A Casualty of Chance Part 1

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A married nurse has a minor transgression


If Kelli Zellers had a fault, it was the fact that she couldn’t easily say the word, “No”. It was a trait borne somewhat out of her DNA, her Mother was such a sweet woman that most who knew her thought she was a prime candidate for Sainthood. Between the selflessness Kelli showed with her Husband and two daughters over the years, not to mention her chosen career as a registered nurse, Kelli had long ago given more than she would ever take on this Earth.

That word, “No” often crept out of her lungs and into her throat, but very rarely did it ever slip off her tongue, and even when it did, Kelli felt a silly but real discomfort thinking she might be disappointing the person making the inquiry. It was simply the way she was wired.

Kelli’s inability to say ‘no’ was what had her driving towards the Interstate on-ramp that unusually warm, late September Thursday morning, so she could head back to her home in the ‘burbs after a 3rd straight 12 hour overnight shift at the St. Louis hospital she worked.

She was only a couple of blocks away from the entrance to I-64 West when she looked down and saw her gas gauge creeping towards a quarter of a tank. While it was certainly enough to get her home, Kelli decided to stop and fill up anyway so she wouldn’t have to pump the gas on her way back out that night to go back in to work.

Kelli had worked the dayshift at her hospital for nearly a decade and a half, and certainly had the seniority to turn down the hours on graveyard if she wanted to put her foot down. But with several girls on 3rd shift away on vacation and many of the less tenured girls on her shift having young children who needed a steady routine in their lives, Kelli had offered to take the bullet for a few weeks until the night crew was back at full strength.

It wasn’t the worst thing in the world. While it did mess with her internal clock, Kelli had found it quite nice to get off work a little after sunrise and be able to go home to a quiet house after her Husband had left for work and her 16 year old Daughter had left for school. She could make herself a little breakfast in peace, watch some of Oprah or The View perhaps, then get a good dose of sleep before waking up around 5 o’clock, put on some dinner, eat with her family, then get ready for her shift at work.

Kelli made the right into the gas station’s parking lot and took a deep breath of thanks seeing the place wasn’t that busy. The last thing she needed after being in her work clothes all night was to have to wait in line around a bunch of strangers, much less without a dab of make-up on, running into someone she knew. Quickly pulling up to the pump, Kelli got out, pumped $37.00 into her Subaru Outback and went inside to pay.

Other than the two clerks and a handful of customers milling around the store, the place was pretty much dead. After paying for her gas, a bottle of V-8 and a pack of peanut butter crackers to tide her over until she got home, Kelli walked back outside and clicked the remote to unlock her car.

Everything was going so routinely Kelli allowed her mind to drift as she walked to her car, thinking about a variety of things from a few incidents that happened the previous night at work to perhaps buying a new outfit to wear for a dinner party her Husband’s office was throwing in a few weeks. She was completely oblivious to everyone parked or pumping gas around her.

Kelli was able to lose herself in thought a little easier at 9 o’clock in the morning at a place like that than she might if she’d stopped at 9 o’clock that evening. Still, she jumped a little and froze when she heard a male voice call out in her direction just as she’d rounded the front of her vehicle.

“Yooo…move yo’ car bitch!! ” a deep and menacing voice shot at her causing Kelli to freeze and turn around in apprehension just before she reached for the driver’s side door handle.

“Yes,” Kelli answered nervously, fumbling a little with her juice and crackers as she turned to see a beat up Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera with two scary looking Black dudes in them,dressed in standard hood attire. They were looking for a parking spot and Kelli had her car parked in the spot that was nearest to the exit.

“Yo hurry up bitch we ain’t got all day”,the driver continued to bark menacingly.

“Yeah, sorry just give me a minute” Kelli blurted out apprehensively as she desperately searched for the car key in her purse.

Just before she did however, the 12 ounce glass bottle of V-8 that she’d been struggling with slipped from her fingers and shattered in a blood red puddle directly at her feet.

