A prostitute war and a mutant child change the world. First few chapters of my novel.
by Philip Williams
Once upon a time there was a city so large it housed one hundred worlds. Each of these worlds had it's own people and it's own way of doing things. They also had their own priorities.
One world was a world of finance. The people of this world traded slips of paper that represented sums of money, like boys with baseball cards. Some of these slips of paper were worth a great deal, some were worth very little. The slips of paper could also change in value at a moments notice.
This might seem like play but the people of this world took it very seriously. They felt their job was very important.
Another world had large ships coming in from and going out to lands very, very far away. The ships coming in brought goods to the city. The ships leaving took goods away.
If it wasn't for this world the city would have very little food for it's one hundred worlds. The port world was very important.
There was another world that had very little. Money was very hard to come by here. So was food and heat. The people were poor by they tried to get by.
Some people in this world had to do things which were very distasteful to people in other worlds. Some had to do things that were very distasteful to themselves, but they did them anyway to survive.
The people in this world did not think of themselves as important at all. People in other worlds did not think these people important either. In fact, many people in other worlds felt that this world should be destroyed and it's people along with it.
But soon, a child will be born in this world. A very special child. An important child who will change the way the other worlds saw themselves and each other and life in the city will never be the same again.
Odessa stood in front of the Fairbanks hotel in her finest whore drag; knee high boots, a short leather skirt with nothing underneath and a loose purple blouse that shimmered against her gorgeous coffee black skin. The warm night air kissed her skin like an affectionate lover, sliding down her low cut blouse, between her heavy breasts and up the short skirt to the moist spot men craved. She was trying to not smoke a cigarette, which was harder than she thought. The last one she had had was a few hours before with her first coffee of the day, then she pissed on a plastic stick, it turned blue and told her she was pregnant. She hadn't touched one since. The problem was, she didn't know why she wasn't smoking.
Odessa had no intention of keeping this child or even letting it go to terms. In fact, first thing in the morning she was calling Dr. Benway's office to set up an abortion. So, why wasn't she smoking?
Could it be that the thought that pregnant women shouldn't smoke was so ingrained in her mind that she couldn't bring herself to light up? Or, was this just the excuse she needed to finally give up the habit? Whatever the case, she was going to try to stop smoking, and that would be for the best in the long run, right?
It wasn't going to be easy though. She knew that. It had only been a few hours since her last menthol and already the urges were starting to claw at her insides.
Odessa had been smoking since she was eleven, the same year her father first stuck his thing inside her, and cigarettes seemed as natural to her as her periods.
She might quit smoking but there was no way she was going to quit her decision to have an abortion. A pregnancy would too greatly affect her earning potential. If she was going to get out of this life, and she was going to get out of this life, she had to make as much money as soon as possible while her youth and beauty were still with her. Most men won't pay for varicose veins and stretch marks, they can get that at home for free. When men paid for sex they generally wanted what they couldn't get with just their charm. That meant a hot body and a talented tongue. Of course, there are some that get turned on by a pregnant woman but most still see it as sloppy seconds, even if they are just paying for it.
The father of the baby was Stuttering Joe, she was sure of it. He was the only man she had sex with without protection. In some circles Stuttering Joe would be considered her pimp but Odessa didn't consider him that. A pimp is a negative man who threatens and beats his girls and keeps them under his control with drugs and mind games. A pimp is a useless, lazy pussy who preys on the weak and Stuttering Joe wasn't like that.
Joe never hit his girls and he urged them to stay away from drugs. Some, of course, couldn't be swayed from them but he was always there to help if they wanted to dry out. He treated his women with respect and knew he needed them as much as they needed his protection. And he did protect them.
On an average night Stuttering Joe traveled twenty miles going between one set of clients (this is how he saw his girls as clients not property) to another making sure they were safe from the street scum and the cops. If he couldn't make it in person every few hours he would call them on the cell phone he provided each with to check on them.
Joe never took more than his twenty percent for this service. Pimps will take all a girls money to 'hold it for their own protection', which is a nice way of stealing it from them.
