Thursday, January 8, 2015

Flash Fiction by Mary Susan Clemons

One More Time

I looked at the empty bottles and broken egg shells that littered the table.  My younger sister turned her head hearing the tinkling bell of the now closing door.  After she focused, she smiled, "Lessa, you came."  She stood clutching the chair for support.

I puzzled about how she was still able to attempt to stand.  For me, two glasses of wine would have given me the giggles; numbed my nose.  I would have never seen the bottom of two bottles.

"What's with the egg shells?"  I asked as she swayed with the sappy smudge of a smile on her pretty face.

"It was a bet," her giggle was slow and slurred, a sound I'd learned to hate.  "I won."

"Please don't tell me you ate raw eggs."

She nodded her head slowly boggling like one of those decorations that sit on car dashes.  Her eyes glazed.  Maybe the reality of salmonella and other diseases from raw eggs had dawned on her, but more than likely not.  She clutched the chair before her.

"Can you hold the room still?"

I put my arm around her waist.  "Oh, Jenny, when will you grow up?"  

Her purse sat in the seat of the next chair.  I picked it up; fumbled to find her keys.  I found a hundred dollar bill instead.  I'd heard of people being mugged for less in this area of the city.  It was then that I realized that the guys who had been watching from the far wall had somehow gone.  I had not heard them leave by the front door and wondered what rat hole they'd slipped out of.

Men fell for her air of innocence, believing she was a city girl looking for a cheap thrill on the wrong side of the tracks.  She'd rope them in, and then drink them under the table.  Some guys took it in stride, but others got mad about being duped.

"Jim is outside.  He'll drive your car home," I said, finding her keys.

"My boyfriend, Jimbo is here?"

"Ex-boyfriend," I reminded her as we headed for the door.

I took a quick look around the place.  It was one of Jenny's usual hang outs, a little dive with maybe ten tables and chairs.  All second hand, well-used and not repaired, and a bar with six red plastic stools standing in a row.  The light from the ceiling, maybe sixty watts, just above legal, created an air of discretion.  Jenny had to keep finding places where they didn't know her.

We stumbled onto the walk outside the bar.  The neon light, glowing "Neal's Bar" in reddish orange, lit six feet in both directions.  To my left two men stood.  Rough looking guys, maybe waiting to get their hundred dollar bill back and possibly a little more.  One ground his smoke into the concrete and the other straightened after seeing us.

All six feet and two hundred pounds of Jim came from around the corner.  "I found her car.  It's in the back."  The other guys disappeared into the dark of the city.

"Thanks, Jim.  Can ya help me get her into my car?"

Jenny mumbled from the stupor she was in, "You're the best sis. . .orld."

Once she was in, I leaned the seat back and belted her in.  Looking down, I couldn't help but remember her infant face, so angelic and peaceful.  It was about then that her face twisted and she gagged.

"You better not get sick in my car!"  I yelled getting the belt off her and helping her lean out.  She deposited warm ale and slimy raw eggs on the curb.  The smell made me gag, but I got it under control before my stomach contents joined hers.

I took a tissue and wiped her mouth.  "Are you through?"

She moaned a yes and lay back as I hooked her up again.

As we headed for home, Jim in her silver blue Mustang behind us, I looked over at her.  The street lights brightening then dimming.  She called this life living, going from party to party, bar to bar, man to man.  And she teased me for always being so serious and never having any fun.  There were times when I actually envied her and her worry-free life style.  But tonight was not one of them.

Mary Susan Clemons is a teacher of adolescent minds, a writer and a poet.  She has poems published in online ezines and in print publications such as Loch Raven Review, Touch:  The Healing Journal, and others as well as two Poetry to Feed the Spirit Anthologies.  She is also published in Point Mass.

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