“AAAHH,” a quick shriek burst from Kelli’s throat the same time the exploding glass caused everyone in the parking lot to look her way.

Instantly pulling her feet away from the expanding mess, Kelli was thankful only a trace of the thick red juice dotted her white work shoes. Taking a quick,fearful look at the two dudes sitting in the Ciera, she saw them whispering something to one another and giggling before turning their gaze at her with an ugly smirk on their faces. She felt like sinking into the ground at that moment.

She looked round to see just how many others had been outside to hear her little case of the ‘dropsies’, Kelli once again said a private prayer of thanks that the station wasn’t all that busy. Only the two in the ciera, had apparently witnessed her act of clumsiness.

“OOPS, I’m so so sorry!!” Kelli said out loud, her voice quivering with fear now faced with what to do next.

Like most people, her first instinct was to sneak back into her car and drive away but her conscience quickly stopped her. Kelli immediately imagined how she’d react if one of her

children had made such a mess only to turn their back on it and disappear as if nothing had happened.

Stepping aside the growing puddle of juice and broken glass, Kelli swung her purse over her shoulder and started to walk back inside the store to get a broom, signalling nervously to the two that she needed but a minute to fix this. Before she could get halfway to the door however, a short, gray haired man with a noticeable slump and limp hobbled outside with a broom and walk along dustpan.

“I’m so sorry,” Kelli mouthed with heartfelt apologies to the attendant who ambled up to the smashed glass and began sweeping it up into a loose pile.

Several of the customers who were inside the store gradually began filtering out the door and passing Kelli as she stood in the center of the parking lot, trying to decide whether or not she wanted to go back inside and get another bottle of juice.

“Just leave and go home,” she told herself, the tiring brunt of her discombobulated work schedule, and messed up sleeping habits, finally catching up with her.

In the process of spinning around to head back to her car however, Kelli plowed face first right into the driver who was just walking into the store.

“UUUAAAHHH,” Kelli’s voice squeaked as her forehead bounced off the stranger’s shoulder.

“Bitch, watch where you walking!” the very tall and well built youngster,appearing to be barely out of his teenage years , dressed in a tight white tank top and black jeans, whom she’d stumbled into barked, barely flinching from such a tiny woman running into him. Still, he instinctively reached out with his right hand to grab Kelli by the arm in case she might fall.

“…I’m…s…s…sorry…,’ Kelli stuttered, now doing her best to clumsily pull backwards as she and the kid did that awkward “you go left at the same time I go right” dance to try and peel themselves off each other.

Kelli and the stranger tried several times to dodge away from each other before finally pulling themselves apart. Smiling nervously as she backed up, Kelli nearly collided with the older man who’d cleaned up her broken bottle as he tried to limp back inside the store.

“God…I just need to go home before I run over somebody…,’ Kelli laughed, the pale, Irish white skin of her neck and cheeks showing a noticeable blush as she looked down at her left arm, still feeling the youngster’s grip seeming to tingle her skin even though he’d let it go a few seconds earlier.

“Man, fuck this!!” the youngster she’d just about smashed into said rudely even after noticing Kelli’s outfit and walked passed her into the store.

Kelli found herself dumbstruck for the moment by the stranger’s aggressive posture and rude and menacing tone. It had been years since her Husband, or anyone really close to her for that matter, ever spoken to her in that tone or behaved with her in that manner. Like most people with the same caring make-up as Kelli, she barely ever got to face someone’s anger or rudeness as her own behaviour was always was so polite and caring.

To have a complete stranger speak to her in that manner, merely because she barreled into him, brought a flash of anger to Kelli’s tired face which on it’s own was a very rare phenomenon, she hardly ever got angry. But this was different.

Staying true to her nature, she anyhow failed to act on it, she just couldn’t drop her ‘nice lady’ character and rebuke someone even when his actions warranted it.

