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August 15, 2011
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(Contains: strong language)
                     Meal Ticket

"Twitch, your eggs are getting cold."
     The young kitten opened one golden eye, still nursing on her glass of apple juice. She cracked a grin, and quickly slammed her fork into the yellow mess on her plate, sloppily placing a chunk of eggs into her mouth. "If the great Sabby says so, I may as well eat it like this," she said.
     Sabbath Bauer frowned. Resting her head on her knuckles, she stared at the mess her sister was making. "You're really an animal, Twitchy."
     "Oh, yes, I am," Twitch said. She followed it up with a loud howl, and shouted, "I'm changing! I'm changing!"
     From the living room, they heard their father scream for them to knock it off. Twitch laughed.
     Sabbath shook her head. The two were about as opposite as they came--Sabbath was a bookworm, who enjoyed reading poetry while listening to popular music; Twitch like horror movies and Death Metal. Sabbath liked to fish, to spend time with their father, and to be outdoors in the wilderness; Twitch was an introverted brat who liked nothing more than being alone and was often found roaming the streets in the seedier part of town. Sabbath gave off an air of tranquility, and people gathered around her; Twitch Bauer was known to scare the hell out of people, and she was generally avoided, sometimes by her own parents.
     It was almost unbelievable that the two were twins. Hell, their coats didn't even match; Sabbath as had glamorous short and silky fur, whereas Twitch was a tuxedo with a small crescent shaped patch of fur on her chin. Yet the two of them got along very, very well.
     "There, all done," Twitch said, practically slamming the fork onto the plate. "Happy now, Sabbath?"
     "I'd probably be a lot less embarrassed if you weren't wearing half of your plate."
     Twitch laughed, wiping a chunk of scrambled eggs off her face. "Sorry, elegance isn't my style."
     Sabbath laughed as well. "Not your style? If you were elegant, the world would fall apart!" Then, Sabbath took her plate to the sink, and, standing on a small footstool, began rinsing her plate off. In response, Twitch tossed the round chunk of molded plastic into the sink; it connected with a loud clang.
     Then, in a rather sadistic tone, Twitch said, "So, Sabbath. Wanna play a game?"
     Sabbath shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"
     "Okay then, we're going to play Dares again. Cool?"
     Again, Sabbath shrugged. "Sure. My turn or yours?"
     "Mine, as always," Twitch said. "Listen up very carefully. There's a hamburger guy a couple blocks down. Every day, he cooks what has to be the most disgusting French fries on the face of the planet. You know the guy, right?"
     "Yeah, the guy who uses cheap hamburger patties from the supermarket on Holmes. 'Joe Burger' I think he calls himself.'
"Now, I want you to steal some of those French fries. If you get caught, weasel your way out of paying. Shouldn't be too hard for a ten year old, right?"
     Sabbath nodded her head in agreement. She'd done this stuff before, and while sneaking away wasn't her strong suit, she could manipulate every adult in the city like they were marionettes.
     "Okay. Go out, get them, and meet me back here. I'll be waiting."
                 
                   * * *

There was a single bag of fries laying on the side of the fryer, just begging to be stolen. As usual, Joe was busy frying more of the greasy, soggy abominations, in what should could only assume was a mixture of peanut and old vegetable oil. She kept to the alley, leaning around and watching him, waiting for him to turn around.
     And he did, turning to his left to pry apart two cheap, frozen hamburger patties. Grinning, she rushed forward and snatched the fries, and quickly darted back into the alley. Or at least, she tried; after five seconds, Joe grabbed the scruff of her shirt, and with a deep growl he said, "Hey Missy, where 'n the hell do ya think yer goin' with those fries?"
     Not missing a beat, she replied, "I'm stealing them, of course."
    "No, yer not," He said, turning her around to face him. "Not without payin' ya aren't."
     She faked a nervous grin. "I, uh, don't have any money?"
     Joe frowned. "It's a dollar fifty fer those fries, and you don' look like yer wantin' fer much."
     "Well, sir, my mom doesn't allow me to eat junk food. She insists on buying everything herself while checking the label. I'd honestly rather have these fries than another stick of dried seaweed, you know?"
     He scowled. "Does the food ya get suck so bad that ya want these fries? They sell about as well as dog crap, and ya know it."
     "Well, it tastes better than gummy bears made out of seaweed, or cookies made out of whole wheat and topped with fake chocolate. I know not a lot doesn't, but really, I'd just like something greasy anyway."
     He sighed. "I'll give it to ya just this one time, Missy. Next time, try and weasel a little cash out of yer mom. Tell 'er yer savin' up for a tea set or somethin'." He let go of her shirt, and quickly dashed a little bit of salt onto the fries.
     Walking off, Sabbath placed one soggy fry in her mouth and thought, What a cinch. She savored every bite. Stepping through the door, she saw Twitch leaning against the sink. She quickly tossed her the bag of fries.
     "Get caught?" Twitch said, placing a fry in her mouth.
     "Unfortunately."
     "Sob story?"
     "Oh yeah," Sabbath said. "Every rich kid's parents refuse to give their kids junk food, especially when they're the owners of the infamous Shrimp Basket. Everybody knows we eat seaweed and caviar." Stepping onto the stairs, she waved at Twitch and said, "I guess I'll see you at dinner. Enjoy your crappy fries."
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