Wait, Madam! There is comedy in your purse

Spread the word! Rich wears women's underwear (No, not THAT word!) What I meant was, spread the word that this BLOG makes polio string cheese come out all of your orafices. And if it doesn't, lie to your friends and say it does. Rich is tired of sucking scrotum to get ahead, and he wants a real job, one that pays. So come on in! I have Hot Pockets in the fridge

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thee ende of chapter tres

The weather outside was much harsher than it appeared from inside the hospital, and Margaret thought that the hospital must have put up some kind of sunscreen in the window since it wasn’t sunny at all anymore but rather dark and dreary, which suited her personality. This made Margaret consider her current predicament.

She knew she only had about six more days to make the money she needed, but she didn’t know how to make it. Plus, as if things couldn’t get any worse, she also had an elderly partner to worry about, too. The day was already starting off with excess, useless baggage, and she didn’t like it.

Still, the first thing Margaret wanted to do now was give her new sidekick a new name as Margaret liked naming things and didn’t want to call her Old Margaret anymore.

And she thought about this new name as she was crossing the street, stepping in between the diagonal white lines that made up the crosswalk without even looking to see if there was traffic coming. Old Margaret grabbed Margaret by the shoulder and pulled her back just in the nick of time before a Nissan Pathfinder almost ran her over; Old Margaret scalded Margaret as if she were the mother Margaret never had.

“Hey, weren’t you lookin’ there, toots? You almost got yourself crushed!” But just then, for reasons unknown, the voice at the roof of Margaret’s mouth said, “Estoban” and that was it, Margaret had a new name for her sidekick.

And while no, Old Margaret didn’t exactly look like an Estoban, by this point, after being beaten up by a martial arts master in a supermarket (twice) getting kicked out of her house, getting arrested, and breaking out of a hospital with a geriatric cancer patient, Margaret was pretty much willing to accept anything. So as Old Margaret scalded her, Margaret shouted out “Shut up, Estoban!” to get her to keep quite, leaving the two people standing at the crosswalk beside them to wonder if she was mistaking them for somebody else.

She wasn’t, though, and was in fact talking to Old Margaret, who stood aback and stared at Margaret with questioning blue eyes. She was still wearing the old fart’s pajamas, and Margaret was still wearing the Lucille Ball get-up, so they both looked out of place, meaning, that calling an old woman Estoban in public clearly wasn’t the best move if they wanted to avoid suspicion of inanity.

“What do you mean, Estoban?” Old Margaret barked, the two people at the crosswalk hurriedly walking away from these lunatics. When they left, Old Margaret used her hands to emphasize her dislike at all this randomness coming out of Margaret’s mouth.

“One minute I’m telling you not to cross the street without looking, the next you yell out ‘Estoban?’ What’s with you, Toots? You got a screw loose or somethin’?” and Old Margaret asked while spinning her pointy index finger by her ear in circles as she crossed the street with Margaret. Once across, and while they passed a French Connection, the neon lights bouncing off her cheek and painting it leopard yellow, Margaret explained to her:

“There can’t be two Margaret’s, you see.” she said matter of factly, the legs beneath now her carrying her to the subway. “Either I’m Margaret, or you’re Margaret, but we BOTH can’t be Margaret.”

“So why can’t I be Margaret then?” Old Margaret asked impatiently, her face turned while she ogled the clothes that lay within this delightfully tacky store. Margaret shook her head with closed eyes. “No way, man, I’m the leader here, so I get cool the name. You have to change yours.”

Old Margaret, staring away from the clothes for a second, thought about it for a moment, coughed, and then looked up at the encroaching rain clouds in the sky. She let the matter go. She didn’t feel like arguing

“Fiiiiiine, you can be Margaret,” Old Margaret said, nonchalantly, flicking her wrist in the air as if disavowing the name to the wind. “I’m too old to bother arguing, and I never liked it anyway, so take it. But I don’t want to be Estoban, either, that’s a boy’s name.”

The slow moving black parade in the sky that was the clouds began to shift and slowly march from in front of the sun, changing the dismal dark air into a pleasant blue skyline. Margaret didn’t like it.

“Then what DO you want to be called then?” Margaret asked, aggravated.