For these reasons Stuttering Joe was the only man Odessa had sex with without a condom. She felt she owed him this little kindness. This was the reason she knew he was the father of this baby.
Odessa would do anything a client wanted, except have sex without a condom. She would perform S&M, both light and extreme, water sports, anal, hook up his balls to a car battery and spit in his mouth. She once had a client who only wanted to wear a diaper while she breast fed him. Whatever, but only with a condom.
If they complained about the stipulation she would simply put it on them with her mouth and by the time they realized they were wearing one they were balls deep inside her and couldn't care less at that point.
With Stuttering Joe being the father though she could not let anyone know of her condition, not even her closest friends Maria and Lubec Louanne. If Joe found out he might insist she keep the baby and give up tricking for a while and although that would be detrimental to her plans she could not say no to him. She would be trapped in this life probably for the rest of hers.
No one could know.
An old Oldsmobile with patches of missing paint on the hood pulled up to the curb in front of the hotel. The passenger side window rolled down with an electronic hum. Odessa put on her friendly face and approached the vehicle. An old man sat behind the wheel. He was wearing coveralls and a John Deere cap. An old farmer in the city for a little fun. Odessa leaned in the window. Her blouse fell open so the old man could get a peek of what he could be renting if he had the money.
“Hi honey.” Odessa said shaking her tits a bit so they swung around in her blouse.
The old man swallowed nervously. His adams apple bobbing up and down in his neck. He looked down her blouse and could see all the way to Albuquerque. “Oh well, hello there yourself.” His voice fluttered like a teenage boys on his first date.
“You looking for some company tonight?”
“Well, I ain't got a lot of cash on me. What you charging?”
“Charging? What makes you think I charge? Besides, a handsome thing like you doesn't need to pay for it, do you?” Odessa smiled at him, calming him, letting him know this was the game they had to play.
The old man grinned back at her. His dentures a bright yellow under the street lights. “Forty some-odd years ago I might have agreed with you but now...well, you know how it goes.”
“Tell you what.” Odessa said, giving her breasts another dance inside her blouse. “Why don't we go somewhere a bit more private so we can discuss the arrangements.”
The old man glanced down at her beautiful black breasts again, licked his lips and scratched the hair growing out of his earlobes. She could see his mind working out the possibilities. The things he wanted to do to her and the amount of money he had to do them. Finally he flashed the candy corn teeth again, patted the passenger seat and said, “Get in.”
At two in the morning Odessa met two of Stuttering Joe's girls at the Gas 'N Go for coffee, as she did most mornings. When she arrived Maria and Lubec Louanne were already there with Styrofoam coffee cups and lit cigarettes in their hands, leaning against the ice machine. “Hey girl.” Maria called out as Odessa crossed the parking lot. “You look bushed, having a rough night?”
“No more than usual. How about you two?”
“Same old, same old. Lubec here has it tough though. You know how these dirty fuckers love the blondes with the hillbilly twang.”
“Ain't that the truth.” Lubec complained, or maybe it was bragging. “I tell you what, my pussy feels like I been fucked by a pineapple. They just going to have to settle with blow-jobs 'cause my gash is on vacation the rest of the week.”
Odessa grinned. Lubec's baptist blood seemed to be fired up tonight. “How's the coffee tonight?” She asked.
“Good,” Maria said, “Baby Billy working. Coffee always good when Baby work. He one fine boy. Too bad he queer.”
Lubec piped in, “I find it doesn't matter if a man's gay or not. You give a lick and they will be on you like a flea on a dog.” Her deep Texas twang holding on to each syllable like a safety net. “That's why we loves the men. Dirty dogs but so much fun.”
“I'll be right back out.” Odessa went in to get her coffee.
“Hey 'Dessa.” Baby Billy smiled over the textbooks he had spread out over the counter. “You're looking beautiful tonight. Did you do something different with you hair? You seem different somehow.”
Odessa filled a cup with coffee, added sugar and creamer. “No, nothing different. Maybe you're turning straight.” She teased.
