The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I opened my mouth to say something, maybe even scream, but nothing came out. I stood in a pool of cold water and oil, and the light above me decided to go out for good.

Closing my eyes against the dark, I didn’t want to risk seeing anything they did to me. They talked amongst themselves, laughing and making perverted jokes, and I knew I was going to die.

Somewhere behind me, I heard the screech of tires, but I just squeezed my eyes shut tighter.


“Hey! What are you doing?” a voice shouted to the side of me. As soon as I heard him speak, I knew that it didn’t belong to the group of guys closing in on me, and I opened my eyes.

“What’s it to you?” a large tattooed guy growled, but he started taking a step back. A car had pulled in the parking space to my right, shining the bright headlights past me.

“I think you should just back off,” the new voice said.

I peeked over to the side at him, but the shadows from the headlights hid him. It was too dark for me to make anything out, except his pink tee shirt.

He took another step forward, and my would-be-attackers continued taking steps back. They weren’t moving very fast enough, and then suddenly, the blur of the pink shirt rushed towards them.

The darkness and my fear couldn’t let me trust my eyesight anymore. It looked as if the pink shirt was moving faster than humanly possible, and the guys yelled as he pushed them, sending them flying out of the garage.

I blinked my eyes to adjust them better, and then everyone was gone.

Not everyone, exactly. The light above me flickered on again, and the guy in the pink shirt stood next to me. In big black letters across his chest, his shirt read, “Real men wear pink.”

He looked older than me, probably in his early twenties, and he wasn’t particularly well-built or tall. In fact, he leaned more towards wiry than he did muscular, and I couldn’t imagine what had frightened off the other guys.

His face was open and friendly, and he had an easy smile that I couldn’t help but respond to, even though I had just been a few moments away from death.

“Are you okay?” he asked, appraising me.

“Yeah,” I said in a voice that barely sounded like my own. “You saved my life.”

“You shouldn’t be out here alone,” he replied, completely ignoring the fact that he’d done anything heroic.

“My friend Jane is around here somewhere.”

I remembered Jane and looked around for her. Part of me was angry that she had done nothing to save me, but then again, neither had I, and I didn’t think that I should hold her to a higher standard than I did myself.

“Two girls?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I think Jane has mace,” I added lamely.

“Where is this alleged friend?” He took his turn scanning the parking lot, and then pointed to something by a van parked on the other side. “I think I see her over there.”

“Where?” I squinted at where he pointed but couldn’t see anything.

“Over there,” he repeated, taking a step towards the black Jetta parked next to me. “Come on. We’ll go over and pick her up, and then I’ll give you guys a ride.”

I walked around to the passenger side of the car, and it never occurred to me to say no. Something about him made me trust him.

His car stereo played Weezer, and in the glow of the blue dashboard lights, I got my first real good look at him. His skin looked flawless, but his hair was perfectly disheveled.

He sped off across the parking lot, and I pulled my eyes away from him to look out the window. Jane cowered down behind a white van, and I wondered if she’d bothered to call the police or anything. He stopped the car next to her and rolled down the window so he could lean out.

“Jane?” he said, and she turned to look at him.

I expected her to be afraid, maybe even bolt and run after what had just happened. Instead, she gave him the strangest look. It was almost as if she was in awe.

“Hi,” Jane said. It wasn’t her normal flirty voice, even though I’m sure that’s what she was trying for.

“Jane, he’s giving us a ride,” I said when it appeared she would just stand there staring at him. “Get in the car.”

“Sure.” She smiled at him before sliding into the backseat.

“Are you okay?” I looked back at her.

“I’m great,” Jane said, still gaping at him. “Who’s your friend here?”

“I don’t actually know,” I admitted, looking over at him.

“I’m Jack,” he said, filling in the blank. “And you’re Jane.” Then he looked over at me. “And you are?”


“Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I could really go for a cup of coffee right about now.” Jack dropped the car into gear and sped off without waiting for either of us to respond. It wasn’t really a question anyway, and neither one of us would’ve protested.

“This is a really nice car,” Jane said, and her voice had fully regained that sickeningly sweet tone. Jack didn’t say anything, and the silence started to feel awkward.

“Is this Weezer?” I asked, just to say something.

“Yeah,” Jack nodded.

“I like that song ‘Pork ‘n Beans.’” As soon as I mentioned the song, Jack quickly flipped it to the track.

“I saw them when they were on tour with Motion City Soundtrack,” he said.