“Gertrude,” she said, her eyes dazzling, “I’ve wanted that name since I was a child and I think it fits me well, don’t you?”

Margaret agreed, it DID fit her well. Gertrude was such an old people name, and Old Margaret was certainly and old people, er, person, and so Margaret had nothing to argue about, Gertrude it was. Margaret was happy with the decision going so well without fisticuffs and she spat into her own hand to solidify the deal. Old Margaret shook it. She was happy with the name change, too. It was like starting a new life.

After their hands slid apart from the spit, Margaret then turned around quickly and continued to trudge forward without even thinking about Old Mar…er, Gertrude catching up her. “Hey wait a minute.” Old Margaret, er Gertrude said (Sorry, this may take a little while to get used to). “Where are we headed now?”

“To my job, it’s Wednesday,” Margaret answered, and with that, Margaret continued to walk on hastily, forgetting all the while that she couldn’t show up to work dressed like THAT anyway. And then she had this old woman to deal with, too, making her believe again that maybe breaking out with her wasn’t such a great idea after all, the voices at the roof of her mouth complained and was all scratchy and gritty. “Why’d you have to take her along anyway, Margaret?” The voice growled.

Margaret told the voice, “Shut up, voice,” as she sped walked and told her why she was justified in saying that, “She helped me out, and I owe her my gratitude.” The voice agreed by staying quiet, this WAS indeed a noble cause.

Gertrude, only a few steps behind, didn’t quite know who Margaret was talking to, but as long as wasn’t she wasn’t calling her foreign names like Estoban anymore, Gertrude (there we go, got it!) really didn’t mind. She had nowhere else to go, anyway, so it was either follow this maniac to hell or go back to the machines that breathe for her in the hospital. Gertrude chose the maniac and hell.

Margaret really didn’t have to walk that many more steps before she would eventually be spotted by one of her biggest fans. But before that reveal, let’s get into a little back story during the commercial break, shall we? In all truths, when Margaret was placed in the hospital, not carrying a wallet or any form of identification, she was lucky that a woman like the bear lady existed.

For it was she who paid for everything on her husband’s salary, which made her find that morning in the hospital even more soul crushing. “What do you mean she escaped?!” the bear lady yelled as she grabbed the man in blue behind the counter and shook him violently; the two orderlies from before rushing to restrain her. She then ran to the door, cursing the entire hospital floor with some mystical incantation that didn’t mean anything, and then hopped back into her van that was waiting outside, the engine still running. She was going to find Margaret today if it was the last thing she did. But little did she know that today was also the day that she would also find her next specimen of interest in Gertrude. The bear lady’s luck looked like it was turning up gardenias.

Margaret pondered what exactly she was going to say to Karen once she finally got to the PETORIUM, which she would need to get to soon since she was late. She really needed the money, like, now, but knew that she couldn’t argue with Karen, it wouldn’t do a lick of good. She also knew that her normal approach, vicious violence, wouldn’t work on Karen, either, so that was out of the question, too. And besides, vicious violence didn’t seem to be going over too well for her, anyway, what with her bruised ribs and missing teeth as a visible example.

But she couldn’t just sit on this hot button topic of “what the hell do I do now” forever as this was a matter of life (Nickels’) and death (Karen’s), if she didn’t get the money she needed soon, so Margaret continued to walk to the subway to get to work and considered that if she couldn’t garner the money she needed by the end of the week, she would actually go back to the police station and tear it down with her bear hands. But that was only if worst came to worst. She wouldn’t make a move that desperate if things seriously weren’t rock, rock bottom.

It was on 6th Street that Margaret was finally found speed walking. The bear lady spotted her only a few blocks away from the subway that she was so hurriedly rushing to descend into. Ever since she got punched in the face by her, the bear lady had been highly interested in how this strange, lost woman operated, and after she woke up the first day upon meeting her, she rushed to the store the very next day to see if she could possibly get her on her show, Extreme Elderly, perhaps as a commentator or something else with a loud, booming voice and a little bit of sex (but not too much!) appeal. Margaret seemed poifect for the job. Just poifect.

But what did we have here? The bear lady spotted Margaret, looking like she just left Ricky Ricardo for Fred, but also saw another woman who seemed to be hopping up and down behind her like she was riding one of those sticks with the horse heads at the end, and by the looks of things, it looked like she was trying to catch up to Margaret, too.

