*** Chapter 3 Part 3
Grande latte in hand, Dell walked with Panda across the intersection to the large gas station on the corner. It was Panda’s idea to learn how to turn the pumps on. They had several way to go: put cash into the automated kiosk between the pumps; use their debit cards at the pumps, or go inside and figure out how the store clerk manually punched in the numbers and the amounts to turn on the gas to each pump.
“It seems completely insane to have to BUY gasoline you know!” said Dell. “I mean, look at these prices! $4.47 for the cheapest grade!” She hopped up onto the counter and elegantly crossed her legs. Taking a sip of her coffee she ranted, “I think those oil companies should be SHOT. I’ve got better things to do with my money than…”
Panda, rootling around under the counter for a cheat sheet of some kind, sat back on her haunches and looked at the back of Dell’s shoulders which were frozen and then trembling as she began to cry.
“It’s just that my WHOLE LIFE has been consumed with money,” cried Dell. “Constant worry, constant struggle to stay afloat. Always wanting more, never having enough. For years I’ve watched friends get to take fabulous trips and cruises and things; buy houses and brand new cars; shop at Nordstrom’s and never bat an eye at the price tags while I pinched and scrimped and shopped at thrift stores and savored my one indulgence—my Starbucks.” She held up her paper cup, “And now that it’s all over I should feel fantastic, right? I don’t have to worry about any of it anymore. But I don’t. I feel shitty. I feel PISSED OFF. Like I’ve been ripped off somehow.”
“I know. I’m so sorry, Dell.”
“You aren’t sorry!” pouted Dell. “Look at you! You are totally in your element! You’ve been planning for this for years. You’ve just gotten everything you’ve ever wanted and I’ve had everything just swept away.”
“Not everything I’ve wanted, Dell,” said Panda. “I mean, after all…there aren’t any zombies.”
“I’m sure there will be,” sighed Dell with the beginnings of a smile. “And they’ll come shuffling along wearing designer jeans and carrying Gucci purses.”
Panda came around the corner and Dell hopped down from the counter. They hugged. “It’s going to be all right.” They said in unison and then laughed.
“Come on, Dell. I’ve got an idea.”
“What now, Panda? Siphoning lessons?”
“No, even better!” twinkled Panda. “Let’s go to the mall. Let’s go to Nordstrom!”