STORY: Taco Belle

OMAHA, NEBRASKA — After I dropped my brother off at the airport, I decided to make the most of my trip to Omaha and find something fun to do. I started by hot boxing my car in the parking lot of a nearby Taco Bell.

To the surprise of no one, I completely lost it when I approached the counter to order. The cashier laughed along with me. I could tell by the look in his eye that he wanted to hit me up for a smoke break.

I ordered my tacos and sat down at a nearby table. Just as I was about to open a notebook, an old woman approached me. She had the look of a person who had aged rapidly due to drug use. She was shaking and seemed confused. I tried to avoid her with my eyes, but I knew in my heart our conversation was close at hand. I looked down at her shoes instead. She was wearing the most fabulous pair of strappy sandals I had ever seen.

“I like your shoes,” I said sweetly.

“Aww, thanks honey,” she said. “I’ve had these for years! I have so many shoes, I don’t know what to do with myself!”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

She looked at the hot pink stilettos on my feet and smiled.

“I like your shoes too!” she exclaimed. “We have a lot in common!”

She sat down with me at the table immediately. I gave her a taco in exchange for her story.

“So how’s your day going?” I asked.

“I need to take my medicine,” she said desperately. “I have to get over to the clinic to get my medicine.”

For as many attempts as I made to steer the conversation elsewhere, her focus remained on her medicine. I suddenly understood the predicament I was in.

“Can you give me a ride to the clinic?” she asked feebly. “I have to take my medicine. It’s just around the block. Up the street, through the intersection, two buildings past the light.”

I nodded at her slowly, accepting the situation sadly.

“Yes,” I said. “I can take you to the clinic.”

She wrote down her address in my notebook so I could mail her a pair of shoes. As it turns out, we wore the exact same size! We agreed to set up a shoe exchange as she climbed into my car.

“It’s just past this light,” she said. “The clinic, that is. It’s that building! Right there! Turn here, turn here!”

I turned where she pointed and parked in the lot outside the clinic. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was on, but whatever it was was both legal and well-regulated by the pharmaceutical industry.

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