Could this woman possibly be her sidekick? The bear woman pounded on her driver’s shoulder, a young Filipino from the Bronx who was a Grenada war veteran that didn’t like being pounded on his shoulders, and he sped up, not saying a word aloud but cursing under his breath in Tagalog. One day, he was going to strangle that wench.

But before that day, more back story: Right when the incident in the supermarket happened, the bear lady instantly began henpecking on her cell phone, dropping and breaking it, and then borrowing somebody else’s, just to dial 911. She called that number to get an ambulance to come rescue this woman who she was already considering her new star for her show. But let’s stop calling her the bear lady, okay? That name’s getting old, fast.

Her real name was Laura Pascarelli, but her husband, thinking an ethnic name like that wouldn’t fly in the big leagues, had it shortened to just plain, ‘ol, Pascal. So the bear lady’s name was really Laura Pascal. Her husband’s name was Arthur, making him Arthur Pascal. Hopefully, that clears some questions up for you.

So Mrs. Pascal, who was married to Arthur Pascal, who was a corporate exec at Digivision, the largest, multi-distributed company in the tri-state area, was given the right to make her own show just to keep his wife away from him so he could spend some quality time with his Canadian mistress. He thought, what the hell, I’ll give her a show to keep her busy, and why not? It’ll probably be taken off the air in less than a week.

But the truth was, Laura knew all about her husband’s affair and she didn’t care. Arthur was a puny bo boony anyway and she had her eyes on another man, anyway, and his name was Donald Trump (You may have heard of him). Her plan was to surpass his enormous wealth (and Oprah’s), before she hit 50, making a ditzy red head from Alberta, Canada the LEAST of her worries.

And it just so happened that when Margaret was swept to the floor with a flying kick that actually sent two of her teeth to the back of her throat, Mrs. Pascal had fallen in love all over again. She dropped everything and ran to the stubby woman’s aid as the mustache martial arts expert threw up his ninjitsu stained fists and the crowd cheered uproariously, hefting him up on the shoulders and taking him to Applebee’s.

Mrs. Pascal didn’t go with the flow, though. She was too busy taking a knee by the poor girl’s side and rubbing her face, saying soothing things like, “There, there, precious” and “The world might not get you, darling, but I’ll try.” All Margaret could hear in her stupor of unconsciousness was a loud, fog horn like noise. Mrs. Pascal sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown in her head.

And as the white van rounded itself around the corner, Margaret and Gertrude were flowing seamlessly into the darkness that was the subway terminal below. When they disappeared, Mrs. Pascal hit her chauffeur hard in the shoulder and put a nasty incantation on him, too. The chauffeur didn’t much believe in her incantation, but he listened to it all the same. It was the least he could do to take his mind off things, because if he had his mind on what he wanted to do, which was bring Mrs. Pascal’s face right into the windshield, he’d probably be chucked in jail. So he listened to the “Maguumba’s” and the “Bachingo’s” as she said them, it was the safest thing he could do in the circumstance he was in.


Margaret rushed to take the A train uptown, and Gertrude followed close behind, doing a duck walk as she traveled as it was the fastest way she could walk. But as Margaret rushed on past the yellow teeth colored tiles down below, she ran into a bit of a problem. She didn’t know what train she had to catch.

She knew that she had to catch an F train, but she wasn’t even sure if this station HAD an F train. She just knew she had to take an F train as that was the one she used always to take from her house. And since she never imagined she’d ever be kicked out of her apartment, she never learned to read the rest of the signs, making her F-U-C-K-E-D, fook-ed. So when Gertrude asked, “Where are we going now?” her voice swallowed up by a passing train, Margaret didn’t answer her, she really didn’t know.

Even so, Margaret darted over the turnstile without paying a dime, ran towards the train that just stopped, and leapt into it, hoping to God that it would take her to where she needed to be. Gertrude, close behind, just made it in herself before a police officer, who saw what they did, ran to the train and began banging on the scratched up window with his fists, his hard thuds waking up a Jamaican woman in nurse clothes dozing off every few seconds.

