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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chapter 2

Margaret didn’t much enjoy her sleep that night. The park bench was rather hard and rigid, which caused her to get one hell of a neck strain. Oh, and then there was Nickels who kept squirming all about and scratching just when Margaret was getting comfortable. It got to the point where Margaret had to put Nickels to sleep (by cutting off her air supply until she got sleepy) just to get a decent night’s rest.

The night air was cool against her symmetrical face, and she constantly sucked some of it in whenever she wanted to cool herself off since she was so hot from her temper, which was fuming. The voice at the top of her mouth wouldn’t shut up after she found herself outside. And actually, it was the voice that woke her up in the first place. “Oh, now you want to talk to me?” Margaret asked the roof of her mouth angrily, “tough luck, sugar plum, you’re just like the rest of them, you talk big but then you leave me high and dry when I need you the most, feck off.” But the voice wouldn’t just “feck off” and it constantly reminded her why she was stuck in this predicament in the first place.

“Girlfriend,” the voice would say, “You know why you’re stuck out here, don’tja? It’s cause a that skinny, Ghandi impersonator over in the supermarket. You ain’t just gonna take this lying down, are you?”

And then Margaret blinked her eyes four times and said, “Well, yeah, I am” before she dozed back off to sleep, squirming on the bench trying to get some rest. She went to sleep very quickly after that and had dreams about stray dogs lapping at each other’s private parts for as long as she slept.

And it was all quite peculiar, really, because how she wound up out here in the first place, she couldn’t tell you. One moment she was peering up at the black encroaching stain on her roof, the next, she was staring up at the twinkling stars in the sky. This transition—from house to bench—made Margaret believe that she had somehow mastered teleportation in her sleep. “If only I teleported myself to somewhere swank like the Taj Mahal or someplace like that,” she said, talking out loud again—she really had to learn the novelty of keeping her thoughts to herself.

What was even more amazing, though, was the fact that nobody tried to touch her while she slept. Don’t think that’s amazing? (Then you’ve never been to New York before). Maybe you’ll think this is, then—Margaret was sleeping on the bench in just her bra and panties. (See? fuming hot, it was burning her up inside).
Eventually, though, one man DID try to touch her. But it was a police officer. His name was Officer Martinez.

While she lain with her back to the world, her yellow panties with the bunny rabbits skipping across her rear mocking the unhappy world, Officer Martinez, with a mustache that curled like a Ferris wheel, knocked on the edge of the green bench with his night stick.

Under the orange light of the park lamp, his sallow face was almost a heavenly shade that created an angelic appearance, almost like a halo around his slightly pudgy head. And in this light, one could almost mistake him for St. Francis of Assisi. That is, of course, if he wasn’t donning the badge and the po po clothes. His teeth could use some improving, too. When he smiled, his teeth were as yellow as the sand in the Mojave Desert.

“Hey, hey you,” he said, knocking all the louder, making a quick thud noise against the hard bench to wake her up but also making sure he didn’t whap her in butt, which was rising and falling along with her backside. “You can’t sleep out her wearing that.”

And that’s when Margaret’s subconscious got her in trouble again, because it was at that moment that Margaret, barely awake and still in her REM state, gave Officer Martinez the same obscene gesture that she would often give her mother back home when she used to be told that it was time to get up for school. She gave Officer Martinez the finger. Unbeknownst to Margaret, the wrist that so proudly held up that finger soon had a handcuff coiled around it. The truth was, Margaret was going to go to jail for a crime she didn’t even consciously commit. Poor Margaret, this happened to her a lot.


When she woke up again, she was in the back of a car. Turns out she had teleported yet again! this time to somewhere more comfortable and with much better music, which was Steely Dan. Margaret could get used to this; it was much better than being on a park bench. But when she turned over, she noticed something that wasn’t all hunky dory. Behind her back were her hands, which were bound together. “What the fuck?” she said, you could imagine her surprise.

“Hey, hey, hey, it’s that kind of language that got you back there in the first place, lady,” said a voice that she wasn’t familiar with. It had a Latin tinge to it, and it was kind of high pitched, kind of shrill. It definitely wasn’t the voice at the roof of her mouth, which was very deep and brassy. That voice sounded like a female jazz singer’s voice. And besides, that voice came from the roof of Margaret’s mouth, this voice came from behind a metal cage on top of the seat, and

Ohhhhh, now she got it…shit, how the hell did she get arrested this time? She hadn’t been in the back of one of these since she was 14, except, this time, the circumstances were a little bit different. For instance, this time she wasn’t being held down and raped. Also, this time, she was wearing a…what was this? A potato sack?

The face behind the cage turned to her as if he knew what was on her mind just as headlights outside dragged their way across his hairless cheek. “Yeah, it’s a potato sack. It’s all I had, and you’re lucky, too, ‘cause you were just about butt naked out there when I picked you up.”

And that was all he had to say. Margaret felt like screaming.

As they pulled into the police station, Margaret stared up at the metal roof of the car and could see the orange glow of the city rebounding off the ceiling in front of her. Something wasn’t right—besides her life. It was something else that she couldn’t quite put her poking fingers on, something like…


Margaret sprung up as quickly as possible while in handcuffs, her hands bound together making it a challenge to get up as the metal incisors bit into her wrists. But when she got up, she saw her cat sitting up attentively in the front seat while the cop kept one hand on the wheel, the other petting her head. Margaret’s eyes were embers as she saw his slim fingers feeling all about the holes on her cat’s patchy backside. She didn’t like anybody else putting their hands on those holes.

“Butt naked in the park with a cat with mange,” Officer Martinez tsked as he shook his head left to right, “lady, you’re something else, you know that?” And with that, he stopped the car. Officer Martinez got out of his side, opened the door for Margaret and dragged her into the well lit station that looked like the entrance to an Emergency ward.

It looked so out of place and awkward in the cityscape around her that Margaret asked groggily, “Are we still in Brooklyn?”

“What? You think I was sent to pick you up from Washington or somethin’? Of course we’re still in Brooklyn.”

Without thinking, Margaret uttered, “This place has changed,” and said it so low and drearily that Officer Martinez almost didn’t hear her.

“Yeah, we’re starting to crack down.” Martinez said snidely, defending his unit. “Back about a year ago, we’d probably just let you sleep out there like that, but the city’s trying to renovate and clean up the garbage, you know?”

He pronounced “garbage,” “gaa-bage.”

“Are you calling me garbage?” Margaret asked, not in an angry tone, but more as just a question that she desired to hear an answer to, but an answer never came.

She took that as a yes.

After 49 steps (Margaret counted) they were at the front desk in the police station. Margaret could see herself in the tiles beneath her Reeboks. She looked terrible. Had it really only been one day? Her hair was all ratty, and her face had already grown four distinguishable wrinkles in them that weren’t there this morning. And she actually looked like she may have lost some weight as her face was beginning to look gaunt and slim.

