The taxi driver pulls to the curb. Chrissie hands over two twenties and grabs
the suitcase stuffed with sequined costumes and rhinestoned tiaras and
cosmetics, oh my lord, the cosmetics.
“Mommy.” Jessie points
to a man lying on a grate in the sidewalk, entirely covered in newspapers.
“Stay away from him.
“I have a quarter.”
“No. He can find
hisself a job; work hard like the rest of us.”
Backstage, Jessie strips to her underdrawers, dingy and
gray, because the judges won’t see those anyhow and with the cost of the costumes,
they can’t afford new ones. “Rassle into
this dress, doll.”
Jessie steps into her costume; pulls it up.
“Munch on these.” Chrissie
piles a handful of sugar cubes on the table.
She takes Jessie’s right hand and begins applying polish.
“Your energy picking
“Eat another one”
Jessie pops a second cube in her mouth; chases it with her
Chrissie slaps the thumb out of Jessie’s mouth. “That’s
Jessie’s eyes widen.
Tears stream down her cheeks.
“Ah, shit. You ruined
your makeup.” Chrissie opens the makeup
bag and re-applies a thick layer of blush.
“You see them girls?”
“You’re better than all of ‘em put together.”
Chrissie takes a handful of chips from the bag on the table
and stuffs them into her mouth. She wipes
her hands on her blue jeans and chews noisily, dabbing blue eye shadow on Jessie’s
lids. She paints her lips a deep red and
applies mascara. “Go and practice your routine.”
The girl stands and walks to a clear space on the floor,
weaving between photographers and suitcases and empty pop bottles littering the
Finally, Jessie is called to perform.
She dances. She
sings. She struts.
After, Chrissie gathers her in her arms. “You were perfect, baby doll! You gonna’ make your momma a boatload of
They leave the auditorium and step over the man lying on the
sidewalk, sleeping beneath last week’s news.
This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week's word was vulgar.
This post has also been linked with Yeah, Write
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge