Everything Going Wrong

November 7, 2013
Everything Going Wrong
Shari Spaeth

“I am going no matter what you say!” I exclaimed at my Pop.
What an example I’m setting for my younger siblings. I’m not worried about going to New York City. After all I have a job secured. One of my friends from college pulled a few strings and got me a job at Macy’s department store. We write all the time. He is just darlin’. I’m lucky to have such a job and man waiting for me.
“Fine, go you’ll be back here before you know it.” Pop yelled right back at me.
I knew this was going to be hard. First born and last born always the hardest to let go. Tomorrow, the day I will leave, approaches fast not leaving much time to hold my sister in my arms and help her escape the responsibilities that my leaving is causing her, or to help her escape the pains of becoming a woman.
“Shirley, why do you have to go? Will I see you again?” She said respectively as her crystallized eyes met mine. I had no answer to tell her. I would be back I knew that, but will I be that "good girl role model" I once was? Will she still respect me? I don’t know.

As the sun rises I rise with it as I normally do. I went into the old barn where the cows and chickens are. I milked the cows then went on to gathering the eggs. Gathering the eggs is a hefty job, the chickens hate their eggs being taken, it’s more of a challenge then a chore. Once that was done I made a "good-bye" breakfast, pancakes and eggs. Then I bathed. We don’t have running water so we use the river water to bathe. I powder my knees and rolled my stockings on and it's time to eat. My family surrounded the table. We all dug into the pancakes and eggs. Once everything was eaten it was time to leave. I had my suitcase packed and my starting money in my purse. As Pop drove, my poor sister cried into Momma's skirt. My juvenile brother sat on the porch sobbing. Momma had a straight face, trying to be strong however her sorrow showed.
"So Pop, I'll see you soon. I'll write home when I have time." We hugged for a while, the smell of his cologne got wafted and that would be as I remembered him. As the train accelerated Pop waved and cried like he lost everything. Meanwhile it was just the other way around. I was the one that was losing everything. I was leaving my family, my comfort zone.

"Shirley wake up. We're here. New York City." I heard the train conductor say as the train came to a stop. I gathered my bags and left the train. My stomach in a knot, not knowing what to do first.
"Shirley Evelyn Owens is that you? My dear friend, so mature but young just like her letters."
"Dunkin is that you? So tall and handsome just like you always were." We embraced.
"Come on let's get you to the store." We got into his black convertible. To see New York City for the first time is just like the postcards and what they all ways say; big and bright.
"So Shirley, do you have a boy friend?"
"You know Pop. He has to pick the perfect person. So no I don't."
"You're not a kid anymore. You're five thousand miles away from home. You can have one if you want it's not like he is going to be stopping you." then under his breath he said "maybe he'd like me as her boyfriend."
"What did you just say?" I questioned him wondering if I heard right.
"Oh nothing, just would you want to go on a date Friday night? I'm taking you to the club."
"Okay I guess. Thanks."
"Come on lets go inside." We parked in the big Macy's lot. The store was enormous: racks and racks of clothes, ones I never thought I'd wear. As Dunkin led me through the store I would periodically stop and just stare in amazement. I was at register six with all the gold jewelry. All of the sudden everyone around me stood taller and pretended to be doing something. There he was, Mr. Flan my boss, and a scary one at that.
"Shirley Evelyn Owens!"
"That's me"
"You've got til' Saturday to show your worth to the company."
With that he left and everyone relaxed. I have until Saturday to prove my worth. What in the world does that mean? Three days. I thought I had this job with no strings attached. My first customer approached.
"Can you help me find two bracelets?"
"What kind you looking for?"
"One that's simple and one that's more well clever."
" I know just the one." I unlocked the cabinet showing the jewelry and pulled a bracelet with simple little engravings and one that was intricately designed.
"Those are perfect! thank you."
"It will be $50"
"Here, keep the change" He handed me a $100 bill, so crisp and clean it was. I had never been in possession of one before. I guess I would use the extra money for something. After my shift I went into the women's department and found a perfect red dress for my date. Once the dress was purchased I walked outside to see Dunkin waiting for me. He was going to take me to my apartment. Pop and Momma sent money ahead of me and put a down payment on it, it's the same apartment complex as the one Dunkin is in. The best feature was the running water. I can take a hundred showers in a day and still have water.