But to prove it was still her, she performed a little Margaret litmus test. As Officer Martinez signed away for her, Margaret stuck her tongue out at her reflection and wiggled it around. The reflection stuck its tongue back at her and wiggled it; too, making it look like the reflection was licking the floor. Margaret smiled.

Good, she was still alive.


“So, where are we headed to now, Officer?”

“To a holding cell,” was his response.

“And for how long?” she asked, her eyes the color of tired.

“Stop asking questions,” he said, but then thought better of this and decided that there was no reason to be mean, so he revised his statement. “Until tomorrow morning, which is…” He then stopped and stared at his watch.

“An hour.”

The holding cell was small and like the cells you see on TV in black and white on shows like the Andy Griffith show. When he dropped her off, he wiped his forehead with a kerchief in his breast pocket before he closed the gate as if to say, “I’ve done far too much work for one day,” and then he went to his desk which was literally only eight paces away. He sat down with his back to her and he started writing out his plans for the tailgate party he was having over the weekend.

Outside, the barred windows in Margaret’s cell made the world look as if it was trapped in its own little box, the lemon meringue sun beginning to peak its way through Margaret’s new digs. And as it crept through, she began to stomp on the yellow trail that clung to her floor. Margaret liked having her own space and didn’t want any other body or THING in there with her, well, except maybe Nickels, of course.

After a solid fifteen minutes of stomping (and Officer Martinez ignoring her), she tired herself out and sat on the small bench in the corner. She rested her head against the gray cinderblocks behind her and sighed, the sun just wouldn’t go away.

In her cell was a toilet that was blocked by a small, one walled stall so Officer Martinez couldn’t even get a looky loo inside if he wanted to. With a yawn, Margaret caught a whiff of something and brought her arm to her nose. She smelled the potato sack she was draped in and it woke her up. It smelled like New York City hot dogs.

And you know what else often smelled like New York City hot dogs? Nickels! And the smell of her potato sack got her into thinking about her cat again. “Hey, copper man, where’s my cat?” Margaret asked, her voice sounding much more chipper than a person behind bars should sound.

Officer Martinez turned around in his chair, the legs scraping against the gray pavement beneath them. He looked over the side with his shoulder and peered down at her with discouraging eyes that said, “Why are you talking? You shouldn’t be talking.”
And then he turned back around in his chair and continued to plot out his party.

Not a good eye reader, Margaret persisted being annoying.

“Hey, copper man, I said where’s my cat?”

He turned around again, this time with very wide eyes. Had he just heard what he thought he heard?

“That was YOUR cat?”

“Yes, officer, her name is Nickels and she’s my best friend.”

This woman really WAS crazy, Officer Martinez thought. How could ANYONE possibly love that ugly ass cat? Officer Martinez turned back around in his seat and began scribbling something on a yellow form of paper. Margaret thought he was writing down this pertinent new discover, but what he was really writing was his next draft pick in his fantasy football league. His interest in Margaret was already fading into nothingness. His back talked to her, “Oh, I thought it was just a stray. Well, we’ll see,” he said casually. “I’ll have an answer for you in the morning.”

Margaret sat back down on the bench and fell asleep instantly, hoping morning couldn’t come soon enough, and it really couldn’t. Fifteen minutes later, Officer Martinez woke her up. It was morning.

“So, I talked it over with the higher uppers,” Officer Martinez said, Margaret’s bleary eyes directed at his crotch when she woke up, “and they said you can’t have the cat back if you’re homeless.” And at the sound of the “h” word, Margaret was up like a race dog. She rushed to the gate and clung to it, her fingers wrapped around the bars. Homeless? Was she really homeless? She hadn’t really thought of it like THAT before. She didn’t really have time to think, really.

“What am I going to do?!” Margaret pleaded to the bars. Officer Martinez took seven quick jumps back to his desk, his hand already reaching in his pocket for his pepper spray. “Hey, calm down lady, calm down,” he said. He didn’t expect this lunatic to do THAT.

And then she said without even thinking, “You can’t take Nickels away from me, she’s all I have.” And Margaret had never really thought about this either, but it was true. Nickels WAS the only friend she had. She was the only one in her life who actually stayed around for the abuse.

Officer Martinez, now taking three steps forward, but still keeping his hands at his sides, his fingers still lurking into his pockets for that pepper spray, had calmed down. His heart stopped pounding so much when he remembered that there was a whole ton of reinforced steel keeping her away from him. Still, he kept on his guard—he didn’t know WHAT this woman was capable of.

“Well, if you can manage to garner the money to find yourself a place to live and can provide us with the papers to prove it, THEN you can have your cat back.” Officer Martinez answered. “But until that day, I’m afraid that your cat is going to have to remain here at the station. You have a week to find yourself a place. After that, the cat’s going to the pound.”

And with that, Officer Martinez stood by her cage, pulled out his key, and unlocked her door. And as she walked out, his eyes jumped to her hands, which were still behind her back, handcuffed and turning blue. “Hey, hey, hey, wait up!” he shouted. “Let me just take those off your hands, heh heh heh.” he joked, his chuckle laced with worry. And as he took them off, he waved to her back and then wiped off his sweaty forehead with his forearm.

“Phew,” he said.

If someone had caught her with her with her handcuffs still on, he could have gotten in big trouble. He was so busy staring at her legs when he brought her in, though, that he completely forgot to take them off. Whoops, he thought, well, you can’t be perfect all the time. And then he turned around and went back to his desk. He spent the whole rest of the morning plotting out his perfect line-up.

What the hell was she going to do NOW? Her shift at the PETORIUM wasn’t until tomorrow and she only had seven days to scrounge up enough cash to get her poor, lovable, irreplaceable cat, Nickels back. “Think, Margaret, think!” She said, again and again loudly. And then, like a Sylvania light bulb going off inside her brain, a thought popped into her head like a bubble (or an aneurysm) right at that moment. “My parents!” she shouted out loud, causing a flock of birds by a penny pond to take flight.

But that thought was quickly dismissed. Her parents were off limits now ever since Donavan was painted in the picture, leaving her all the way off the frame. And besides, she didn’t even know where her parents were anyway. They said they moved, so that meant they could be anywhere now. Even Québec, which was for some reason clear in Margaret’s mind as the place they must have moved to.

Margaret shuddered at the thought of Québec—Québec was cold!—and thought about other means to make money. And it was at that moment, a moment where the onrush of pedestrians just crossing the street had reached a fever pitch of noise, that the voice on the roof of her mouth began to talk again, this time, with a solution: “Kill that wiener at the Shop Rite who knows karate and get your money back.”

And as crazy as it was, it was still the best idea she had heard all morning (Learning to play saxophone and playing it in the subway just sounded silly in retrospect.)

