Waiting for the bus.......(re-write)
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|Mon, 06-19-2000 - 8:46am|
Waiting for the bus.......(re-write)
This is my re-write and second post for the month so far. I received lots of great feedback from the 'getting started' board, so I thank you for that. I tried to trim this to 2000 words but I'm still about 600 over. I just couldn't figure out what to trim and still keep the voice and story intact. For this I apologize (hey, I'm getting better!!). Thank you for the wonderful boards, classes and advice!
Waiting for the Bus:
It was Monday and Liddy Watson was waiting for the bus. She owned a car, thank you very much; it just wasn’t running at the moment. Apparently, if you buy a Nissan Maxima in 1992 and don’t take it to the shop for eight years, the engine will actually fall out of the car. No kidding. Damn Japanese models! In Liddy’s defense, she had changed the oil herself…once.
Liddy was a high-powered attorney in a very respectable law firm. She had graduated magna cum everything from the University of Louisville, school of law. She owned Donna Karan suits and carried a Coach briefcase. She was a real-live functioning adult, for fuck’s sake! She just didn’t have a knack for automobile maintenance.
It seemed this woman was always waiting for something. Her normal pattern. Fueled up, checks checked and on the runway, still waiting. In spite of this fact, she was in a hurry.
She had a big case to argue in court today and simply could not afford to be late. As it was, she was not going to make her nine a.m. appearance by catching the eight thirty silver bullet. No way in hell. Jim would argue the case for her. She would arrive just in time to watch him flush her career with Lambert and Wilkins down the commode, that ever-present twinkle in his eye.
Jim Fast was the new kid on the block. He was attractive, confident, intelligent and kissing ass like President Clinton during the impeachment trial. Liddy had taken him under her wing, let him assist with her cases and attend the board meetings. She even allowed him to give a presentation on streamlining client processes within the company. If that wasn’t bad enough, she had taken him into her bed. What an asshole she had been! It wasn’t until three days ago that she discovered his true intentions. Hidden behind his swarthy grin with his ‘whiter than Bryant Gumbal’ teeth lurked a shark. He had fed the word ‘love’ into her hungry ears and she had eaten it up. Methodically twisting it apart like an oreo and greedily licking the cream of it before washing it down with an ice-cold glass of stupid.
Damn. She looked at her watch and it was 8:35 already. Of course the silver bullet would be late. This was the south, where the word ‘quickly’ translated to mean ‘we���ll only get you there a few minutes late, darlin’. The girl sitting beside her on the bench seemed to be a bit harried herself. “Is this bus usually late?” She asked, hoping the stranger was familiar with the route.
The younger girl responded, through clenched teeth “God, lady, I hope not. I don’t want to have this baby on the street.” Liddy took some time to assess the situation. The kid was holding her stomach, grimacing and there was liquid trailing down her calves, making a small puddle between the birkenstock sandals she was sporting. Shit! She had been so wrapped up in her own crap she didn’t notice that the poor creature next to her was in labor!
“God, is there someone I can call to help you?” She inquired, taking out her cell phone and desperately hitting the power button. It was dead. What a shocker.
“Don’t worry, it’s my first baby. Doctor Nasareth said it takes a long time after your water breaks for the baby to come. I got time.” At this point she doubled over in obvious pain and started to take short, fast breaths. Liddy looked at her watch; it was still 8:35 and 40 seconds.
“Okay, but there’s a pay phone over there and I could call someone. Your family, your doctor maybe?” This was actually good. Maybe she could get a continuance for assisting a girl in labor. Judge Horne was a woman, maybe she would be lenient in light of present circumstances.
The girl straightened up a little, “God, that hurts way worse than I thought it would. Nah, you don’t need to call nobody. I called the doctor before I left home and he just said to come on in to Jewish Hospital and he’d meet me there sometime. I called my boyfriend, he’s workin nights at the Daniel’s plant, but I couldn’t get ahold of him.”
“Is your baby on time?” Hoping this wasn’t a premie situation.
“Nah, I’m a week overdue. Seems like I been tryin to have this baby forever. I took a long walk last night and had one beer. My aunt Teeter said that would bring the labor on. I guess she was right.” She looked down at the puddle between her swollen feet. “I’m a mess. Probably not even gonna let me on the bus.” Tears welled up in her eyes. She was a pretty little thing, literally, petite and fragile looking. Liddy wondered how that big belly didn’t tip her over.
“What’s your name, honey?” Crap, she was definitely involved now. Ashamed at the thought of using this girl as an excuse for her under-developed organizational skills, she made a decision. She couldn’t just leave this woman/child to fend for herself in such a dismal situation.
