“There’s less of them over here, I only saw two yesterday. Then you started World War Three down the road so I knew I’d have to get out. You shouldn’t make a lot of noise like that you know? It draws them.”
The sarcasm is lost on her.
“Where are you living? I’m pretty good at picking places to stay if you need to find somewhere.”
I flip up the visor.
“Sho where were woo hidin’?” I ask, dubious of her skills.
It takes her a second to decipher what I’d said.
“That Crawly thing really did a number on your lips, huh? Clawed your face up too.”
I roll my eyes at the understatement and whack the visor down. The bright sun is agonising to my unprotected eyes. Kristine isn’t fazed.
“I was in the bread shop. When you tried to break in I jammed the door with the dough mixer. You scared me. You looked like a psycho. Mighta got my head blown off if I’d stuck it out. You’re not a psycho are you? You don't talk much.”
I flip the visor up and emphatically stab a finger at my chewed, puffy lips several times, then slam it back down again.
“Oh yeah. Sorry. Maybe it was Fate? Fate wanted us to meet up, help each other.”
Oh God, a new age weirdo. What did I ever do to deserve this? Thanks Fate.
Realistically speaking, she was right not to show herself. I would have shot anything moving at that stage.
“Did you have some sort of seizure back there? You sort of zone out sometimes.”
I grunt. Explaining my lapses and the causes thereof would take too long so I didn't bother.
“Anyway, I thought it was pretty dumb when you started messing with that old lady’s body.”
Gee, you think? She was starting to piss me off.
“S’why’dya hewp me, woo got no weapons, no armour, no nuffin.”
“When the Crawly got on your face, I didn't think, I just couldn’t let it get in you,” she muttered.
My shrivelled, black heart cringes, knowing I’d have quietly run the other way. Self-preservation is the mainstay of my religion. Even before the parasites I’d been told I am the very definition of ‘selfish’.
A sudden wave of nausea roars up my throat. I double up, remembering to flip the visor at the last moment before spraying chunks. How embarrassing.
Oh yeah. I always vomit uncontrollably.
Semi-dissolved Dexadrine tablets float in the watery vomit. I resist the urge to fish them out. Damn this woman. She’s already making me change my habits.
Four Ritalin capsules make up for the loss. Chewing them gets the drug into my system fast in case I throw up again. The revolting paste is washed down with a slug of Vodka from the squeeze bottle.
I give it to Kristine, forgetting to tell her it isn’t water. She takes two gulps before it hits her. Most of it explodes back out in a coughing fit. I take the bottle before she can throw it, avoiding her angry eyes.
“You drink Vodka instead of water. You take pills like you’re eating Tic Tacs and you’re so unfit you can’t even run. How have you survived this long?”
Her ability to sum me up after one hour is stunning. Judging me in this condition wasn't even fair. How can I articulate the thousand defensive reasons for the way I am? I sense her trying to figure me out.
I return to my grossly uncomfortable silence.