“Aw, cheese and crackers. I'm in a stranger's bathroom and I just washed mystery poop off my foot in her sink."
-Terra Anderson, newest member of:
THE SECRET AGENCY
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE SECRET AGENCY.
All content (c) 2018 MacKeNZie Davis
CHAPTER 1 San Francisco (The not-so-elegant part)
The heat of his stare felt like a bad rash on the side of my face. He’d been watching for three blocks now, eyes pinned without blinking. I used the jounce of the bus to shift over and add another inch of space between me and the leering corn chip breath guy. He retaliated by scooting closer. The smell of nacho cheese powder almost— but not quite— overcame the heady scent of acrid armpit and dried barf emanating from him.
I opened the lumpy purse on my lap and extracted a small mirror, keeping my body turned to avoid revealing the presence of all seventeen crumpled dollars of my life savings. A quick check confirmed my teeth were clean and my uncooperative hair as tidy as possible.
He nudged an elbow against me. “Wanna corn chip, sweetie?” I pulled out my phone and pretended to be on it. Not my first corn chip guy.
I was not looking forward to the next stop. Most days, I look upon exiting the bus as a reward at the end of a tedious, annoying, sometimes gross and occasionally risky journey. Today, I just wanted to stay put. Looming ahead lay job interview number nine, latest in an ongoing series of dismal and unsuccessful encounters wherein I’d been not-too-gently informed I was either underage or under-qualified for everything from cat sitting to burrito rolling.
Did I have some kind of sign over my head blinking: “I’m just kidding about needing a job?” I reached up and felt around for it. Yep, I looked weird, but have you ever ridden the bus? I fit right in, trust me.
Corn chip guy cast a suspicious glance my way, clutched his bag a little tighter and increased the number of inches between us. I kept the phone pushed against my ear and stared vacant-eyed through the windows across the aisle as buildings blurred by, worry jab-jab-jabbing at my empty stomach. Maybe I should have taken him up on his offer.