“Leanne. What’s yours?” She extended a shaky hand and a weak grip.
“I’m Liddy. Leanne, we’re going to catch a cab together. Would you like that?” Hailing a cab in Louisville was sometimes a hopeless situation. They normally just responded to calls and only made rounds at hotels and the airport. As luck would have it, this particular bus stop was next to a Comfort Inn and there were a few cabs lined up a block away.
Liddy grabbed her briefcase and Leanne’s hand. “Can you walk, honey?” When Leanne nodded in affirmation she gently pulled her forward and held her arm as they trudged down the sidewalk. The sun was bright and it was getting hot. August, in Louisville, was a wet dog that followed you from home to work and back again. It watched as you slept. You can’t shake the heat and stink of it so you just pet it, feed it the scraps of your existence and hope it doesn’t bite too hard. Liddy felt pity for any woman knocked up through a southern summer, it wasn’t fair.
Halfway to the corner, Leanne slid to the ground with a muffled cry, scrunched her body up and fell silent. Liddy was terrified as she looked at her watch. 8:38 and twenty seconds. Dear God. “Have you been having contractions this often for long?” She knelt on the ground next to her young charge.
“No, started when I was waitin’ on the bus.” She picked Leanne up and quickened their pace, finally reaching the corner. There were two cabs in the circular drive in front of the lobby and one was occupied. There were bags waiting next to the other and as she glanced in the direction of the lobby, she saw a squatty man settling his bill with the clerk.
As they approached the black and yellow vehicle they saw the drivers eyes widen as he realized their circumstance, “I’ve got a fare, lady”. He was grumpy looking, missing teeth and could probably draw an architecturally correct sketch of a trailor-home in mere seconds. Liddy was not in the mood to play. This girl was having a baby, now.
“Well, I’ve got the miracle of life here and you’re taking it to the hospital.” She put Leanne in the back seat, laying her down on her side. “I’ll pay double.” She mouthed to him. Her eyes were pleading and her palms were sweating. The driver nodded ascent and she slipped into the front seat next to him.
There was a bang at her window. The squatty guy wasn’t too happy with some chick snagging his ride. “Hey, bitch! I called this cab. What gives?” He was from New York or maybe Jersey according to his accent. She spoke to him in the language she hoped he would understand. She flipped him the bird. The cab sped off.
“Are you okay back there, sweety?” She wasn’t used to using such nomenclatures, but thought that’s what she would like to be called if she was in the midst of giving birth. Leanne only grunted back.
The cabbie kept glancing in his rearview mirror nervously, muttering to himself. Something about baby water and his vinyl seats. Liddy ignored him, but secretly hoped Leanne wouldn’t get an infection from this vehicle…it smelled of cigarettes, fake fruit and funk.
“Liddy?” Leanne’s voice was very tiny, as if spoken through a Styrofoam cup and a piece of string. “Can you check something for me?”
“Yeah, honey. Whatever you want. Is something wrong?”
“I think I’ve had an accident…ya know?” No, Liddy honestly didn’t know. Leanne leaned up and emphatically whispered the words. “I think I’ve crapped myself!”
As Liddy hunched over the seat to examine the area, the cabbie was yelling “Oh my god! Little girl you’ve got to be kidding me! A baby I can handle, but please don’t shit in my cab! I don’t piss in your pool, ya know?”
“Shut the hell up!” Liddy yelled back. He continued mumbling under his breath again about disinfectant the high cost of cleaning genuine nogahide.
“Honey, you didn’t have an accident. Everything’s okay.” She hadn’t crapped herself. Liddy, however, felt her own bowels loosen with fear. By the looks of things, the baby’s head was crowning.
“Can you get 911 on that thing?” She whispered, pointing to CB radio in the taxi. He nodded hesitantly, annoyed. “Do it and pull over!” She hissed. She had no idea Leanne was this far into the game.
The cab pulled over next to a Walgreens, about 6 city miles away from the hospital and traffic was a bit heavy. It would take at least twenty minutes to get there. While the driver radioed dispatch to contact 911, Liddy checked Leanne again, vying for a better view. She could still see the head, but it had inched back up into the opening a bit. She was minimally relieved.
Damnit! Think Liddy Watson!! She felt like Butterfly McQueen in Gone With The Wind….she didn’t know nothing about birthing no babies! The only experiences she could rely on, were scenes in movies, something about newspapers, knives…hot water. She was going to pass out.
“I need to push!” Leanne had tensed up again and she was starting to cry.
