We returned to the house to find everyone dressed and waiting. All our belongings were packed up and the backpacks were grouped together in front of the couch.
"Ok, let's get to work on the hair cuts and we can do the dye later, we need to hurry up." said Baby. "I got ahold of my friend Steve, and he said he could pick us up at AR at 1:30."
"American River College?" I asked.
"My dad works there."
"... Will he be there then?"
"Um.. I think his class is at 2."
"Ok, we'll be gone by then."
We went back in the bedrooms to find hair cutting supplies. The shears were in Herb's room, so Patty and I followed Baby in there after collecting combs and towels. Baby opened a drawer on the dresser to rummage through in pursuit of scissors and I glanced about the room. The mattress and box spring rested on the floor with no frame. There were some worn out sheets that were half on the bed and half on the floor, rumpled and dirty.. And there was a hole in the mattress. At first I was just confused as to how someone would end up with a hole in the middle of their mattress like that.. It looked as though someone had taken a toilet paper roll sized corer and shoved it into the center of the bed. Then it hit me... Oh.
I couldn't wait to leave that house.
One by one, the girls went in the back bathroom and gave their requests as Baby started snipping away. She said she had some experience cutting hair, so she handled the shears. I'd always worn my hair long (ever since that hair cut my mom had done in 4th grade that I HATED), so I figured short would be good for disguising purposes. I asked her to do it short, with some layering.. she said she could do layering. It turned out.. um.. interesting.
Once we were done with the hair cutting, we quickly cleaned up the mess and grabbed our bags on our way out the door. It didn't take long to walk over to the college - maybe 20 minutes or so. It was then that I realized just how far we'd walked the day before. We'd spent the night in a dingy little apartment only a little more than a mile from my dad's work place.. Somewhere that took more like 30-45 minutes to drive to. And we had not exactly taken the straightest route either.
We decided to take turns with the hair dying. The other three girls went to the ladies room on campus and got to work. I hung out with the boys and we all talked a little more about our less than perfect home lives and how creepy Uncle Herb was.
After about 15 minutes, the girls came back looking slightly wetter and a bit frustrated. I saw that Patty and Missy's hair were the same color as when they had gone in the bathroom.. and so was Baby's.
"They weren't gone long enough." Devon said under his breath as they approached.
"I don't know what's wrong with this dye. It didn't work.. Did you guys get permanent dye?"
"Yes." Devon answered.
"Well.. we followed the directions and it didn't work." Baby replied indignantly.
"You didn't let it set long enough." Devon pointed out, matter of factly.
"We followed the directions."
"Whatever." said Devon. "It's almost 1:30, we don't have time to worry about it anymore."
We waited. And we waited some more... I started to get uncomfortable. I knew that my dad should be arriving soon and we were waiting near a driveway. I had no idea where he might enter the parking lot..
"Steve said his truck has some stuff in the back. We should leave behind anything we don't need to lighten our load and reduce our amount of stuff." Baby informed us.
"Truck?" I asked. (How are the 7 of us fitting in a truck?.. or any vehicle for that matter..)
"Don't worry, it has a shell on the back."
Those of us who had any school books or other unnecessary things in our bags purged it and left it under a bush near the long driveway.
At about 1:45, Steve rolled up the drive in a beat up old white pick-up with a camper shell on the back. He looked to be about 17 with dark hair and a typical teenage attempt at a mustache, probably grown to make his fake ID seem more convincing. He was near 6' and skinny, looked like many of the guys I'd seen my friends buy drugs from.
"I can fit two up front. Girls. The rest of you can get in the back. Stay down, I don't want to get pulled over."
Baby and Patty sat up in the front seat and the rest of us did our best to squeeze into the bed of the truck on top of the random blankets and trash and lay low.
We were on our way. The plan? He'd point his vehicle north on I-5 and drive until he didn't feel like it anymore. Then, we were on our own.