Run by Kody Keplinger

Book: Run by Kody Keplinger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kody Keplinger
see them?”
    “No one’s watching, Mama. Let’s go inside.”
    Mrs. Dickinson let out a yell and flailed her arms. I only knew she’d thrown one of the tools when I heard it clatter onto the sidewalk a few feet away from me.
    “Damn it, Mama!” Bo shouted. “Stop it! You could’ve fucking hit somebody!”
    “I was aiming for the people in the tree,” Mrs. Dickinson said. “Who’s that on the sidewalk? Who’s that girl? Is she watching us, too? Is she with them?”
    I stood there, confused and wondering if I should go. But now Mrs. Dickinson was coming toward me and I didn’t know whether to run or introduce myself. I opted for the polite thing.
    “Hi,” I said. “I’m Agnes. I go to school with—”
    Bo stepped in front of me, blocking her mama’s path. “She ain’t with nobody. There’s nobody in the trees. You’re acting like an idiot.”
    “Shut your mouth!” Mrs. Dickinson yelled. “Don’t you dare talk to me that way. You’re my daughter. I’m the adult. Stop acting like a little bitch, you hear me?”
    I flinched. How could a mother call her own daughter a bitch? Then again, Mrs. Dickinson didn’t seem like your average mother, and Bo didn’t even seem fazed. When she spoke next, her voice was calm. Calmer than I’d ever heard it.
    “Come on, Mama,” Bo said. “Let’s go inside. If they’re watching, we can close the windows. They can’t see inside.”
    “But I wanna fix the lawn mower.”
    “We’ll do it later,” Bo said. “Come on. Before the neighbors call the cops.”
    I stood there, frozen, as Bo ushered her mother to the trailer. I knew I was watching something that ought to be private. Something I ought not be a part of. But I was rooted to the spot. Maybe it was concern for Bo. Maybe it was just my own nosiness. Either way, I didn’t have a clue what to make of everything I’d just seen and heard.
    Bo didn’t look back or say anything to me as she urged Mrs. Dickinson, who was still twitching, onto the rickety wooden porch. I waited, hoping she’d turn around and say something before they went inside. Tell me that it was gonna be okay or just say good-bye or … anything, really.
    But all I got was the slamming of the screen door behind them.

“I know I’m white trash and all, but this is extreme, even for me.”
    I pick up the rusty scissors we found in the Reliant K’s glove compartment and laugh, but Agnes just gives this half smile. She ain’t said much since we bought the shitty car a little over an hour ago, and it’s making me nervous. What if she’s changed her mind? What if she wants to go back home? Can’t say I’d blame her. Especially considering where we’re at right now.
    The truck stop bathroom smells like sweat and piss. Soggy paper towels litter the sticky floor, and the walls are smeared with graffiti. Agnes don’t gotta see to know this place is a dump. But it’s the best we got for now.
    “You sure about this, Bo?” she asks.
    “Our pictures were on the news. We gotta make ourselves look different somehow.”
    She nods and turns to face the mirror.
    “Don’t be nervous,” I say. “Mama used to cut hair out of our trailer when I was little, and she taught me some. I had to cut her bangs.”
    She makes a face, and it’s clear this ain’t much comfort.
    I step behind her, scissors clutched in my hand. Her coal-black hair is so long, almost to her waist. I take a deep breath. “Here we go.” I start at the back, cutting slowly and carefully. She’s taller than me, so I gotta stand on my tiptoes. Locks of hair fall around us, getting on my T-shirt and in my mouth.
    I remember doing this for Mama years back, before Daddy left. Remember her laughing as Daddy opened a beer and said, “That little girl’s gonna put your damn eye out if you ain’t careful.”
    “I trust her more with these scissors than you,” Mama said. “Don’t care if she’s eight or eighty-seven.”
    When I was done, Daddy took a look at my work.

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