“Don’t you dare push, Leanne! Not yet. Wait until we have 911 on the phone. Just wait. Do you hear me?” She was screaming like a banshee. “I don’t know what to do yet!” She considered running into the walgreens for a towel, some alcohol, something to help with this situation.
“I got 911!” Yelled the driver. Thank fricking God!
“You there?” A crackly female voice came through the CB.
“Yes, we’re here. I have a girl in labor here and I can see the head!” Liddy’s whole body was shaking.
“You do?” In stereo from the driver and Leanne.
“Okay. We’ve got an ambulance dispatched to your location. Do you have a towel or any other clean garment?” Liddy thought desperately.
“Yes! Hand me that briefcase!” The driver obeyed without hesitation. She found the new Hermes scarf Jim had ordered for her. Might as well be put to use, she wouldn’t wear it anyway.
“Okay, what do I do?”
“Not much.” Said the crackle on the other end, “Just tell her not to push, but if she does just be there to catch the baby.” Well, thank you Kreskin! She could have done that without medical assistance. “If the EMS team isn’t there by the time that baby arrives, I’ll walk you through the rest. Do you have a knife?” There was the faint feeling again. Her mouth tasted like a dirty penny and her legs were going numb.
Leanne looked absolutely wretched. She was curled up in a fetal position on her right side, facing the back of the driver’s seat. Liddy held her right ankle on her left shoulder so that she could see her vaginal opening. She put her leg down, to lessen the pushing urge and rubbed her hip. “Almost over now, sweetheart.” She cooed as comfortingly as she could.
“Is my baby going to die? Am I going to die? I want my mama!” Leanne was whining softly with pain and tears were streaming down her cheeks, unchecked. Liddy held her hand.
“I know baby. It’s okay, you’re not going to die. Your baby’s going to be fine, just relax.” Leanne’s body contracted again.
“I have to push! I have to! I can’t help it, I’m sorry! Oh, God, If you let my baby be okay I won’t ever smoke a joint again!” And Liddy could see that Leanne had no other physical choice. So, she hoisted her onto her back and spread her legs as wide as she could. She told the driver to get out of his seat and pull the front seats forward to allow more room for Leanne’s girth. There was a small crowd gathering around the taxi and the driver motioned them away.
“Is there a doctor here?” The driver inquired. When no one stepped forward he exclaimed “Then y’all must be perverts lookin in at that girl, get the hell outta here!!” The crown dispersed a bit and Liddy secretly thanked him.
Leanne was pushing with all of her scrawny might, sweaty and pale. Liddy could see the baby’s forehead. She didn’t even know which way it was supposed to come out, but it was face up. Calculating by her own anatomy, she decided that would be the least painful direction.
“It’s okay, Leanne, I’m here. Just do what feels right to you.” That must have been pushing because with the next grunt, there was a slimy heap in her lap. It was limp and slightly blue. Liddy felt a burning in her nostrils, the assault of acidic saliva at the back of her throat and goose-bumps rising under the cold sweat she had recently broken into.
She felt the starched cloth touch her arm first and exhaled deeply when she noticed the comforting blue of a uniform. She saw the emblem on his shirt first. That of a snake winding it’s way around a white cross. The tiny weight was lifted from her thighs and she was pulled forward and out of the car. There was medical lingo being tossed around by the young man and his female counterpart. Things like; umbilical cord, breathing and circulation. She heard a cry from Leanne and then a squall from the gray mass, now turning pink in the young man’s arms.
“Thank you, God.” Liddy said quietly and then started to sob, pouring out the stress of her life-style combined with that of the birth. It hit her. There were more important things than promotions, personal injury cases and shitty boyfriends. A thing she knew in the pit of herself, but had forgotten.
Later at the courthouse, she witnessed Jim’s brilliant opening statement. The court typist, Roxy, informed her that Judge Horne offered the firm a delay, but Jim insisted he was prepared. He had been and it went swimmingly. He strode up to her, a triumphant smile on his cheshire-cat face, “Did you like the scarf?” All pomp and circumstance, wasn’t he?
She fished it out of the plastic bag the emergency tech had given her for ‘transport of the material’. “Ya know, Jim, it’s really not my color.” She draped it around his neck, basking in the confusion that crossed his self-possessed mask of a face. “I was late. I delivered a baby for someone. That moisture soaking your Ralph Lauren jacket would be afterbirth.” She turned to walk away and glanced back to see his horrified expression as he slapped the scarf from his neck.
More important things, indeed, but allowing for a few petty things in life is okay too.