By Darrell Case

Flabbergasted and scared silly, Millie stared after him. She had just lost her only source of income. Charles was six months behind in child support. Millie knew taking him to court would do no good. When finalizing the divorce, the judge set the child support award for two years and told her not to ask for an increase any sooner.

With little left to lose other than her cheesy uniform, Millie cracked open the break room door and saw George at the front of the store. Taking a deep breath, she ran through the storeroom and burst through the rear door. The shrieking alarm overhead pierced her ears like a jackhammer. Running like a thief across the weed-strewn back lot, she made it to her car, fumbled with the lock, jumped in and jammed the key in the ignition. Unnerved, she floored the accelerator and let out a yelp when the car lurched forward. Whining in protest, the engine stalled. Tears blurred Millie’s vision as she turned the key. “Oh, please, not now.” The world was crashing down on her. Never in her life had she felt such fear.

The motor caught just as George pushed open the back door. Spotting her, he raised his fist and shouted, “I’m callin’ the cops!” Shifting into gear, Millie roared past him. Stopping at the entrance to the street, she looked in the rearview mirror. Even at this distance his beady, glowering eyes bored through her. She half expected him to come charging after her. Instead, he stepped back and pulled shut the door.

The police car pulled up behind her at the light on Jefferson. When it turned green, he turned on his light bar. Millie pulled to the side with her heart in her throat. The cop did a U-turn and turned on his siren. Millie gripped the wheel with her trembling hands and waited for her stomach to stop heaving, then drove the few blocks home. Thankful that Bobby was still in school, she turned the key in the front door and stepped into the foyer.