“I don’t know your name either,” Rick giggled.
“Well, I’m known as Arwen, man, like from The Lord of the Rings. That’s my street name anyway. What’s yours?”
“ I’m Rick Stuart, no street name. I think I heard of The Lord of the Rings but I haven’t read the book yet. What the heck is a street name anyway?”
“On the street nobody uses their real names. It makes it easier when the cops or Child and Family Services start snooping around. You never know your friend’s real names.”
It suddenly dawned on Rick that he had entered a different world than what he was used to. “How long have you lived in Winnipeg, Arwen?”
“I don’t live in Winnipeg. I’ve been traveling around the States and Canada for the last few months. I just got into town Sunday night. I hitched a ride from Van with some guys.”
“What’s Van?” asked Rick?
“Man , you are a straight aren’t you? Van is short for Vancouver, British Columbia.”
“Did you know the guys you rode in with ?”
“Only for one day. I met them at a crash pad in Van,” answered Arwen.
“Do you think it was safe to get in a car with some men you barely know?” asked Rick.
“ I never think about my own safety, man. I don’t worry about anything anymore. I take life as it comes.”
A waitress came to their table as Arwen took deep drags off her cigarette and
Rick took short sips from his glass of water.
“What can I get you folks?” asked the waitress.
“We’d like two nips, two French fries and two coffees,” said Rick.
The waitress told them that their food should be ready in a few minutes.
“How long will you be staying in Winnipeg, Arwen?
“Probably for a week or so. I’ll leave as soon as my old man catches up with me,” answered Arwen.
“Your old man? Are you married?” asked Rick.
“No, we were just living together for a couple of months in Van.”
“It doesn’t sound like you want to get back with him.”
“Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. The problem is he hits me.”
“That’s terrible!”said Rick.
“Yeah, but it’s not all the time. Most of the time he’s pretty cool with me. It’s only when he’s had too much to drink that he gets crazy.”
“Are you afraid of him?” asked Rick.
“Yeah, if he got mad enough he might kill me.”stated Arwen.“Well, that’s my cross to bare not yours, man.”
“Still. I can’t stand the thought of someone beating on you.”