“Ugh, God forbid. You just seem to have something even more special about you tonight, a glow or something. I don't know.”
He knows, she thought. He can see I'm pregnant. Even if he doesn't know what it is he knows something is different. She was definatley calling Benway's office in the morning. “Well, I spent a little more time in front of the mirror this evening than usual. Maybe that is it. Of course, it's not as easy for me as it is for you.”
“Please. If I'm so hot why do I have calusses.”
“How much longer you got?” She glanced at the psychology book on the counter.
“Finals are next week. I'm scared as hell.”
“You will do fine And if you don't then you can always to what I do. With your face and body you could retire at twenty-nine.”
“Hey, I just might. My boyfriend would kick my ass but reaching in their pants might be easier than reaching into their minds.”
“Yeah, sometimes though their minds aren't as dirty.” Odessa set a dollar on the counter for the coffee.
“Gross.” Baby Billy laughed. He slid the dollar back over to her. “Keep it. I think you just convinced me to study harder for finals.”
“Thanks baby.” Odessa dropped the dollar back into her purse then went outside to her friends.
The urge for a cigarette hit Odessa hard when she smelled the smoke from Maria and Lubec. She opened her purse and found the half pack of menthols on the bottom. Next to them was a bubble pack of nicotine gum she had bought a year ago when she had tried to quit before. She pulled the gum out, pushed a piece through the tin foil backing, popped it in her mouth and chewed until the hard coating was gone then pushed it in her cheek just as the long lost instructions had told her to do.
An immediate tingling sensation filled her mouth. She felt her body relax. It was receiving it's fix and she felt better almost instantly. Much better. If nicotine was this hard to kick she was grateful she had never experimented with other things, like heroin or cocain.
“Y'all ain't smoking Odessa?” Lubec asked. “I got some if you need one.”
“No thanks. I guess I am trying to quit.”
“Good for you honey.” Maria squeaked. “I won't give them up though. They help wash the taste of cock out of my mouth.”
“Ooh, that's nasty.” Lubec laughed.
The sound of high heels clicking against the pavement suddenly filled the air. The three working girls looked out towards the street and saw three more women approaching. One of the new women was over six and a half feet tall and wrapped in a real fox-tail coat.
“Oh Christ.” Maria moaned. “It's Mildred Pierce and her trannie sluts.”
“Settle down Maria.” Odessa said.
The three trannies approached the three women. Mildred Pierce reached out and grabbed Odessa's hands. “Odessa darling. How are things?” She kissed the air around Odessa's head.
“Fine girl, as always.”
Mildred turned to the other women. “Louanne, always good to see you.”
“Hey Mildred.” Louanne giggled. Louanne had only been working in the city a few months and had not yet gotten used to transvestites. Lubec, Texas has trannies as any city in the world does but she had never been exposed to them there. She found them fascinating and fun.
Mildred looked at Maria, nodded. “Maria.” The ice in her voice as cold as a polar bears balls.
Maria grinned back. “Trannie cunt. How's it hanging?”
Mildred ignored the remark and turned back to Odessa. “How's the coffee tonight?”
“Good. Baby Billy is working.”
“Yum. Hot coffee and a sweet pastry. What more could a girl want?”
“Forget it,” Maria said. “He likes men, real men, not some girly boy with a stuffed bra.”
“This is all me.” Mildred grunted, pushing her tits up. “There might be some tucking but there ain't no stuffing.” She turned back to her entourage. “Come on bitches. Let's go fall into those baby blues.” The trio marched into the store.
“You know Maria,” Odessa said once they were gone, “You gotta lay off her. What did she do to you anyhow?”
“I hate them trannie skanks. Stealing our customers.”
“Come on. You know a man who wants to fuck a trannie is pretty unlikely to be interested in a natural born woman.”
“I don't care. I hate them.”
“Well, I like them.” Lubec said.
“ I wouldn't get to close to them. They going to get what coming to them someday. Just you watch. They will get theirs someday.”
