Her Name Was Madi
Author's note: I always loved the 1950's. Grease, Cry-Baby, so many things made me want to write something for... Show full author's note »
Chapter Three"Madi? Madi, are you okay?"
"Donnie, she passed out. Give her a minute or two."
"God, you guys look awful. Glad I wasn't around to get involved in that beating."
"Leave 'em alone, Gare. You know, from what you guys told me, you owe her big time." a girl's voice interrupted.
Madi groaned, finally coming to after what felt like forever. She pulled herself up to a sitting position and glanced at the crowd of children surrounding her. The two boys she'd stood up for looked at her curiously, along with another boy and a girl that could pass as one. The new boy had a crew cut like the others, and the girl had fine, blonde hair that was tied back in a short ponytail. Both of the newcomers wore shorts and tee-shirts. Ah, Madi thought, smirking at the girl. A regular tomboy. The girl reminded Madi of herself at a younger age, and her cheekiness brought a nostalgic grin to her face. Noticing Madi staring at her, she scowled.
"What are you looking at?" she asked suspiciously. Madi flushed in embarrassment.
"Nothing, chickie. Cool your jets, alright?" Madi replied coolly. The girl gave her a confused look, reminding her that it was, indeed, the fifties and phrases like that had yet to be invented.
"Okay, scratch that. I'm Madi, in case these two haven't told you already."
"Well, I'm Di. Short for Diana," she said. Then, pointing at each boy in turn, she added, "This here's Gary, and that's Donnie and Daniel." Donnie was the smallest, and Daniel was the one with the bruise on his face. Speaking of which, the area was starting to turn funny colors.
"By the way, thanks for rescuing these two. I don't know what Di and I would do without them," Gary laughed, ignoring Donnie and Daniel's glares directed at him. They all looked so young and innocent to Madi. She wondered how Tony and his friends could be so cruel to them, other than the fact that he and his friends were, in every sense of the word, greasers.
"What were those guys picking on you for, anyway?" she asked quietly.
"Oh, that's just the way Tony is," Daniel said. Rethinking his reply, he continued, "He's treated us like that ever since I can remember. See, Tony's parents...They...you see..." The fact that he was struggling for words was a bad sign in itself.
"What Danny's trying to say is that Tony's parents are...let's leave it at strict. I mean, all I've heard is rumors, but if you look at the way he treats anyone smaller than him, you're pretty sure they aren't just rumors." For what looked like a nine-year-old girl, Di was pretty intellectual. From what she'd heard, Tony's story was one that she could relate to, and for a moment, she almost felt sorry for him. The feeling quickly dissolved into pure anger at how rude he'd been earlier.
"Oh. Well why don't we get you two cleaned up? I'm sure your parents would have an aneurism if they saw you like this," Madi laughed, standing up and brushing off her knees. Looking at her uneasily, the children stammered over their words. Gary was the only one able to reply.
"Madi, what would people think if you went out in public like that?" he asked, suppressing laughter. "I mean, I didn't want to say anything, but geez!"
Almost taking offense at his words, Madi took a nice, long look at her attire. It was the era of girls showing nothing above their shins, let alone everything up to their mid-thighs. She, however, was doing all of the above, not to mention the pale expanse of chest she had left exposed for the world to see.
"You've got a point. Well then, I guess I'll..." she trailed off, wondering whether or not she should mention the fact that she was technically homeless here. She thought it better not to, seeing as the conversation would probably turn to her having to try and explain just why she had no home, no family, not to mention no permanent records. It was like she didn't exist -which was true, to be honest-but she needed all the friends she could get, so she kept her mouth shut.
"I'll just go home, then. I hope you guys heal up alright," she finished with a smile as she left the clearing, trying to figure out what on earth she would do about her situation.
It had been almost an hour since Madi had left the other kids, and she was beginning to regret it. In that one period of time, she had figured out two things.
First, she needed to enroll in school somehow. Sure, this time-traveling weirdness gave her the option to skip school for the remainder of the year, but Madi had to face it. She was a deep down nerd. She was always up to learning something new, and she couldn't see herself sitting idly waiting for something to happen. Enrolling in the local school would also give her a chance to get to know people her age and not only make her time there more bearable, but also possibly give her a clue as to how to get home. The only problem with this idea was that she didn't have an address or legal guardians. She knew she needed at least that much in order to get in, and didn't want to attempt to explain her situation for fear of being committed. She hoped that maybe with her being the first teenager actually begging to get into school, she'd have luck on her side.
The second item of business was that she needed some clothes. Boxers and a cami just wouldn't cut it in this time period. She didn't have a single cent on her, so she figured it had come to the worst. She'd have to steal some, preferably from a bobby soxer. She'd always wanted a poodle skirt, but they were only sold around Halloween at home.
Thinking over all of this, Madi realized something.
She was in way, way, WAY over her head.
Madi hated to think about it, but she was a bit of a goody two shoes when it came down to it. She'd never stolen anything in her life and had no idea how to pull off what she was about to do. However, she desperately needed clothes if she was going to confront the high school principal, so she set off for the first clothing store she could see.
The store was very quiet when Madi entered, almost too quiet. Teenage girls laughed and fawned over different boys, picking through the clothing racks as they went. Trying her hardest to be inconspicuous, Madi stuck close to the girls, seeing that this would probably be the easiest way to get what she needed. The longer she followed them, however, the more she wanted to gauge their eyes out with a dull butter knife. The girls' voices were loud and obnoxious, and their incessant banter about what they wanted to do with the boys they talked about made Madi sick at her stomach. The age of innocence indeed, Madi thought in frustration. Finally, they all decided on what they wanted, and Madi did as well. One of the girls held up a black off-the-shoulder top and a pale pink poodle skirt. Luckily, she was buying four other outfits with shoes and socks to match, so Madi would have enough clothes to hold her until she could find a legal way to attain more. While the girls checked out, Madi grabbed a scrap of paper off of the floor and wrote a quick little IOU with a pen on the checkout counter. When the woman behind the counter asked her if she needed help, eyeing her clothes suspiciously, she answered no, but the woman happened to glance down and kicked her out for being barefoot. Madi shrugged, not seeing the point in arguing, and sat on a bench in front of the store's entrance.
Once the girls left the store, Madi strolled along behind them, stopping as much as she could and trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. She was eliciting enough stares already, not to mention her bare feet were practically frying on the hot sidewalk. A few minutes into her pursuit, the girls stopped and sat on a bench farther down the street, to people-watch at the diner across the road, it seemed. They all set their bags underneath the bench and almost instantly became heavily engrossed in conversation.
Snatching her chance, Madi quickly checked for any witnesses and saw no one other than the people in the diner, and strolled through the grassy clearing behind the girls' bench. Clasping her hands behind her back, she approached the bench from behind, and before she could second-guess herself, she dropped silently to her knees, replaced the girl's bag with the IOU, and left in the exact direction she'd came from.
Miraculously, no one caught even a glimpse of her in the act. Either that, or no one cared enough to report it, because she got all the way back to the woods without being seen. Making absolutely sure no one was watching, she began to change into one of the outfits in the bag.