The pink-hued rainbow salaciously touches the roof of my house as Gary walks out on me. I’m left with Dahlia and Timothy; two vulnerable seven-year-olds. Dahlia, the eldest, clutches the cuff of my sky-blue shirt and her lacrimal glands leak. Timothy looks on into the distance, as unaware and detached from the situation as I am; he clearly takes after me.
Gary briefly ruffles Timothy’s mass of black curls and plants a kiss on Dahlia’s cheek before leaving with his lime colored suitcase. The taxi is parked outside and he waves and throws a desultory kiss in the air before departing.
“What’s in daddy’s suitcase?” Dahlia asks. Strokes of tears are painted down her fat cheeks.
I don’t bother to answer her. Timothy points his green revolver at me.
“Hands up mamma!” he shouts with a say cheese grin plastered across his face.
I fall to the floor, pretending to be dead.
“I got mamma!” screams Timothy, kneeling down to check my pulse.
If only I were dead- all this mess would be over and I wouldn’t be playing Cowboys and Indians.
Dahlia falls to the floor, next to my corpse, crying. I reach out and wipe away her sadness with the back of my hand. Timothy turns sullen, realising that I’ve been resurrected. The game is over and yet he still doesn’t cry.
“Gory went away,” he says.
“Yes, baby,” I morosely reply.
“Is Gory coming back?” he asks, still unaware of the harsh reality of the situation.
“Baby, your father’s name is Gary and yes, he will see you next weekend, most weekends, if he has time that is,” I reassuringly reply.
Timothy places his plastic revolver on the coffee table and looks at me. He has his father’s eyes.
“No mamma, Gory because he is a disgusting pig,” he says, nonplussed.
“Don’t you ever speak of your father in such a way!” I scream.
He scurries under the coffee table, reaches for his green Mattel revolver and aims it at my head.
The anger instantaneously flushes out of me.
“I’m sorry baby, mamma didn’t mean it,” I apologetically say.
Dahlia strips and lays on a heap of clothes, her white underwear on display. Timothy has not dropped his revolver yet. He suspiciously eyes me.
It’s cold outside and winter has no remorse. Dahlia wears pink mittens and Timothy grabs his army-print mittens and places it on his ice block hands. His green revolver is menacingly jutting out from his denim pocket.
“I can do it myself mamma, I’m a big boy now,” he says. His eyes grow big, Gary’s eyes.
Timothy and Dahlia scamper into my old, yellow VW Beetle; what a heap of junk, she wheezes once I ignite her and Dahlia is still crying. Timothy has his green revolver aimed at my head once I peek at him through the rear-view mirror.
“Baby…” I say, hoping he will lower his weapon.
He wickedly smiles at me, still armed.
God, his eyes are so much like Gary’s.
The Kinks’ Lola is playing and Dahlia stops crying. She starts shaking her bottom in Timothy’s face. Timothy hits her butt with his plastic gun and she squeals.
“Cut it out!” he yells.
“If you two don’t quit while you’re ahead, there will be no rum ice cream for the both of you!” I scream back, Lola drowned by my tone of voice.
Dahlia stops shaking her butt like one of those miniature Hawaiian hourglass dolls on Gary’s dashboard. Timothy looks out the window at the passing sycamore trees, humming Lola. The green revolver is left discarded on the floor of my asthmatic Beetle like a rotten green sweet.
The yellow Beetle comes to a halt at Boobie Bungalow. Heck, I’m not winning mother of the year anytime soon.
“Wait here kiddos, I’ll be right back. Don’t talk to strangers,” I warn them.
“But mamma you promised ice cream,” says Dahlia, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“I know baby but mamma first needs to talk to someone. Five minutes, I promise,” I say.
Before Timothy says anything, I jump out of the Beetle and lock the doors in case any creeps try their luck.
All Day and All of the Night is playing on the jukebox and Casey or Candace is working up a storm, thrusting her pelvis and gyrating against the steel pole. The men are mostly weirdos with aged beards and potholed skin from the cloud of toxic smoke surrounding the sensual scene. I head to the bar and sip cognac while admiring the bartender’s ass. He turns around again and I notice his pink glossy lips, just my luck.
“Honey, you should be up there,” he says.
“One more and I just will…honey” I reply.
“Bitch,” he retorts.
I swig the last of the cognac like it’s my last drink and head to the steel pole, pretending that it is Gary.
Personality Crisis plays and unlike Casey, Candace or whatever, I’m angry and I just know who to take it out on-Gary, the steel pole.
I tease the men-slowly, to prevent heart attacks. My sexy, black negligee from Barneys is on display and the men’s tongues are out like dry-tongued dogs. They whistle like horny navy men. I beat the pole, Gary, with my fleshy pelvis and my breasts or more like boobies spill from my satin bra. The crowd goes wild and some geysers exit to the bathroom, probably to drain their loins. I suck my finger and bend so all the men get a provocative peek and they love it and I have to admit, I enjoy the attention.
The show has come to an end and I practically run backstage to collect the cash that I’ve so happily earned. The manager stares at me like I’m some exotic bird.
“You were really great out there. If you happen to want this to be a permanent gig, I can make it happen and double what they pay you at The Titty Bar,” he persuasively says.
“All I want right now is my cut and then if I happen to be desperate enough to dance naked again in front of a couple of geysers then you have yourself a deal,” I convincingly say.
He hands me a wad of cash and waddles over to Casey or Candice, not very sure on account of the cognac I had tonight.
A rail-stick man in a tacky brown suit approaches and hands me his business card.
“Just in case you get bored of the bungalow and want to perform some exclusive shows,” he says, smiling.
“Thanks, I’ll think about it,” I say, returning the smile.
I slink back to Timothy and Dahlia, feeling guilty like a cheating wife but then I think of Gary and vestiges of guilt dissipate into the chill of winter’s breath.
“I wanna be like her mamma!” Dahlia shouts and points at the trashy woman in fishnets and white knee-high Maje boots.
Timothy stares at me the same way the manager of Boobie Bungalow gazed at me, in shock.
I start the Beetle and take the N1, ignoring Timothy’s judgemental looks.
“What are boobies?” Timothy asks.
“Boobies are breasts, Timothy. Every woman has them. When Dahlia is old enough, they will start cropping up,” I say.
“Are boobies those?” he asks, poking my breasts.
“Yes baby,” I reply.
He sits back and watches the passing Maple trees, uninterested.
“Let’s go get some ice cream!” I shout.
Dahlia claps her hands. Otis Redding’s Mr. Pitiful plays on the radio and Timothy cries.
Indian Review | Literature, Short Fiction and Poetry | Author |
Sasheera Gounden is a South African English teacher who has a flare for writing. Her article, “Twenty years of growth and success” was published in Accounting SA July 2015 issue. She has written numerous poems and short stories which have been published in The Literary Yard, The Bitchin’ Kitsch (2016) and the Guwahatian.
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Genre: Short Story