So that was the plan for the morning: exact revenge and take back what was rightfully hers—the stolen money and the envelope opener. Hell, she might even be able to get a much better haul today. It was a Tuesday, which meant that more people would be playing hooky from school and work. It made a whole lot of sense, really. Why the hell didn’t she think of it earlier? That voice in her mouth sure was a Godsend. Thank God for Godsends.

And today, with the crisp sun pounding on the pavement, the streets were much fuller with the hustle and bustle and hell and smell that New York was known for—the smell of commerce. But as she walked, she wondered what the hell everybody was staring at. Whenever she would pass somebody, it didn’t matter who, they would always look at her up and down, chuckle, and then leave with a last look back at her. Did she have some kind of disease or something? But then Margaret realized what it was.

She was still wearing the potato sack.

When she left the station, no one was at the front desk and her mind was so preoccupied with her dilemma that she forgot to even ask what the hell happened to her clothes, meaning, that for the past two hours, she’s been sauntering around Brooklyn looking like a freak from Idaho. No wonder people would pass her with a gawking expression.

This was just great. She very well couldn’t walk around like this all day, what would the Asian tourists think? So she decided to do the next best thing to actually buying clothes, she decided to steal them.

The Laundromat was pretty packed, but not with people, but rather with names. Every machine in the place had a name, and every name seemed to fill that machine with that much more life. Margaret checked her watch; it was only 8:30. The Shop Rite she was heading to didn’t really fill up until 9, so she had plenty of time to take what she needed.

Margaret shimmied out of her potato sack and tossed it to the ground. She now stood in just her bra and panties again, which were starting to stink as they clung to her pale skin. A woman, sitting down and reading a curled up magazine looked up instantly. She then looked both ways just to see if anybody else saw what she saw, and then ran over to Margaret and threw a beach towel around her body.

“Are you out of your mind?” The woman screeched. She was very short, about 4’9, and was wearing a Twin Peaks promotional T-Shirt with a shower cap. If anybody was out of her mind, Margaret thought, it was this lady, but Margaret didn’t say a word, she just stood stock still. The woman looked like she could be in her early 30s, with her lavish olive skin and lack of make-up, but the shower cap kind of threw Margaret off. It made her look like she belonged in a senior citizen home. Or an asylum.

“What do you want?’ Margaret asked, “I was just about to clean my clothes.” This was a lie. The correct statement was, I was just about to steal YOUR clothes. The woman tightened the towel around Margaret and blew air through her teeth. “You can’t just stand around in your underwear like that.”

AGAIN with the underwear? What did everybody in this city have against underwear? Was it the small shit stain?

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” she exclaimed, her tiny hands making sure that the towel was secure. “What if a little keed walked in here and saw you like that?” She asked. The Laundromat was empty, and there was nobody else there except for her and Margaret.

But before the awkwardness of silence could set in, there was a DING! in the distance—a dryer had just finished drying. Margaret was now going to collect whatever clothes she could find, and she didn’t even care if none of it fit her, anything was better than waddling around in a potato sack.

“Excuse me, I have to get my clothes now,” Margaret said, her head upturned. She was tired of this woman and wanted her to leave her alone, so she began to walk away, the woman’s hands still holding onto the beach towel. “Hey, hey, hey, wait up a minute, lady, slow down, my legs don’t move as fast as yours.”

Margaret sauntered over to the dryer and passed a Pedro, a Dustin, an Avery, a Mickey, a Latoya, and a Betty, just to get to the dryer she was heading to, but there was no “Margaret,” and this troubled her—they could have at least put a Maggie in or something. It definitely livened up the place up, didn’t it?

It wasn’t until Margaret began taking the clothes out physically that the woman began to realize what was going on.

“Hey, hey, hey, do you know whose laundry you’re taking out?” The woman asked in an irate tone.

Margaret turned her head back, her cheek a little red, and said, “Yeah, of course, mine.”

The towel woman got angry, she even let go of the towel. “No, no, no, no, no,” she said.

And Margaret replied, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” and then continued to take out the clothes, hallelujah, hallelujah.

And it was at that moment that the towel lady made one of the biggest mistakes she could have possibly made—she stomped on Margaret’s foot. Five minutes later, the towel woman was laid out on the ground unconscious and penniless. She was also left with a broken nose and a dryer that was completely barren. Margaret even took the dryer sheet that accompanied the clothes. She was thorough with her stealing.

The Shop Rite really wasn’t all that far away from the Laundromat, which was a good thing, since these garish and tiny clothes just weren’t cutting it. They were small, ugly and uncomfortable, and felt like how Margaret felt on the inside. When she finally got to the Shop Rite, she pushed her face against the glass window and gritted her teeth. There he was all right; that four eyed, little freak.

He was smiling and scanning coupons like nothing even happened yesterday, and this aggravated Margaret even more. “That little prick,” she said, “he probably forgot about me already.” And this left a sour taste in her mouth and set her on an even deeper edge of vengeance. This time, it was personal.

So Margaret stormed in through the automatic doors seething while customers moved out of her way when they saw her hunched forward with clenched knuckles and split hairs. By the cereal aisle was the manager with the football player’s nose again. He looked on edge and as if he would jump at the slightest sound of a fly by his ear.

He had a big bruise on his forehead, and this perplexed Margaret a great deal since she didn’t remember ever hitting him in the forehead. But then she thought that whatever damage she must have done to him must have gone all the way up his body and reached his head. She smiled at the thought of how mighty she was.

When the manager saw her pass, he jumped straight into a display of Corn Pops and screamed, “Security!” as loud as he could.

But she wasn’t listening to his incessant cries; she was storming over to the register where the karate champ was stationed. And as she walked over to him, every head in the store turned in her direction.

They might not have known the already historic feud that had already been built between them, but they definitely knew that something exciting was going to happen, and they stopped pushing their carts and shut up their babies as Margaret bull walked over to the skinny clerk.

If the OK Corral existed today, it would be localized in this Shop Rite, right here, right now as the tide turned frightful. And one shopper even began to whistle the theme from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” when she moved, his shrill sound emphasizing her mission...SOMEBODY was not leaving here today in a conscious state.

When the security guard finally came, the lumbering pile of flesh huffing and puffing, the store manager put his hand up and told him to let it go. This was between Margaret and the master.

Margaret turned her head to the security guard with a vicious look, and this made him scream. Once again, Margaret smiled at the thought of her power.

But with her head turned, she didn’t notice the flying shadow that was coming straight at her way. When she turned her face back in that direction, there it was, a flying foot right in her face. The karate master believed whole heartedly in the element of surprise.

“Hooooooooo!” He shouted as he landed a foot right on her cheek, shattering a permanent tooth and leaving her spinning around in circles in a sort of whirlpool affect that left the store turning in a sort of explosive blue and yellow blur.