Today is Friday, my date with Dunkin is an a few hours. My boss told me I could leave a little bit early from work because a Friday night was slow. I took a shower and was almost all ready to go. I powdered my knees and rolled my stockings up. I put my fancy black Mary Jane's on and of course the dress. The dress stuck to every curve making me look like a flapper.
"Shirley, you look amazing. Come on I have to show you to the world." We walked hand in hand until we reached the car. Dunkin drove until we got to the fancy club. Dunkin and I walked into the club. The jazz music filled the air making it danceable and light. Dunkin escorted me to a table for two, and handed me a martini which was sweet. The alcoholic beverage filled my novice body which just want more and more.
"Come on Dunkin let's dance!"

Where am I? Oh, no its 9 already. I'm going to be late for work. I woke with a startle. I look to the side of my bed and there is Dunkin sleeping with nothing on. My body just as bare as his. I stand out of bed and lose my balance and fall to the floor. Crawling slowly I went into the bathroom and slowly got up. My head was spinning, I guess this is what a hangover is. I take a quick shower, brush my hair, put clean clothes on and, walk at the fastest speed I could without losing my balance to get to work. Here I am at Macy's walking into my place and Mr. Flan has beat me to it.
"Shirley you're an hour late! I thought you were better than this. You're hunger-over too. Go home and never ever come back. YOU ARE FIRED!"
The word fired struck me. I don't have a job no more and no money. I need money. I need that money and there is only one way to do. As much as it is bad I have to do it. There are enough women who do it. Granted its illegal but the soldiers and men are expected to use it.. I would be doing it for the country, to help the men in service. It's the 1920's for crying out prostitution is every woman's escape goat. I have to work at a brothel. I won't tell Dunkin, I'll just tell him I didn't like working at Macy's and got a night job at a hospital, that would work, a nurse on night shift. That's believable. A blue light lit the path to the brothel. Before going in I examine the door way. There was a help wanted sign and STD free sign on the door . The big black double door was my portal, in to something that could save my life. I took another breath and walked in.
In a loud strong voice I said. "I am here to apply for a job."

"Then you have come to the right place my dear. Soldiers and men will adore you."
"How much will I get paid?"
"$10 a male."
"That's more then I would have gotten at my other job."
"Be here at 9:30 tonight and we will get you set up."
I walked back to the apartment. I unclothed myself and got into bed once I was back home. If I was going to work in the brothel I needed to be comfortable with my body.
"You're home early." Dunkin said sleepily.
"I found a new job. I'm working at the hospital at night now. They needed someone so it's me."
"Congrats, well its almost three so maybe I should head to work. What happened last night? All I remember is getting here and kissing and stripping down to nothing."
"I guess so. I don't remember that much either. Dunkin what do you think of my body?"
"It's hot and petite and cute. Why do you ask?"
"Just wondering."
"Well I better get to work, I will see you tomorrow I guess."
"Okay see you tomorrow" He kissed me on the lips and then left.