“Hey, what the bumboclot?!” she yelled and brandished a syringe from her purse, ready to poke whoever got in her path. Eventually, she calmed back down again and went to sleep, but Gertrude had her fists up ready to sock her one. She didn’t want to see another syringe for the rest of her life.

Margaret peaceably let out a sigh of relief and walked over to the map on the side of the train, bumping into businessmen and teenagers with iPods, just to get to it. If she couldn’t read a map before, she better learn now, as the train was heading somewhere, and she had no idea where. She also was determined to learn because she had a feeling that if things didn’t go right today, she might end up sleeping in one of these tin can thingies tonight. And while a park bench was one thing, a subway car was a whole ‘nother golf match, as sleeping on a subway train was even worse than poverty. So much worse than poverty, that it would have to take upon a new word, and we’ll just call that word bacapabapapa. There, that works just fine.

But, surprisingly enough, according to the map, she WAS actually heading in the right direction, but it was one of the last stops on the chart and she only had 5 more minutes to get to work. And Margaret knew the time, which was 2:25, because she could see it glinting off the oversized novelty clock of a backpack wearing B Boy’s chest. The clock was draped around his neck like Flava Flav’s. Gertrude tugged on Margaret’s shirt incessantly and tried to get her attention. She had to pee. “Margaret?” she asked.

“What?” Margaret asked angrily, she was already growing sick of this old bag in the pajamas and she desperately wanted to kick her like she would kick her beloved cat, Nickels. Maybe later, Margaret thought, but Gertrude continued to tug, she didn’t hear Margaret over the scraping of the rollicking subway’s screech.

“Margaret?” She asked.

“What?” Margaret asked again angrily, still eyeing the map as if doing so would make the train skip some stops and go faster for her. But Gertrude kept tugging.

“What?!” Margaret shouted, turning around with her fist up this time. Joke’s on her, though. When she turned around this time, she wound up facing the aforementioned B-Boy with the clock around his neck. When he saw her fist, he backed up for a second with his hands up, but then realized what time it was—it was CLOBBERING time! So he punched her right in the nose, her head flying back.

Just getting off of work at a bowling alley, the B-Boy had a lot of pent up energy, and he didn’t want to be bothered. He just wanted to listen to Mos Def.

When he punched her in the nose, it made her head go flying back into a pole. But here’s the strange thing. The curved metal of the pole bounced her head off its spine like a pinball and sprung it back forward, making her head butt the B-Boy in one efficiently snapping motion. He went tumbling down backwards into the rattling doors with a broken nose. He was unconscious.

Gertrude looked scared out of her wits, as did everybody else on the train. Lucille Ball just kicked Flava Flav’s ass! Gertrude refrained from asking Margaret the question she had on her mind, which was “do they have bathrooms on these pieces of tin?” and just kept quiet, holding in the pee.

Margaret grabbed Gertrude by the bony wrist tightly. Her head was throbbing (front and back) but her lust for blood was now increasing. That head butt really gave her back that loving feeling, as the goon with the clock laid slumped back against the rattling door unconscious. The crowd around him backed away as Margaret pushed her way through, with an old woman in pajamas in tow, to the front of the train. Margaret needed to get to work, and she needed to be there NOW. Getting there late certainly wasn’t going to improve her situation or get her a raise.

On each train car, she got stunned looks of fear and warning. Margaret didn’t know it, but her forehead was completely red and her mouth was bleeding profusely, she looked like she just got in the face with a chair. Gertrude didn’t say a word about it, though; she just followed on with her wrist tightly ensnared by Margaret’s hand. In all truths, this really was the most fun she had in a long time, and as soon as Margaret’s temper went down, Gertrude was going to ask her if they could go skydiving next.

When Margaret finally made it up to the front, she pushed the button on the side of the door and it slid open. She found the driver of the train. He was completely naked. The driver quickly released the lever, pushed his penis between his legs, and barked at Margaret, asking her what the hell she was doing up there. Margaret wasn’t paying attention to what he said as the voice at the roof of her mouth was humming a Louie Armstrong song, and this made Margaret pass the point of infuriation. She didn’t even notice that the man at the helm of the train had his Johnson dangling out. Gertrude did though; she thought the driver could stand to lose some weight.

“Hey, Mr., I need you to take me to 17th Street, now.