Margaret hit the ground hard and slid into a display of Chips Ahoy, her back skidding on the green and white tiles.

Everybody in the store ran towards the action like flies to a light that will electrocute and kill them. They were absolutely fascinated by this woman in the small clothes and the skinny guru with the quick fists of death.

“You’re back for more are you?” the skinny mustached man asked, his fist taut and ready for breaking bricks if they had to. When Margaret shook her head and got back her bearings, she steadied herself and readied herself for combat.

“Why’d you take my money?” she said, wiping a bit of blood from her busted lip with the back of her hand.

“That money did not belong to you, “he said. “It was ill gotten and stolen. You are to learn from your mistakes.”

“But I wasn’t able to pay my rent and now I’m living on a bench in the park.” Margaret said, bolstering up her anger. “And now I need that money so I can get my cat back.”

“You should earn your money like me,” the mustached man said as he spread out his arm to his register. “Only then can you feel proud of what you done.”

“I don’t have time for that crap, now just give me the money back and I’ll be on my way.”

“No,” the mustached man said, his eyes cut like slits. “You will learn through pain that your way of living is no way to live at all.”

“Fine,” she said, and that was that.

Margaret cracked her neck and tightened her fists, the mustached man began to do a kata and stretched out his legs, they were going to engage in combat.

“I am happy to trounce evil,” he said as he bowed.
Margaret bowed too, her long hair draping over her face, but for no apparent reason at all; she reached over and took a packet of Mentos as she did so. She opened it, swallowed one, and then took out another, chewing on it, and then spitting it the floor. Yuck! Plain.

“That shall be the last thing you shall ever steal,” he told her, and he got into mantis position.

The audience was now cheering and punching the air even though nothing had even happened yet. All the same, they were ready for blood.

“Are you ready?” He asked, his leg now behind his neck.

“Ready? I was born ready,” Margaret said, her knuckles now cracked and ready. He just stood there when she ran full speed ahead, his arms crossed and his face expressionless.

“Yeeyeeyeeyeeyeeyeeyee!” Margaret shouted in fury, giving out her best Xena impression before she lunged forward and got hit in the back of the neck with a chop followed by a trip that sent her gliding across the floor.

And as if out of nowhere, he was on top of her, slapping her in the back of the head like a monkey while he hopped up and down, his hands relentless. “Are you ready to leave this place, evil spirit?” he asked, the sound of her head sounding like a cantaloupe being assaulted by a million grubby hands all at once.

“Never!” She shouted, and flipped him off, her clothes almost splitting down the middle.

He then did seven flips in the air before he landed on his feet again. Everybody clapped, except Margaret, who was now rushing at him again, the world around her a blur. But at that very moment, up in the sky was the mustached man, he had the apocalypse on the bottom of his store regulated sneakers. And as he soared in the air, all Margaret could see was the shadow above her head. And that was the last thing she saw grace her peripheral vision before she wound up waking up in the hospital.

When Margaret woke up, all she saw were white tiles and a square light fixture above her. She was staring up at the hospital ceiling. When she turned her head, which sent a shock of excruciating pain down her spine, she saw that the patient next to her, an old woman with no teeth, was smiling at her. “Those are some of your teeth in that jar, darling” the old lady said while she cackled. And she was right. On Margaret’s bed side there was a covered cup with some of her teeth in. The karate master had knocked four right out, the ones near the back.

Margaret weakly winced and then put her head back against her pillow, staring up again. She then acknowledged that she now only had six days left to get back her cat and then drifted off into sleep. With her eyes closed, she waited out the long stint of annoying fireworks behind her eyelids, and finally got some rest when all the colors eventually faded to black.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shortcomings of the Abrasions

The rent was due today at noon, and Margaret was well aware of this because she had the date posted on her refrigerator in human blood (not hers) next to her laundry list of things she had to pick up at the store today (nail clippers, cereal, a new butterfly knife, etc). The clock in the corner reminded her that she really needed to hustle if she wanted to stay in her barely livable one bedroom apartment. The time was 8:45.

She also had to get ear medicine for her Persian cat, Nickels, whose name was apropos since all the cigarette holes in its fur coat looked like little nickels on its back. Poor little Nickels, she was all patchy and ugly now. Margaret was awfully sorry for being so cruel to her, even though she deserved it most of the time (Damn furball needed to learn how to dodge a foot one in awhile).

Yep, it was definitely going to be a long day’s journey into noon, and while Margaret pondered ways on how she was going to acquire the money today, she looked up at the ceiling above her and noticed a garbage can sized water stain that was leaking right through.

This was indeed strange, especially since she was living in an apartment, and not a house. This must mean that someone upstairs must have water all over their floor that hasn’t cleaned it up yet. Dumbass. It must be Mrs. Beakman again. She probably died in her bath tub; this was the third time this week.

Margaret didn’t know how many times she warned her that this would happen, but she knew it’d been a lot, especially since Mrs. Beakman liked to take ridiculously long baths and waste away her twilight years in the tub reading Soup Opera Digest and eating Fritos.

She also sang along to the trumpet playing of Louie Armstrong on her radio, and this solidified the fact that Mrs. Beakman was an idiot—you can’t sing along to a trumpet, moron, you can only hum along to it. Mrs. Beakman was dumb, and Margaret wished she would die for real this time. It would do the whole apartment complex a lot of good.

“Dammit,” Margaret murmured while staring up at the encroaching stain that seemed to be expanding the more and more she looked at it. “How the hell am I going to fix this?” she asked herself before she stared down and saw Nickels, who was slinking across the floor with impunity. “Huh, Nickels? Huh? How the hell am I going to afford this? You tell me that.” Margaret spread out her arms and shook them as if by doing this she would make her gray, patch furred cat with all the holes in it actually develop the ability to speak.

But despite all the abuse, Nickels was still stupid enough to believe her owner gave up her belligerent ways time after time; probably interpreting Margaret’s shaking of the arms as a peace offering. So she began to rub her body against Margaret’s leg beneath the fabric of her Capri pants and draped her tail across the bump that was her ankle. Margaret scowled. She didn’t want to be rubbed; she wanted a solution. So she kicked the cat in the butt and sent it flying into the ottoman by the refrigerator. This was common in their relationship of owner and pet. Margaret didn’t get what she wanted, so she kicked Nickels in the butt and didn’t see the problem in all this.

“Stupid cat,” Margaret said as she slipped on her windbreaker. “You could at LEAST try to do some work around here, you lazy bum. I don’t see why I always have to be the bread winner in this family.” Margaret shook her head and walked to the door cursing. If she couldn’t talk to her cat, she could at least talk to herself. It was therapeutic.

Margaret actually began to wish she had the cat’s life as she picked up the sharp envelope opener she had on the counter. It definitely would make life much simpler. Eat, sleep, shit, eat, sleep, shit, that’s all Nickels ever did. Eat, sleep, shit. What a life!