She just marched back to her car,huffing and puffing with fury. Kelli instantly noticed the other black kid,also appearing to be just out of his teenage, who had been sitting in the ciera, taller and even more impressively built than the other one, dressed in a military green hoodie and loose blue jeans as he leaned against their car. She cast a look of anger and disgust at him,something which his stoic face didn’t even register.Kelli took a deep breath hoping that minor tragedy was the worst thing she’d have to deal with all day.

Opening the door and stepping inside, Kelli scuttled through her keys before raising the right one towards the ignition.

A full tank of gas and some of her dignity left intact, Kelli checked her rearview for any vehicles behind her before dropping the transmission into drive and attempting to finally head home. Just before she could however, a moving shadow of light sparkled in the corner of her left eye. Taking a look out of the driver’s side window, Kelli saw the tank top wearing kid walking towards her car, a lit cigarette stuck in between his lips.

“You’re gas cap’s still open,” Kelli heard him say,for the first time in a neutral voice, making her pound her head once again in embarrassment.

The kid quickly reached for the cap, twisted it back on and then closed the latch tight.

“Thank you” Kelli told him tersely, her anger still simmering within her, after rolling her window half way down as her nostrils picked up the unpleasant odor of cigarette smoker.

“No problem,” he replied,blowing smoke in her direction.

“One more thing,” the kid added, knowing he still had the woman’s attention, even though she visibly moved away a bit from the window, coughing a bit and attempting to wave the smoke away.

“What?” Kelli asked, distracted by the smoke

The next few words out of the younger man’s mouth caused the married mother of two’s heart to stop. With simple, sober and calm clarity, the kid who’d called her a bitch a few minutes earlier and who had even managed to anger her, a nearly impossible task to do,now asked Kelli if she’d be interested in following him and his friend back to their motel room down the street. There wasn’t a hint of crassness or intimidation in the kid’s tone, just a direct and succinct offer.

Completely taken aback by the invitation, Kelli tried to respond but it suddenly felt as if her tongue had been stung by several bees. Looking off to her left, doing anything she could to avoid eye contact with the kid standing a few feet in front of her door, Kelli eyes settled on the kid’s friend, the burly kid was leaning against the fender of his car, watching with his arms folded in curious amusement as his co-worker tried to pick her up.

Even though there wasn’t a hint of outward harassment or force in the stranger’s demeanor, the fact that he continued to stand there staring inside the car at Kelli, his gaze unflinching as his offer (and cigarette smoke) hung in the air, caused Kelli to feel as if she was stewing in her seat. Her nervous system still too overloaded to allow her to turn her wrist so she could start the car and drive away, Kelli apprehension grew with each passing second knowing her silence might be construed as interest.

“What?!!!…I’m…marri…,” Kelli started to say through the half opened window.

“I know,” the stranger efficiently cut her off. “I saw the ring. So you’re saying if you weren’t married, you’d be interested?”

Once again Kelli was left too dumbstruck to respond. And the man continued to just stand there, hands in pockets, waiting. That’s when he moved closer a bit, taking a lengthy drag from his cigarette and blowing it deliberately blowing it in her face. Kelli coughed a little more but this time she didn’t move.

Her head already spinning from a long night at work and the shock to her system from the shift change, Kelli knew she wasn’t in her right mind to begin with. Compounded with dropping the bottle in the parking lot and about knocking down everyone in her path trying to get back to her car, Kelli knew her emotional tank was already on empty. And now she was being confronted with the crudest of offers from a barely legal kid she didn’t even know.

Despite the blow to her moral decency, something deep within Kelli’s core was scratched open like a scab. He obviously didn’t care that she didn’t like smoke, and that ignited a warm feeling in her stomach, in fact he hadn’t made the slightest effort to please her, he scared her more than anything else.

Even though it was an ‘on again/off again’ relationship in her teens and early 20’s, Kelli had wound up marrying her college sweetheart. Thin and freckled, Kelli had never remotely considered herself a ‘man magnet’. Only 5 foot 2 with straight dirty blonde hair and plain facial features, the last thing she ever would think of herself as was sexy or desirable. The middle child of two other sisters, Kelli had also grown up used to flying under the radar when it came to attention. Thankfully she’d learned early on in life that she had a gift for compassion and helping others, and those traits had helped Kelli carve out a wonderful two decade career in the medical field.