The first thing Maria did when she got home each morning was pull the drug box out of the drawer in the coffee table and roll herself a joint. The box usually had other fun treats inside like cocain, a variety of pills and sometimes crystal meth or heroin. These things though wired her up if she was going to get any sleep she needed the pot to relax her.
The second thing she did was sit in her chair by the window, the only piece of furniture in the one room apartment besides the sleeper couch, to smoke and watch her favorite show. The show was actually the woman who lived in the apartment directly across the alley. Maria didn't know the woman's name but in her mind it was Chantelle because she looked like a Chantelle that lived in her old neighborhood. Chantelle, this Chantelle not the one from the old neighborhood, was a tall beautiful hispanic woman with bright red hair on her head, and below, who didn't believe in curtains or clothing. In other words, she was the perfect neighbor.
Chantelle woke up precisely at seven each morning, went to the kitchen to start the coffee pot then to the bathroom to shower. Maria would watch each step thinking of those lovely charcoal nipples in her mouth and how silky the red bush would feel between her fingers.
Occasionally Chantelle would look up from her breakfast and smile at Maria. She seemed completely non-chalant about her nudity. Chantelle would never dress until just before walking out the door and when she came home in the evening the clothes came off just after the door was closed. Maria would smile back but that was as far as it ever went.
Maria wanted her like a starving man wants a steak but she didn't know how to approach someone in a normal manner. Her entire knowledge of relationships was that of whore and client. She had marveled at the people in movies who would simply ask someone they liked out to dinner. Could it really be as easy as that?
Perhaps, she thought, someday. But for now she was content with the show. Chantelle seemed to be fine with Maria watching her so there was no sense in screwing up a good thing. If she asked Chantelle out the other woman might consider buying curtains.
Maria usually finished her joint just as Chantelle, now fully dressed, was leaving for work. She wondered where she worked. Was she a secretary or had some sort of cubicle job? She was always nicely dressed, not in a uniform so it had to be a bit more upscale than a cleaner or waitress. She probably did not do what Maria did for a living. Although, she had heard of 'houses' in the city. They were usually in nice neighborhoods where the neighbors are shocked when the police finally close them down. It's possible, but she didn't want to think Chantelle whored. She wanted to keep her pure.
When Maria moved into the apartment the only things she owned was a grocery bag of clothes and a framed photo of her brother Carlos, the only person in the world she cared about and that included her cold heartless mother. Now, two years later, she owned a second grocery bag of clothes and a chair.
Maria looked at the photo. Carlos was fifteen in the picture. It was a school picture and he was in a stripped polo shirt and wore a grin as large as the world. He would be dead a year after it was taken. Carlos would be twenty-four now. The pain of losing him had softened over the years but she often wondered what sort of man he would have become if he hadn't put that gun in his own mouth and fed himself a bullet all those years ago. He would be handsome, that was a given. He was always a handsome boy and the picture showed off his natural beauty. He had gentle, intelligent eyes, with just a little bit of mischief and a smile that got him almost anything he wanted. It wasn't just his lips that smiled, it was his whole body and who could resist that much joy?
Yes, he would be very handsome, but would he have a family? Kids? She didn't think so. Not with that lot he was carrying on with. They would have twisted that idea right out of his mind. Trannies don't have children.
Maria and Carlos grew up on Morton Avenue, a mostly Dominican community. She, like most people there, considered herself Dominican even though it was her grandmother who was the immigrant. Maria was born here, as was her mother. She was as American as Betsy Ross and smog and yet she still saw herself a foreigner.
Morton Avenue was poor, just as her new neighborhood is, and with poverty comes desperation. If one is smart enough and driven enough you could get out with a college scholarship. Most of the time though, hunger pushed that drive away.
The streets were their playgrounds and the people of the streets their friends. The drug dealers, the pimps, whores, pedophiles and cops who didn't give two shits about you. These were the people looking out for Maria, Carlos and all the kids on the streets at night. Carlos chose to hang with the least despicable of the streets, the trannie whores, but Maria saw them twist his mind until he wanted to be like them. Or at least thought he did.
