He’d originally hacked into her accounts. No, he’d originally seen her at Starbucks. He didn’t frequent Starbucks on the principle that those fucking corporations were sapping the originality and creativity out of America, and changing its citizens into zombies. (Zombizens, he called them, but it didn’t catch on.) One rainy day, he rushed into Starbucks and used their restroom to drop a load. That’s when he saw her.
She was stone gorgeous in his eyes. His eyes were all that mattered. Learning her name, he cyber-stalked her, and then hacked her accounts. With access to her bank accounts, he saw, man, was she busted. Knowing her routines, he figured out when and where he could spy on her, and did, thinking about how he was gonna meet her. Wanted something fresh as an approach, something that would stand out.
She drove a shit-brown and rusted Camry manufactured back when they were compact cars. The mirrors were duct-taped to her car. Colored tape held the back lights on. The front bumper was missing, and her windshield was cracked. Through study, he saw the car blowing blue smoke when it ran, and noticed the windows were hard to roll up and down.
He would replace the Camry for her. After she’d parked one night after evening classes, he covered the P.O.S. with toilet paper, stole the radio, cut up the upholstery with his knife, slit the tires, put sugar in her tank, and broke her headlights and everything else he could. He thought about pissing in her car but did not – DNA. He was present the next morning, when she came out to see the destruction.
Hurrying to her, he commiserated as she stared, cried, took photos, and called people on her cell (a cheap little flip thing). “You need a new car,” he said, a comment that caused her to light into him about what else she needed, while he was at it. “You think I drive this for its fucking style?” she said with wild, menacing eyes.
Man, he liked her style. “I’m going to get you a new car.”
She gave him a dismissive look. “How are you going to do that?”
“I’m gonna start a crowdfund for you. Know what that is?”
“Who the fuck are you?” she asked. “What are you doing here?”
“Ceon,” he said. “I was just walking by, and I saw you, and your car, and I wanted to help.” He’d put on his best jeans and shoes, and washed and groomed, trimming his beard, trying to look good. He didn’t have much, because consumerism was destroying the world, but he had the latest iPhone. He whipped it out as she said, “Ceon?”
“I’m setting it up right now,” he said. He posted photos of her beside the wrecked vehicle, and asked her questions as if he was ignorant, crafting a pity story guaranteed to stir others, linking it to his social media accounts. “Just want to raise enough to help this hard-working poor young woman and get her a new car,” he wrote, establishing a goal of five thousand dollars. “She needs it to go to class. She’s studying to be a teacher.” He knew people. He knew they’d answer up to this beautiful woman and her wrecked car.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked. She was wary. He liked that.
“Just trying to help,” he said. “Can I buy you a coffee? There’s a great little cafe around the corner.”
She gave him a look that he couldn’t read. He figured, it must be love.