Like anyone however, she still harbored a few scars from the past. Whether it was not being asked out by the guy she wanted for Junior Prom, or always seemingly being the last person chosen for sides in gym class, or even being picked over for promotions at work because she was sure the women hired had been selected because they were either more buxom or curvaceous in terms of appearance.

The thought of being propositioned so bluntly in public was something Kelli never contemplated. Especially considering how haggard she looked from a long night at work. Her hair was a mess, she didn’t have a hint of make-up on and she still had on her scrubs and yet here was this handsome stranger with his full attention concentrated on her.

Looking out the car’s windshield, Kelli watched as a rather attractive blonde, dressed in a business suit and heels, walked across the parking lot headed towards the door of the store. It was the same type of woman Kelli had always found herself inferior to and she was sure the blonde woman was on the stranger’s radar, but he kept his gaze locked directly on Kelli, waiting for her to say something as she sat in the driver’s seat of her Outback.

“Come on back with us to the motel,” he said once again in a very stoic,nonchalant tone without betraying any emotion.

Kelli turned to try and make some sort of visual stand but when she did, before she could utter a word, she was sure she saw the stranger ever so subtly squeeze his right hand over an obvious protrusion in the crotch of his tailored pants.

“…I…just…I…can’t…I have…to…go,” Kelli stammered, both her hands now buried in her lap to keep the man from looking in and seeing them shaking.

“I’m guessing your Husband’s well on his way to work by now…and if you have kids…I’m sure they’ve already left for school. House is probably empty when you get home…nobody will miss you all day, will they?” the kid said with deliberate ease, seeing the truth of his words glisten in Kelli’s watering eyes.

“Tell you what,” he added a few moments later. “Roll your window down all the way.” blowing another puff of smoke in her direction, showing his dominance as she didn’t even bother to wave it away this time.

“…Why…?” Kelli’s voice creaked ,her anger having disappeared almost entirely.

The kid didn’t answer, just nodded his head down and smiled.

With her left hand, Kelli tentatively reached for the button and did what the stranger asked, having no clue what he wanted.

Taking a casual step forward, the kid leaned his 6 foot 2 inch frame forward and extended his left hand through the opened window. Kelli instantly tensed and recoiled against the seat seeing the stranger’s open palm approaching the right side of her face.

Kelli watched with a mixture of befuddlement and fear as the man’s left arm extended before her eyes. She didn’t comprehend that it was all real until she felt the stranger’s fingertips brush gently across her cheek. Stifling a scream, Kelli trembled ever so slightly as the stink of tobacco and sweat wafted through the window. His touch was soft but Kelli could feel the youngster’s strength coursing through his fingers and before she could manage to stop it, just for a brief moment, she quivered as the image of his dark body intertwined with her pale white one exploded in her mind.

Her first inclination was to lay on the car’s horn, but there was no way at that moment to make her arms move. Instead she just sat there staring straight forward feeling the man’s fingertips drift first down her cheek then across her chin before descending down her thin neck. Kelli then felt her entire world go black when the man extended his palm out an instant before brazenly squeezing it around the small orb of her right breast through the dark blue material of her uniform top and bra.

“Somebody has to be seeing this…how can this be happening in broad daylight?” Kelli’s internal voice wheezed, but when she managed to focus her squinted gaze outside the car, it seemed the few people in the parking lot were oblivious to her plight.

