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 Chapter One

"So what you think? Is it so me or what?"

I danced out of the dressing room of Buffalo Exchange, my favorite Brooklyn thrift store, parading in front of my best friend Melody, who had plopped herself down on a nearby barber shop chair and was currently working furiously to save the world via her Nintendo 3DS. I cleared my throat to get her attention, then did a little twirl as she reluctantly raised her head. She took one look at my outfit, made an overly-exaggerated gagging noise, pointing her finger down her throat for added emphasis, then returned to her game.


"Really? That bad, huh? I mean not just thumbs down bad?" I asked, stepping in front of the mirror and modeling the half tie-dye, half-rhinestone baby doll dress I'd dug out of the dollar bin. "Total puking your guts out bad? Are you sure?”

 "Please. A thumb's down does not even come close to properly illustrating the vile upchuck in my stomach that your monstrous ensemble inspires," Melody replied, not looking back up. "In fact, I'm quite sure even Lady Gaga herself would find it repulsive. And she's worn dresses made out of meat."

"Well, that settles it then," I declare. "I'll take it."

"Of course you will."

“And what about you, miss fashion maven for the new millennium? What have you managed to score on this fine afternoon of thrifting?”

Melody grinned, setting down her game and grabbing a black t-shirt off her lap.

"Come to the Dark Side--we have cookies?" I raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"It's funny,” she protested, looking a little offended. “And...ironic and stuff."

“Right,” I snorted, not willing to go down that slippery “proper use of the word ironic” slope with my best friend yet again. “But isn’t Star Wars a bit mainstream for your delicate hipster sensibilities?”

"Hey, I can support the Empire. It's got an unhappy ending and not a single Ewok."

She had a point. “Speaking of cookies, can we get out of here and get some food? According to my tweet deck the Green Taco just pulled up on Ninth.”

“You follow the Green Taco truck on Twitter?”  

“Hey, you never know when you might need an emergency vegetarian taco,” I pointed out. “Like right now, for instance. I skipped lunch to keep working on my project and I’m freaking starving.”

"Your dedication will be the death of you.”

Melody jumped up from the chair and headed to the cashier to pay for her t-shirt, while I headed back to the dressing room to remove the grotesquely awesome fashion find and slip back into my own jeans and t-shirt before cashing out. After rejecting the mohawked cashier's offer of an environmentally hazardous, turtle-killing plastic bag (not that, admittedly, we had a lot of turtles in Brooklyn), I stuffed the dress in my school satchel and the two of us headed outside.

With light steps, we turned the corner and headed down the pre-gentrified side of Ninth Street, passing abandoned construction site after abandoned construction site (thanks, economy!) until we found the Green Taco truck, our favorite vegan roach coach, parked in an empty lot on the corner.

"So did you want to hit the rec center tonight?" Melody asked, before taking the first bite of her tofu enchilada. "Or maybe go see a movie at the Landmark?" The East Village movie theater was a bit of a trek, but well worth it for a good non-Hollywood film.

"Can't," I replied, mouth full of vegan burrito. "Mom's taking me to some Shakespeare thing tonight."

"Shakespeare in the Park?"

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