Margaret shook her head at the unfairness of the evolutionary process of mankind as she dug the letter opener deep inside her pocket and kept it well concealed from any suspicious eyes. If she was going to get the money in on time by noon, she had to hustle. She stepped out the door in such a hurry that she didn’t even remember to lock the door when she left.

In all truths, Margaret wasn’t too fond of mugging people, but it was better than her part time job at the pet shop where she was forced by Karen (that fat cow) to clean up behind the animals nobody wanted. “One of these days,” she told herself as her eyes darted to the double bolted lock on her neighbor’s door in 7G, “I’m going to stick Karen’s fat elephant head in some of that crap she makes me clean up. That’ll show her,” Margaret said, she talked while she walked. “I’ll make her give me a raise and make me a full time pet lady. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Maybe I can be the girl who gets the crickets for people to feed their bearded dragons. I think I could be that girl, that wouldn’t bother me that much,” and as she talked, she then rapped on the door to 3G and continued to stroll down the dim hallway.

When the person in 3G poked her head out and saw who it was, Margaret put up her hand and waved while she walked away. The woman with the pink hair curlers in her head said, “Good bye, Margaret, dear, you be a good girl, now, you hear?” and Margaret said, “I will, Mildred,” as she stepped down the stairs that smelled like urine and heroin and continued on her way. The time was 8:50.

The envelope opener against her soft skin through the windbreaker was cold, but she kept it close by and hidden because of the great deal of nosy people who pervaded these hallways. It wasn’t a terrible apartment complex, really. The people were kind, the kids didn’t make too much noise, and the animals all seemed to be pretty well trained and quiet enough to not cause too much of a fuss when the lights went out.

Even the junkies were pretty nice actually, often waving with missing teeth before they nodded off with the needle still stuck in their arms. All in all, everybody was pretty nice. The only thing that really bugged Margaret, though, was Chuck, the landlord. And it wasn’t so much the fact that he didn’t do his job—he actually did his job quite well. What bugged her was the nasty break up they had, because in all truths, he was actually really not that bad of a super, even if he did only have one arm and 12 of his teeth left after Margaret threw him out the window.

In fact, back when she was more naïve and wasn’t mugging people on a regular basis, Margaret and Chuck were actually quite the item. Things went well back in those days. She was the new assistant manager at PETATORIUM, and he was the new super in the complex, leading them both to believe that they had a rock solid future ahead of them. Yep, everything was going pretty well until—

“Oh, excuse me,” Mrs. Telaweather said as she bumped into Margaret on the stairwell and continued with her travels, almost knocking Margaret right down the steps as she passed by. Margaret was getting lost in her thoughts again; she needed to stop doing that. But often times, she couldn’t help it; it was just something she did when she started thinking. But usually, she only did this when she thought about her parents, Nancy and Phillip.

She never did like her parents. They were the type of people who would actually go to Vietnam just so they could protest on the front lines with their signs of “Ban the Bomb,” and “Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Here’s a better example: they were like progressively aggressive pacifists but with a 41K and better hygiene. This also translated into them being very bad parents who really couldn’t settle on what they wanted in a child—a tomboy of a daughter or a pansy of a son. They wound up getting a little of both, but mostly the tomboy—a tomboy with testicles and the fists of a prize fighter.

But they tried; oh they did try, to be good parents. They just happened to fail miserably. They paid for her college and supported her extra two years to take philosophy, which she never used, for that matter. Hell, they even paid for her psychiatric treatment that forced them to give up their savings just to see what was neurologically wrong with her. After taking out two mortgages and selling a BMW, the final conclusion was that she was just a bad kid; the doctors really didn’t know what else to do but shrug their shoulders once the parents demanded their money back.

After awhile, though, and countless windows broken and animals strangulated, Margaret’s parents just gave up on her after her baby brother, Donavan, was born. He was, of course, named after the singer/songwriter of the 70s, in case you were wondering, and he was named such because he was born in the midst of the song “Mellow Yellow,” in a bar in Waco, Texas.

But now that they actually have a real pride and joy in their life, they don’t even NEED Margaret anymore. The only reason they were sending her money in the first place was because they thought she might be the only one to keep the Mancheze blood alive. After Margaret took the car for a joyride when she was 12 and ran over her mother because she couldn’t reach the brakes, it was thought that she would be infertile for the rest of her life since her uterus was shattered. But with the miracle of science (Somebody actually donated their uterus), and now that they have a boy (a son! A real, live son! He could keep the blood AND the NAME alive) who needed a violent, sociopath of a daughter anymore? She was kicked to the curb on December 16th, 1998—the day Donavan was born. It was a Friday and it was cold. It was also the day when Margaret got an express delivery in the mail and found no check, but rather a note. The note read:

Dear, Maggie, our ungrateful daughter.

I’m sorry to tell you this, you heartless little bitch, but we’ve conceived again. This is the last you’ll hear from us for the rest of your life, so don’t even bother looking for us, because we’ve moved. And you know what that means, don’t you, sweetie pie? It means no more support from mommy and daddy. We’ve wasted enough money, time and love on you and it’s about time we gave it to someone who actually appreciated it and didn’t kill animals or main small children. I hope you rot in hell, you tramp.

Love Mom and Dad

PS. We know you burned down our summer cottage. Why? Who the hell knows why you do anything you do, you pyro freak.

PPS. Don’t try to look for us.

PPPS. We never loved you.

Margaret remembers lobbing the letter in the metal garbage can by the mailboxes without giving it a second look. There were actually a few more Postscripts on the letter, but they were mostly just blurry words with lots of exclamation points and drawn on angry faces, so she didn’t even bother reading them. But even in the garbage, she still remembers it clearly since it was also the day that Margaret started her life of crime. She also remembers the first thing she bought with her first stolen wallet. It was a Persian cat she named Nickels with a luscious coat of silver fur. This was long before it became a battlefield with landmine sized cigarette burns on it. She named it that because it was grey like a bag full of quarters. But she didn’t like the name Quarters for a cat, so she instead chose the next best thing, which was Nickels. Nickels was a good name for a cat, Quarters was not.

And as for why Margaret was such a badass, she couldn’t tell you, really. She didn’t know why she did some of the things she did, she just did. It was something on the roof of her mouth that told her, “yeah, yeah, yeah, this is good, this is good.” And if people couldn’t deal with that, then tough luck for them. Life is too short to not give in to the voices on the roof of your mouth. You should always give in. It’s what’s good for the nation.

But back to Chuck. In all truths, Margaret wasn’t a bad looking girl, and as she passed the 3rd floor on the way down, checking her makeup as she passed by a communal mirror that was out in the middle of the hall for some odd reason, she caught a brief flicker of her face, which, in another time, about three years ago, actually got her a runner up place in the Miss Brooklyn competition.

