"Yeah, it looks good. Thanks for staying late again, Lou, Janessa," said Dawn after returning from a walk through of the store. She did this every time she was the manager in charge of closing the store. Most of the managers didn't do a final walk through. Most managers were out the door as soon as possible. Not Dawn. She checked everything, every time. "You two can go ahead and clock out."
I got to the time clock at the same time as Lewis. Lewis, Lou for short (and short was what went on your name tag) was my age, though taller than me, with black hair and light blue eyes. He smiled, as he always seemed to, and waved towards the clock. "You go first," he said.
"No, you go."
"I insist," he said. I eyed him warily as I punched in my code to time out.
"Do you need a ride home?" I asked. "It was raining pretty bad earlier." He biked to work every day. As far as I could tell, he biked to just about everything on that dependable red racing bike of his.
"Oh, no, don't worry. I'm pretty sure it cleared up enough for me to make it," he said as he pushed open the sliding doors that were automatic during normal business hours. I sighed. The guy was practically a robot. A robot that was unfailingly kind to me, who always seemed to smile when he looked my way, but a robot, since he probably did that to everyone.
"See you at school tomorrow then," I said as he stopped at the bike rack while I continued on to my car.
"Yeah, see you tomorrow."
I made it to my car, a beat up white honda, and got inside. Thankfully I had remembered to roll my windows up, unlike last time it had rained, and I didn't have to deal with squishy wet seats. I saw that Lewis was already out of the parking lot, biking towards our neighborhood. I shook my head at his refusal to car pool. He claimed he didn't want me to have to wait for him if he worked late, plus that biking was good for the environment.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought back to when he'd first transferred into my school, at the start of junior year. Even though the school had about fifteen hundred people in it, it was pretty noticeable. Lake View High School is divided up into a regular high school, the general education population, and the SMAT (Science, Math, and Technology) magnet. SMAT only has about 400 students, and they keep us pretty segregated from the rest of the school. New blood in SMAT, which is virtually unheard of, is immediately noticed. On the other hand, one more guy in a magnet with a three to one guy to girl ratio is quickly lost again. Especially when they never tried to socialize with anyone.
I was snapped out of my reverie by a figure on a red bicycle darting in front of me. I hit my brakes, but felt my car fishtail slightly as it skidded on the wet road. The impact was pretty mild for me, with the thump quieter out loud than it had been in my imagination, but judging by the way the figure sprawled in front of my car, it was plenty bad for him.
I jumped out of my car, fumbling for my phone. "Oh god oh god oh god," I muttered as I dialed nine one one.
"Emergency dispatch, what is the nature of your emergency?" said a woman's voice on the other end of the line.
"I, I just hit some guy on a bicycle in the middle of twenty second avenue," I stammered as I realized that I recognized the mangled red bike beneath my front bumper. Oh my god I'd killed Lou!
"Can you give us your exact location?" interjected the voice.
"What? Oh, um, I'm, We're in front of, uh, 1603. 1603 north 22nd avenue," I read off a consignment shop window as I headed towards the figure on the ground. "Holy crap holy crap holy crap."
A figure that was definitely not Lou.
"Do you know the condition of the person that you hit?"
"Um...no," I looked at him. "Wait. He's still alive," I said as I noticed him breathing. He looked pretty out of it though.
About now I also noticed a gun a few feet away from his right hand, as if the impact had thrown it there.
"Police and medical services are on the way," the dispatcher told me.
"Good, because we also want to report a robbery," said a voice from behind me.
"Lou!" I shouted, spinning around to find my classmate and coworker behind me. I leaped at him, hugging him as tightly as I could. "I thought I killed you."
"No, but you sure did a number on the guy who mugged me."
"Mugged?" I pulled back to look at him, finding that he had some blood running down the side of his face from a cut near his temple.
"Lucky for me, you came by. He ran off when he heard your car coming," he said, managing to grin despite his misadventures for the night.
Sirens started wailing faintly in the distance. "We should put on your hazards," Lou observed.
"What?" I said, blinking at him. "Oh, you're right. I'm just still in shock or something." We both headed back to my car, as blue and red lights began reflecting on the houses around us. I leaned in and flicked the switch on the steering column. "Now I feel stupid for wanting an excuse to use those."
"You could just turn them on when it it raining, you know."
Paramedics climbed out of their ambulance and began tending to the man on the ground. Another came up to talk to me and Lewis.
"Are either of you hurt?" he said.
"I think we're ok," said Lewis.
"He just got hit in the head while being mugged!" I cut him off. Lewis glared daggers at me.
"She is the person who was driving that car," he said, pointing first at me, then at my honda. "So she needs to make some sort of statement. And I think she might be going into shock. Oh, by the way, can I have a ride to school tomorrow?"