Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in the city.
Her parents gave her a bright red hoodie for her 15th birthday and she had worn it everyday for the past two years. The girl was slightly emo and had embellished the hoodie with skulls, bones, and pins. The pins she got had come from her favorite bands: Hear me Roar!, Viva Monroe, and Death before Patriarchy. The girl was slightly feminist too. Her family gave her the endearing name of “Little Red Dying Hood” partially because of the skulls and partially because her hoodie was falling apart due to constant wear. Little Red Dying Hood and her family lived in an apartment building in the very heart of the city. She and her two brothers would take the F line to school every day and were told never to separate. “People prey on unsuspecting teenagers,” Mom would warn.
One Sunday in November, Little Red Dying Hood’s Grandma C came down with a cold. Usually Grandma C would come over every Sunday for family dinner, but she was too sick to leave her home. Little Red Dying Hood’s Mom tried her best to persuade Grandma C to come over, but to no avail. Grandma C had stood her ground, but lamented that she would miss them all.
Little Red Dying Hood’s Mom, worried about Grandma C’s health, asked the children to take some left-overs to Grandma C and cheer her up. She told them that Grandma C had even requested it. The boys begged off because of projects due in school the next day. This left the burden to Little Red Dying Hood. She grimaced at her brothers, realizing that to get the job done it would take a woman. She also loved her Grandma C dearly, so she willingly accepted the task.
Her Mother packed some turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and fresh bread for Grandma C. She also included a thermos full of chicken broth. Little Red Dying Hood placed the food into her messenger bag. Her Mom had advised her to go straight to Grandma C’s, because she was expecting her. She was strictly forbidden to make any stops along the way. Her mom even ordered her to call when she arrived at Grandma C’s, just to make sure she got there alright. Little Red Dying Hood kissed her Mom on the cheek and began her journey.
Once outside, Little Red Dying Hood placed her headphones over her ears and rocked out to Hear me Roar! as she walked toward the subway. She didn’t mind being alone on the ride to Grandma C’s, for she rarely had any time to herself with two brothers always around. Little Red Dying Hood was so lost in a song that she didn’t even notice a man sit down beside her. It wasn’t until the car gave a lurch that Little Red Dying Hood noticed he was there. She mouthed sorry to him and left it at that. But she kept sneaking glances at him because of his odd furry jacket. She felt a little bad staring at him, but she also couldn’t help but notice his wily eyes and whiskery face. She also noticed his strong, almost overpowering cologne.
The man started to look back at Little Red Dying Hood, making it harder for her to sneak glances at him. The time had come for Little Red Dying Hood to switch lines. She made her way to the outbound E line and to her surprise the man was on that car too. He smiled at her and came to sit down beside her again. This time Little Red Dying Hood smiled back and removed her head phones.
The man introduced himself. “Hello, my name is Mark Lupo. What is your name? And where are you going by yourself?”
Even though she noted his obvious patriarchal tone, she decided to throw caution to the wind. “Nancy Capp, but everyone calls me Little Red Dying Hood, because of my hoodie. I’m going to bring my Grandma C some food because she is sick. And I’m very capable of going somewhere by myself.”
“Oh, of course you are. And that is very nice thing for you to do. I really like your hoodie. You know, there is this wonderful thrift shop on one of these stops, but I can’t remember which one it is. Does your Grandma live by a thrift shop?”
“No. Grandma C lives off of Cottage in the Forest Building. There are no thrift shops around. Can you remember where that one is? I had heard of a great one around that area and I would really like to check it out.”
Mr. Lupo paused to think for a moment. He scratched his whiskery face. A large smile came over his face. “Now I remember, it is right on the corner of Hunt and Carter.”
“That’s just one stop before Grandma C’s!” Little Red Dying Hood was overjoyed.
“You should stop there. It would be worth your while, and then only a short walk to your Grandma’s.”
Little Red Dying Hood didn’t think twice and decided to hopped off at Hunt Street. She said good-bye to Mr. Lupo and went to find the thrift shop. She arrived at the corner of Hunt and Carter and looked all around. She finally spotted the thrift store about a block down.
“ ‘Right on the corner’ huh. Leave it to a man to mess up directions.” At times Little Red Dying Hood was more then slightly feminist.
The thrift store was everything she could have hoped for. There were plenty of vintage clothes for her to sink her teeth in. Little Red Dying Hood began to look through another rack of pants when she remembered her mission. She looked at her watch and was surprised that two hours had passed. She ran out of the store without buying anything, knowing that her Mother was probably wondering why she hadn’t called yet. Little Red Dying Hood knew that she was going to get in trouble when she got home.
She arrived at Forrest Building and buzzed the intercom to be let in the building.
“Hello?” asked a throaty voice over the intercom.
“Grandma C! It’s me, Little Red Dying Hood. I’m sorry it took me so long to get here. You sound very sick, please buzz me in so that I can take care of you and give you some soup.”
