Virginia Dare quits Dunkin' Donuts and walks across the street to Danny's Coffee Shop.
Only God, the waitress, knows who she really is.
Virginia Dare has survived ravenous winters on nearly nothing.
She has walked through tall stalks of fast-growing corn under a late-summer sun, easy and content with herself.
She has brought blue-eyed, bronze-skinned babies into the world, and raised them well.
She sits down and tries to collect herself.
Virginia Dare has had to adapt to a changing world.
She has worked toward and received her G.E.D.
She has filled out dozens of employment applications,
Writing "Virginia Dare" in the space for her name on each.
A few prospective employers make remarks.
"Virginia Dare!" said one fat one. "I love your donuts!"
She forced a smile.
"That's Dolly Madison."
Another said, "Yes, there really is a Christmas, Virginia," and laughed at his own tired joke.
She stood up and left without a word.
Virginia Dare remembers her mother, barely.
She told Virginia the story, how she had had to leave her husband and friends behind her, dead in the snow.
Carrying her daughter, wrapped like a mummy in everything she could find,
She had paused only to carve the word "CROATAN" into the trunk of a tree,
And then disappeared among the bare branches, into an unimaginably different life.
The bell above the door jingles and the manager from Dunkin' Donuts strides in wearing his little brown tie.
He has a silly-looking blond crew cut, and stops right in front of Virginia Dare.
He says, "What do you think you're doing, Dare? You can't just fucking walk out in the middle of morning rush! Come back with me right now and you can punch back in. Otherwise you're S.O.L. honey."
He sees apprehension in her eyes.
Ha! It's working! he thinks smugly to himself.
What he doesn't see is the fully grown female black panther crouching silently on a table right behind him.
It is the Queen Of The Vampires, shape-shifted into her favorite form.
Twenty minutes later, the assistant manager from Dunkin' Donuts,
A mousy brown girl,
Comes in, looks around, and asks, "Where's Dave?"
The hot chick sitting over by the windows asks, "Who's Dave?"
It is Chloe,
Serial murderess, escapee from women's supermax, and the undisputed darling of Danny's Coffee Shop.
"No Dave here, honey."
Dave has vanished, and his disappearance may remain a tantalizing mystery forever.
Meanwhile, Virginia Dare is smiling and sound asleep in a tattered booth,
Watched over by a Dark-Haired Chick drinking a pumpkin spice,
And a contented-looking
(and very full)