Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BAGGAGE (02/08/18)
TITLE: Something About Gloria
By Robin West
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I drop the Seattle paper on the desk. The headline says ACTRESS SHOOTS ANDY WARHOL. Our chaperone can read it when she returns from checking on the other girls. Their room is on the sixth floor. Gloria and I roomed with Mrs. Saxon. I had to share a bed with stinky Gloria. Until now, I never met a 15-year-old who smelled like beer and cigarettes.
I’ve been ready for an hour. I turn the radio on and find the Monkee’s singing Daydream Believer. The bathroom door opens and a cloud of steam rolls out with Gloria fully dressed. Everything shows in her skin-tight body shirt and slinky hip-huggers. She has plenty to show too. I look down at my flat chest and feel like a ten-year-old.
She pulls a box shaped suitcase from the closet and rests it on the vanity. It’s a train case like grandma keeps her toiletries in when she travels. Gloria’s train case matches her powder-blue Samsonite suitcase.
“Looks like you’re prepping for a coronation instead of a Trail Blazer conference,” I say.
“Mm,” Gloria grunts and attacks her hair with strategic blasts of Aqua net, filling the air with fumes.
I sing along with the Doors. “Hello, I love you; won’t you tell me your name?”
Gloria gives me the stink eye. Brenda and Jill would’ve been much more fun to room with.
The door opens and Mrs. Saxon steps in with a bakery sack. She wedges past Gloria and drops the sack on the newspaper. “Better get a move on, Gloria. Opening ceremony starts in 20 minutes.”
Gloria sighs while creating cat eyes with black liner.
I dive for the sack and pull out an apple fritter. Mrs. Saxon’s weird, but she’s all right. She isn’t bossy like last year’s chaperone. Gloria just pushed her too far last night. She came in two hours past curfew. Mrs. Saxon freaked out. She called Gloria’s parents. Her mom wasn’t home, and when Gloria’s dad answered, he cussed her out for bothering him. Just as Mrs. Saxon was dialing the police, Gloria showed up. Man, for someone who primps in front of the mirror so much, she didn’t look so hot. Her hair pointed in several directions and her shirt buttons lined up wrong.
“Criminy!” Mrs. Saxon snaps her fingers. “I left my coffee upstairs.” She rushes out the door.
Gloria mimics her, “Twenty minutes.” She tosses eyeshadow into her train case and pulls out mascara. “I’ve got cooler plans, man.”
“What plans?” Then I remember something. “Who was that guy you were talking to in the lobby last night?” I’m thinking he looked old.
She casts a sly smile, and says, “My boyfriend. Isn’t he dreamy?” She drags her lashes through the clumpy mascara brush. I didn’t know you could transfer that much mascara onto one lash. She’s a magician.
“Yeah, he looks cool.” I try to sound more casual than I feel. “How old is he?”
“Twenty-two. And he drives a Porsche.” She carefully applies white lipstick. “He’s picking me up in ten.”
My friend Scott Pelly still rides a Stingray with butterfly handlebars and a banana seat. “Mrs. Saxon won’t let you skip the meeting.”
“I’ll invent some reason to leave early and promise to meet up at the ceremony. If she asks later where I was, I’ll say I couldn’t find you guys so I sat in the back.” She pops the cap onto her lipstick just as Mrs. Saxon returns with her coffee.
She watches Gloria strap on her platforms, then she looks me up and down. “You look nice, Toni.” It’s a backhanded ploy adults use. She wants to say Gloria looks like a tramp.
Gloria snaps her train case shut and stacks it on top of its matching suitcase in the corner. She turns to Mrs. Sax, and sweetens her tone. “Mrs. S, I need to buy a card at the gift shop. I’ll meet you in the conference room.”
Our chaperone gives her a narrowed glare.
“I’ll be on time—promise.”
Gloria waves at me then pops out the door.
Mrs. Sax shakes her head. “That poor girl’s carrying a lotta baggage.”
I look at Gloria’s powder blue Samsonite stacked in the corner. Mrs. Saxon grabs her purse and says, “We’re going to the gift shop.” Still confused about the baggage comment, I follow her out the door. Mrs. Saxon runs down the hall, calling out to Gloria, “Hold the elevator!”
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