The naked driver turned his head back, slightly embarrassed to be caught unaware, the glow of the lights on the monitor turning his pallid, white flesh blue, but then he continued to stare ahead.

“Hey, lady,” he said, not noticing the old woman staring at the snaking trail of freckles on his shoulders, “I don’t know where you came from, but this is a subway, not a taxi service. We make all the stops.”

Margaret smiled, but not in a jovial way, but more in a, “I am prepared to hurt you,” kind of way.

“No, no, no, no, no, you don’t understand,” she said calmly, “I’m not requesting it.”

“What, are you threatening me, lady?” He asked, his eyes directed at his crotch as it began to peak through his thighs as the seat beneath him began to hop and bop.

Margaret’s smile dissipated into sort of a frown. She really didn’t feel like hitting anybody anymore today.

“Threatening you?” she asked, his face still not looking at her. She was going to have to get his attention the hard way, it seemed.

“Well, is this a form of threatening you?” She asked as her fist flew so fast into the back of his head that he wasn’t sure if a fist hit him or a jai aliah ball. It connected with such a great force that the driver was knocked straight forward and accidentally into the control stick by his…um, hips…causing the subway to spring forward, making it shoot sparks out of its side against the heavily graffiti laden wall (And how anyone could scribble these elaborate designs on the walls without being hit by an oncoming train is still one of life’s greatest mysteries next to whether God exists and why hot dog buns come in packages of 8, while hot dogs come in packages of 10).

All the passengers, including the dozing Jamaican woman and Gertrude, went hurdling forward off their seats and fell over with the motion. The driver slid onto the floor, his fleshy body fully exposed.

At this point, a man wearing a jumpsuit, ran up to the front of the train in a world of panic. He wanted to know what the hell was going on.

“Hey, what the hell are you doing up here?” He asked, the chest hairs just edging their way over his zipper. “You’re not allowed in here! Are you?”

At this point, Margaret was holding the driver’s head up, and wiping the blood out of his eyes. She didn’t know he would go down THAT hard.

“Wuh?” He kept saying, as Margaret kept patting him on the head. Gertrude took the wheel. She had never done it before, but hey, you only live once, right? The future sped past her eyes at a blinding rate, and on her right, the world was yellow and brown. She had just passed by two stops in less than a minute.

“Sir?” The jumpsuit man said, stepping forward cautiously at the swaying of the speeding train. “Can you get up?”

“Wuh?” said the naked driver again, his vision blurry. Jumpsuit man didn’t even pay attention either to the fact that the driver was completely naked (Was NOBODY surprised by this?)
Margaret paid no mind to the jumpsuit man, and just kept trying to budge this naked lummox as best she could. Gertrude wasn’t doing such a great job of riding this train to victory after all.
“Margaret, my wrist hurts,” she moaned like a six year old, “take over,” The train was now careening across the rails at a crisp and cool 140 MPH, much, much faster than the speed of safety.

“Wuh?” said the driver again. And as if out of a daze, the driver began to stand up wearily, holding his head all the while and shuffling as if he was just getting out of bed.

With Margaret and jumpsuit man’s eyes glaring up at his bad posture as he stumbled with the rollicking of the train, they saw him push Gertrude aside with the back of his hand politely and plop back down into his cool seat, his chapped ass receiving a quick sensation right down his spine.

And as he pressed down on the break with his bare foot with a stomp, his lips slapping together and his other hand wiping off the drool from his mouth, the train stopped abruptly, which caused all the passengers on board, some clinging on for their lives, to fly forward wherever they may have been sitting or standing. And, (what kind of strange luck was THIS?!) The train just so happened to stop at the exact spot where Margaret needed get off.

Lucky for her! Unlucky for everybody else.

At the stop, Margaret patted the driver on his tired head, and walked out holding Gertrude’s hand like a good chaperone should. The jumpsuit guy wrapped his arms around the driver’s neck and held him as tight as he could. The naked driver didn’t really see what the big deal was. All he did was get up and go to work. But then he started to look around startled. How’d he get here? The konk on the head made him forget that he left his house that morning.

