The bus came on time; the only person that got off the bus was the bus driver to put Bridget Baxter’s bags with the luggage. There was only one seat in the back. A woman smiled at her and asked, “Where you’re going?” Bridget responded, “Don’t know.” The woman knew she was trying to escape the small town like she did when she was twenty. The woman introduced herself, “I am Doreen, and you are?”
“Where are you staying tonight?”
Bridget shook her head, “I’m not sure where I’m staying tonight.”
Doreen patted her on the knee and said, “You can stay with me for a week.” Bridget was relieved to have a place to stay. She was not sure who Doreen was, but it was a roof over her head. The bus stopped, and Doreen said, “Come on honey.” Bridget got off the bus with rose colored glasses. She looked around and noticed it was a poorer environment than she had expected. She saw an elderly man pushing a grocery cart with groceries in it. Doreen watched Bridget as she looked at the elderly man, “That man is not homeless.” Bridget smiled and put on her rose-colored glasses again. The roses were blooming everywhere she looked.
Doreen watched Bridget as she gazed through grimy windows at tall buildings and apartment buildings block after block. The cab made a quick stop at the pink house on the corner. It did not pull to the side of the road; the driver popped the trunk. Bridget got the luggage out of the trunk. The cars behind the cab gave them the finger as they sped by. She was not surprised that city folks were rude because they were like that in movies.
Doreen showed her the room she would sleep in; it had a single bed with one dresser in the corner next to a sewing machine. The room was larger compared to the size of the bedroom she had at the farmhouse. Bridget noticed a sewing machine; it was newer model compared to her mother’s. She wondered if Doreen would let her use the sewing machine to make a dress. She dismissed the thought. She went to the bathroom and smiled in the mirror. Doreen walked by, “What are you doing?”
“I’m checking to see if I am still happy.”
“I can conquer the world with my smile.”
When Doreen unpacked, she went into the living room and saw Bridget looking out the window. Doreen asked, “What are you looking at?”
Bridget responded, “That man out in the middle of the street waving down cars.”
Doreen looked out the window, “That’s Raymond; he lives in Community Housing down the street. Somebody will be out there soon to get him.” When they got back to the house from a walk Doreen said, “Call your parents so they don’t worry about you.”
Bridget used Doreen’s cell phone and left a message; she called the house phone instead. She did not want to go back home after one day of freedom. Farms revolved around animals and weather; she wanted to live past harvest time.
When Bridget went to bed, she dreamt about the farm animals chasing her off the farm. She woke up three times, she analyzed her dream until she fell back to sleep only to be woken up by Doreen. Rose thought she was being thrown out of the house, she grabbed her bag until Doreen said, “It’s time to go to work that’s why I got you up.” She put it back in the closet.
Bridget’s first job in the city; she did not consider farm work a job because she did not get paid for it. She had rose-colored glasses on as she looked at the busy streets, the people at bus stops that waited in the rain. The rain was beautiful and brought life back to the burnt grass on people’s small patches of land. She took a deep breath in and smelled burnt oil from the car in front of them. She knew there were drawbacks to city life.
When the workday was over Doreen said to Bridget, “Eat dinner without me, I have a date with my ex-husband.” Bridget wanted to make macaroni and cheese, but there was no pan for it, so she ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead. She cleaned her dish and looked at the grocery list that Doreen had made out and it had one thing on the list—everything was on it with a smiley face next to it.
Bridget woke up when she heard Doreen’s call out to her. She got up and went into the living room where Doreen was. She had two black eyes with blood running down the side of her face. She said, “I am okay; get a towel for my forehead.” Bridget ran into the bathroom, stumbled over the scale, and returned to Doreen.
Doreen got up, held her head and went into the bathroom and said to Bridget, “Go out to the car to see if he is in the back seat.” She went outside and looked in the backseat where he laid in a pool of blood. She stared at him before she realized he was dead. She had never seen a dead body; only on crime shows.
Bridget looked around and realized no one had noticed Clint’s body in the back of Doreen’s car. She went into the house and said, “He’s dead.”
Doreen responded, “Good and let him stay like that!”
Bridget picked up the phone to call 911, but Doreen grabbed it from her. Doreen said in a calm voice, “We have to get rid of the body.”
Bridget felt like she was the one in the backseat of the car.
Doreen put the phone down and said, “I helped you and now I need your help.”
“I, I…” she could not get any other words out.
“That’s my girl,” Doreen patted Bridget on the shoulder.
Bridget responded, “There’s a dead body in the back seat of your car!”
“Don’t think of it as a dead body, think of him sleeping with a bullet in him.”
She asked, “Are you going to kill me too if I go to the police?”
Doreen laughed and said, “Of course not I need a witness.”
She said to Bridget, “We need to dump the body….” Doreen continued, “Try to not get any DNA on him so you won’t be caught.” She had it all planned out, but the only problem was her car. People would remember a pink car, so she called Mary Louise to borrow her car.
Mary Louise saw the door handle with blood on it. She looked in the back seat and saw his body. She came inside the house and asked calmly, “Did you know that Clint is in the back seat?”
Doreen said, “He beat me up, so I shot him.”
Bridget stood up and said, “Then report it.”
Doreen responded, “I’m on probation for a DUI and I am not allowed any liquor or any weapons.”
Mary Louise looked at Doreen and asked, “What do we need to do?”
Bridget said, “I want no part of this!”
Mary Louise responded, “It’s too late honey.”
Bridget went to the bedroom to pack, Doreen followed her and said, “If you tell the police I will say you were a part of it too.” She sat on the bed and cried for the first time since the fight with her parents. Now she was crying over a one-legged man that beats up on women. She had to help, or she would go to jail too. Either way, she was in trouble with the law. Bridget wanted to go back home.
Mary Louise saw Bridget’s face turn death-white and went over to her and said, “It will be okay kid,” but that did not make her feel any better. When Doreen got out of the shower, she put her clothes in a bag. She came out with the bag and told Bridget to put it in the trash can.
The city lights kept the area lit, so they decided to go in two cars and arrange to transfer the body from one vehicle to the other vehicle in Mary Louise’s garage. Bridget acted like she had to throw up, so she wouldn’t have to help them. Doreen allowed her to stay back and pack; but at the last minute she grabbed Bridget by the arm and said, “You’re coming with us!” She dragged Bridget out of the house and threw her in the passenger seat next to Clint’s body.
Bridget tried to get out before Doreen backed up, saying, “Listen Bridget Baxter I know where you live, I know your phone number so you can’t escape from me!” Bridget did not look at the scenery with rose-colored glasses anymore. The rose-colored glasses were tainted with blood.
C. Marguerite Seaman belongs to the Kansas City Writer’s Group. She writes poetry, short thoughts for the day, and short stories: firstname.lastname@example.org