Ellie sat in the public library admiring a picture of her idol. She and Bonnie Parker had so much in common. They were born and raised in Texas. Their fathers died when the girls were young. They dropped out of high school to get married. They spent time in jail for committing multiple petty thefts. Neither of their husbands returned after getting out of prison themselves. There were differences too. Ellie was an out-of-the-bottle-blond. Bonnie’s hair was shorter and brunette. Bonnie liked to write poetry. Ellie didn’t understand poetry but read it because it was Bonnie’s favorite. And there was Bonnie Jo, Ellie’s three-year-old daughter she’d delivered while in jail.
Ellie read everything she could find about Bonnie, paying particular attention to her travels. She would go to the library and mark Bonnie’s routes on roadmaps of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and the other states Bonnie had visited.
It wasn’t until Ellie met Joseph Barnes at the bowling alley where she waitressed on weekends that she thought she might be able to actually be like her idol.
Joseph was a handsome man with thick, dark hair, eyes that pierced right through to her heart, and a swagger that made Ellie’s knees weak. She undid another button on her checkered blouse, fluffed her hair, snuck behind the bar, and asked the man what he wanted. Randy, the bartender, gave her the evil eye, letting her know she was stealing his tip. She didn’t worry about it. She’d give him a blowjob after closing like she did most weekends for extra tips—if she was still around.
Fighting a rare case of shyness, she asked the newcomer his name. “Joseph,” he replied, “Joseph Barnes, but everyone calls me Clyde because I look so much like Warren Beatty.” Ellie smiled and agreed, even though she didn’t know who Warren Beatty was.
Two hours later she swiped his tip money off the bar, squeezed the bills into her jean’s pocket, and leaned forward to wipe the bar and give him a better view down her blouse. She didn’t have a bra on. Never did. She wondered if Bonnie wore a bra. That wasn’t mentioned in anything she’d read. She knew Bonnie liked sex, especially with Clyde. Ellie looked at her Clyde and hoped she’d find out soon if they sparked as well.
Clyde spent two days and nights with Ellie before announcing it was time for him to move on. Ellie asked if she could go and was surprised when Clyde said yes. She stuffed the few clothes she owned into her one, small suitcase and bounded out the front door of her mother’s place. She turned when she reached the car and waived to Bonnie Jo and her mother as she handed the bag to Clyde.
He pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of town to fill up, told Ellie she could drive, and went inside to pay. Ellie pulled up her skirt, maneuvered around the gear shift into the driver’s seat, and started the car. She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to see Clyde racing to the car. A man, she assumed the clerk, followed raising a shotgun to his shoulder. Clyde jumped into the passenger seat and told Ellie to get out of there. She put the car in gear and tromped the gas pedal to the floor. The car slued away from the pump as the rear passenger window of the stolen ’91 Bonneville exploded.
Ellie gripped the wheel, leaned forward, let out a war whoop, and thought she might have an orgasm. She really had met her Clyde.