When his wants and real desires collided, his mind snapped and he shoved a bullet through his head. He wasn't a transvestite, but they made him think he wanted to be one and it killed him.
She still remembered, with shocking clarity (even though she was fucked up on heroin at the time), the day her mother called to say her brother was dead. Maria dropped the phone on the sidewalk and screamed and cried until the police showed up. It took thirty minutes for a woman screaming on the street before anyone cared.
The funeral was closed casket. Mother said, with icy calmness, that the damage to his face was unrepairable and it would be too shocking for the mourners. Maria never really got to say goodbye to him, her only brother, her only friend, the only person she loved and that included herself.
With the pot buzz making her sleepy, Maria would pull the bed from the confines of the couch, put on her dark out mask and let sleep take her away. Sometimes, when she thought about where her life was and the lack of really good people in it, like her late brother, she would hope to not wake up. Let death take her in her sleep. That would be nice, that would be kind, so she knew it would never happen. But, it would be a fitting end to a meaningless life.
The difference between the inside of the Doctor Benway's office and the outside was like the difference between Kenworth T800 Dump Truck with a 10 speed ultra transmission and a PACCAR PACCAR MX 455 engine; and a donkey with an arthritic hip pulling a wooden cart with a broken wheel. The building was constructed during Rooservelt's New Deal years and housed not only Dr. Benway's medical office but a small law office, whose attorneys hadn't won a case in years, a mailbox company and a head shop that had extended credit to Benway and the lawyers and had been working mostly in the red ever since.
It was a sturdy built building of red brick but the declining economy of the neighborhood and half a century of neglect had left the building in near ruins. Sections of brick were missing exposing the wooden skeleton within. The wooden window frames had long since rotted away and the glass surrounding the lobby hung at an angle like the face of a cock-eyed child. The door hung on one hinge and was held open during business hours with a cement block that someone had stolen from a construction site years ago. Leaves and trash flowed in and out of the lobby whenever the wind deemed it worthy of attention.
The inside of his office, however, was immaculate. The walls were painted a nice neutral beige, with flowered wallpaper trim along the ceiling. All the furniture was new, no ripped cushions or stained seats and the floor was hugged by a tough gray carpet. It wasn't crystal chandeliers and gold door handles but it was clean and impressively undamaged.
Odessa walked into the lobby, stepping over a fastfood soda cup and a used condom that had grown dry and withered like a snake skin. It was as she had expected. Many of the working girls used Dr. Benway so Odessa had come to expect the worst but when she opened the office door she was pleasantly surprised.
Maybe things will work out, she thought and announced herself to the receptionist. She was asked to take a seat and the doctor will be with her soon.
Odessa picked up a woman's magazine from the stack on a table and thumbed through it. She read an article informing the reader, “How To Know If Your Man Is In Love With Another Man” and another filled with recipes of the perfect chicken casseroles. Oh, the worries of suburban women.
She wanted a cigarette desperately right now. She was nervous even with the professional looking office, she was down right scared.
An older woman in blue scrubs stepped out of a door and asked Odessa to follow her to the exam room. The woman had curly gray hair and wore a crucifix around her neck. A sweet looking grandmother type.
The room was long with three gurneys separated by white curtains. It had the hospital smell of sterile gauze and beta-dine. The gurney's all had restraint straps hanging from the railings.
Grandmother handed her a hospital gown and a paper bag with a wire handle. “Change into this and put your clothes in the bag, dear.” she said then left Odessa alone to do so. Odessa changed, removing her bra and panties and set everything in the bag with her purse on the bottom and shoes on the top. After a few minutes the older woman came back, set the paper bag in a chair next to the gurney and asked Odessa to hop up and put her feet in the stirrups. Then she covered Odessa in a white blanket that smelled of bleach.
“There now,” she said. “Dr. Benway will be with you shortly.”
Odessa settled in, comforted by the cleanliness and professionalism of the place.
This is going to work out. Everything will be fine. I can get on with my plans like nothing ever happened.
Her optimism was shattered though, the second Benway walked in.
