Brook brushes out her hair until it shines. Dang, her hair is long. It comes almost down to her waist. I want to ask her about it, but I'm too busy trying to figure out what to wear to Texas Roadhouse.
Which shirt did I wear last time? I try to switch things up so they don't figure out what I'm doing. I pick a red polo shirt that's a bit too big on me and tuck it into my only pair of jeans. I should really invest in a new pair--when's the sale at Goodwill? I'll figure it out.
"What sorts of clothes do you have?" I ask Brook, emerging from the dumpster a new person. Even my hat's been stowed away in my backpack. I look like a stereotypical Asian schoolgirl, bangs, pigtails, and all.
Brook rifles through her backpack and pulls out a pair of jeans, a few long-sleeved shirts, some underthings, toiletries, and a white blouse. "Wear that," I say, pointing to the blouse. "But wear it over what you've already got on."
"Why? Won't it show through?"
I eye the red T-shirt she has on. "Do you have anything else you won't mind getting dirty?"
"Then do it."
Sighing, Brook slips the blouse on over her head and goes into the dumpster to put on her jeans. Then, she follows me down the street and a mile and a half to Texas Roadhouse.
Even though it's late, it's still busy--of course it is, it's Friday. Brook glances around nervously, but I go straight up to the waitress-lady staring at us. "We're here to meet some friends. Mind if we go try to find them?"
We get in, and I smile. I whisper to Brook, "Follow my lead."
There's peanuts everywhere. There's buckets of them on every table, in troughs attached to walls here and there. I grab a handful and pocket my prize. Brook does the same. There's a table nearby, abandoned, with two rolls left in the basket. I hand them to Brook, and she puts them in my backpack. We scour the restaurant, stuffing our pockets and mouths with peanuts and shoving abandoned rolls in my backpack. Finally, we blend into a group of people and leave unnoticed.
I hand Brook a roll, and she devours it. "When's the last time you've eaten?" I ask her.
"Yesterday, I got a hot dog around noon," she says with her mouth full. "You know how you don't realize how hungry you are until you start to eat?"
"Yeah, I hate that feeling." We scored five rolls; I figured we could split the fifth one, but she can have all of it. "We're just going to chill until eleven or so, then run through all the Starbucks dumpsters. Do you think you could take a nap?"
"Sure. Do we head back to the dumpster, or...?"
"Do you feel like walking an extra three miles?"
"Didn't think so. Come on."
There's a bus stop on the corner of Fifth and Evergreen. I take Brook there, and we settle down on a bench. The world will think we fell asleep waiting for our bus, which happens every once in a while. I put my New York Yankees cap back on, the brim low over my eyes, and lean back.
"What are we going to do at Starbucks?"
"Dumpster dive. They throw out a bunch of good food every time they close. Muffins, scones, bliss bars, you name it. Sometimes there's even sandwiches."
Brook doesn't answer.
"You want a sandwich, Brook?"
She's asleep. And soon, I am too.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.