“So it’s agreed that our weekly trip to Cashman’s will be tomorrow instead of Saturday and will include a perusal of the new fall line for appropriately hued crimson items.” Sandi eyed Stacy’s white shirt malevolently. “Since some club members seem to be woefully behind the current fashions.”


Stacy gulped. Labor Day had been the day before, and yet she had worn white today. Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could I have forgotten today was the day after Labor Day? It was easy since she had been so tired that morning. Sandi had called an emergency Fashion Club meeting the night before to discuss Waif’s new issue and the hot colors for fall, this year, crimson. By the time she had gotten home, her mom had gotten back from her shift at the hospital. Stacy had volunteered to make her a late dinner, seeing how working the swing shifts were wearing her out. By the time she had finished that and then her homework (Sandi never knew she handed it in secretly), it was almost two in the morning. Stacy was just happy she’d been fully dressed when she’d arrived at school, but now she was regretting not setting something appropriate out beforehand.


If you can’t find the sun in your own day, at least you can try to be it in someone else’s. Her mother’s words always came back to her whenever Sandi was raining on her particularly hard.


“And crimson is such a good color for you Sandi, I’m sure you’ll find lots of things that will look great.” Stacy felt better when Sandi rewarded her with a smile, condescending though it was.


Quinn looked over her shoulder when the bell at the counter rang. “Number four, one large cheese-less pizza.” The acne covered teen squeaked out. The four girls shuddered at his obvious lack of skin care knowledge and horrendous Pizza King uniform.


“I’ll get it!” Stacy volunteered brightly. The other three smiled at her.


Stacy walked to the counter smiling, but it faded when she heard Sandi’s not-quite-whispered comment. “Maybe she’ll spill it on herself and then she won’t have to bear the shame of wearing white after Labor Day.”


Stacy’s shoulders slumped as she approached the counter. As she was handing the cashier the money, someone ran in the door and pushed her out of the way.


“Give me all the money in the cash register! NOW!” His eyes were wild, with huge pupils. Stacy cowered next to the counter, afraid to move and draw attention to herself. She tried to get a good look at him with out staring, silently describing him to herself so she could tell the police when they came.


When the cashier just stared back at him in fright, making no motion to empty the register, the man pulled a gun out of his pocket.


“I said ALL THE MONEY! NOW!” The cashier shakily opened the register and tried to get the bills out with jerky, terrified movements.


At the sight of the gun Stacy let out an involuntary whimper. The robber turned his unstable gaze to her, immediately noticing the cash still clutched in her hand. He took an unsteady step towards her, and Stacy noticed he was shaking almost as badly as she was. He must be coming off some drug, he must need  more money for more drugs. She added these thoughts to his description. He grabbed at the money in her hand, but in her state of paralyzed fear, she couldn’t unclench her hand to let him take it.


“LET GO, YOU BITCH!” He pulled harder, waving his gun hand wildly as he tried to balance and wrest the money from her. The shock of a loud gunshot made her finally let go. The robber stumbled back with her money and grabbed the money the cashier had managed to pile on the counter then fled out the door. Being early on a Tuesday night, he later found out he had gotten a grand total of four hundred and twenty-three dollars, including the fifteen he had ripped out of Stacy’s hand.


When he was gone someone called out. “CALL 911!”


Quinn ran over to Stacy who was shaking against the wall. “Don’t worry Quinn, I know what he looks like, I can tell the police everything.” She tried to breathe deeply and not hyperventilate.


Quinn’s eyes filled with tears. “Stacy?”


“I’m okay, Quinn, but he took my money. Can you get the pizza this time?” Stacy slid down the wall, after all the excitement she was feeling a little dizzy. “I think I just need to sit for a minute.”


Sandi and Tiffany rushed over and kneeled next to Quinn. They could hear sirens in the distance. Stacy looked to Sandi. “I used the method you taught me for coordinating outfits to remember what he was wearing.” She laughed a bit and coughed. “Can you believe his t-shirt was crimson? I mean a drugged-up thief was more fashionable than me.”


A tear ran down Sandi’s cheek. “No way, Stacy. He’s nothing but trash. You’re way fashionable.”


Stacy looked up at her with a delighted smile. “Really, Sandi?”


“Yeah, Stacy.” Especially since the bright red stain had soaked through Stacy’s once white t-shirt, turning it the exact shade of red that Waif hailed as fall’s hottest hue.


Stacy closed her eyes, thinking that this was the first time Sandi had ever sincerely complemented her. I’m going to tell the police everything and they’re going to catch that guy. Mom will be so proud. And Sandi really meant it when she said I was fashionable. This was the best night ever…


Her world faded to black.