Ana T. knew it would be a strange day the moment she opened her eyes. The sun streaming through her purple curtains cast its eerie glow around her room, but that wasn’t what alarmed her. She rose and looked at her alarm clock, blaring No Sleep Till Brooklyn like usual, pulled off her pjs, walked naked to the shower, and stood under the steaming water wondering what would be different about today.
Ana T. dried herself in front of the full-length mirror, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans (no bra), and contemplated. No, it wasn’t nerves over her audition this afternoon or boredom over the morning she needed to spend studying. No, it wasn’t her dwindling food supply or her nearly empty bank account. It was something else.
She slung her backpack over her shoulder and reached into the cabinet on her way to the door. She was pissed off to find the box of Pop-Tarts empty. She tossed the box in the trash and slammed the door on her way out. She compensated for breakfast by listening to Cake on the train and she used her last set of quarters to buy a coffee from a cart outside the library.
Ana T. noticed the man in black slouching over a desk in the back corner of the library and wondered if he was reading something interesting. A bottle of Sprite sat before him on his desk. She took a desk next to the stacks and dumped her bag on the chair. She set her coffee down and wandered the row of books until she found the one she was looking for on the very top shelf. It had a unicorn on its spine.
She reached way up for the book, and she caught the man in black watching her. No, there was no mistake about it, he was staring. Probably checking out my boobs, Ana thought. Her hand slipped and the book with the unicorn on its spine fell. It was quite heavy and it hit her on the forehead with a thud. Ana crumpled to the ground, a goose egg forming and the book lying upside down next to her, dejected. Damn, she thought, her hand pressing on the goose egg. How am I going to explain this at the audition?
“Let me help you up,” the man in black said from behind her.
“Thanks,” Ana held up her hand.
He pulled her up and bent down to pick up the book with the unicorn on its spine. He flipped through it. “Looks like a good one,” he smiled and handed it back to her.
“Yeah,” she said, straightening her shirt and rubbing her head.
“That’s going to leave a mark,” the man in black laughed. He seemed to be joking, Ana T. thought.
He walked back to his desk and picked up his bag and the bottle of Sprite. He walked back to her and held out the bottle. “Here, it’s cold. Put it on your head.”
Meanwhile, the man in black pulled something out of his bag. It was a Pop-Tart with rainbow sprinkles.
“Would you like a Pop-Tart, young lady?” he asked with a grin.
Ana T. could not believe her eyes. “What flavor?” she asked.
“Um, I think it’s chocolate,” the man in black peered at the Pop-Tart to make sure.
“Yes, thank you!” Ana T. grabbed the Pop-Tart and took a bite.
“One more thing,” the man in black reached into his back pocket. “I have a job that I think you’d be perfect for. Here’s my card in case you’re interested. Just call anytime,” He held out the card. Ana looked deeply into his face as if she were deaf and trying to lip read. Finally she set down the bottle of Sprite and took the card.
“Thanks,” she murmured. He smiled and walked back to his desk. She took another bite of Pop-Tart and looked at the card in her hand. It had a unicorn on it. Ana T. didn’t think it was a coincidence. She finished the Pop-Tart and pulled her phone out of her pocket. She called the number on the card. The man in black reached for his phone.
She ended up skipping her audition.