Behind the Wheel
Jessica Hoffmann

"Did she tell you that or you're just guessing that from something else she said?"
"She might as well have told me that."
"But did she really?"
"She may not have said it exactly like that, but that's what she thinks."
"Because she told you that's what she thinks or because that's what you think she thinks?"
"Oh, Daniel. Just stop."
Natalie pulls to the curb. The donut shop's main entrance is closed and there's a man standing on the other side of bulletproof plastic at a side window with a small slot.
"One small coffee, please," Daniel says through the slot. "Just one small cup of coffee."
"I want a donut. Get me one with sprinkles," Natalie calls from the car.
Around past the main (closed) entrance of the donut shop, in the dark corner of the strip mall, about a dozen men are hunched and noisy. A few are crouched low to the ground, throwing dice.
Natalie has no idea this goes on nightly in an unlit corner of a strip mall three blocks from her apartment.
A man taps Daniel's shoulder and offers him colorful bits of glass that look like they came from the bottom of an aquarium. Daniel gives the man a dollar and buys him a cup of coffee. The man makes sure Daniel doesn't forget the pieces of glass, tells him they're like marbles and "they're yours."
They're flat on the bottom, Daniel notices; no way they'd roll.

"No es our order," the woman in the car says, and hands the bag back to the woman in the window.
The woman in the window doesn't want to take it, tries not to hear, finally reaches out and accepts the handed-back bag, looks in. "This no es what you order?"
"No, no es. Look, the other lady's coming back." The woman in the car points.
The woman in the car ahead of hers, a nice one, still running, is walking back to the window along the path that's for driving-through cars only, a bag in her hand. She stops between this other woman in the car and this other woman in the window: "This isn't my order. I can't eat this."
The woman in the car laughs; her kid in the passenger seat laughs with her.
The woman in the window is flustered, can't move fast enough to get these other two women out of her life.