As the saying goes, you don’t really know someone until you fight them, and Agnes loved getting to know people.
Last night, Agnes found out about Regina. “Regina, my love,” Agnes whispered to herself as she laid down the night before, her right eye almost swollen shut from the jabs. So, so many jabs. Most people can’t fall asleep with a headache to save their lives, but for Agnes, the strafes of pain that danced in her skull were exactly what did save her from a life of boredom.
The stained red comforter crumpled underneath Agnes as she rolled off her bruised ribs to glance at her alarm clock. 7:30 AM! She was late for work again. She threw the covers back and swung her legs toward the floor but her ribcage caught fire and she curled up in a ball. Air bled its way out of her lungs and into the ears of some unfortunate angel as the oxygen deprivation bespoke of some esoteric truth. In a voice only loud enough for her dog, a boxer she named Ali, to hear, she whispered, “Isn’t it amazing?”
Time was essential. If she were too late, she could risk another reprimand; possibly be fired. This wouldn’t do. Agnes enjoyed her job as a librarian; she enjoyed it for the resentment working this ‘real job’ brought her. The indignation of doing anything other than what she enjoyed most infuriated her, but she could channel this wrath and unleash it upon her opponents – or were they lovers? – later. Getting to work on time wasn’t important. Rather, it was crucial.
The stabbing pains and broad, dull fire were nothing she couldn’t overcome with some pain meds and a swig of cheap whiskey. “We’ve been here before, girl. Sixty seconds, Agnes. Sixty seconds and counting are already gone.”
Agnes rolled herself off the bed onto the hard wooden floor, landing like a cold slab of meat. The shockwave through her body felt like a prizefighter’s wallop, something she knew how to get up from. And she understood that if she didn’t get up, she wouldn’t be taking anymore punches. Unsanctioned amateur boxing didn’t exactly pay the bills.
From a squat thrust position, she bolted upright. Her ribs felt like twigs beneath the hooves of a bull; ready to snap beneath the aggression. A primal scream leapt from Agnes’s throat to the ears of some unfortunate demon.
She threw on the sundress she laid out the night before. It was barely enough to hide the drip drops of blood across her sports bra. Agnes sprinted to the bathroom and took stock of her battered face. The damage was incredible and so was the joy. She choked back a smile for fear that the happiness could overwhelm her; oh, how she could just faint. But would that be so bad? She could lay unconscious and unhurriedly dream about her new love interest, Regina.
No, Agnes the social sting-like-a butterfly needed to transform into Agnes the librarian for the time being. Though she would love nothing more than to revel in her agony, she couldn’t risk losing her health insurance. Although Agnes often thought about risking permanent deformity, she was more worried that being disabled would inhibit her ability to partake in her after-hours melees. “We couldn’th havth that,” Agnes lisped through her teeth.
She turned toward the front door, shuffled her feet, then made a sharp ninety degree turn towards the entranceway table. With her hand still in its sweat soaked sports wrap, Agnes picked up her sunglasses and put them in her purse to take to work. The glasses weren’t so much of a disguise or a mask as they didn’t hide the entirety of her face. Instead the shades were an announcement, an announcement to the world of the ugly, or rather depending upon who you ask, the beautiful truth. Of course, people wouldn’t understand. But for a small price – free to be exact – Agnes would gladly beat the truth into them.
All Rights Reserved © June 2016 John J Vinacci