I’ve been a but dizzy lately, unable to settle down and dig into a story. Eventually I just kept two docs open and switched back and forth as the mood took me – Oi! To be one of those uber organized writers who outline things! – but last week I started writing a story about a girl named Coffy. As sweet as her cinematic namesake was a badass, in this snippet we learn that everyone has their breaking point. You can take a stand without compromising who you are, and sometimes the next best thing is just around the corner…or in another dimension, blonde, big, and dressed in black leather. As yet untitled and unedited, enjoy!
This did it. She was officially done. No more. She couldn’t take another – anything! What was she, a doormat?
Yes, her subconscious whispered. That’s exactly what you are.
“Not anymore,” she muttered, stuffing her things into her backpack.
The suitcase she’d arrived with had been borrowed long ago and never returned, along with half, heck, most of her clothes. She supposed it was just as well all she had was this backpack. It would have been tough to split on a bike othwerise.
Coffy looked around at the room where she’d spent the last 18 months of her life. She snorted. “See you later, jerks,” she whispered, peeking into the drawers and under the bed one last time to make sure she wasn’t leaving anything behind. The doormat, also known as Coffy Cartwright, has left the building. “I’m done letting everyone wipe their feet all over me.”
It was tough to take the high road when the people around you didn’t know what that was, and if they did, didn’t care. She’d been raised to take pride in her calm ability to not overreact, to behave decorously. Her mother, her lively, laughing mother had often praised young Coffy for being just like her daddy, “cool under pressure.
“You’re not like me, that’s for sure,” she’d sometimes laughed. “If I were a tea kettle, I’d be on perpetual boil! But that can be a tiresome way to live, baby girl. Better to take things in stride like you and your daddy. Half the time, anything you can get upset over isn’t worth the energy once you get to the bottom of it anyway.”
She took pride in the fact that she didn’t swear and did not act out in public because her mother had appreciated those qualities in her. Even now when anger was rapidly moving toward a belly-curdling rage so potent she had to close her eyes and breathe deep to keep from exploding, she managed to pull herself back from the edge.
Momma, momma, momma, she thought, reciting her beloved mother’s name like a mantra to ward off evil. Slowly she began to calm.
“Where are you going?” Carole sneered.
Coffy stopped and turned back to look at the girl who’d eaten the last of the birthday supper Mrs. Turner, the owner of their women’s hostel had made for her. A supper she’d barely gotten to taste once everyone’s greedy grubby grabbing hands had snatched everything up. No one cared that the birthday girl had worked all day and was hungry. It was first come, first take or steal, just like always.
“As far away from you as humanly possible,” she answered, enjoying the shocked look on the girl’s fat face before she turned on her heel and walked out.
She’d already said goodbye to Mrs. Turner. The other girls could fall into a hole for all she cared. She just had to retrieve her bike, and she could split.
When she got to the garage, one of the other roomers Angela had a leg cocked to throw over her bike.
“Stop,” Coffy commanded.
The girl paused uncertainly, but smiled when she saw who it was. “Oh, Coffy. I was just borrowing your bike to go to the store. You don’t mind do you?”
Coffy didn’t even bother to answer – why was it most women named Angela were really demons in disguise? – She just took her bike from the girls hands and walked off.
“Can’t I just –”
“No!” Coffy said, and flipped her the bird as she pedaled off. She figured enough was enough. Even the quiet ones had their breaking point. Besides, the silly, thieving cow had left her with a slow leak the last time she borrowed the bike, without asking, and hadn’t offered a dime to help her get it fixed.
She laughed as she rode away, the wind tugged cheerfully at her hair. Man, it felt good to be going somewhere. Suddenly, the fact that she only had a small bag to take into her new life seemed like a blessing rather than an unfortunate circumstance.
“With any luck,” she told herself, “my next landing place will be better than the last.” Continue Reading →