Hometown Zero

When last we saw our intrepid heroine, she was hitching a ride with a van full of hep cats. Who knew such creatures still roamed the streets unchecked, preying upon innocents like Frannie? Well, we do, now. Frannie, however, is not quite so innocent and helpless as she may seem at first glance; she is intelligent, resourceful, and highly competent, not just for her age, but as a human being. But we already knew that, didn’t we?


As the van trundled down the highway at its top speed of 52 miles per hour, Frannie began to really get into the staring contest that she and her seatmate-slash-possible-new-mom were having. Blinking seemed to be okay, but breaking eye contact was not. At long last, the mostly-grown girl threw her head back and laughed like her life depended on it.

Frannie shrugged off her mild confusion, and continued the staring match with the girl’s funny-looking hair. It was so ropy and thick, like an old dirty mop. She wondered if the girl would mind Frannie touching it.

“Can I touch your weird hair?” Frannie asked.

The girl was still laughing, but she nodded and leaned her head over a bit so Frannie could cop a feel. It felt ropy and thick, just as she’d suspected.

“What’s wrong with it?” Frannie continued on the hair-related questioning.

“Nothing, it’s just dreaded,” the girl replied.

Frannie mulled this odd term over for a moment or two before moving on without a worry. “Where are we headed?” she asked.

The driver leaned over to his right and hollered back over his shoulder at her, “Wherever the wind takes us, little dude. We’re on a pretty sweet adventure right now, man.”

“I’m a girl,” Frannie muttered to herself as she crossed her arms sulkily. “Not a dude.”

The driver paid her no mind, and Frannie gave up the sulk to pull the grocery list from her back pocket once more, mulling over the list. She’d already come to the conclusion that these were not her new parents, and knew that she’d better get a move on to the next prospect before it got too dark. She didn’t want to spend the night in this van.

“Can you drop me at the store when you get there?” Frannie asked, very politely. “I don’t believe I’m up for a sweet adventure on top of the one I’m already having, thank you very much.”

The driver didn’t seem to hear her at first, but as his head bopped up and down, sometimes in time to the music playing, he gave a bit of an extra nod. “Sure thing, little dude. Sure thing.”

Frannie rolled her eyes. “I’m a girl,” she grumbled yet again.

PP #40