Last week: Joey threw a snowball at a sign.
Post-snowball. Joey skips down the deserted Boston street, humming "Close To You," the classic Carpenters tune. I love the Carpenters. Seriously, I do. Karen Carpenter's voice is really beautiful. Also, that Movie of the Week about all the anorexia and whatnot rocked. Although, in retrospect, Katie Holmes probably weighs less than the girl who played Karen Carpenter in that movie, seeing as television actresses have gotten much thinner in the last ten years. Anyway. Joey skips past the bank and then stops, turns, and scampers inside the ATM vestibule. She's so happy! Nothing could ever go wrong with her, ever! She's all punching numbers into the ATM and humming and glowing and, whilst waiting for the machine to spit out her cash, whips out her cell phone and dials Creepy's number. "Hi, Professor [Creepy]?" she opens, all toothily grinning. She giggles. "Okay, David, then. That feels weird. So, I'm done here. Is it okay if I still stop by?" She's giggling and twirling her hair and simpering and booty-calling and some dude outside rattles the door and she doesn't even notice. Joey murmurs that she's "just about to get on the T," and she'll be at his place "in a bit." She chirps a cheerful goodbye and disconnects. She removes the cash and the card and leaves the ATM, still singing "Close To You." As she shuffles down the sidewalk, Mr. Mugger trails her from the other side of the street. Joey is oblivious. Where was she during, um, every year of her life? How many times was I taught to look alive while walking down a deserted street in the middle of the night? Seriously, looking alert and confident can help protect you, because muggers and the like tend to target people who look as though they can be taken by surprise. Or so I learned from Ms. Giamo in Health class, 1992. On the other side of the street, Mr. Mugger lights a cigarette in profile, all Cigarette Smoking Man-style, like, don't I get enough of that recapping The X-Files? Maybe aliens will kidnap Joey, remove her ova, kill her sister, give her cancer, impregnate her, and then send her boyfriend off into the night with no explanation whatsoever.
Mr. Mugger crosses the street and walks right behind Joey for a minute. She doesn't speed up, take her pepper-spray out of her purse, or even give him the stink-eye. In fact, she doesn't even notice him until he pops up in front of her. People, please be alert while walking alone! The Ominous Piano Of Impending Tragedy tinkles in the background. "Hey!" Mr. Mugger says. "Hey," Joey replies warily. Mr. Mugger didn't mean to scare her, he says. "Where you heading?" he asks. Instead of saying, "To my boyfriend Bubba's house. He just got out of prison and he's expecting me any minute," Joey says she's going home. "Where's home?" Mr. Mugger asks. "None of your business," Joey says, trying to move around him. Mr. Mugger dubs this response "snotty," and informs Joey that he's not going to mug her or "force [himself] on her." Joey weakly rolls her eyes. "Good to know," she says, making another attempt to walk around him. He scampers along, telling her that she doesn't need to "look so relieved, because as far as potential rapists go…" Yeah, because everyone knows that if you have to get raped, better cross your fingers that the perp is a hottie. God! What the hell kind of line is that? That's completely disgusting. Joey doesn't point this out, or start running and screaming, but just says that she doesn't "mean to be rude," because God knows the last thing you want to be is RUDE to your potential MUGGER and/or RAPIST. In fact, it's considered polite to lay in a store of nice stationery so you can write them a thank-you note after you get out of the hospital! Holy. Crap. Three minutes in and I'm already all infuriated. Mr. Mugger is all, do you have any money I could borrow? "No," Joey grits, and tries, again, to go. "No? You're not even going to think about it?" Mr. Mugger asks. "I thought about it and I said no," Joey says quickly, as Mr. Mugger plants himself in front of her once again. Um, last time I checked, I heard that most experts think you ought to give a mugger your money if it comes to that. And Joey? TWENTY BUCKS. Cough it up and live to see another day. I hate this show. Mr. Mugger angles front of her again. "See?" he begins, "This is the problem with the world. You put yourself out there, you make yourself vulnerable and they shoot you down without a second thought." The Mugger? Supposed to be all snarky, and, like, charming and self-deprecating or something. But MUGGERS ARE NOT CHARMING. By definition! This show is the work of the devil. "Listen, I don't have any money, okay?" Joey lies, skirting around him. Joey, just give him the twenty. What is wrong with you? "Now, you're scaring me and I just want to get home," she says, again neglecting to tell him that someone is waiting for her, which wouldn't even be a lie. Because Professor Creepy is! Mr. Mugger shoves her softly. "Fair enough," he says. "Sorry to have asked. Want me to walk you home?" He smiles. Not in a friendly way. Joey shoots him down. "Well, that's understandable," Mr. Mugger says, "but you should be careful, sweetheart. I mean, it's late. Next guy you come across, he might not be as nice as me." He gestures like he's letting her go, then thinks better of it and grabs her arm. "Actually, you know what? I've given it some thought, and I'd rather if you did loan me that money," he says, lifting his shirt to reveal the gun tucked into his waistband. "How's that work for you?" he asks. Joey blinks.
Cue Very Special Credits, complete with Stormy Sky Background and Melancholy Non-Paula-Cole Music Of Crying And Learning. Whatever, Very Special Credits.