Too bad the girl who eventually won first place that year didn’t hold the title too long due to the fact that a little accident happened to her face. Somehow, it got all scratched up by a closet hanger while she was jogging late at night (like, 6 PM) in the park. It was a terrible tragedy, but what was even more tragic was the description the local paper gave of Margaret. It said that she was a squat woman, a little top heavy, with dark blond hair that could be confused with brown, and a very light complexion with very soft looking skin. Under the description, it said: White female on the loose. Keep on your guard.

While Margaret did wind up getting off Scott free due to the fact that the cops in the area usually give up after the first three hours, Margaret was still upset that her description was completely ravaged by the tabloid. The only parts Margaret agreed with were that she was white, female, and had soft skin. The rest was pure malarkey. Her head of hair was red if anything, and the squat part? Margaret was a whopping 5’6, which was hardly squat for a woman. And top heavy? Please, she was only a B cup; though, Chuck used to compliment her on her chest size all the time saying that she could have been confused for a D cup any day of the week, maybe even double D if it was the weekend.

Chuck was good with giving out compliments; he just wasn’t good with commitment. And after he found a bloodied knife in her room and a garbage bag full of severed hearts, he knew instantly he had to cut it off with her—for health reasons (his own), of course. She had a hard time getting over him, but the voice on the roof of her mouth said, “Uh huh, girlfriend, you don’t need him.” And she thought to herself, “You know what, you’re right”. And she said this while Chuck dangled out her window, his face frozen with terror wondering who the hell she was talking to before he plummeted seven flights into a garbage bin. He ended up shattered and wheelchair bound for life.

She allowed herself to think about him just a bit more as she passed by his door. She of course hadn’t seen him since she threw him out the window, what with the restraining order and all, but she often tried to apologize to him, even though she knew she could never get passed his new impenetrable front door.

But she really was sorry, and she wanted to see him so bad that at one point she even began to break things in her room just so he would have to come up and fix them. But Chuck wasn’t stupid (or nice) and whenever this would happen, Chuck would send his cousin, Manuary, up instead. Manuary was cute, but not as cute as Chuck once was. And Margaret quickly got bored of Manuary. She stopped breaking things in her room.

Once on the bottom floor, Margaret rushed outside passed the mailboxes. But as she did, Mr. Salinger from 6A jumped when she said hello to him, his bandaged hand shaking as he dropped all his mail—a few bills and an issue of Baron’s—to the floor. He turned around quickly to greet her, his eyes with the fear of God in them.
“Hello, Mr. Salinger, how’ve you been? How’s your dog, Barky?

“It’s Sparkplug,” he corrected her tremulously as he backed up against the mailboxes, the handles digging into his backside. “I’m doing great, Margaret, just great,” he stuttered, his hand racing to his pocket.

“Hey, what’s that you got there?” she asked, walking in close to him as he dug his hand even deeper into his corduroy pants. “It’s nothing!” he shouted much louder than he would have wanted to. He picked up his mail as quickly as he could and rushed up the steps, stumbling on the fifth one, and then scurrying up the rest as fast as possible. What he had in his pocket was in fact a gun; a nine millimeter to be exact. He just didn’t feel safe living in a crack house anymore.

“Strange, strange man,” Margaret said to herself, chuckling a little bit at his unease, because really, what more could she possibly do to him, break his other hand? It wasn’t her fault he bought all her property in a friendly game of Monopoly, he should have known better. That railroad was as good as hers, and he should have known that buying that from her would only buy him a cast for his arm. Margaret didn’t feel the least bit sorry for him.

Once outside, the wind greeted her with a friendly “goo goo ga joob” as she stepped from the paint chipped door to the outside world, the wind brushing her hair back a bit and making her stride all the more satisfying. It felt like she was walking against some great, immovable force, and Margaret liked being held back—it meant she could ultimately break through.

When Margaret pushed her sleeve back and looked at her Mickey Mouse watch, the gloved hands pointing at small hand, 9, large hand, 12. She realized she really didn’t have all that much time. She began to run down her mostly desolate street, but as she ran, constantly looking down at her watch, she ran into a linebacker of a woman who didn’t even fall down when she was run into.

Margaret brandished her envelope opener and said, “What are YOU looking at three eyes?” while she was on the ground. The linebacker leapt back appalled at Margaret’s vitriolic audacity. “Why, I never!” she proclaimed, before her cankles duck walked away.

Normally, calling someone three eyes wouldn’t make much sense, but the woman in question was wearing a stole draped around her pudgy shoulders and a monocle over her right eye. She must have been lost. Nobody with money ever came to this part of town.

When Margaret got back up, the chiming church bell in the far off distance indicated that it was now officially nine ‘o clock (her watch was a little fast) and she didn’t have time to bother with pulling her weapon out on old women with monocles anymore, she had to get moving. Upon speed walking to nowhere in particular, with eyes roving the sidewalks in search of a possible victim, the first thing she noticed was how dead the city was today, even for a Monday.

She walked over a grate in the ground and watched the subway underneath her shake and rattle the earth below. “Where IS everybody?” she said aloud again, this time with no monocle wearing busy bodies around to answer her question, the streets were all but clean.

But just then, Margaret knew what block she was on and then realized that there was a Shop Rite not very far from here. It was about two blocks away, and once she made the trek, she found that NOW the area was much more populated. She saw women pushing their kids in carts, and geriatric people shuffling along. Margaret felt around in her pocket and grabbed the handle of the envelope opener. She was ready to work, it was go time.

When she walked inside the Shop Rite, the doors spreading its legs for her, she noticed that all the registers were pretty much unoccupied save for one, which was manned by the weakest looking man she had ever seen in her entire life. He wore a red Shop Rite smock that barely fit around his slender neck, and had arms the size of small strands of wood. He also had enormous red, Sally Jesse Raphael glasses, and he leaned slightly to the left because the cool air in the building seemed to be coming from the right.

“I’ll mug him only if I have to,” she noted out loud again, causing a woman with a baby who just walked into the store to do a complete 180 when she heard Margaret make this proclamation.

Margaret began to saunter down the aisles whistling a Crosby, Stills and Nash song while Hall and Oates played on the radio throughout the entire store, which made her whistling a bit off. She found it strange that there were so many cars outside and yet so few shoppers, but she just put it off to the fact that they must all be in one, specific area. Possibly the meat section. Shop Rite was known for its meat.

The first few aisles landed her with nothing, as they were all filled with the elderly or nearing elderly, and if there was one thing Margaret didn’t do, it was mug the elderly. Not because she thought they wouldn’t put up much of a fight, mind you, because they probably would have, old people can be feisty farts. She actually didn’t mug them because she respected them, and if she ever had a grandmother in her life, she might have turned out a different person. Too bad grandma was dead on both sides of the family.