The mall was packed, and the parking lot, with floors upon floors upon floors of yellow and white lined parking spots, was all filled up. This was the biggest mall in all New York. It was also where Margaret worked. And when she finally reached the PETORIUM, where, with only a half mile of territory of space, was the smallest store in the mall, Margaret felt fortunate she was working in such a small location, it really made her feel at home with her environment.

While she passed by the many stores she always passed, Gertrude was left with her mouth wide open. This place was GYNORMOUS! And for a woman who hadn’t been shopping for over 25 years, this was a big deal for her. Her shriveled heart did a little somersault.

But why 25 years, you ask? Well, while he was alive, let’s just say that her husband wasn’t the type of man who would let his wife spend the entire day shopping with two out of his three major credit cards. Her husband, may he rest in pee, was the old school type who would actually make her mend her OWN clothes. So you can imagine what the sight of not one, but TWO stores selling Gucci bags and accessories, would do to a woman like Gertrude. She felt like a young, budding boy who just stumbled upon his papa’s porno collection. Joy!

“Can I go over there?” Gertrude asked while pointing at a neon red Timex store, her bony, pajama covered legs already moving in that direction.

“Yeah, sure, knock yourself out,” Margaret said, barely listening.

“Where should we meet up again?” Gertrude asked, her body almost two steps away from the store already.

“I’ll be at the PETORIUM,” and they were both separated. But after she said it, Margaret wished she had been thinking before she spoke, the voice at the roof of Margaret’s mouth was already telling her, “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” with each step Margaret took. And the voice was right, too. Margaret should have lied. She could have gotten rid of that old tea bag once and for all.

Oh, well, there was nothing she could do about it now. What’s done is done.

When Margaret finally bypassed the Journeys and the Sam Goody that led to her store, there stood Karen at the front counter tapping her KEDS against the carpet and staring at her watch with a “You’re late,” expression beneath her eyebrows.

Margaret knew she was late, but what could she do about it now? She tried her best to get there on time, but she couldn’t. The fat bitch in the KEDS should respect that.

Today also didn’t seem like the best day to ask upper management for a raise, either, but she knew she had to ask it, and if that didn’t work, demand it.

But before Margaret could get what she felt she deserved, Karen stopped her abruptly with an upraised hand. “What the hell are you wearing? That’s not store regulation.” Her fat, badly covered lips were drenched in splotchy red lipstick and wouldn’t stop yap yap yapping at Margaret now, leaving her with little to no time at all to ask for the raise and get out of here. Margaret didn’t much feel like working today.

“You can’t just step in here looking like Lucille Ball and think you can get off THAT easily, do you? You know we don’t have any extra shirts in back.” Karen had a lot of power in the PETORIUM, she was the assistant manager to the assistant manager, while Margaret was only the assistant manager to the assistant manager to the assistant manager, which meant the only power she had was to choose the color of the scoop she would use to clean up after the Lapso Apso’s.

That’s why Margaret had to be on her very BEST behavior around Karen all the time. Not because Karen could promote her or anything like that, no ho ho, fat chance, Karen didn’t have any sort of super power like that. But with all the cameras in the store, Margaret hoped that if she worked diligently enough, she might just get her that promotion she so desperately felt she needed.

The joke, though, was that there wasn’t even any footage in those cameras. They just sat there idly in the corner, waiting for someone to wave to it so it could turn its head and never wave back ever.

So Margaret, being on her best behavior, did a little curtsy and walked in back without saying a scathing word. But just then, Karen, her mountainous body bobbing up and down lumbered over to her and grabbed her shoulder.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing” Margaret asked as she got the shove from behind.

“Un huh huh,” Karen said, wagging her finger and pointing to the worthless camera in the corner she knew Margaret feared. “Don’t start that nonsense with ME, young lady (Margaret was 15 years older than her) YOU know that if you make any false moves, you know how fast I’ll get you fired.”

“But,” Margaret began. Karen stopped her.

But it was at that moment that Karen noticed had messed up and bruised Margaret was. Plus, she also saw that Margaret was also missing some teeth in the back of her mouth, Karen grabbed Margaret by the jaw and turned her face left and right, the voice at the roof of Margaret’s mouth was subdued and couldn’t make a peep, and mostly sounded like “mwo moo mwo moo.”

