Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Three Names

Regina Amanda Wilson had huffed all her shopping bags three extra blocks because the sales clerk had pointed the wrong direction to the bus stop, and so she woofed out all her breath when she sat down on the fire hydrant.  Her dentures were loose and they were starting to bother her gums, so she sucked at them, making a chirping sound like a bird, and said "Summertime.  Summertime" to herself, thinking of the November heat.

Jennifer Lawndale Montgomery was never one to stare, so when she heard the chirping noise she glanced for no longer than 2.5 seconds and then gazed off at the wooden artists' dummies in Blick's window.  She had also had great difficulty wearing lipstick, and found the waterproof/smudge-proof/nuclear-attack-proof kinds made her look like a Kewpie doll, so she felt only sympathy when she noticed the woman had bright red smudges staining her front teeth.

Regina's back was bad and her legs were worse, but the words for both conditions always eluded her when she needed them, so she just gave voice to her complaints with a low pitched "Oh.  Oh" and "Oh my" as it occurred to her.  She stretched her neck around and around and thought that the twitchy young woman in front of her might be wearing a wig.

Jennifer stared intently in as many other places as possible, but she felt that the chirping woman  was staring at her and it made her scalp crawl.

Regina noticed that the young lady kept touching her unusual hair, and she murmured "Mm Hmm" to herself before going back to contemplating her sciatica.

Jennifer snuck a peek at the woman on the hydrant and found that she was, in fact, staring at her, and so she felt justified in rolling her eyes before turning away again.  When Jennifer's bus arrived, she boarded it in relief and quickly made for the very back corner seat where she could safely pretend to sleep.

When Regina's bus arrived, she noticed that the unsettling wigged woman boarded it ahead of her and considered waiting for the next one.  But the hydrant was starting to put her legs to sleep, so she heaved herself up, gathered her bags, and boarded the bus.  On the back bench seat she sat beside the young woman and inspected her hairline from another angle.

Jennifer almost opened her eyes when she heard the chirping approach, but instead she screwed her eyelids closed even harder.  As the bus picked up speed a nice breeze came up the back of her neck and cooled her head.

Sitting beside the young woman, Regina could tell that her hair was real, especially once the wind started to batter her from behind.  She felt sorry for her, that her real hairdo looked so much like a wig.  "At least she don't have cancer, though," she said to the man to her right who nodded and looked out the window.


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