Exchange Rate: 1-Jeff
Exchange Rate: 2-Allyson
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2 – Allyson
L’Tasha Allyson Mosley trudged along SR50 toward the truck stop. Her arm still hurt from where her stepfather had nearly yanked it out of its socket. The sting from her mother slapping her face had faded twenty minutes ago, but the emotional sting was still raw and painful. Her mother never listened, never took her side. All she cared about was Steve, her stepfather. Steve was the most important person on the planet. Steve paid the bills. Steve was a good man and Allyson was an ungrateful little bitch. Steve was God and Allyson was shit. Lower than shit.
She kicked an empty beer can as hard as she could. The can plinked and bonked off the rocks in the barrow pit lining the road, but there was no satisfaction for her. Kicking a can didn’t fix the problems in her life. My problems are soon to be solved, she thought. Her eyes wanted to release tears again, but Allyson clenched her jaw as hard as she could and willed them away. She was done crying. That time was over.
Her feet led her off the highway and into the parking lot of the Snake Flats Oasis & Rest. She wondered if there was a more redneck place on earth than a truck stop saddling the freeway in a barren stretch of a conservative, religious state like Idaho. Her feet kicked a few pebbles and a stray plastic bottle cap as she made her way around the massive storefront. Allyson kept her head down as she approached the convenience store doors. The looks that followed her everywhere were old hat by now, but they always hurt, and she didn’t feel like dealing with it today. Her mother had warned her when she’d moved them both to Borah from Orlando that there was going to be a bit of culture shock. “A bit” was possibly the biggest understatement that Allyson had ever heard.
She was ten when they had packed up and moved in the middle of the night, escaping her real father and his fists. Maralyn, her mother, had met some guy on the internet, and he must have convinced her to bail without warning and head all the way to Idaho. Allyson had only heard of Idaho a couple times during school. It might as well have been Sweden. Except in Sweden she wouldn’t be stared at, teased, insulted, and even bullied like she had been since the day she set foot in what she called “Hillbilly North.” Continue reading