"I got nothing to give away", I told her, sneering my best 'get lost' look at her. She didn't go for it.
"Come on, Stanley", she said, "There's got to be something."
"The name ain't Stanley", I told her and she laughed.
"It doesn't matter what your name is", she informed me.
"So what's yours then?" I asked.
"Call me Anne," she said. "And give me something".
"So what is it you want?" I was curious. "People Magazine. Us? The Times? It's all that I got."
"You got cigarettes too," she pointed at my stash. I'm sort of not allowed to sell anything but magazines and newspapers and books, but I do a little business on the side. People who know me, know me. I can usually supply a thing or two, depending. It's the only way I made it this far. I don't get carried away, nothing heavy like narcotics, you know. I keep it simple. Barter and trade. There's other people who get stuff too and it's a whole little world down here, especially at night. You probably wouldn't want to know too much. Maybe you're one of those being-too-careful types. If you knew, you might become what they call a witness, and then those cops might call you by your wrong name too. You don't want that. So don't get involved. I'll tell them I never saw you.
"Got any cloves?" she wanted to know. That's when I pegged her for seventeen or eighteen. Clove cigarettes is one of those things you go through when you're of an age and live in a time and place. To me they smelled bad and tasted even worse. I never could understand why a person would ever smoke those things.
"Nothing to give away," I reminded her, and that's when she said the words that made my blood run cold. Well, it didn't exactly run cold but kind of chilly maybe. Definitely less than room temperature. She stopped smiling - she'd been smiling this whole time, like a kid who knew how to work her old grandpa as if he were Santa - and she leaned over close, right up to my face.
"You want to be nice, pops", she said, "'cause I'm going to be here forever".
Something about her voice made me take a step back from the counter and the next thing I knew I was handing over a pack of cloves and shaking my head and trying to get a word or two out, but the words wouldn't come. She grabbed the pack, gave me a wink and slinked away. Next time I saw her was only a few hours later. I had pulled the gate down and stepped out for a coffee when I noticed a crowd gathered around the juice place. I pushed my way through, as curious as anyone, and there she was, little Anne, lying on her back on the ground with her throat slit wide open and with the blood still oozing out. A damn shame, I said to myself.