Dr. Benway was a man of simple desires. All he ever wanted out of life was a decent home, a nice reliable car, and enough drugs to keep him knocked off his tits twenty-four hours a day.
The door flew open, slamming the wall behind it and Dr. Benway ran into the room like a coked-up showgirl who just realized she missed her cue. His clothes were wrinkled and untucked and looked like he had been sleeping in them for a week, which he probably had. Patches of dirt and a bloody hand print covered his once white doctors jacket.
“Jesus Christ, what day is this?” he bellowed. Dark circles surrounded both eyes and the lids were bright red as though he had been in a smoky room.
Through his peripheral vision he saw Odessa. Startled, he leaped back, knocking over a metal table. “Who the fuck are you?” he screamed then, noticing the folder on her bedside table pulled it up and glanced at it. “Oh, Odessa. Odessa, Odessa in a bit of a mess-ah.” He giggled at his own joke.
He sat on a stool at Odessa's feet and looked under the blanket. He yelped and flew backwards, the wheels of the stool pushing him against the counter.”Jesus Christ. You'd think I'd get used to this. I've seen hundred of them but every time I look at one I see my mother's face.”
Odessa pulled her feet from the stirrups and started to sit up. “I think I'll do this another time.”
“Nonsense my dear. I've done hundreds of these, and more fucked up than I am right now, I can tell you. All you need is a little sedative.” He turned to the door and said in his most pleasant voice, (pleasant to him but to anyone else he sounded like a fishwife), “Grace, some sedatives please.”
Odessa pushed the blanket off and sat up on the gurney. “I'm leaving.”
“Grace!” Benway yelled.
It was grandmother. “Sorry Doctor.”
“Help me! Tie her down.”
Grace the grandmother pushed Odessa back down, she was surprisingly strong, and with one hand wrapped a restraint around her wrist and secured it. Odessa started to reach for it with the other hand to undo it when Grace secured her other hand. She was fast for an old girl.
For a moment Odessa was eleven years old again. Her father was holding her hands over her head, down on the pillow, with one hand while the other was between her legs, in her underwear, opening her with his fat fingers. Opening her up for his thing.
Odessa began flailing her legs, catching Benway in the face. He flew backwards, blood immediately running from his nose.
“Fucking whore!” he screamed. Through the broken nose it sounded like 'funning whore'. Benway grabbed her ankles and held them down while Grace secured the straps.
“Sedatives.” he screamed.
Grace ran to the cupboard, filled a syringe then swabbed Odessa's arm with alcohol.
“Not her,” Benway screamed, “Me!”
“Let me get her first.”
“Get your fucking hands off me!” She felt a stick as the needle found it's home and heat immediately flowed through her arm.
“Now me! Now me!” Benway was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
Odessa felt her strength leave her. She fell back against the gurney. “I don't want this.” She tried to say but what came out was, “I dun wah wit.” The room was growing dark. She heard a machine start up, not loud but soft like a fan. She tried to see what was happening but all she could make out was Benway's blurred face. He looked like a cartoon character, an especially nasty cartoon character. Everything then went black and she was helpless against the junkie doctor.
Odessa woke expecting to be in a clean, sterile recovery room. She still had faith that things would work out. It was crazy for a while there but in the end everything will be fine. When she opened her eyes though all the faith, faith in God, faith in man and faith in herself began a slow and terrible death.
Odessa woke to find herself in a dumpster, lying atop twenty bags of trash that smelled vaguely like a decomposing raccoon.
She was still in the hospital gown and her legs were covered in blood down to the shins. A sharp stabbing pain simmered in her belly and when she moved the pain exploded through her body. She felt as though she had been harpooned.
She moaned in pain and wanted to scream out but was afraid it would hurt more than keeping it in. A fist of vomit lodged in her throat. She wasn't sure if it was the stink of the trash or the pain but one thing she did know is she could not lie here in the dumpster all day.
Odessa grabbed the lip of the dumpster and pulled herself up until she was sitting. The lip was slick with some sort of slime. She didn't want to think what her hand might be in. Her breath came in thick gasps. Beads of sweat bubbled up on her forehead. The pain was nearly unbearable.
