side walk. While on the ground, I got the idea that saved my life. Quickly, and without hesitation, I grabbed the jeans and whipped them up and into her face. They wrapped around her head, both legs going in different directions. Using all the energy I had left, I ran. I felt a few bullets whizz by me, but luckily I turned a corner and out sight. I kept running, getting lost in an out of crowds. But I didn’t stop. I kept running. And running. And running.

Happy Halloween!