"Hey Sammy, I'm headed to the dollar store, wanna come?" Jen pushed her bangs back behind her ears, the fire engine red hair having slipped out when she bent over to lace up her boots.
"What for?" Came Sammy's reply from the sofa of the living room, where The Crow played on the widescreen television for the third time that week.
"I don't know, I just need to get out."
"Nah, I'm good, thanks."
"Suit yourself." Jen called back, picking up a pair of black leather gloves, the right one fingerless, and slipping them on, the left one covering the white surgical glove that she already wore.
Slipping out of her apartment, she crept down the hallway, but not before Ms. Liebowitz, her landlord, opened the door to her own apartment.
"Your rents late!"
"I know, I'll have it tomorrow. I've not missed a payment yet, have I?"
"No, but don't make this one your first." She slammed the door back shut.
"Bitch." Jen said under her breath.
"I heard that!" Ms. Liebowitz shouted through the closed door.
Frustrated, Jen slammed the door to her apartment building, followed by the security gate that enclosed the small patch of grass that passed for a yard in the Lower Greenville area of north Dallas. A couple of minutes later, she was on the street the area was named for, passing three bars before arriving at the Dollar General. The store had one been a Sound Warehouse, and if you looked closely at the sign, you could still see where the old letters had stood.
A bell chimed as she opened the door and clanged against the glass as the door swung shut.
"Hello," said the clerk through a thick wad of bubblegum, not looking up from the nails of her right hand, a emery board in her left.
Jen ignored her, and went back to the aisle that housed the pieces of plastic that the store passed off as toys. Passing thick, cardboard paged books with titles like See Spot Run and Dick and Jane, although they did not have Dick and Jane and Vampires, but Jen already owned a copy of that, she found the bags of play jewelry that she remembered loving when she was three and four years old. She picked through the three different style bags and finally settled on one that only contained rings, deciding it would be a lot harder to pull the plastic 'stones' out of the clip on earrings.
She went to the cashier, who scanned the jewelry with her left hand, eyes still focused on her nails. "That'll be a dollar eight..."
Jen fished a single and a dime out of her purse, grabbed the dress-up jewelry and left without getting her change. She fought the urge to open her new toys the entire walk home, and had to endure a dirty look from Ms. Liebowitz, but managed to get into her own place, well, she shared it with Sammy, without any further conversation.
"That you?" Sammy called, and by the sounds of things, the movie was now Edward Scissorhands.
"Yep." That was the good thing about Sammy, if she did not need to get up, she did not, which meant that if Jen needed to be alone, all she had to do was go to a different room. Which she did, entering her cramped bedroom and sitting down at her desk.
"Well, here goes nothing," she said aloud, opening the plastic trinkets, careful not to spill them everywhere. She looked through the various designs and finally settled on a rather plain looking ring, with a transparent piece of red plastic that Jen guessed was supposed to be a ruby. Pulling at the fake jewel, it finally came loose and Jenn tossed it into the small trash bin under the small folding table she called a desk.
Jen took a deep breath and began to peel the leather glove off her left hand, careful to leave the surgical one in place. Once the glove was off, she slipped out of the one on her right hand and threw them both on her bed. Next, Jen began to pull off the surgical glove, trying her hardest to concentrate and keep her mind clear. The glove fell to the table next to the ring.
Another deep breath and Jen was reaching out to the ring with her left hand, picturing what she wanted in her mind. As her fingers came into contact with the cheap plastic, she closed her eyes and counted to five. When she opened them again, she let out a squeal of glee, dropping the now golden ring on to the table with a thud.
"Is everything ok?" Sammy yelled from in front of the television.
"Yep, do you have your half of the rent?" Jen smiled, reaching into the bag of rings with her right hand.