And her respect for the elderly was probably because she liked the Golden Girls so much. She especially liked the sage like advice of Sophia, the mother. Margaret hoped she was still alive, and if she was, she’d like to give her some flowers someday if they ever met. Margaret was a sap for celebrities.

So Margaret skipped all these fogeys who probably didn’t have a pension to piss in, and went right on over to aisle 7. She’d never robbed anybody in a Shop Rite before. She had robbed people in a Path mark, but never a Shop Rite. She found the layout to be very different.

But in aisle 7, Margaret fell upon her first victim. It was a woman who couldn’t have been younger than 40 who was looking at a Get Well Soon card and was bent over. She was wearing a floral dress fit for a fifty year old and was giving extra scrutiny to a card with a bear on it with the caption, “Bear with it,” inside the fold. And while Margaret crept up on her, letter opener brandished and all, the woman with the bear never looked up; her eyes were too preoccupied with what was at hand. She was probably debating on whether the bear was cute enough; it definitely could have used a few more puffs in its tail.

Before Margaret tip toed up to her though, passing her shopping cart full of cans of beets and boxes of band aids (that sounds like one hell of a party!) Margaret searched the ceilings for a camera. If she was going to mug someone in broad daylight and in a public place, she always liked to find the camera and wave to it before she assaulted her victims; it was like a calling card from a serial killer.

So she searched, and she searched, and she searched, squinting at all the tiles that layered the ceiling, but she couldn’t pinpoint a single one. There was neither a black circular eye in the sky, nor a standard old fashioned roving camera anywhere. There was nothing. Margaret became very distressed, “What kind of store is this?” She said aloud, the woman with the bear card jolting up when she noticed that someone was behind her.

But when the bear woman realized that the person behind her was just some squat lady in a windbreaker who was staring up at the ceiling, she became less nervous. “Poor girl,” the bear woman thought, “she’s probably lost, she’s just staring at the ceiling like an elevator’s going to pop out of it, or something. Maybe I should help.” So the woman tried to make contact with this illegal alien, even though the only place Margaret looked like she could have come from besides a hovel in Brooklyn was Ireland, what with her very pale skin and hair as red as a peach and all.

“Excuse me,” the bear woman said, staring straight at Margret’s chin. She was hoping that if she helped this strange woman out, then in turn, Margaret would ask her why she had so many beats and Band-Aids in her cart, which was something that she had been dying to tell somebody all morning. But Margaret wasn’t looking at the woman anymore. Her eyes continued to search the while trail of ceiling all above. The bear woman began to tap Margaret on her shoulder.

“Excuse me?” she asked again, but got no response. The bear lady wanted somebody to know how noble she was. You see, she was the wealthy wife of Doug Faltrane, who had given her the opportunity to produce her own show for the Sunday line-up on CBS. Sure, she had the ability to create something that would garner a lot of money for the company—she had a knack for that—but she wasn’t in it for the money this time. This time, she was in it for the people, and she wanted to do something altruistic for a demographic that never got their share of the TV market—the geriatric crowd. But since the network knew that nobody wanted another show that was a cross between Matlock and Touched by an Angel, she had to change her plans a bit to create a show that could appeal to both the young at heart and also the young in general. And thus began the creation of an extreme sports league that was specifically created for the Elderly. It was simply called, “Extreme Elderly,” and it was very much like American Gladiators, but with less action and more nap time.

If Margaret actually knew this, she would most likely have been good friends with the bear lady, they shared something in common—a love for the old and feeble. But Margaret didn’t know the bear lady, and in actuality, after staring at the ceiling for so long, she didn’t even know where she was anymore. She was totally mesmerized with this enigma of a supermarket that had no cameras.

“Excuse me?” The bear lady said again, but with no answer for the umpteenth time, she began to get a bit testy. This time, the bear lady dug her index finger so far into Margaret’s shoulder that she actually bent it a little on the bone. “EXCUSE ME!” the bear lady said again, ignoring the pain. Margaret was brought back to reality with the sharp stab of the finger. She rubbed her shoulder and whipped out the letter opener, the bear lady didn’t notice it.

“Huh, what?” Margaret asked, still taken aback. “Excuse me,” she said again, her voice much more polite now, “you were saying something before?” She took a step back to reveal all the old people food and Medicaid she had in her cart.

“I did?” Margaret said, but then her mouth smoothed out the confusion, “Oh, yeah, I did, give me all your money!”

“Oh, dear!” the bear lady exclaimed, just now noticing the letter opener in Margaret’s hand. In the heat of the moment, the bear lady dropped the card altogether, making her just the lady now, as the card slowly zig zagged to the floor.

“Can’t we settle this some other way?” the lady asked, backing up against the jagged mountain of cards, “Like, perhaps a credit on my new show, Extreme Elderly? I can put your name in the credits as a producer, I don’t think my husband would mind. You see, he’s a big shot at CBS, and” Margaret was tired of this prattle and put her hand with the knife in it on the woman’s mouth. “No, I just want money, give it to me now” and then she opened up her other hand and began to crunch in her fingers as if to tell her, “No talk, just give.” The woman dug her hand deep into her bosom and pulled out a roll of twenties, counting them proficiently just to make sure none got stuck in her bra.

“Okay, okay, just put the knife down, please.”

Margaret lowered it a bit, but she still kept it visible.

“Okay, what will it be,” the lady asked, licking her thumb and shuffling through the Andrew Jackson’s she had in her hand, “Twenty, forty? You probably want forty, right?” and then she handed it to Margaret, but Margaret shook her head, “No, not 40, all of it. I want it all.”

“You want ALL of it?” the lady exclaimed, her rather saggy face growing quite pale as she backed up even further against the card rack. “No, dear, I can’t give you all the money, Doug would just have a fit. And you don’t want to see when Doug has a fit, he has this nasal problem, you see, where his nostrils flare up and he makes this weird weasel noise, and,” Margaret stopped listening and just snatched all the money out of her hand and punched her right in the face, knocking her dead out. Her hefty body flew back and moved the rack a bit, but it stayed up while the lady went down, her dress awkwardly rising as she slid down the shelf until her body was completely slumped unevenly on the floor.

At the sound of the noise of gravity saying “enough is enough already,” which actually sounded like an elephant falling over on its side, a stock boy poked his head into the aisle, but quickly pulled it back out when he saw Margaret looking at him and waving in his direction (FINALLY, some attention!)

The boy did the first brave thing he could think of, which was run to the men’s room and lock the door behind him. He decided to wait out the altercation until he could find the courage to go back out there and face the music; which he hoped would be Simon and Garfunkle. The stock boy liked Simon and Garfunkle.

Margaret counted the money over the victim’s body, and noticed that there had been a coupon for beets shuffled in with the cash. She dropped the coupon, and it landed on the downed lady’s back. Margaret continued to count. “Only $120 dollars?” she groaned, this was hardly enough to pay her $700 dollar rent, and it was already 10:30! Wasn’t time only supposed to fly when you were having fun? Margaret had to hustle if she wanted to get the $580 rest of the dollars she needed.