It’s about 9 now and its completely dark. Outside the blue light shined through the moon less night. I was waiting for my male to come and make me their master. Barely wearing anything, he came. A young soldier, shell shocked was mine tonight. He drew the cloth around the bed and it became our special space. He unclothed himself leaving his underwear on. We began kissing gently at first then gaining intensity. Nothing was happening I didn't feeling nothing. Just some random guy with a random girl like me. He needed his comfort, one that he got in France, and I needed money. He touches me in places I have never been touched before and my skin feels bare and raw. An hour goes by and the soldier is sleeping, I just sleep next to him and cuddle assuming that's what I get paid for. This would be my routine for as long as it needs to be, it's easy enough.
I heard a familiar voice at work a few days after my first "Can I have Shirley tonight?"
"She's bed two. She is all yours tonight."
I know that voice. Oh no, Dunkin. I see his tall figure behind the curtain. How did he find out? The curtain was being pulled away as I shut my eyes and imagined I would go away.
"So Shirley this is your nursing job?"
"No" I said quietly
"Thought so. I decided I will have do it with you one more time and pay for it just like every other man you've slept with. After it's done then we are over. I don't care about your sob story it's not my issue anymore." He shed his clothes and ripped the little to nothing I had on and went for it. My body ached. He was so harsh the complete opposite to the way he was the other night. "We are done, don't ever write to me again."
With that he was gone and my life completely over. I got my money and headed directly for the train station and headed home. Pop was right. I would be back home, I wouldn't make it in the real world. Sometimes I wish I was not stubborn and listened to him. The train stopped and I was home. The familiar smells of cows and chickens, farm land, gave me a sense of serenity. It was late but I needed to get home. Knowing that everyone was asleep I went into the barn and cuddled into the hay.
"SHIRLEY!!!" My sister ran and hugged me to the point I could not breathe. "Why are you home? You have to come inside. Momma and Pop keep waiting for the day you come home."
"Annabel, it's too much for you to understand I went through a lot and it's not for your ears."
"You have to come inside at least."Annabel dragged me by the arm and screamed "Everybody look, Shirley is home!"

After going home my parents shipped me back in the place where all the problems started. New York City. Momma and Pop knew what happened before I even got home. They kept the payments going until I was stable enough to come back. I decided that I was going to go to the club and see if I could get myself a boy friend. That red dress still in perfect shape, I put it on and felt like I was on fire. I strutted down Broadway and into the club I went. Duke Ellington was playing tonight. I ordered an Apple Mango Martini. It was very good but I limited myself to only one drink knowing what happened the last time I drank too much. Dunkin came into the room. I scurried off to the Ladies Room to powder my nose. I heard a knock but knowing it was Dunkin with his signature knock decided to just ignore it. That was until another lady came in and gave me a hitting saying to eat him up or she would.
"Hi Dunkin."
"Hi. Can we go somewhere and talk?"
"Why should I want to after embarrassing me and almost killing me?"
"Because, because I want to tell you what happened"
"Fine." We went outside and started to walk back to the apartment. I began the conversation. "I am sorry what happened but you have to understand what I went through. Mr. Flan fired me for being late and being hung-over. Yes granted I shouldn't have been either but I did not even get a warning or a chance. I needed to prove to Pop that I could survive on my own without anyone's help but my own. I had the world on my shoulders."
"I know you did and I should not have pushed you the way I did. I am sorry. I talked to Mr. Flan and he is willing to give you another shot. You have to be at the store 9 tomorrow."
"Thanks Dunkin. I better get some rest before tomorrow."
"Can I come?"
"It's better that you don't for right now."
I wake up early the next day to make sure everything was perfect and had enough time to get to work on time. I walk to my counter and Mr. Flan was already standing there looking at his pocket watch. He still scares me. The tall thin figure makes him look like he is eight feet tall.
"Shirley you have your job back. I did not realize that it was not exactly your fault about what happened."
"Shirley! Shirley! Thank gosh you’re here. I wanted to give you something." Dunkin came running to my counter. I walked out from being behind the counter and Dunkin held my hands tight. "I think you make the perfect girl friend and the perfect mother and most importantly the perfect wife. I want to make sure the baby has a father no matter who's it is. Will you marry me?" He got down on one knee as he fished the ring out of his pocket. My tears of joy told him yes I would marry him.
"Wait, how do you know I'm pregnant? I told no one." I asked as he slipped the simple ring on to my finger.





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