A buzz sounded and Little Red Dying Hood was allowed into the building. She went to the elevator and pushed the 4th floor button. Little Red Dying Hood was contemplating which story to tell as to why she was late. She decided on telling her Grandma that she was so entranced reading The Feminine Mystique that she didn’t even realize that she missed the stop. It seemed logical enough to not get her in trouble and she always carried the book with her, so evidence was not a problem.
Little Red Dying Hood knocked on her Grandma C’s door and twisted the knob. The door was unlocked. She didn’t think too much of it. Grandma C typically would unlock the door after she buzzed them in. She called out to her Grandma and the reply came from the bedroom. Little Red Dying Hood walked into her Grandma’s bedroom and flipped on the light switch.
“No no no! Please turn it off! The light hurts my eyes.” Grandma C said from under a heap of blankets.
“Sorry, Grandma C. I’m so sorry I’m late. I was reading The Feminine Mystique and missed your stop. I really should pay more attention,” Little Red Dying Hood said as she turned off the light.
“Oh really my dear, I thought you might have made a stop along the way. Perhaps you had a little fun on your way to see your poor sick Grandma? Are you sure you are telling me the truth?”
“Oh, of course Grandma. It’s a good thing I brought you some soup because your voice sounds terrible!” Little Red Dying Hood said trying to skirt the issue. She pulled a chair up to her Grandma’s bed side and began to unpack the food.
“Well, if you say so dear. But you would tell your Grandma the truth wouldn’t you? Little Red Dying Hood, would you hand me some soup?”
Little Red Dying Hood became cautious, for her Grandma always called her Nancy. “Grandma, your hands are bigger. Are they swollen?” Little Red Dying Hood asked as she handed her Grandma the thermos of soup.
“It’s my arthritis; it is acting up again.”
“That is just terrible Grandma. I am such a bad granddaughter that I didn’t even know you had arthritis.” Little Red Dying Hood became more suspicious. She began to notice a peculiar smell in the air. “Grandma, what is that smell? Did you buy a new perfume?”
“Yes dear, I bought some at the thrift store down the block.”
Little Red Dying Hood felt a chill go down her spin. She grabbed her messenger bag and sat it in her lap. “Grandma,” she said slowing as she reached into her bag. “You don’t go to thrift shops.”
“And neither should you!” Yelled Mr. Lupo as he sprang from the bed.
Before he could grab her, Little Red Dying Hood hit him in the face with pepper spray. Mr. Lupo began to scream and grab his eyes. Little Red Dying Hood gave him a swift kick to the groin and ran out of the room.
She went into the living room to find the phone. Little Red Dying Hood called the police and told them about the intruder in the apartment and that she was scared for her Grandma. She hung up the phone. Little Red Dying Hood was worried because there was no sound coming from the bedroom. Mr. Lupo was silent. She looked around for a weapon. There was a cane near the door that used to be her Grandpa’s. Little Red Dying Hood grabbed the cane and held it like a bat ready to defend her honor.
“Mr. Lupo? Mr. Lupo are you alright?” Little Red Dying Hood asked sweetly.
A low growl came from the bedroom. “I’m quiet fine dear, but your Grandma won’t be so lucky. Why don’t you come in here and maybe I won’t hurt her.”
Little Red Dying Hood weighed her options. She griped the cane tighter in her right hand and held the pepper spray in her left. After this was over she was going to let her mother know that those karate lessons paid off. Full of courage Little Red Dying Hood crept towards the bedroom. She peeked around the door and saw Mr. Lupo dragging her Grandma out from the closet.
“Hear me roar!” Little Red Dying Hood yelled as she hit Mr. Lupo over the head with the cane.
He screamed in pain and whirled around to hit her. Little Red Dying Hood was waiting for this and sprayed him again with the pepper spray. He screamed again and dropped to the floor. Little Red Dying Hood gave him another solid hit to the head and knocked him out.
She quickly went over to her Grandma to make sure that she was alright. Luckily, her Grandma had no visible signs of being hit or hurt. Little Red Dying Hood tried to wake her up, but to no avail. She noticed a bottle of chloroform by her Grandma’s feet and realized Lupo had drugged her.
Little Red Dying Hood pulled her Grandma to the bed and placed her in it. At that moment the living room door was busted open by several policemen.
“I’m in here!” Little Red Dying Hood called out.
The police came in the room and surveyed the scene: a man lying on the floor, an old woman lying in bed, and an emo-feminist girl standing beside the bed with a cane in her hand. Mr. Lupo regained consciousness just in time to be arrested. He howled and tried to fight back, but was restrained and taken to the awaiting squad car. An EMT came in the room to take care of Grandma C and declared that she was stable. An ambulance was ordered for precaution.
Little Red Dying Hood recounted the whole story, including the part on the subway. The police praised Little Red Dying Hood for being so brave, but hoped that she learned a lesson.
“Of course I did, “ Little Red Dying Hood said. “There isn’t a problem a woman can’t handle.”