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Walk About, Chapter Eleven

Darlene Franklin-Campbell's new novel, Walk About, is being posted online chapter-by-chapter, for people to read for free. Previous Chapter: Walk About, Chapter Ten, or start at the beginning: Walk About: Chapter One.

Chapter Eleven

By Darlene Franklin-Campbell

"What you stopping for?" Pinky said as Clyde put on the turn signal.

"It's a mall," Clyde said.

"A mall?" Rosie said. "I like malls."

"We don't need to go shopping right now," Pinky said.

"Arcades are in malls," Clyde said.

"We don't need to be stopping at arcades," Pinky said.

"I do," Clyde replied.

"We're fugitives," Ace said. "Why would we stop at an arcade?"

"I need to see Mario," Clyde said.

"Mario?" Rosie said. "Is that your boyfriend?"

Clyde shook her head. "You wouldn't understand."

"Try us," Pinky said.

"Mario helps me think," Clyde said. "When I visit Mario my mind works better. I get ideas. Like listening to machines and taking lug nuts off wheels in parking lots and...."

"So you mean Mario, the game?" Ace said.

"A game to you," Clyde responded. "To me, he's family. Also, I need more j-jellybeans. Malls have candy."

"I'm sorry," Pinky said. "I don't think we need to be taking unnecessary chances. We're not in disguise and I didn't have time to plan...."

"I can plan," Clyde said. "I plan to see Mario and get me some c-candy."

Clyde turned into the parking lot, pulled into a spot relatively far from the mall, cut the engine and got out. She rummaged through a bag on the back of the truck.

"What's she doing?" Rosie asked. "I wanna go into the mall looking good."

"She's got a wild hair," Pinky said.

"If you ask me she has a whole head of wild hairs," Ace added.

Just then Clyde dumped a load of disguise items in the driver's seat. "Here," she said. She handed Pinky a blonde wig, Ace the ginger one and Rosie a pink one. She gave Pinky some black-rimmed glasses and an over-sized T-shirt that said 'laugh more' across it in giant orange letters.

"This is hideous," Pinky said.

"Haha!" Ace said. "It is perfect for you! Good choice, Clyde." She laughed.

Clyde handed Rosie a leather jacket and tube of red lipstick then she handed Ace a baseball cap and a faded denim jacket.

"I look like a nerd with no taste," Pinky said.

"You are a nerd," Rosie said.

"And your taste is questionable," Ace added.

"Humph," Pinky replied. "Whatever works. Clyde, this better not be like the factory fiasco back when we were kids."

"H-how was I to know that rats would eat explosives?" Clyde said. "It wasn't my f-fault it dragged them into the factory."

"Look at me," Rosie said, admiring herself in the rearview mirror. "I look like a punk rocker." She pulled her own shades out of her purse and put them on and made a kissing face with her bright red lips. "Ha! I look kind of hot."

"You look like a tacky slut," Ace said, sticking the baseball cap over her wig. "And I," she moved Rosie's face out of the way so she could look in the mirror, "yuck, I look dull and average. I think the real crime in what we've been doing is wearing these awful outfits."

Clyde tied her own unruly hair up into a bandana and donned a pair of old-fashioned round spectacles. "Now we are in di...disguise," she said, popping three blocks of bubble-gum into her mouth.

"Okay," Pinky said. "Here's the plan...."

"No plan," Ace said. "Let's literally just go shopping like four sisters without a plan. Just shop with some of that money I won."

"I never shop without a plan," Pinky said.

"You don't even poop without a plan," Rosie added.

"We have to have a plan," Pinky said. "We're fugitives."

"I t-told you that I have a plan," Clyde said.

"Okay, what's your plan?" Pinky asked.

"Well," Clyde said, "We go in the mall and just go to the arcade and the bathroom and to the candy store if they have one. I will know when I walk in because I have a gift for sm-smelling candy. You know like Ace has a gift for getting them vibes off people and P-pinky for knowing stuff and Rosie for sewing and....well, I have a gift, too...

"For smelling candy?" Pinky said.

"And for making things go b-b-boom and making things fall apart and for getting ideas from my tools and from Mario."

"And your plan?" Pinky asked.

"Oh," Clyde said. "You all go look at stuff and in two hours meet me back at the arcade. Then we get in the truck and go wherever you want." She smiled. "It's a good plan."

"Just breathe, Pinky," Ace said, touching her shoulder as she walked past her and headed for the mall. Then she turned back and said, "And for once in your life, seriously, laugh more. Me, I'm going to go in there and find a couple of pretty wigs because these you stole when we made Rosie out to be pregnant are dog ugly." With that she headed toward the mall.

Rosie took off after Ace, "Wait for me. You should get me a Dolly wig, and I want to buy myself a pair lace panties."

Clyde grinned at Pinky and followed the other two.

Pinky stood in the parking lot, watching them go, thinking that James Allen and Rosie's two weeks' vacation would be up about now and that in the next couple of days people would be wondering why he didn't show up for work and soon it would hit the papers and television news that he was missing. They really should head for Mexico but somehow, that just didn't seem right. Oh well, maybe her sisters were right. Maybe they simply needed a chance to be kind of normal for a couple of hours. Let Clyde play her arcade games and eat candy and Rosie go look at underwear and Ace get "pretty" wigs.

Inside the mall Pinky sat on a bench watching people go by. An elderly man in a suit and tie took a seat on a bench not far from her. He carried a briefcase. He kept looking at his watch. He was waiting to meet someone. After a while a much younger-looking woman approached. She was pretty and Pinky could tell that they were speaking French. She understood part of what they said but couldn't hear it all. She found it odd that two well-dressed people, obviously some sort of socialites, would meet in a mall of all places. They exchanged pleasantries then the two of them left together. That's when an idea hatched in her mind, an idea that would require all of their "gifts" as Clyde called them. No, they would not go to Mexico.

She got up and meandered around the mall. She found a health food store and bought some items that might sustain them then she went to the bookstore and browsed. At the end of two hours, she headed back to the arcade where she met Rosie and Ace. Clyde came storming out of the arcade and walked past her sisters. "Come on," she said. "L-let's go."

"What's the matter with her?" Pinky asked Ace and Rosie.

"Oh, she's mad because some teenager told her Mario's not a real person," Ace said.

They caught up to Clyde.

"Some kids are just br-brats," she said.

"That's true," Pinky replied. "You know, Clyde, everything that's ever been made was first only real in the minds of the person who invented it, and they often got laughed at by those who couldn't see what they saw."

"That's right," Ace said. "For all we know there's a little short guy running around out there somewhere named Mario."

"I'm not nuts," Clyde said. "I know that little cartoon version isn't real but there is something real about Mario and I pr-promise you, it t-talks to me."

"I believe you," Pinky said.

"You do?"

"Of course."

"We all do," Ace said.

"So, what's the pl-plan now, Pinky?" Clyde asked as they got in the truck.

Pinky shut her door. "We need to find a town with a few rich folks in it, lay low and settle down for a little while."

Darlene Franklin-Campbell, an Adair County native, holds an M.A. from Lindsey Wilson College but has also done post-graduate work in storytelling and literacy at Western Kentucky University and is an alumnus of Campbellsville University. She is a member of the Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Society, the Adair County Arts Council, The Adair County Genealogical Society, The Green County Genealogical Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Mysterium Society (an IQ society for linguists). She has attended the Appalachian Writers Workshop, WisCOn, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She currently teaches Art at the Adair County Primary Center. You may visit her webpage at or her writer's blog at to check out more of her work.

This story was posted on 2022-02-13 11:58:02
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