"Y'all can't go in there, they closed. Just the drive through open."
We thank her and start to get back in the car, but she moves closer.
"But maybe you boys could help me. I'm pregnant, I got twins comin' an' my momma just died; I ain' got nothin' to eat. Could you boys spare me somethin'?"
We make excuses at first: we have to get home, we don't have a whole lot of money, etc. But she persists.
"Oh, c'mon, boys, my babies gon' starve! I ain' got no money and my momma dead! I really pregnan', I got the papers! Here, come feel my belly!" When she sees that we're not being convinced, she starts to cry. "Oh, c'mon boys, do a poor woman a favor. The lord'll shine on you, my momma dead, I ain' gon' gank you, c'mon!" Gank. There's the word that would haunt me for the rest of my life. Realize here that it's very difficult to argue with a woman, a large woman, who speaks in broken ebonics, may or may not be pregnant (to this day, I think she was just fat), and may or may not be on some sort of drug that makes you kill people. We relent. I pull out my wallet to give her a few dollars for a burger.
"No, I can't get it, you need a car to go through the drive through. You boys gotta do it fo' me." I start to make another excuse but she readies the tears. We tell her that ok, we'll get her some food in the drive through. She thanks us, telling us how "God gon' bless!" and we get back in the car. Do our surprise, she gets in with us. We hadn't thought to lock the doors upon re-entry, and she just hopped in the back seat as though this was a regular behavior. For all we know, it might have been for her. We were too flabbergasted and, truth be told, terrified to tell her to get out.
Before we had reached the McDonald's, we had been searching for a radio station and hadn't yet found one to our liking. When we stopped the car, it had rested on a hard rap station. She immediately starts jiving to the music, commenting on how much she likes our taste. I kept my hand in my pocket, nine-one-one pulled up on the screen, just one button press away. Though that call may take too long if she had a shenk.
And so we began to wait through the painfully long line of cars in the drive-through. The whole while, the woman just spurts out dialogue, repeating the same five or six phrases, including "God gon' bless you for this!" "You gotta understand, these tough times, and a woman ain' able to support her pregnan' self when her momma just died" and "I ain' gankin' you, I ain' the kind of person who goes aroun' gankin' people."
Finally, we reached the ordering box. I got a 7-Up. My friend got nothing. The woman ordered a supersized #1 with extra fries and a ridiculously massive Coke. Her meal cost about $6. Not terrible, but $6 I'd rather have spent on someone who's not a probably drug addict. Unfortunately, we are informed that we'll have to wait extra, as the fries aren't done yet. Wonderful.
It is at this point, when we pull out money to pay for the food, that she informs us she could use some extra money: "Hey, boys, the Lord'd sure bless your hearts if you could gimme $8 for some Pampers ("pampahs") for my babies." We make excuses again: We need money for gas, for college, for a dowry, but she replays the well-worn act: "My momma dead! I pregnant with twins! Feel my belly! For real, I got the papers! Ain' you boys gon' help a woman in need? I swear I ain' gankin' you!" Once she starts crying again, we agree. When her food arrives, we pass it back to her along with $8. Not one to be shortchanged, though, she requests more. Too terrified of the strange woman in our car to resist, we give in.
Finally we are out of the drive-through! As we near the end of the parking lot, my friend slows down to let her out. Her hunger for our misery has not been sated, however. "Could you boys just drive me to the store so I can buy the Pampers?" We are done being had, however. She probably would have directed us to some sort of an evil lair, anyways. We forcefully tell her that we have to go the other way, but good luck with the babies.
And with that, it ended. The whole ordeal was over in under ten minutes but I would have sworn at the time it was an eternity. The drive home resides in my memory as a sort of bizarre, blurred state. I remember stopping at a Taco Bell thirty miles away and ordering food which took ten minutes to arrive (and every item in my order was wrong). My friend drove to a business park and peed in their man-made lake.
All in all, we lost about fifteen dollars to the mysterious woman. Not an incredibly high price to pay, but it took its toll. My friend has never been able to set foot at a McDonald's again. I myself go catatonic whenever I hear the word 'gank.'
Many people claim that they would never have allowed the woman in the car, they would have forced her out. But while that's easy to say, it's much less easy to do when she's right in your backseat, perhaps drugged up, perhaps with a gat in her pocket.
And who knows, maybe she was actually pregnant.