Monday, 1 May 2017

House call - the other side!

       Some years ago, I wrote a short story called "House call" or something like that.  A writer later challenged me to write the story from another point of view (POV), from Cindy's side.  Here is my attempt!     
PS. If you want to see the original story I think you will find it buried among my early blogs.   

                                                 Cindy's Story.

      She awoke suddenly,with an ominous feeling that things were going to go wrong that day. Her premonition was to turn out to be correct. It had been a hard night.She had worked until 2am and had earned a total of $400,barely enough to buy a gram of cocaine and to have enough left over to buy some food for herself and Jerry. She schlept herself into the untidy, non too clean bathroom and was shocked to see herself in the dirty,scratched and slightly distorted mirror. The remnants of her good looks were only just perceptible at thirty-seven,and she could easily have passed for a woman ten years older.

She could see that herself. Her mouth was parched from a hundred cigarettes,and she reached for a toothbrush and an almost empty tube of toothpaste to try and dispel the filthy taste from her mouth and restore a little moisture to her dehydrated mucous membranes. She couldn't get the toothpaste out of the tube, there was so little left. She finally expelled a small bead of the paste,and after wetting her brush stuck it in her mouth. She thought she was going to vomit, managed not to,and gradually felt the refreshing taste of the toothpaste permeate the layer of inflamed mucosa that lined her mouth. She showered, pulled on a robe,and walked into the room that served as her living room and was the single other room apart from her bedroom. It was sparsely furnished,with a misshapen sofa upon which a mishapen, dishevelled middle age man lay sleeping,contributing to the general shabbiness of the room.

 "Wake up,Jerry,you lazy bastard" she shouted, "Get the hell out of here and get yourself a job". She didn't know why she kept him around. He had once been good to her when she  needed help and she just kept him around. They hadn't slept together for years. Jerry stirred,and said "yeah,I'm going to look for something later today. Once I get a job  I'l pay you back everything I owe you" "Yeah", she said.  She looked at the small empty plastic bag that the cocaine had come in, moistened her finger and ran it around the inside of the bag,and then massaged it into her gums. She wondered how she was going  to get through the day.

      Three coffees and an hour in the bathroom later,she looked at herself in the mirror once again. She thought she looked better. Still not great, but better, she thought bitterly,remembering when she had just to walk into a room to turn every male head. "I've really wrecked my life"she thought,"I might as well be dead." Maybe that's the answer, maybe I should finish it all. She thought of her parents,and how they would feel. She still cared about them and they about her despite the strained relations of many years. But maybe they would be better off too,if she were out of the way. Her eyes filled with tears as she thought of her life now and the potential she had wasted. "Shit", she thought, "what I really need is a fix". Maybe if she got out early enough,  she could turn a few tricks and hustle enough for a couple of grams of cocaine to carry her through the day - and night. "Tidy this place up, you lazy son of a bitch" she called to Jerry, "I might have to bring someone back here."

Jerry grunted something in response,she didn't hear what. She walked out the door into the dark, fetid corridor,and wended her way toward the street.

      It was four o'clock in the afternoon,when Cindy hit South Railway. She hated the sort of day it was, cold and dark, reflecting her mood. There was no one on the street, and  she made for the bar at the Empire Hotel. The bar was empty, so she thought she'd have a drink, maybe it would make her feel better.

  She knew the barman, a rough tough decent sort of guy, who even let her run a tab, as long as she didn't let it get too high. "Give me a gin and tonic, Phil." She said. "Hey, Cindy, don't you think it's a little early to be starting?" He asked.  
  "I asked for a drink, not for your advice," she said.

  Phil didn't take offence. "Okay,"he said,"you're the boss." 
  He poured the gin and tonic and slid it along the bar. "Want to pay now,or a tab?" Cindy was just lighting a cigarette. "I'l pay now,"she said,searching her purse for her wallet. She paid him. She sat smoking her cigarette, drinking her drink, and rummaged through her purse, trying to count how much money she had left. Ninety seven dollars and some change. Not even enough for a fix. Though maybe if she ran into Gil he'd give her a break. She knew he came in here frequently, maybe if she sat around for a while he'd show up. Her mood plummetted and she felt like a drowning woman, hoping for a lifeline to rescue her from the deepeninging morass of depression. An hour and three drinks later she was still sitting in the bar,hoping Gil might show up, or at least a likely customer. She didn't feel well enough to hit the street,she had a pain in her belly and just wanted to lie down. As she walked into the street, he blast of cold air revitalised her,and she walked the three blocks to her shabby apartment house.

      When she walked into the room, she saw Jerry sitting on the same sofa,a cigarette in his hand,watching the black and white television set  The ash on the cigarette drooped towards the floor,ready to drop momentarily onto the dirty cushion.

      "I thought you were going out to get a job today" she said.

     "Yeah,the guy wasn't in today,they said to come back tomorrow"         

      Cindy felt too sick to carry on with the conversation. If she could just get a fix tonight it would carry her through for the next day or two,until she could make a little money. She slipped off her dress, the only decent one she had left,and laid down on the bed for a moment. When she awoke she looked at her watch,and saw that it was 2.40am. She felt awful,wished she was dead and called Jerry,

      "Jerry,I feel awful,I've got to get out and get a fix" she said.

      "You got no money,it's an awful night,you ain't fit to go into the street on a night like this. Why don't you call the doctor. You remember that other doctor said you got gall-stones,and would need a shot if it troubled you again. Maybe,we can get one of the young docs out of the clinic and  he'll give you a shot of something that might carry you over." 
      "Yeah,I've had a belly ache all day. Look up the number and I'l call the doctor.

      She dialled the number.

     She was just dozing off,when there was a knock on the door. A peasant looking young man walked ito the room.

      "I'm Dr. Steve Saunders," he said, "what seems to be the problem?"

   Cindy looked him over. This one is going to be easy,she thought,he hasn't been out of medical school long.

      "I was in to your clinic last week and Dr. McIntosh told me I have gall-stones,and if I had any further problems I was to call the Dr. on call and he would give me a shot of demerol." 
   Cindy had had plenty of experience dealing with interns and Drs and usually managed to control the situation, so this  young fellow shouldn't be too difficult to manage.

      He said,"Lets step into the bedroom and I'l examine you."

Jerry was sitting in his usual place,watching the TV.

      The last thing Cindy wanted was to be examined and she said so and said she would come into the office the next day for a checkup.

      "I'm not giving any shots of anything without examining you first."

   She glared at him, and was at the point of telling him to fuck off, but instead said,"Well maybe you could leave me a few demerol or talwin  pills in case this starts acting up during the night."

    Before he could answer,there was a knock at the door. No-one attempted to answer, and within a few seconds there was a longer louder knock. All three occupants of the room froze. Suddenly there was a loud cracking noise as the door burst open. Cindy recognized the two cops immediately. One of them was that bastard Sam O'Hanlon. Years ago he had tried to screw her  and she had told him just what to do. He'd made her life a misery ever since. She looked at the young doctor's face and could tell he was wondering what the hell was going on. He ducked out as fast as he could and the two cops ran after him - probably trying to intimidate him into saying something that would get her into trouble.
   "To hell with them all", she thought, as she took the last couple of sleeping pills she had stashed away.  "I'll sort things out in the morning."

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