Miss Bonnie Eddington woke up gagging, in a sour sweat. She lay on her back waiting for her fluttering heart to settle into its rhythm, still tasting the whiskey. Last night’s sex had been more intense than she’d expected (or had thought to hope for) and had left her sated and smiling. A celebration was called for. She had found the pint of Windsor in the kitchen cabinet when she moved in and left it where it was. She wasn’t much of a drinker apart from her nightly four or five quarts of beer. Her Pa had been a mean gin-drunk so she had sworn away from the hard stuff. But this was a special occasion. She poured a hefty three fingers into a jelly jar. She had no ice and wouldn’t have known what to do with it anyway. The whiskey went down like shards of glass. She winced and followed it with a heavy glug of warm beer. Again and again.
When she sat up, the room whirled around her. Not very fast, more like a kid’s merry go round. It was still early, the room only gray in the predawn. She flopped back on the damp sheets, shifted her legs, scrunched her face and farted loudly. She sighed and rubbed her hands over her belly knowing that if there was anything in there, she was sure she’d be puking it up right now. Where were her underpants? she wondered, sliding her hands below. Her body was slick and her nipples reacted like grasping baby birds when she slipped her left hand over them.
“Bad girls”. She grinned sleepily and slipped her right hand between her legs. When she next stirred, she did so barely, just opening her eyes. She was on her side with her hand wedged between her legs, a finger still slightly inside. The room was bright with sunlight. After registering that it was fully mid morning and mid week, she sat up quickly. “Shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit!” She bolted to her feet too quickly and sat back on the bed. Just a little shaky, she thought. Nothing new. Hadda go though. SO SO late, third, no FOURTH time this month. I’m gonna get fired! She thought.
In the bathroom she splashed water on her face then swished and swallowed a dollop of toothpaste straight from the tube. No time to shower. She looked into the tub and saw her panties floating in a few inches of cloudy water like a dead jellyfish. DAMMIT! Those were her last pair that were even approaching clean. When one had only three sets of panties, there was not much room for error or accidents.
She sniffed her armpits, made a face, grabbed the floating panties and sopped her underarms, then dipped them back into the tub and wrung slightly.. Her Ma used to call it a whore bath she remembered, dabbing and rinsing herself below and behind. What self respecting whore would use her own dirty panties for the task? She tossed them back into the tub and did her best to dry on the damp towel that hung over the sink.
The deodorant would get quite a test today. She rubbed furiously leaving white chunks among the tiny forests of black stubble under her arms. The only perfume she had was a gift from her Ma and it smelled like a funeral home fire. Desperate times, though. She sprayed a noxious cloud and walked through it sneezing like an allergic cat.
She pulled aside the curtain that passed for a closet door and surveyed her possibilities. Superintendent Dexter preferred skirts or dresses for the teachers but with no underwear, she couldn’t chance it. A single stumble or updraft would upset the whole apple cart. Jeans were a no-no. She still had a few of the plain dark polyester trousers that she’d worn while waitressing at her father’s pub. They were mostly snags and stains but would do in a pinch. They still fit her because her Ma had always bought clothes oversized so that when she “came into her body”, they wouldn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe. She had come into her body well before leaving home but no one could tell because her clothes were so baggy. She was able to fold over the trousers into a full three inch pleat in front. An old leather belt cinched to the furthest homemade hole held them in place.
The only remotely appropriate shirt that would hide the waistline was a long-sleeve red jersey, too warm for the season. She looked in the mirror but had difficulty recognizing herself-her features seemingly bleached and rubbed out. She saw nothing but a smudge under a matted bundle of chestnut hair piled atop her head. She wanted to cry, but there was no time. She pulled a brush through the mess on her head until it fell to her shoulders,and slipped her bare feet into her loafers, stopping only to gingerly pick up the banana that was on the bedroom floor and slip it into a grease stained paper bag.
She took the three flights to the street too quickly and once outside, stopped to put her head back and breathe deeply. Not the best move given the dumpster beside her. She retched but nothing came up. When had she eaten last? Fuck it, who knew? She tossed the bag into the dumpster and headed for her stop.
As soon as she hit her corner the 73C hissed to a stop and the door sighed open. Something went right. Because it was later than usual she had her choice of seats. It was the usual driver, Martha, a large black woman with Popeye arms. “Hiya Sweetie”, she said. “Gettin’ a late start today?”
“Have had better mornings”, Bonnie answered, flopping into the seat opposite and one behind the driver so that Martha could see her in the mirror without turning around.
“You don’t look too good”, Martha saidr. “You gotta puke open the window.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Boy troubles?”, she asked.
“Girl troubles? I don’t differentiate or discriminate. To each her own.”
“No, no…this is all me.”, Bonnie sighed.