by Chris Eng, illustration by Karlene Harvey
She waited until 2:00 a.m. before grabbing her bag, shoving her copy of Anarchy for Newbies into it and heading for her dad’s workshop. Jenn wasn’t sure if her parents were still up—if her dad had that much work, it was possible he was—but their rooms were on the opposite side of the house and she wasn’t worried about being discovered.
She flipped the lightswitch and banks of fluorescent lights flickered on. She wasn’t sure why her dad needed a workshop; it’s not like it ever got used. Maybe it was just something dads were supposed to have. Regardless, it was well-outfitted. Her dad had done his duty and filled the room with nearly every kind of tool, gadget and device used in the kind of home-improvement that never took place in their house.
Stepping lightly across the concrete floor, she made her way to the workbench and removed a pair of industrial shears from the wall above it.
Sitting down cross-legged on the floor and opening her knapsack, Jenn took the ThrifTown bag out, turned it upside-down and emptied the contents in front of her. She picked the jean jacket out of the pile and held it up. She’d never intentionally mutilated her clothes before. She smiled and laid the jacket down, stretching the arm of the fabric out. Gripping the shears tightly, she began to carefully cut the arm away, making sure the seam was still attached. Once that was done, she started on the other side. A couple of minutes later she held up the finished product, a perfectly acceptable and functional jean vest.
She laid it on the floor again, back facing up, and moved the rest of the clothes away from it. Next, she headed to the utility shelves that stored the liquids. If there was a liquid product with a household application, chances are it had made its way onto the shelves at some point. There were plastic bottles of motor oil, buckets of wood stain, cans of WD-40, and paint.
Jenn grabbed a can of black spray-paint and went back to the vest. She shook the can vigorously for a few seconds, popped the cap off and evaluated her canvas. Holding the can a few inches off the fabric, she precisely painted a circle about a foot in diameter. When she finished, she looked at it, took a step back, and looked at it again before just as carefully inscribing a capital A inside the circle.
She nodded, pleased. Extracting the book from her knapsack, she plopped into a deck chair and read as the paint dried.