Thank you, MC.
Early Tuesday morning, Rosie stumbled out of the wood frame place that she called home. Concentrating on her steps, careful to not step on bottles left in the yard from the night before she struggled through her hung over haze. She assumed her ability to walk looked less successful than what she was aiming for.
The early morning humidity rested on her shoulders as she prayed that the Dime and Chime store next door had at least one Cherry Pepsi left. Sugary caffeine seemed to be the only thing that could really help relieve the storming aches running through her.
As she walked into the store, the chime from the door along with greeting from the perky attendant seemed to smack her right in her head, causing her to flinch and crinkle her face. "Good morning, Mam" the young lady announced, way too loudly. Rosie looked at her sideways and held up a finger with squinting eyes; motioning to give her a minute. She drug her feet across the store, being very grateful that the cooler that she was aiming for was a straight shot from the entrance. Opening the cooler seemed to exert all of her energy and she lingered there, trying to make out the difference between all the labeled bottles of liquids. She closed her eyes. "Mam, umm Mam? Are you ok?" the attendant asked and then repeated a few more times. "Yeahs, um I mean, yeah?" she manages to stammer out of her mouth. In that moment, she realized that she had been standing in the cooler doorway way too long. "Mam, did you need help finding what you are looking for?" the attendant frowned, despite seeming rather cheerful just a few moments ago. "Oh shit, yeah, I need a Cherry Pepsi. I forgot my glasses" Rosie replied. The attendant nervously walked up to sweating glass door and grabbed a bottle that was sitting eye level from her. Rosie felt proud of the tiny lie that helped soothe the lady. "I can check you out over here" she motioned with her neon pink nails. Rosie followed her to the register with a drunken sway and put two crumpled dollar bills on the counter and didn't stay for the change. In one swift movement she stepped from counter, pushed the door open with her back, and twisted the bottle cap with lightning speed, tossing the bottle cap as she chugged. Taking a moment to breathe and let the carbonation finish burning, she praised the Heavens for the existence of her favorite soda.
The caffeine made trekking the whopping 25 yards back home easier. As she climbed up the cement steps, she noticed one of them had a new crack in it. She sighed and then attempted to look in her pocket for the lid to the bottle, then soon realized that she did not have the lid to the bottle and sighed again. Very soon, the flies and gnats would be very happy at her poor sense of judgement.
Rosie decided to sit down on her favorite wooden chair and finish her barely cool bottle in hopes the sunshine would grant her a bit of energy. As she nearly finished downing it, she see's a familiar foggy outline of a local tweaker approaching. "Miss Rosie, aye Miss Rosie!" She blinked hard each time he called her name. He walked up to the porch. "Hey Miss Rosie, you not out are you?" Rosie pressed her index finger and thumb at the base of her nose and massaged it, trying to alleviate the pain of his intrusion. She always found it rather entertaining that many of her customers addressed her as "Miss" despite many of them being older.
Roscoe was about 20 years older than her, tall, and dirty. Rosie never bothered to find out any other details of his existence other than she can make money off of him. He never kept still as he waited for her to reply, she watched for a second how he was nervous from needing a fix or even more so, scared of her saying she was out of what he needed. Rosie on the other hand, stood about a foot shorter than he, but held a sense of authority about her; even though legally, she could not enter a bar or casino. "Roscoe, I fucking told you not to come here all early." she groaned. The nervousness in his voice seemed to increase, "Miss... Miss Rosie, it is almost noon, and plus last night... You, you told me to find you something special; and and then that you would give me something extra special." As he finished his sentence, that seemed to really bring out his lisp, her memory began to validate his statement. "Oh yeah! I did send you out on a treasure hunt didn't I? Whatcha got for me?" she began to turn a curious smile as if she was proud he listened like a good little crack head. "Oh you goin to like this Miss Rosie." Rosco patted his pocket, and with out him even having a chance to lift his untucked shirt; in that split second, Rosie instinctually made mental note of how far away her revolver was. Certain precautions come with certain territories. She slowly leaned forward and was officially out of her relaxed posture. She was careful to not scare the tweaker because the last thing she needed was a scared giant wanting crack. As he shakily fumbled to find his pant pockets she could make out what seemed to be a softball stuffed in his pants and she lowered her head with annoyance. "Roscoe, you better have not stole some poor kids baseball and think Ima give you shit for that." Roscoe laughed hard exposing all 4 teeth barely hanging in. "Nah, Miss Rosie. This ain't that kind of ball but it is a ball I suppose." He carefully pulled out a roundish shaped object, wrapped loosely in a dirty torn piece of t-shirt. Rosie watched closely with anticipation; the way he handled his offering was rather entertaining at the very least and helped clear the brain fog that was plaguing her. As Roscoe removed the layers the object seemed to move. She asked herself if it was really moving or if she was just still drunk. But soon it was clear that the object started to tremble, her eyes widened. Was she seeing this correctly, was it really moving? Yes, then suddenly, a sound like she had never heard before; Rosie stood up and stepped in closer. Unfortunately, she stood close enough to be able to smell exactly how long it had been since Roscoe showered and it quickly it seemed like that there was a chance that it was, never. After the unveiling she stood there with so many questions that she could barely handle it. Rosie looked down at the trembling creature and smiled so big that her face almost hurt. "Roscoe!" she halfway squealed. "Roscoe, how on earth? Where? How? Where on earth did you get this little guy from?" She couldn't tell which answer she wanted to know first. "Well, Miss Rosie, you know I cant tell you where I found it." Roscoe answered, while shaking his head. She attempted to remove it from his flaky cracking hands but then the little ball of spikes barked again and scared her causing her to jump back a little. Rosie jumped and giggled lightly; as if in that moment, she wasn't a basic street level drug dealer, and it made her feel good. Roscoe seemed to share her delight as he chuckled while it continued to spit and bark in the cutest way anything could spit and bark. "Is that an actual fucking hedgehog, Roscoe? Are you serious?" she asked with incredible enthusiasm. Roscoe laughed hard and Rosie double counted his teeth again. "Yes mam, well I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew this would be something you would like." She approved and reached in her back pocket and handed him his favorite vice, all sealed within a melted corner of a cheap sandwich bag. "But Miss Rosie, you said you would hook me up?" He commented while he seemed to disapprove of the quantity. "Well Roscoe, let me ask you this." She asked, as she carefully claimed her present. It wasn't every day she came across a cute shaky ball of spikes. Roscoe looked at her as if he was a child and was about to be reminded of his child like ignorance. "So, when you found this little guy, was he in a cage?" He could tell that she was annoyed in his obvious lack of gratitude. "Well, yes mam." He answered with reluctance; he could tell where this was going. "And so then Roscoe, why did you not take the whole cage?" with out skipping a beat he popped the plastic covered treat in his cheek for safe storage and replied "Because I couldn't fit it in my pocket." he then turned quickly and walked away with a strut of a very proud crack head. After crossing the road he turns back, "Miss Rosie, what you gonna name it?" She looked at the face that was starting to show itself and looked at its eyes as if she needed its approval, she whispers "Ball? Do you like the name Ball?" Feeling what ever permission she needed was granted she shouted back, "Ball!" Roscoe laughed and continued his strut down the road.