She rushed by all the aisles quickly to see if there were any more customers to assail, and then she found one in aisle 10, but then decided to pass her by since she looked kind of old and was riding around in a little red cart. Margaret figured she probably didn’t have much money anyway, what with the cart probably costing her a fortune. The rest of the aisles became a blur until she came upon aisle 17, the snack goods aisle.

She turned down the aisle and ran down the back where a teenager was showing off to his girlfriend by picking up a jar of salsa and flexing his bicep all the while. His girlfriend, a tall, lanky brunette with an overbite covered by braces, squealed her enjoyment. “You’re so big and strong, Oswald.” Oswald complied by bending over the side of the cart and showing off his cut off jeans, she spanked him in the bottom while he bent over. He was perfectly alright with being spanked, but then blushed when he noticed that Margaret was looking down at him.

It was now 10:35, and Margaret knew that this Oswald character and his troglodyte girlfriend wouldn’t have that much money, so she decided to skip the formalities and just show them the envelope opener and get it over with. “Give me everything you’ve got, no bull.”

If it wasn’t for Margaret’s impeccable reflexes, she might have actually been hit in the side of the face by a purse as the girlfriend in braces screamed, “You keep away from ma boyfriend!” and swung it with all her might.

Margaret deftly jumped out of the way and cut the bag right down the middle, causing Jolly Ranchers and a wallet full of quarters to drop to the floor and glide across the green and white tiles. “Security!” she shouted as loud as she could as she lunged to the ground to scrape up all the grape flavored Jolly Rangers on the floor. This left poor Oswald totally in the open.

“Here!” He stammered, pulling out his wallet and tossing out singles and golden Sacagawea dollars as quickly as possible. “Take it, it’s all I have!” And take it she did, but not before stepping on his girlfriend’s hand before she left the aisle just to prove a point. The teen screamed in agony, which finally caused the store manager to raise his head from the desk up stairs and run down to do his job. He had been reading comics the entire time.

When he finally got there, he saw Margaret as she was walking down the aisle. He stayed hidden, his back against a display of Captain Crunch, and then turned to grab her at the exact second that Margret had reached the end of the aisle, catching her by surprise while he shouted, “ha Ha!” before she could even make a move. “I’ve got you now,” he grinned, his big, burly man shoulders and broken, football player’s nose all over her. They were on the ground.

The store manager wrapped his arms tightly around her and tried to give her a bear hug to get her to calm down, but Margaret didn’t make a move—she was as submissive as a dead lobster on a patron’s plate. She had a king of diamonds up her sleeve.

“Are you ready to calm down, lady?” he snarled, his teeth clenched and his forehead dripping with sweat. But Margaret didn’t say a word, she just nudged her body up a little so his arms were now wrapped snuggly around her breasts and she screamed out, “Raaaaape!” as he continued to squirm. And with the sound of the R word, a word that this store manger had actually heard before only a month ago, he let her go. He even helped her up.

“Lady, I’m sorry, I” but just then, Margaret initiated faze two and kneed him in the crotch while she dug in his pocket in one swift motion. She had done all this before he even hit the ground. She then counted the money as he lied face forward cringing and clutching at his abdomen. “Jackpot,” she said. Now this guy had money—$300 dollars and a winning lottery ticket for two bucks to be exact. Things were definitely coming up Margaret now. She was almost there.

Now all she needed was $272 left once she cashed in the ticket, but where was she going to find that? After frantically checking all the aisles again, and then checking them twice—she even saw the bear lady just coming to her senses—she decided that it was inevitable—the shrimp in the front who couldn’t have weighed more than Margaret did as a fetus was going to have to be her last target.

The song on the radio was now from Sonny and Cher, but Margaret couldn’t make it out, it was one of the bad ones. When she strode up to the thin man, she already had her envelope opener out, ready for poking. Her steps mimicked the song on the radio.

“May I help you, madam?” He asked, meekly smiling at her beneath his glasses as she encroached closer and closer on his personal space.

“Yes, stop talking and give me everything you got,” she said while pointing with her slim blade at the register, the mustached man just smiled and kindly said, “No.”

Margaret looked at him and didn’t quite think she had heard exactly what he said and brought the knife closer to him, just to make sure she heard correctly. “What did you just say?”

“No” he said again, just as calm and serenely as before. This perplexed Margaret, but she didn’t have time to be perplexed, so she began to advance on him, she would try to find reason in it later.

“Okay then, if you don’t want to give it to me, then I guess I’ll just have to just take it then, won’t I?” and as she reached over to open the register, the last thing she heard before she lost all feeling in her hand was the sound of a man shouting, “HI-YA!” before she blanked out completely. He almost karate chopped her hand right off.

When she woke up, she was outside in the Shop Rite parking lot bleeding. It was 12:07 and her pocket was now completely empty, even of the envelope opener. All the money had been taken from her and all she had left was a flyer on her chest for a show called Extreme Elderly. She crinkled it up and threw it to the wind.

When she walked back to her place, glum, depressed, and out of luck, she had a hard time getting up her steps—her body felt like hamburger meat. But when she finally got to her door, she found that somebody had already gotten there before. On her door was a sign that read:


And at the bottom right hand side of the paper, it said who the cryptic letter was from, but Margaret didn’t need to see who it was from, she already knew by the handwriting. It was Chuck’s.

Without even registering what the sign said, she tried to open the door and found that the lock, just like that, had already been changed. She mechanically tore down the paper sign, kicked down the door with her foot, and walked into the room, exhausted. When she bent her head, she saw that Nickels was hiding underneath the ottoman, probably scared from when the door fell down.

Margaret stumbled over to her, pulled her out from under the ottoman and began to pet her. Maybe, Margaret thought, she should head to the Pet Shop now and demand her raise, but then she thought highly against this because she knew there was nothing she could do, Karen wasn’t even working today. Margaret had no solution and even the voice on the roof of her mouth was totally silent as she just sat there and waited for it to say something. “Just like that you’re going to leave me hanging, huh? What a prick!”

Margaret was so lost in thought that she didn’t even realize that the cat was scratching at her arms, Nickels wasn’t used to this kind of attention.

The truth of the matter was, Margaret didn’t know what she was going to do now. She offered a winded sigh and sat down on the couch that was soon to be taken away from her. “You’re right, Nickels, you’re right, I messed up big this time.” And as the cat, too tired to fight anymore, fell asleep in her lap, Margaret looked up one more time at the ceiling as the water above it now seemed to have spread all the way across the entire roof. “Stupid Mrs. Beakman,” Margaret said before she lied back down and fell asleep. And by the time the Repo Men got there, they carried her out the house without even bothering to wake her up.