“Hurry,” I say to the kids.
“Are we going grocery shopping?” Eva asks.
“No,” I reply. “We have to pick something up. Hurry. We’re meeting someone.”
The kids climb into their car seats and we make our way down the hill, to the Boulevard, and onto the freeway headed north, where we exit quickly.
“Where are we going?” Eva asks again.
“We have a pick-up,” I answer.
I’m not sure how it will go. I’ve never been involved in this kind of a deal before, and it is a cash-only agreement. We’re meeting in a small lot outside of a coffee stand.
I pull in and cut the engine. Looking nervously to my left, my right, straight ahead, and in my rear view mirror, I study others in the vicinity. Do I look suspicious? They certainly do.
“Who’s coming?” Eva asks.
“Shhhh,” I reply, distracted. I need to focus.
I look in my purse. Drat! No cash. I accidentally left it at home. Now what? The dealer explicitly said cash only.
Oh! A bank and an ATM straight ahead. I ignite the car and go.
“Fast cash $60 ought to do it,” I mutter to myself.
I slowly maneuver back to the agreed-upon spot.
Soon, I spy the vehicle: a burgundy Ford SUV. The driver gives me a quick nod when she sees my car.
“Silver Infiniti,” I’d told her. “Black tinted windows. Jazzercise magnets on the side.”
She pulls in next to me. Nervous, I get out of my car with with fake confidence and cash in hand. She rolls down her power windows so I can get a good look at her passengers.
Just as I suspected: a four-year old and a baby.
I look at the driver. Her blond hair is pulled back in a pony tail, and she wears black sunglasses decorated in rhinestones. She tells me her name is Jen.
“I brought it,” she says.
She reaches into the passenger seat and presents the merchandise.
“What do you think?” she asks.
I look it over.
Hat. Jacket with shiny buttons. Cut-off brown pants. The 3T Pirate Halloween costume I’d ordered on Craig’s List is perfect. I hand over the bills and climb back into my car.
My posse and I get back on the freeway, drive south one exit, and arrive home.
They spend the entire evening dressing up as kitties and pirates and I paint whiskers, pink noses, and eye patches on their faces in a Halloween dress rehearsal.