by Boyd Taylor
He decided to take the bus home and think about what to do next. He walked half way to the bus stop before he remembered he had left home with no money and no billfold. No UT I.D. that would have gotten him a free ride on the bus. Nothing. He doubted that Geraldo would lend him the bus fare. He took comfort in Wesley’s reaction. Together they would figure out what to do about Payne. He was still angry, furious in fact, but he didn’t have any socks on, and the pain from the blister forming on his left heel interfered with his focus a little.
He decided to walk home. Decided was another way of saying he had no choice but to walk home. I’m not down to panhandling yet, he told himself, but he knew with Payne as an enemy, the day might not be far away. He could see himself at the corner of Ben White and I-35 with a cardboard sign reading, Will Do History Paper For Food.
Wishing for a handful of aspirin, Donnie started the long trek to the University of Texas campus and home. On the off chance he might spot someone in Whole Foods who would give him a ride home, he decided to walk down to Lamar Boulevard and then home from there, The clear air helped his headache, and by the time he had walked the dozen blocks to the natural food superstore on Lamar, he felt well enough to stop for a coffee and a bran muffin. The place was filled with slender women in their slim jeans and short blouses, pushing children in Peg Perego strollers. A couple he noticed had twins in the Aria. One guy had a baby in one side of the Aria with a Pomeranian in the other seat.
He stood in line, goods in his hand and not a cent in the pocket of his torn jeans. Once again, he had forgotten that he was penniless. That dawned on him just as he reached the register.
“I’m sorry,” he told the cashier, or as Whole Foods insists, “associate.” She wore non-sweatshop jeans and a recycled cardboard cap. “I seem to have forgotten my billfold. I’ll just put these back.”
She looked at him brightly. The sun reflected off the “Save the Barton Creek Salamander” badge on her faded blue shirt, which in turn was stretched tight across her ample bosom. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said in typical Austin fashion. “It’s only two dollars forty. The company can afford it.”
This so beats panhandling, he thought. If he’d been a business major, he probably would have been required by the Business School Code of Ethical Behavior to report the girl to her manager. Thank God history majors have no scruples.
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