“What the hell HAPPENED to you?” Karen asked sympathetically, she may have hated Margaret, but not enough to wish any sort of harm on her. Margaret just turned around and began to head in back for the mop, her heels rising and falling like Peggy Bundy’s. “It’s nothing, leave me alone,” Margaret said just as she passed the cat display and the tarantula under the purple lid that was marked down because it was missing a single hair follicle on its third left leg. But when Karen cleared her throat, Margaret stopped, she didn’t know why.

“Yes, Karen?” Margaret groaned, her eyes already rolled to the ceiling before Karen could say a word.

“Seriously, Margaret, what the hell happened to you? Are you okay?”

Margaret kept on walking, and said, “I’m fine,” as she went on in the back, her heels clickity, clickity, clacking. Karen followed her for just a couple of steps when a man and a woman walked into the store. It was a black guy wearing a white Kangol hat backwards and an Asian woman in a nurses’ outfit who had her arm wrapped snuggly around his. It was Rona, the nurse from the hospital. She had a big lump on her forehead.

“Can we just look at the puppy faces for awhile?” She asked, her voice lilting as they stepped into the store.

“Of course, honey,” the man said, his voice supportive and strong, “anything for my snufflelovetokiss, especially after that fall today, does your ass still hurt?”

Rona didn’t answer, her body was already bent forward, she was staring at a baby Pug knocking another Pug over and around in confetti.

Once in back, Margaret took off her shirt and put on a smock that was hanging by the desk, Karen followed.

“Hey, you lied,” Margaret said, “there WAS an extra shirt back here.”

“That’s a smock.”

“Same difference,” Margaret said as she slung it around her neck and wore it proudly, the green stripes of it lingering down her bare flesh.

“Hey! You can’t just wear THAT!” Karen scolded.

“I know, I know, hold on,” and off Margaret went walking over to the corner and picking up a sandwich board that had been lying on the floor, folded up end over end. Margaret once had to wear it to advertise for the store, as it said, “PETORIUM, WE PUT THE PET IN ORIUM” whatever that meant.

Margaret put it over her body and it covered her smock. “What does it matter, I’m just going to be cleaning up crap all the day anyway, right?” she said. And then she walked out the room, turning to the side to get out the small doorway and went in the backroom with the animals, her backside banging and scraping across the glass. When Karen saw the customers outside, she gave one last angry look at Margaret, and shuffled out to greet them. Margaret was going to ask for her raise after she finished cleaning. It only seemed fair.

Rona was still dressed in her work clothes when she walked into the shop with her boyfriend, Richard, a jobless bum wearing a Pink Flamingoes t-shirt and ketchup stained sweatpants. He had called her to relieve some of his stress from writing. He was a freelance journalist and a wannabe novelist, and he claimed that he needed some outside time, his typing fingers giving him problems. Rona was happy to oblige, and she even put on some perfume she had stored away in her medical bag. ANYTHING would be better than reliving the catastrophe in the hospital.

When the couple walked in, Karen scooted over to them like she was wearing a kimono, her feet were twittering so close together. Rona and Richard were staring at some chew toys for her pet dog, Belle.

“Can I help you two with anything?” Karen asked, her cheeks rosy red.

“No,” Richard said, his hand already gripping for his wallet, protecting it from a sale.

“Richard,” Rona snarled, “I can speak for myself, now how much is this chew toy? There isn’t a price on it.”

“Oh, that’s just fourteen dollars, and you get a discount if you buy six of them,” Karen said, Richard’s heart leapfrogged seven beats.

Rona looked interested in the sale. Oh, snap, Karen looked like she might just sell something, but when Karen saw behind Rona’s back the mess Margaret was making in the animal room, knocking over cages whenever she turned around, she tried to divert the two customer’s attention. Couldn’t Margaret EVER do anything right?

But it was too late, Rona had already seen her. She squinted at first, but then her eyes grew wide with fear.

“That’s her!” she shouted as one shaking hand pointed, while the other leapt to her horrified mouth.

“Oh, no,” Karen muttered.

“Oh, yes!” Rona stammered.

“Who’s her?” Richard asked, startled by his girlfriend’s paleness.

“That’s her, the woman at the”

But before she could say a word, Gertrude came running into the store wearing a pair of stolen sunglasses with the price tag still on them, a new straw hat, and a dress from Coco Chanel. All the clothes were stolen, of course, and just down the way was a surly woman with fists of fury.