Not only did the man reach inside the car and grab Kelli’s tit, he proceeded to massage it softly as he leaned through the open window. His free hand propped along the edge of the door, he made it appear to anyone that might take notice that he was just having a casual conversation with the woman inside. The entire time however, he was thumbing and pawing at Kelli’s right breast until her nipple had grown shamefully erect through the shell of her bra and top. Looking down at the breast he wasn’t groping, he noticed Kelli’s left nipple was puffed up and straining the fabric of her top as well. She finally mustered enough courage to move her gaze and look him in the eye, a look of fear and curiosity sparkling in her eyes. He looked at her with hunger,like she was a delicious piece of meat and he was going to consume her in frenzy of gluttony, his still lit cigarette stuck between his lips.He reached up, removing the cigarette with his right hand and putting his left hand ,which had been fondling her right breast, on the back of her head and pulled her forward towards his lips. Kelli’s eyes widened as his face drew closer but she offered no resistance. Their lips touched and waves of pleasure shot through her body when he shoved his tongue into her mouth.He kissed her hard, she could sense a primal sense of hunger in him, even though she completely remained frozen in her place,her tongue remaining jammed shut and her eyes wide open in shock. Even though she hated tobacco, the fact that she could taste and smell the smoke on and in him, that only seemed to further ignite the warm feeling in her guts. As a result, she felt her legs go rubbery.

Breaking the kiss and then giving her tit one good hard last squeeze before letting it go, the stranger felt a virile jolt of adrenaline race through his system hearing the gurgling sigh that rose from Kelli’s throat when he did. Turning to quickly survey the parking lot, as well as cast he friend a wry, wicked smile, the kid standing at Kelli’s window then turned his full attention back to her.

“If I dropped my fly right now, I bet you’d suck my dick right here in the parking lot, wouldn’t you?” the stranger said with cool callousness.

Reaching for the fly of his slacks, the man seemed to mock Kelli, taking a real measure of satisfaction from the way she gulped and her lips quivered ever so slightly when his fingers raised the tank top, displaying the zipper holding back his blatantly visible bulge, as if for a moment she actually thought he was going to pull his cock out right there in front of her. Then her eyes darted to the thing, stuck in his waistband. The realization dawned on her rather quickly as she felt her throat go dry and her heart literally stop beating for a moment.

It was a gun, it was an automatic silver bodied pistol.

The stranger then just laughed a deep soulful laugh before extracting the gun from his waistband and sticking it in the back of his jeans and untucking his tank top in order to hide it.

“Don’t worry about it, it ain’t for you” he said, an ugly,cocky smirk on his face.

“You can come back to our motel room like I said…you know you’re gonna dream about this…I can see the need in your eyes, Lady. No reason to spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if’…what’s stoppin’ ya…come on and make a little selfish memory for yourself,” the armed kid offered calmly before patting the driver’s side door twice and nodding down to Kelli one last time.

He then turned and walked as if nothing had happened back to his car.

Kelli’s breaths were short and pained watching the kid walk back to his car, get in with his friend and close the door. There was nothing now preventing her from turning the key and starting her car so she could finally get back on with her life and forget the last few minutes ever happened. Instead, she just sat in her seat, the bundle of keys still wedged tightly in her sweaty right hand as she stared down at her work scrubs, seeing the way the material was bunched right where the man had fondled her breast a minute ago. As much she fought it, Kelli could still feel the fleshy, champagne glass shaped orb inside her bra cup tingling from the stranger’s brief but illicit massage, not to mention the strong after taste of tobacco that was lingering in her mouth, a proof of his forceful kiss.

Looking pensively over at the boys’ beat up old cutlass ciera, Kelli watched as it started up and waited to see them drive away, and out of her life. The running car continued to idle there however. The tinted windows preventing her from seeing inside, Kelli gulped when she saw the passenger window suddenly roll down and the bigger kid who’d been leaning against the car extending his hand out the window and give her a waving gesture to go ahead and leave first.

Kelli struggled to raise her hand towards the ignition as both men patiently waited for her next move. On some visceral level Kelli understood what she’d do next would change her future, if not how she viewed her very self.

Again the kids waved her on but Kelli continued to sit there, unable to close her hand around the gear shift and drop it into drive. Watching the men’s Malibu finally ease away from the pump and towards the main road, Kelli felt an eerie wave sweep through her body, like a thief slipping out during the dead of night, her rational soul somehow escaping her body in that one blinding moment of weakness.

