ernestine hated the police, and had vowed long ago never to help them in any way shape or form under any circumstances whatever. so when she saw, from the vantage point of her alley, the good looking young dark haired woman being grabbed by two men and shoved into a van, she felt sorry for her, but continued sitting in her alley. if the police ever questioned her - an unlikely prospect - she would deny seeing anything.
ernestine's motives in avoiding the police were not completely based on principle. on being released from prison in a western state five years earlier she had reported immediately to her parole officer and then used the scrap of money she had earned in prison to buy a bus ticket to take her as far away as she could go, and had been a bag lady ever since. so, she was a parole violator, but refused to believe anyone could actually be looking for her. she had no i d. she had never held a job outside prison for even one day.
"ernestine" was a name she remembered from a book a babysitter had read to her as a child. it was not the name given to her at birth, and had gone to school, been married, and been sentenced to prison with.
ernestine had looked forward all day to spending the night in the homeless shelter run by the albigensian church, the only one she knew of that didn't require i d. but wouldn't you know it, her enemy loudmouth inez had been there, so ernestine had turned right around and gone back to "her" alley.
so there she was, sitting on her box - which she had for eight days now, a record - when the young woman went by the alley the first time, with her nose in the air and her check me out i'm god's gift to his own self look about her. the van had pulled up on the side of the street on the other side of the young woman from ernestine. the driver must have said something to her - ernestine couldn't actually hear him - because the young woman, with a loud piercing voice, let loose with a rush of words too fast to make out clearly - a lot of fuck yous , assholes and morons. nothing very exciting so far. but then the fat slob of a driver got out and starting chasing her, away from the direction the van was pointing.
ernestine got off her box and went up to the mouth of the alley to watch. just as she expected, the young woman, who was not wearing heels, easily outdistanced the fat driver. she stood on the corner of the next block and shouted back at him.
"hey, go home and fuck your goldfish - and be gentle with her, fat boy!"
the driver got back in the van, backed up a little, and then turned left and accelerated down the alley! ernestine was able to jump aside but if she hadn't been at the mouth of the alley she would have been smushed! the van hit her box and knocked it all the way down the other end of the alley. then it hit it again and knocked it who knows where. the van turned left at the end of the alley, back in the general direction of the young woman. ernestine followed, to look for her box.
she found it on the other side of the street, a little splintered but still ok to sit on.
she knew how to pick a box! she was carrying it back into the alley when she heard shouting and
screeching tires. she looked up and saw the young woman running back towards her with arms pumping, and the van, which had completed its reversal, racing after her. she wasn't screaming, concentrating her energy on running.
the van just stopped just past the alley. the back doors opened and another, even bigger fat guy jumped out. the young woman stopped but tripped and fell when she tried to reverse direction. she started to scream but the two of them were all over her now and, as ernestine retreated quietly back down the alley, they got her into the van and drove off.
well, that was halfway exciting. not exactly the worst thing ernestine had ever seen, but it would have made a good story if she had anyone to tell it to. maybe she'd tell it to hank, if he was around and he behaved himself.