“Margaret, we got to get the hell out of here, we” she said.

But before Gertrude could finish, Rona turned 90 degrees and shouted while pointing with a shaky index finger, “And that’s her! The woman who tripped me on the ground!”

Gertrude didn’t have time to worry about the injured nurse (She had a Grendel on her chase) so she instead rushed over to Margaret and pushed Rona out of the way to get to her, both Richard and Karen shocked beyond their wildest beliefs. Neither of them rushed to help Rona, though, even though she was knocked out unconscious by the blow she took to the back of the head on the counter, both of them were too dumbfounded to help.

Behind the glass, while Margaret was handling a guinea pig and looking up at the chaos outside, Gertrude found the door and rushed to it, the Grendel, a 5’11 beast of a woman in earrings and a black knee high skirt came storming into the PETORIUM, her eyes set to the shade of “mutilate.”

“Where is she?!” She demanded to both Richard and Karen, who were still nonplussed by the calamity they had witnessed. “Where’d she? Aha! There she is!”

And right then she noticed Gertrude who was decked out from head to toe in stolen merchandise, the sunglasses slowly falling down her slender, wrinkled nose. “What are we going to do?!” Gertrude asked Margaret, genuinely frightened as she gripped onto the wood of Margaret’s sandwich board. Margaret wiped her hands off of her, dropping a guinea pig in the process, and said, “Oh. don’t get your thong all in a bunch, I’ll handle this,” and as the Grendel pushed her way through the door, which was idiotically left unlocked, she came stomping on over to Gertrude, who hid behind the A shape of Margaret’s advertising board.

Karen ran to the glass and shouted, “No fighting in there! You’ll rile up the animals!” but Margaret couldn’t hear her, the voice at the roof of her mouth was speaking too loudly, saying things like, “Clock that bitch!” and “Don’t let her ruffle up your sandwich board!” Margaret felt like taking her down the hard way, but her fists were still hurting, so she decided to turn around and tell Gertrude to fight her own battles. And then of course there were those cameras up top (the one’s that didn’t work) that she was concerned about. But when she turned around, the board, when flung at that speed and velocity, turned into a weapon, that knocked the salivating store woman to the floor, out cold. Margaret didn’t even know what happened when she hit her.

Both Rich and Karen let out a shocked, “ohhh!” and Rona was just starting to get up. When Margaret turned around to look at what she had accidentally done, she felt two liver spotted arms wrap around her neck from behind, they were Gertrude’s. She was talking so fast that Margaret couldn’t make out a word she was saying. “I’m having a blast hun, and I haven’t coughed once since I’ve been with you, it must have been that damn hospital, they were probably pumping me so full of shit that”

Margaret wasn’t listening as she didn’t have time to worry about this old hag. She stepped over the supine store woman’s body and walked out the door. She had a question to ask Karen, and she didn’t want to waste anymore time.

“Karen, I need a raise, I need to get my place back so I can have my Nickels back. The police said that’s the only way.” She said this drearily. And after all the chaos that just occurred, with two, count ‘em, two (Richard finally ran to Rona’s aid) women on the floor, Margaret already knew the answer before she got it.

The answer being no.

What she didn’t expect, though, was to be fired, which she was promptly. Karen pointed to the exit with her finger, and Margaret stumbled out of it as if the wind had been knocked right out of her.


That night, Margaret and Gertrude slept on a park bench together. But this was a different park bench than the one by Margaret’s old house. This one was by the mall, leaving it vacant of any rent-a-cops as they had already all gone home to their wives and their televisions. Margaret decided that Gertrude wasn’t nearly as comfy to hold on to as Nickels, but then again, she also didn’t make as many jerky movements in her sleep, so Margaret considered herself lucky in this regard.

The problem was, though, that there were only five more days left before the police department kept her cat, and Margaret STILL didn’t know what to do about her situation. And at the notion that she would never see her poor cat Nickels again, Margaret actually began to miss her clawing at her skin, so much so that while Gertrude slept soundly in Margaret’s arms, Margaret actually began to pet her like a cat. It was nice and comfy, and sweet, and, oh, who was she kidding, it wasn’t the same at all. This sucked!


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