She pulled right out behind them, seemingly unconcerned by the fact that at least one of them had a gun, and judging by their looks,tone and behaviour they were at the very least drug dealers, they could even be murderous gangsters.


Rico Smith and Gerald Cranston were both aged 19 ,they were gangbangers affiliated to the St. Louis chapter of the dreaded street gang called Bloods.They’d been friends since high school where they spent more time dealing and hanging out with their neighbourhood thugs than in attending classes. After a one year stint in a youth correctional facility they both became full time members of the Bloods, dealing drugs mostly but also having been involved in shootouts on two separate occasions. They were currently at the bottom of the totem pole in their set and lived in a shared room in a rundown budget motel situated in East St. Louis, the worst slum in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Rico and Gerald spent their days dealing drugs, protecting their corners and mostly blew away the money they earned on prostitutes and malt liquor. They weren’t junkies however, though they occasionally did imbibe and inject things. They had picked up plenty of women, most of them prostitutes, a few of them ghetto girls, but never before had either one of them ever propositioned a complete stranger in broad daylight, going about her daily routine, the way Rico had done with the blonde nurse in the gas station parking lot that morning.

Even though Gerald was much taller than his friend, and weighed nearly 100 pounds more, he was way more shy, the man really who would hang around in the background menacingly, not speaking a word.

“You fucking dog man…what did she say?” Gerald laughed incredulously to Rico after he told him what he did.

“Nothing…just sat there blushing a little,” Rico replied, scanning the horizon ahead for the exit ramp that they had to take.

Gerald continued to chuckle at Rico’s nonchalance, a trait he’d marveled at since he’d befriended him way back as high schoolers. Gerald’s hearty laughter dissipated however when he happened to look in the side-view mirror and saw the woman’s Outback pull out of the parking lot behind them. He kept silent for the moment but couldn’t resist reaching over and tapping Rico on the arm to make him look up in the rear view when he noticed the woman didn’t merge back on the interstate like most of the other cars. The thin married nurse was still following them.

Despite the rumbling in his belly for breakfast and the fact the closest restaurant was still a few blocks up the road, on a lark Rico decided to take the exit and head into East St. Louis, passing through boarded up and abandoned houses and commercial buildings, seeing the occasional liquor store or pawn shop. They finally pulled into the parking lot of the motel he and Gerald had a room at.


Kelli pulled out of the gas station parking lot with every intention of driving the 3/10’s of a mile up to the Interstate junction to start the 20 minute drive home. Her Husband was well into his day at the office, her oldest Daughter was away at college, most likely in her 9am English class and her youngest Daughter was probably in her 2nd period civics class. The house would be empty but at that moment all Kelli wanted to do was crawl into bed, pull the covers over her head and disappear from the world for awhile.

Easing up the road, directly behind the two black men in the Malibu, Kelli stared intently at the large green exit sign on her right that showed the way to East St. Louis. She had lived in St. Louis all her life but had never even dared venture into this section of the city. It was a ghetto synonymous with gang violence,drug dealing and prostitution. It was outrightly unsafe and her Subaru Outback might just be the costliest car in the neighbourhood, drawing attention to it like a magnet. She could have her car jacked. In her mind she even envisioned herself hitting her accelerator and zooming past the exit sign. She had seen the ciera make the turn and take the exit, she had a window, she could zoom ahead and just forget this entire ordeal as a bad dream For whatever reason, her hands didn’t cooperate however and her Subaru Outback took the exit

Whether it was her seemingly hypnotized judgment from all the long hours at work or simply the sopping wet rumble between her thighs, an entity Kelli hadn’t ever faced was now driving her car. Ever since she’d been a small child, she’d always done the right thing, the prudent thing, the selfless thing, but at 9:23 am that non-descript Thursday morning, something much darker, more selfish and hungering was at the wheel.


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