Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write CONTEMPORARY FICTION (10/30/14)
- TITLE: Bag Lady
By Judith Gayle Smith
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Make me your favorite charity case?
I stink - yeah, I know. Essence of spilled chicken soup, a wee drip of wine and moldy rancid "stinky-feet" cheese buried deep in my cart.
I once had class, like you - worshiped, desired and treated like the delicate little princess I deserved to be.
Thanks for your pretty little knitted hat. I hate my filthy, matted and dulled copper curls. These ratty coils once danced merrily while I laughed at life's witticisms, foibles - now a snarled nest for crawling vermin, maddening lice.
I miserably crouch in well-lit doorways to escape the scary ones. Only my imagination protects me from slashing rain freezing temperatures, the gangs.
Church donated mittens are cozy warm. Both these tired thin coats fit loosely, offering poor "thinsulation." My once snazzy raccoon bomber hat, greedily snatched by someone's rabid dog, now dies limp and filthy, unmistakable road kill - dumpster fodder.
Gotta love dumpster treats: stale, half-eaten sticky donuts, rotting mushy fruit, soured milk. Yeah, right.
Can't drool over food memories. Lucky me when I find an ant-crusted piece of green moldy bread - and, if I'm real lucky, a bit of peanut butter and jelly still stuck to it.
Sure, I once dined at the finest restaurants. Today's yummy food carts sure smell good, activating jaded taste buds - not a nickel in my pocket.
Burning metal trash barrels beckon, offering warmth, light and the misery-loves-company drifters. We are buddies, knit together by sad circumstance. We compare clothes, sometimes swapping for something more to our "taste." A party atmosphere, with the embers and ashes mingling with the snowflakes.
I miss parties. I miss the jolly laughter, the pretend friends, even the fake smiles and jealous stares. I loved dripping in lavish furs and eye-blinding jewels. So what if some nuts shot paint balls at my fox jacket? Many furs still available, and I always did want a full-length mink coat.
Mink. Oh, the warmth and silky feel of the extravagant showy shawl-collared full-length coat. I cried when that was ruined by animal activists intent on shouting their silly message.
But the tears stopped when tricky Dicky wooed me with a sweet chinchilla replacement.
Those were the days, my friend, until Dick tired of me. My thirtieth birthday loomed horridly large with age, age, age.
I, like my pretty furs - was replaceable. Dick no longer fawned over me and stopped paying for my suite at the posh hotel we snuggled in, like newlyweds. He literally dumped me. The jewels and the furs were stolen from me and given to his latest paramour. I was left emotionally fragile and mentally stripped naked.
I look back on those days, not blissfully now. How could I blindly throw myself into Dick's callous arms? Why didn't I see him for what he was? Oily beast. He should be here on the streets, not me.
I have a little worn Bible my mother gave me when I was a little girl, happy and lively and with nary a care. Too bad I never bothered to read it.
Snuffling mucus back into my throat is ugly. I have no tissues, no dainty little lace floral handkerchiefs. So I blow my nose into my palm and wipe it on my coat. So? Don't look if it bothers you.
At street corners near bus stops, I pry pennies, dimes and even quarters from the muck. People waiting for buses are careless when they dig out their pocket change.
You think I'm pretty? Snort. I lost my looks long ago. I don't smell very nice either - who can afford perfume?
Filthy sinks at all-night gas stations tragically replace my lovely soaker Jacuzzi bathtub. Accept it. I have.
I thank you kindly for stopping and speaking to me as if I was a real lady. I used to be. Thank you for reminding me that the little gal hiding in my heart is still me.
Maybe I'll wash my face - water fountains aplenty here. Run my fingers through the tangles laughingly referred to as hair, and see if the bags under my eyes will lift if I smile. I once had cat-green eyes, sparkling and not so rheumy and puffy from crying.
Oh, I was so pretty once - and so incredibly stupid. And now, so terribly alone.
Looking for a cause? Pray, look no further. Here I am, a miserable bag lady.
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