On Writing

Ginger Snaps

Mixing it up with the Writer Gal Letters are short stories that I experiment with, for form, for storytelling, for exploring the darkest, most heinous side of human nature. And, because my MA lit prof once told me I could never write a short story.

Ginger Snaps is part four of a short titled ‘Remorseless Beauty.’ I hope you enjoy it.

Short Story (5)

I walk into work in a daze. Everything inside me is hurting. And it is all I can do to keep from screaming. My cell buzzed again, and my hands shake as I disconnect it. The number was from Del’s school. I frown. What happened to my baby girl? The school couldn’t have gotten wind of this…I try and keep it together, blink back tears. The last two days have been a nightmare.

I take a deep breath, round a private corner in the Nurses’ station, and punched in the green button for last call. Waited for the ringtone to sound in her ear and for the operator to pick up the call. “This is Ginger Appleton calling for Delilah Appleton. It’s her school and I got a call a second ago. Sorry, I disconnected the call before I could answer it.”

“Ms. Appleton, it is best if you come down to school immediately. Very advisable. Principal Stevens would like to speak with you on an urgent matter.” The receptionist instructed in a distant voice and I could hear her disdain and disapproval through the phone. I almost had a heart attack then and there, as I think of what could have happened.

My darling baby girl! If somehow the school found out about that porno site and they considered themselves to be Puritanical, they’d never let Del in again! Puritanical. Where is my DAMN NOTEPAD!!

I pushed the door to my favorite patient closed but not before the girl called out, “Hey, Ginger. What’s up? No word of the day. Something wrong?”

And I was tempted, very tempted to confide in the sweet girl who lay on that bed and soldiered on despite whatever hand life had dealt her. But the girl wouldn’t understand. MY god, I couldn’t understand. A prostitute…a prostitute…someone had taken all her information and turned me into a high class hooker!

And all my dreams for my daughter, a nice home in the burbs, a nifty computer and her job giving her full satisfaction. Her daughter going off to college and returning every holiday with more outrageous stories to tell…

I couldn’t stop the cry that tore out of me. The sobs that took over. I sank to the floor of the room which held  my favorite patient and leaning against the back of the door, cried like I couldn’t stop. And of course, I couldn’t. The girl was looking at me in alarm.

“What’s the matter, Ginger? Is everything alright?” She asked tentatively, while she held out one POP cast-hand stiffly. The gesture paining her. I shook my head and stood up. Tears streaming down my face. I know my nose is red and my mascara is streaking down my cheeks. I also know I have to get my act together before I go in to see Principal Stevens. I have no answer to give the girl.

My cell phone rang as I walked out of the patient’s room and into the ladies’. I repair my makeup as best as I can. Splash cold water on my face, drying it off and feeling the texture of everything that touched me. Everything that tainted me. I am an honest, God-fearing woman. I go to church, paid my taxes and kept my mouth shut when life kept on dealing lemons.

How much more was a soul supposed to endure?

I picked it up this time. And trembled, actually trembled when I heard the sweaty, smarmy voice on the line. “Hi, sweetheart. Hot Mama. I am waiting for you. Ever since I saw you I’ve been waiting for you. With the whip and my hard, hard cock and the get-up and…”

“Stop it. STOP IT. Please,” I whispered as she made the sign of the cross to ward off evil. Like it would stop the monster spouting vicious things.

“Oh, you’ll beg me. You’ll beg me to stop, won’t you? Isnt that what you like best? Playing hard to get? Delaying, denying, pretending you DON’T WANT IT.” The voice breathed and I shake so hard I am surprised I haven’t toppled over.

“Go away. In the name of God, GO AWAY.” I scream now. The voice laughed as he fed on my terror. I wished I hadn’t picked up the call. It was terrifying in a way nothing was. Not the ex leaving me, not giving birth in an alley or raising a daughter on my own. Not even watching my child destroy herself was scaring me like this VOICE did.

“I’ll find you, Hot Mama. Because you want me to, Hot Mama. I’ll find you.”

I straighten my trembling shoulders and walk back to the Nurses’ station. Theresa and Todd were there, as was Ned the Janitor. They were all looking at a computer screen and I was suddenly afraid to approach them.

What were they looking at with such intensity?

“Guys.” Theresa startled, looked at me with a guilty smile. Todd was a little slower to glance at me. In fact, he couldn’t meet my eyes at all, staring over my left shoulder. And Ned, I suppressed a shudder as I saw the way Ned was checking me out. Like he was the VOICE.

Like he was saying all those terrible, terrible things. Like he enjoyed things like that.

“I have to go, now. Del’s school called. Some sort of emergency. I gotta go. Cover for me?” I asked Theresa, already grabbing my stuff.

Theresa looked back at the screen and nodded. Just nodded.

I ran out without a backward glance.

To Be Continued…

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