She puffed in and out three times then pulled herself up. Stadium lights exploded behind her eyes and vomit let loose, spilling down over her chest. It dripped from her chin in wet slops. Her head hung over the dumpster and she looked down at the ground. It seemed a mile away though could not have been more than three feet. Even so, she imagined herself spilling out, landing on her head and breaking her neck. She could not get out this way. If she was not in so much pain this would be simple but having her guts ripped out like this made the easiest of things as difficult as digging out a basement with a teaspoon.
She fell back on the bags and decided to try feet first. She flung her feet over the edge and scooted up on her butt. She puffed three times again then pushed until her rear rested on the lip. Her feet hung over the ground, the souls itching to touch pavement. Her arms quivered from the weight of her body. Slowly, she lowered herself until toes met ground. Her arms bent backwards as the rest of her feet landed. Finally, she let go and vomited again against the dumpster.
The paper bag with the wire handle had been in the dumpster with her. She took it out and removed the shoes, the clothes and found her purse at the bottom, right where she left it. Inside, her wallet was still there with the bubble pack of nicotine gum. The wallet was empty of cash. The bastard got paid anyway.
Odessa reached up between her legs and found a wad of gauze the size of a cat's head jammed up inside her. She slowly pulled it free, hoping this wasn't holding back a tidal wave of blood. Pubic hair pulled out with it but nothing flowed. Crispy flakes of blood twinkled down to the ground. The part of the pack that was inside her was still wet. She through it to the ground with a wet slop.
She needed to get home but wasn't really sure if she could even walk yet. Her money was gone so a taxi was out of the question. She couldn't even afford the bus. Walking was her only option but first she had to change her clothes. She was going to be a sight enough without traipsing around the city in a bloody hospital jonnie.
The mouth of the alley was clear so she stripped off the gown, turned it inside out so the vomit wouldn't rub against her skin then wiped the blood from her legs as best she could. Slowly, oh so very slowly, she slid her panties on. She ran her forearm over her face, pushing the sweat away then pulled herself into the blouse, then skirt. She was grateful she didn't wear jeans today. They never would have made it on. She stepped into her shoes, not bothering to secure the straps holding the heels onto her feet. They would flap-flap-flap against her heels but they were tight enough around the toes to stay on.
Disheveled but dressed, and still with caked blood covering her legs, Odessa tossed the gown and bag in the dumpster, took her purse and walked out of the alley to the street, her belly cramping, but not as bad as it had been. She knew instantly where she was. An Okey Dokey Hot Dog Emporium was on the other side of the street next door to Bucky's Pawn Shop. She was on Seventy-eighth street. Ten blocks from home and three blocks from Benway's office. They had smuggled her this far without anyone noticing? In the middle of the day?
What a shit-hole this city is, she thought.
It took her two hours to walk the ten blocks. Two hours to walk half a mile. She stopped every few feet to clear her eyes of sweat and catch her breath. The pain was bad, real bad, but still not as bad as when she first woke up. She vomited twice in the first block but by the second she had emptied her stomach and so she merely retched a dry heave then moved on. She would need food and water when she got home, badly.
Dusk was painting the sky an artists palette of reds and blues and greens when Odessa made it to her front stoop. She plopped down on the brick steps and caught her breath again. Discretely she slid her hand up under her skirt and felt where the bandages had been. She was dry, no blood. She wasn't going to bleed to death during the night then. There was that at least. She pulled herself up and climbed the steps to the building then up the three flights to her apartment. The gray hallways actually cheering her up. She was home. She was in pain but at least she was home.
One awful truth was nagging at her as she unlocked the apartment door, however. She was still pregnant. She knew it just as she knew her name was Odessa and her father was a child molesting son of a bitch who was buried in a shallow grave out behind the Highway 88 rest area. All this pain and the bastard didn't even get rid of her problem. She was still with child, there was no doubt in her mind. She also knew she would never go through that again. The next time might kill her.
She was going to have to have this kid