The first thing he noticed was the fact that her hair was purple. Not a purple that could be mistaken for black in certain light, or even dark red, but vibrant, neon purple. The second was that she wouldn't stop playing with the torn sleeves of her jacket as her gray eyes searched the park. She only looked at him to order a hot dog with relish, hot sauce and mustard and then looked out over the park again.
He wondered what she was looking for but he shrugged it off, figuring it wasn't his business, and busied himself with preparing her food. At least until she spoke and made him drop the tongs.
"Where the fuck are all the hobos?"
He fished the tongs from the ground discreetly and wiped them on his apron, staring at her in confusion. "Umm, what?"
She finally turned to look at him steadily and he noted that her eyes weren't gray at all but very light blue and outlined in smoky shades. He thought absently that she was rather cute in that crazily dressed doll sort of way. He didn't think many girls walked around parks wearing construction boots and short plaid skirts.
"Hobos," she said, waving her small hands enthusiastically but without any clarifying meaning. "Y'know, like in the movies there's the hobo with all the answers in life and they impart such knowledge on lowly teenagers who aren't even aware of being in a rut. Only I know for a fact that I'm screwed and I want advice." She accepted the hot dog he dazedly handed to her and rifled in her pockets for the change. When she finally found it – he thought it was rather cute how she had stuck her tongue out in concentration – she handed it over and took a step away. "So I wanna know, where is my philosophical hobo?!" she screamed to the unresponsive park.
He clearly wasn't cut out for his job because she seemed to expect him to know where this mysterious Confucian hobo would be. "I haven't seen any since last Tuesday-"
"I fucking hate Tuesdays," she interrupted, for no reason at all that he could tell, and bit savagely into her hot dog.
"Okay…" He shifted his weight and glanced around to see if a line would start up so maybe the crazy girl would leave. No such luck, it was dead. "But why would you want to talk to a hobo?"
"They know everything. Got eyes in the garbage cans and all that," she said, waving a hand dismissively. "'Sides, they won't judge me for running away from my boyfriend 'cause he's a douchecock, right? He totally deserved me wrecking his car anyway, he was asking for it by sleeping with that slut and then giving her my hamster." She paused before adding, "Fucker."
"So… he cheated on you and gave the girl your hamster so you wrecked his car and ran away?" he asked slowly, trying to wrap his mind around the situation and failing miserably. What sort of a gift was a hamster to a one-night-stand anyway?
She nodded and took another bite of her hot dog, glaring at the ground. "Yeah. His stupid Jeep is a total wreck now, and it was so worth it that thing was disgusting anyway. I found cum stains in the back seat and I never had sex with him in there, hell no, so it must have been some other bitch. I can't believe he gave away Fluffy. What a bastard. But what do I do now? I mean, I left home for him – stupid move, I know, but whatever – and my parents hate me, they think I'm crazy or something stupid like that."
He rather agreed with her parents but decided not to voice that particular opinion.
"I can't even crash at Tilly's place 'cause she'll tell her sister who will tell the doctor who will tell everyone because he's a dumbass like that." She looked thoughtful for a moment and added as an afterthought, "I should get him fired for telling Susie her cousin got herpes from her boyfriend. Even though she probably already had it, the slut."
"Why don't you just go home?"
She blinked at him. "Did you miss the part where I said my parents think I'm crazy?"
"Then why suggest such a stupid thing?"
He frowned. He hadn't thought it was such a stupid idea, but then again, he was twenty-three and still lived with his mother. His excuse was that it was cheaper than finding his own place but in reality, it was because he couldn't cook to save his life – everyone pointed out the irony of his part-time job as a hot dog vendor and it rather annoyed him since the hot dogs were pre-cooked, dammit – and his mother did his laundry for him, which was nice. Or something. "Because they're your parents," he said finally. "You know what to expect from them and you don't have to worry about them sleeping with random sluts and giving away your hamster. They'll give you food for free and your old room back and you don't have to pay rent you just have to put up with being their kid again for awhile."
The girl paused in licking her fingers and stared at him for a long moment before giving him a bright smile that made him blink stupidly. "You're better than a hobo."
"Umm, thanks?" He hadn't thought his advice had been anything like that a philosophical hobo would have given, but she seemed to be satisfied with it, which rather mystified him but he had learned to not question the ways of women simply on principle. They would never make any sense. Especially ones like this.
"Yeah," she continued, licking the rest of the relish from her fingers. "A hobo wouldn't have made me a hot dog, even though I paid for it myself. I guess the 'rents aren't too bad, I mean yeah they think I'm nuts but they're the ones with the freaky black and white horror movie obsession, not me. You can't get any weirder than them. Maybe they'll let me get an iguana."
"Maybe," he said, trying to sound helpful and feeling that he failed utterly.
"Okay, I'm gonna go home then. After I steal my stuff back from the twat's place. Thanks Steve!" She gave him a brilliant smile and jogged off through the swing sets and out into the street.
"You're welcome," he said to the empty air. He sighed and leaned heavily against the cart, pinching the bridge of his nose as he contemplated his place in the world and whether it had been truly a good idea to take a year off before finishing college. He looked up to see her cross the street and muttered, "And my name's Larry."
There is no point to this story, really. I had the line "Where's my philosophical hobo?!" and then just ran with it. Yup.
Review, dammit, or I'll be forced to confiscate your hamsters and left shoe.