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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Holiday · #2316242
She was a rebel like her grandmother.
Lisa Marie Gunther sat in a straight-back wooden chair staring out at the rain. Visitors arriving now were having to hop over great black puddles to get from the parking lot to the psych unit's doors. Lisa Marie wanted to be out there in the rain too. Everything would smell like wet cement, and there was no better smell in the world than wet cement.

Behind her, the party was going strong. On the widescreen tv in the corner, the St. Patrick’s parade was on at full volume, and a small crowd had gathered there to watch. Lisa Marie shook her head in distaste. She didn’t like St. Patrick’s Day or its parade. She didn’t like green. She didn’t like the fake Irish brogues and the “Top of the day to ya, Laddy!” bullshit.

She stood up, marched over to the tv, and turned the sound off. The visitors watching the parade looked at her in stunned silence as she went back to her chair and sat down. The regulars looked at Lisa Marie the way they always looked at Lisa Marie; caustiously and without making eye-contact.

Jenny came over smelling like strawberry gum. “You be nice, Lisa,” she said. “These people are your friends.”

Friends, my ass, Lisa Marie thought. These people are sheep. They’re all wearing the same little green hats with elastic pulled tight under their double chins. Everybody but Lisa Marie.

You should wear green on St. Paddy’s Day, or so said her mother. “The Boys will pinch you, Lisa Marie,” her mother had warned.

One boy pinched Lisa Marie one time. That was thirty years ago in high school. She doesn’t really remember who the boy was, or what he looked like. She remembers going for his eyes. She remembered raking her fingernails across his face. She remembers blood and the boy screaming, and she remembers all the trouble that began after that, and what a big, big deal they all made it seem.

Now, here she was surrounded by strawberry gum smelling people offering pills and daily group sessions asking what she was feeling and what she was feeling about what she was feeling. Be a nice girl and take this pill, all your thoughts and feelings will disappear. Not a day went by they weren't telling her to calm down. Lisa Marie was tired of it all.

The tv was showing all the morons walking down Columbus Drive in green hats. They had green hair, green shoes. They were drinking green beer, and waving signs saying how much they loved being Irish.

Even the Chicago River was green. Lisa Marie wondered how they did that. Was someone in a rowboat right now pouring gallon after gallon of green food dye into the Chicago River? What a weird job that would be!

Somebody turned the sound back up on the tv. Lisa Marie stood to her feet again. The incessant noise of cheering by an army of drunk, pretend-Irish people walking in the rain was just too much to bear. She headed for the widescreen tv, but then Jenny was right there saying, “Lisa?” “Lisa?” “Lisa?” and Lisa Marie sat back down to make Jenny happy. You didn’t want to upset little strawberry-smelling Jenny.

St. Patrick’s Day was not Lisa Marie’s favorite day. It brought back memories of when she was young and rebellious. She wouldn’t wear green on St Paddy’s Day because everybody was wearing green on that day.

And she didn’t have any tattoos because everybody had tattoos. The only good tattoo she ever saw on a woman was high on her grandmother’s arm. It said in faded cursive, I like Ike.

Her grandmother said she didn’t remember getting it. She said she never even liked Ike and was too young to vote anyway. She used to tell Lisa Marie the stories of when she was seventeen and used to sneak out of the house at night to hang with the sailors in from San Pedro. It was a time when good girls didn’t sneak out of windows to hang with sailors and definitely didn’t get tattoos.

Lisa Marie loved her grandmother and wanted to be a rebel too. Being a rebel is what made her now stand to her feet. She wasn’t a sheep, and she wasn't going to stay calm. She started toward the tv when Franklin and Harris, clad in white from head to toe, bounced to their feet and stood in her way.

Lisa Marie took off her leather moccasins and held them like weapons. “Get out of my way,” she said. Her voice was a low, seething purr. "Calm down," the men said. She threw both slippers one at a time and each man caught one out of the air. The next thing they knew, Lisa Marie was running out the metal door and the alarm bells were howling.

She made it down four flights of cement stairs and hit the second emergency door bar with a bang. She went out into the parking lot feeling the rain on her face. She was a rebel like her Nana and for a few moments more, as Franklin and Harris slowly walked toward her, she was free as a bird.

Franklin and Harris had that look. Lisa Marie knew it well. They were going to hold up their hands and tell her to calm down, that everything was going to be okay, but Lisa Marie didn’t want to calm down and she wasn't going to wear a green hat with elastic string pulled under her chin.

No, what Lisa Marie wanted was to dance in the rain and be a rebel like her grandmother. She was never going to wear one of their little green hats no matter how many pills they tried to thrust down her throat. She wasn’t going to do it and she told them so as they took her by the elbows.

“I’m not going to do it,” she said.

“Calm down,” they said.

--993 Words--
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